This method teaches a puppy everything they need to know about Team Movement in 5 minutes and immediately translates to disc play. It delivers 5 set up moves for interior Team Movement (one of them being a Scoot) and is a complete communication method for all Team Movement. It is one of the first things we teach a puppy.
5 Set Up Moves in 5 Minutes
Go Around is the typical disc dog Set Up Move. It is usually taught in the clockwise direction. There is another direction though, and that direction is another set up move.
Backwards Through, go between the legs from back to front, is also a common Set Up Move, and is usually taught in the clockwise direction. Teaching a counter clock Backwards Through is useful for Team Movement and building sequences, and should be considered an additional set up move.
A Scoot, dog backs up between the handler’s legs from back to front is a super spiffy Set Up Move that, historically for many people, has been a tough one to teach.
This method teaches all 5 of these Set Up Moves in 5 minutes total. Boom! This is the kind of stuff we want to teach with a puppy.
A Complete Communication Method
While getting 5 Set Up Moves in 5 Minutes is super cool and helpful, that isn’t the half of this special method. The real payoff in teaching the skills this way is that it creates a complete communication method for disc dog Team Movement.
By focusing on the match and transfer of the cookie from hand to hand, the handler can teach the dog to follow the transfer of value from hand to hand. This means that a disc in hand used as a lure, target, or cue can be matched to a disc in the other hand and the dog will switch to the new hand. This creates a conceptual understanding of disc dog Flatwork and Team Movement that is the same as functional and natural human and canine movement.
This really is where your focus should be put while doing this exercise. If this is done well, this exercise transfers directly to the disc field and leads to immediate fluent movement that includes Front and Rear Crosses, Passes, and Basic Flatwork Position (BFP) and Basic Standing Positions (BSP).
Marking the Match
This is critical. Actually matching (or passing) the cookies and marking the match of the cookie if the dog is following IS the point of this exercise when it comes to the communication method.
Matching and marking that match if the dog is following reinforces the idea that there is an actual transfer of value from hand to hand. When the hands meet, the dog will shift to the active hand as a product of reward history and as a conditioned response. This leads to an understanding that both hands are valuable and that paying attention to how the hands move and interact is predictive of where we’re going and where the cookies (discs) will happen.
Rewarding with Action
This little technique is a huge deal for puppies and dogs who are likely to disengage (scalloping). It enables the handler to reinforce and shape a good behavior directly into the task at hand.
When a disengaged dog reorients and is marked for reorientation, most handlers mark that re-engagement and pay with a cookie. Once the dog eats the cookie, it is likely that the dog will check out again, setting up a vicious circle of disengaging in order to reengage. This can make starting or maintaining a training session a difficult task.
Instead of rewarding the dog with a cookie for reorientation, reward the dog with the action you are working. In this case, reorientation or recall is reinforced with the presentation of the lure.
Attention (Eye Contact) can and should be used to this end as well. When the dog gives attention mark it and reinforce that desirable behavior with the presentation of the lure.
This Rewarding with Action can be required for work to start, setting up a situation where the dog looks into the handler’s eyes to create the opportunity to work. Attention and the start of work become secondary reinforcers.