Today’s blog is a quote from Tracy Custer, in response to a post on Disc Dog Discussions, asking about tracking drills.
New drills I started messing around with this winter for a new dog: slow games, to encourage earlier tracking/checking in, and more importantly, collection. So what I mean by “slow” games, is taking any typical outrun pattern (like a pass, for instance). And instead of putting my release out there early and ahead of the dog, which encourages an overstimulated dog to drive hard in full extension, I throw high, floaty, and late. ALMOST (but not quite) behind the dog at first. This game is easy to play on a passing drill. Get a stack of discs and just go back and forth. I start with all backhands, high/floaty/late. As the dog becomes more proficient, I slowly introduce tosses that tail left or right, throws that are lower and driving with speed, etc. And over time, I can begin to put some of the throws out earlier again – but only as the dog shows proficiency.
You can also play this game on other outrun drills……….like zigzags, flanking circles both directions, pendulums (alternating between dog going around to your left, and then to your right). The idea was to create patterned muscle memory for collection, a dog that LOOKS for the disc earlier, and that checks back with you for your release.
When I started these drills, I had a dog that just blasted out 40 yards, no looking, no collection, wildly flailing herself, and not making any catches. So I put the T/F game away for about 4 months, and just worked these drills (along with some other things, like catches over jumps, etc). And now I have a dog that actually looks like a real T/F dog, lol ; )
I always mark the moment of collection.
Also, if the dog made a particularly great decision regarding collection, I would immediately reward with a crazy tug game. Good success or valiant attempts keep the game going. Obvious lack of collection or blatant flailing through the air with no real attempt to make a catch, resulted in a time out from the game.
This quote was pulled from a discussion on the Facebook group Disc Dog Discussions. You can see the entire thread here.
Featured image is (c) Catherine Widemire