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Like horses, dogs gallop and there are 2 kinds of gallops, probably a few more, but let’s just talk about two:
If you throw a lot of rollers, or you have a super drivey disc killer, or experience Premature Ejumpulation, you probably have a head down gallop going on. The head down gallop means they are running like hell! Most dogs cannot change leads or collect while galloping with the head down. Just as a basketball player who is sprinting as fast as possible cannot collect for a dunk dog’s can’t collect for a decent leap while sprinting as fast as they can with that head down gallop.
There is also a heads up gallop, still running, and perhaps a sprint, but not as fast as the dog can move. For some people this only happens when the dog is tired. The heads up gallop should happen because the dog has appropriate expectations and has plenty of time to approach and catch a well placed target.
Watch Yachi and Shaun Hirai play. Watch the dogs. There is a total heads up gallop going on there. Their dogs move smoothly and purposefully with their heads up, not fast at all. They are patient and reading the situation.
Premature ejumpulation, leaping under the disc, and tipping the disc from underneath are all caused by over pursuit, usually a head down gallop.When the dog leaves the handler with the head down, running like crazy, he cannot collect. He cannot change leads. It takes several yards for the dog to back the speed off to have control necessary to make a quality leap. Combine the head down gallop with a more than healthy desire to bite a disc (Malinois and Cattle Dog handlers, this probably means you…) and it’s a recipe for disaster in terms of catch percentage on longer throws.
Next time I’ll go into detail about teaching your dog to run with a Heads Up gallop.
Make sure to let me know what you think by dropping a comment below.