On Disc Dog Vaulting | Timing Is NOT Your Problem

Timing is not the issue with vaulting. Placing focus on timing in order to solve vaulting problems will not solve them. It will make them worse.

In vaulting disc dogs, everyone is focused on timing, and it’s largely my fault. For 18 years I broadcast the ideas: “Don’t Be Late!” and “Early, Early, Early!” And the message was received. It’s nearly the law when it comes to vaulting a disc dog.

Odds are, if you have vault problems or your vaults are not up to snuff you’re working on your timing. If you’ve been coached on your vaulting, odds are you’ve been told you’re late or to “throw it earlier”. And odds are it hasn’t solved your problem… Hups! My bad.

There is no Time in Vaulting. Too “early” or “late” requires explanation and qualification and is relative a relative criteria. Try a simple, discrete and concrete criteria, “Did the dog leave the ground for the target?” And the answer is a simple Yes or No.

Order of Operations is Not Really About Timing

Successful vault timing is not about timing at all. It’s about Order of Operations; moving down the behavior chain. The behaviors are in order, and there is a sequence of events that must happen in the correct order but the timing is a byproduct of logically following the behavior chain. Timing is baked in to the process, not a separate function.

It’s like starting a car. It’s not how early you put the key in the ignition or how fast you turn the key and it’s not how long the key is in the ignition before turning it. It’s that the key is in and then turned. Starting a car is a behavior chain, and behavior chains are all about order of operations.

Nobody stresses about making sure the key is in early or being late to insert the key. It is painfully obvious that the key must be in the ignition for it to be turned. This is clearly not a timing problem, it is an order of operations problem.

The same is true of all behavior chains, and vaulting is a behavior chain.

Timing does not dictate the behavior chain, the behavior chain dictates timing.

Timing is not the key element of vaulting. Timing is a product of the vaulting behavior chain. At Pawsitive Vybe we break the vaulting behavior down to 3 simple steps: Tell > Trigger > Target.

Behavior Chain = Tell > Trigger > Target.

Tell the dog what you’re going to do. Execute the trigger for the vault and present the Target. If these things happen in order, timing is not a problem.


Where are we going and how are we doing it?

The handler tells the dog what direction and vault type we’re doing. The dog accepts the information and prepares to execute.


When do we do it?

The dog must wait for the Trigger in order to respond to it. A dog cannot start to vault without the Trigger being pulled. A handler can’t be rushed if the dog responds to the handler’s pulling of the Trigger.

If you always feel rushed in your vault, it isn’t because of your timing.


Where am I Gonna Catch It?

The handler delivers or presents the Target and the dog responds in order to intercept the Target. Again, there is no timing here.

The dog, having been given the understanding of what vault we’re doing and where we’re going to be doing it (Tell), is busy responding to the Trigger as the throw is made. The dog responds to the appearance of the target by fine tuning the response to the Trigger to intercept the target.

So What’s the Solution?

Understanding the vault concept is important. The dog leaps off the handler for the target. “For the Target” being the important part. Throwing the disc into a flying dog’s mouth is not a mature, safe, or likely to be successful vault.

Understanding the vault behavior chain is also important. The dog, handler, and team need to understand what we’re doing and where we’re going to do it. We all need to know when we’re going to start. And we all need to know exactly where the catch is going to happen before the dog leaves the ground.

I’m putting together a vaulting class that will address all of these issues and deliver foundational conceptual understanding of the skill. It will also deliver practical information for better and more successful vaulting. Over the next week or two, I will also be kicking out a few more Patrons Only blog posts on this topic over the next week or two.

So, stay tuned…

Here’s a video that hits on the Trigger Concept:

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