Foundational Positioning


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The skills demonstrated in this video are focused on luring technique. It may sound simple but many people have problems with Luring as a skill.

There are several techniques and concepts in this video I’d like to draw your attention to.

Intent: Leading, Following or Helping?

This is a huge problem for some handlers. Luring is most definitely a leading type behavior. The handler literally pulls the dog around with the lure. You can’t pull if you’re not leading. Many dogs balk on following lures because their handlers intent is not clear. Is she trying to help me get the cookie? Is she waiting for me to go steal the cookie from her? Is she teasing me? What’s a dog to do? Freeze. When the handler puts the cookie on the dogs nose and pulls it away with the intent to lead the dog to where the cookie will be, the dog almost always goes after it.

Luring is Like Fishing, Just Set the Hook

Anybody who know’s fishing knows that you have to Set The Hook to land the fish. Effective Luring is just like fishing. The hook must be set properly. Pull to hard and you’ll rip the fishes lip off, pull too soft and they’ll stop biting and start nibbling your bait. Set that hook just right and you land the fish.

Opportunity and Taking Away

We don’t give our dogs cookies, or discs, we give them the opportunity to get discs or cookies. This air of danger, the unpredictable, the rush of opportunity staring you in the face. When we look at reinforcement and the act of working as an opportunity, the game is on.

You’ll notice in the video, that the removal of the cookie above Hops’ head is prompting the sit. That’s a removal of opportunity, he knows when there is no opportunity, he sits and looks at me. We condition that behavior here with unsolicited eye contact which promotes a default sit. Most dogs’ default behavior while looking straight up is sit. We combine the two, remove the opportunity and present the target on our heel and side positions, and the sit magically happens.

When Hops is being lured, you can see by his reaction to the moments when it looks as if the cookie will be getting away from him, that he sees this game as opportunity. When lure is viewed as opportunity, and the chase of that lure produce moments of excitement and opportunity, the dog will happily play a luring game.

Throughout this course, the concept of Opportunity, will be openly discussed, as it is an important concept.

Why?

Foundational Positioning is a huge part of the game of disc.  A great limitation in the game of disc is the inability to get your dog into the position required for a particular trick. So the dog can only flip from the front, standing directly in front of the handler. But having mastery over position means that very same flip can now happen to your right or left, right next to the handler, further away, etc. Flips, set up moves, the beginnings of sequences, parlour tricks? All of these things are impacted by the ability of the handler to put the dog in position.

Things don’t always go as planned when your performing a freestyle routing. You will wind up out of position at times. Good Foundational Positioning, Set Up Moves and Flatwork will make this potentially 30 second mistake nearly unnoticeable to spectators and judges alike.

Foundational Positioning creates efficiency and proficiency in training. If you call the position once, and the dog makes it happen instantly, you will spend more time in your training sessions working on disc dog stuff, not fighting to manage a frustrated dog.

Questions and Comments Below…