Pawsitive Vybe Seminar

The boys and I just returned from a 4 day Pawsitive Vybe disc dog seminar!  By far the best seminar I've been to.  Ron and Apryl are the most patient teachers and are great at breaking things down for both canine and humans.

I feel like I actually have a handle on how to throw a disc now which wasn't an easy task. I have always had a really hard time mirroring people or even simply imitating a grip.  Ron didn't make me feel like an idiot when he had to physically move my hands and body for me, over and over again, and even had a ton of innovative ideas on how to get my body to feel the right movements.  And while it only happened once and may never happen again, I even did a body roll of the disc across my arms.

As for Vito, Ron and Apryl really challenged my expectations and set the bar high.  Apparently through management and microshaping I don't have to play Vito's reindeer games on the field.  Anyone who has seen Vito on the field knows that he screams constantly until a disc is thrown, repeatedly punches you as you walk out on the field, can't keep his feet still, and is just all over you until the disc is his.  His brain has splatted and there is no thinking at all.  Words of endearment towards Vito this week were monster, dangerous, a polite-rude, bastard, jumping idiot, pushy, and obnoxious.  Of course they also called him awesome and Ron offered to steal him as he loves Tollers.

We came up with a management plan of keeping discs in my bag until the last second.  Vito will walk nicely on a leash over many but starts screaming as soon as I go for my bag zipper.  Then I must give Vito a disc right away and either tug with him to the middle of the field or let him carry it.  This still results in some screaming but it's muffled by the disc :)  When I'm taking a break I can try telling him "all done" and immediately drop the discs to the ground.  If they're on the floor he doesn't scream at me and 80% of the pushing me stops.  I can just let him pick up and grab as many discs as he wants; just ignore him.  During game play but during a low to just gather discs or think  I need to just chuck discs out there for him to run after.

The training portion of a more controlled Vito is doing a ton of waits during play and having that become a secondary reinforcer.  Shaping eye contact is going to be another huge priority and likely the most important one.  Vito can do the eye contact game with food and with tug toys but has an insanely hard time with a ball or disc.  Ron suggested starting with going outside, putting a disc on the ground, and just working with food.  He won't eat the food at first, but perhaps after a few sessions he should settle in and eat once he learns discs do not always equal play.  I can slowly work my way up and ask for eye contact during a game of disc.

Besides throwing better and getting a more domesticated Vito, I got a few suggestions on improving our catch ratio.  Vito currently overruns the disc and it can be quite dangerous as he then has to fling his body.  I can create a more thinking Vito by having him do rear and front crosses to change his line of travel and get him collecting.  Ron thinks I can even mark the collection and put a cue on it.  I am to avoid doing the standard send around and throw forward right now as that creates the barreling Vito, and instead set it up so he's intercepting the disc.

Sara (and Dobby!)  – ( May 30, 2011 at 6:49 PM )  

So jealous! I couldn't swing it this year, but definitely plan to attend next year. Great video!

Mango  – ( May 30, 2011 at 8:03 PM )  

Vito is so lucky to have you. What an athlete. I understand all those terms of endearment used. He certainly is... enthusiastic. No doubt he will be a champ. Throwing the disk, though, that is really hard to get right too.

Mango Momma

Muttsandaklutz  – ( May 31, 2011 at 6:32 PM )  

Hey, that first bit of the video totally reminds me of schutzhund where the dog barks and jumps and barks and jumps at the bad guy!

Love his flips and the vault thing, very cool!

Cynthia  – ( June 2, 2011 at 5:05 PM )  

Sounds like a great seminar! I can't throw worth a darn, and I always worry Jet will flip to catch and hurt himself! Would be neat to learn how to do it safely.

Catalina  – ( June 3, 2011 at 10:04 PM )  

WHOA! That was amazing! He flips upside down?!? Wow!

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