Art of Hooking Up
the staple set up move in the game of disc creates timing and teamwork hooking dog up with handler and establishing flow
The dog starts from in front of the handler. goes around the handler, to the handler’s right in a clockwise fashion. The dog may move to catch in an area in front of, to the left, or the right of the handler.
4 keys to this skill:
- Setting a consistent timing
- setting a consistent position or starting point
- right vs left handed throwers
- pattern training
Go Around Creates a Sense of Timing
the Go Around cue allows the dog and handler a predictable moment of movement to get hooked up and in time to do other tricks. this becomes part of the teams rhythm in both freestyle and single disc games.
Go Around is a very common start to many disc based activities. It is such a common pattern that it can often be a bit of a displacement behavior for either dog or handler, or both. The Go Around helps the dog and handler get together as a team and hook up for various sequences, tricks and catches.
Some dogs make a really tight turn and some dogs make a loose turn. You can alter this by using reward placement or timing of your throw.
Creates a Starting Point
the Go Around creates a predictable starting point, a moving position, that the dog and handler become accustomed to. this moving position can be assumed as soon as you send the dog around. it’s great intelligence for creative play.
When your dog leaves you on the Go Around, they tend to be in the same place at the same time, so much so that you can bank on that location, direction, and speed and treat it like a position. Having this kind of habitual, predictable moving position makes knowing where your dog is going to be much easier and intuitive. This takes a good deal of the guesswork out of disc placement and throwing.
Right vs Left Handed Throwers
there is an unwritten rule that the dog should Go Around from the throwing hand side to the off hand side: the dog should leave the right handed handler from the handler’s left.
This pattern does seem to yield good visibility which leads to simple and effective timing especially for the handler. It’s most likely the best solution for toss and fetch. When it comes to freestyle though, it may or may not be an effective set up move depending on your dog.
The important thing to keep in mind is that your dog may not move well in a clockwise circle, and just because you are a right handed thrower does not mean that you have to run your dog in that clockwise circle all the time. You might find that your dog runs much better counter clockwise.
Also there are benefits to the dog and handler not hooking up from the beginning of the set up move. It forces the dog to plan better for the target and often yields an entirely different leaping style. Give it a shot…
Reward Placement & Pattern Training
be aware that your reward placement creates patterns. if you always throw to a particular spot after a Go Around, the dog will release to that spot.
If you play a lot of toss and fetch (single disc game) then odds are when you send your dog around the dog is apt to bolt 40 yards downfield. If you never throw to the right after a Go Around then your dog will be apt to blow off discs that are thrown over there.
Dogs are very sensitive to Reward Placement and patterns in the game of disc are highly dependent upon Reward Placement. If you have a pattern you don’t like, want to create a particular pattern, or want to maintain a pattern, be sure you understand and leverage Reward Placement and change where you place the disc.