The dogs and I just got back from an awesome 4 day disc dog camp by Pawsitive Vybe! This was our second year going and just like last year I learned a lot.
I was proud to show off my dog who (mostly) did not scream at me, did not punch me, and was capable of making eye contact. A huge difference from last year where getting those things were my main homework. Of course I am still using a lot of management by walking on to the field tugging with a disc or making Vito carry a disc out, and either putting him into a down stay or dropping all the discs at any break in action.
This year my main goal was to find a way to help Vito stop over-pursing discs and doing crazy, mistimed, and dangerous leaps from directly underneath them. Lucky for me, Ron and Apryl are very willing to think outside the box and come up with creative suggestions. Unfortunately, Vito is so ramped up and running so fast after the disc that it is not going to be an easy fix. Keeping him safe is obviously my number one priority and there were many times over the weekend where I was thinking that this would be his last weekend participating in the sport. But by Sunday we saw glimpses of hope and times where Vito would slow down and think. With a lot of work it might be possible to keep him safe.
It's funny how Vito has the complete opposite problems between agility and disc. In agility he collects very nicely and has a hard time accelerating back out from turns. In disc he over accelerates and collection doesn't seem to be in his book at all. It's amazing how much the presence of a target can change the jumping styles of a dog.
The plan for the toller involves much usage of PVC!
1. Set point drills- Just like the agility version, but with a disc held high over the bar. Because the dog's have to look UP in disc in order to catch, it completely changes their jumping style and Vito needs to learn how to collect for a catch.
2. Bent cavalettis- Another agility thing, using pvc pipe as stride regulators to help him collect and leap on the run. Just sending him out around a chair/cone is supposed to set up collection and interception and make it likely for the dog to jump well, but Vito accelerated out of the turn (just like I want that red dog to do in agility!) and it didn't help. So putting down PVC pipe for him to stride over on the out should help.
3. Throwing high and curving right- No throwing nice floaters for now. By tossing a disc that goes high in the air and curves Vito will have to run out with his head up. This is going to try and eliminate that head down sprint he currently does.
4. Overs, with dropping his head- I'm to present the disc for an over and then swipe it down to the floor as he jumps for it. This should lower his head and bring up his rear. I can also do this on the set point drill.
|Photo by Sean Silvernail|
6. Oppositional Feeding- Asking for a drop and throwing behind Vito as soon as he drops will help to slow down his running back to me and will also create more of a zig zag pattern that can help set up interceptions of the disc.
7. Dismissal- Continued work on Vito being calm and in thinking mode on the field with all the crap I've been doing with eye contact and manners. But currently he doesn't have much of a "take a break" type cue, especially not if I'm still holding a disc. I'm to add this in, along with trying to change his conditioned response to the presence of the disc bag and the field. Lots of getting ready and not actually playing, or arriving and doing obedience/trick work instead.