Communication is Key
If you listen to the audio from this footage you can hear the communication going on. Marking the drop of the disc and reinforcing with that Consequent Cue, that pop of the hand and sweeping movement. Marking the commitment to moving with the handler and reinforcing with a throw. It’s nice teamwork.
Contrast that with the times that Loot doesn’t Drop on cue or refuses a directional cue. What game would you want to play?
The Drop is Key
The drop makes the Consequent Cue happen. Nothing happens without the cued Drop. As soon as the teeth come off on the Drop, the cue pops out. The Drop is a strong point of leverage in dog training. It’s a linchpin concept for many skills.
The Hook Up is Key
Notice the Hook Up position that Loot is presented after the drop. That hookup Sets a Working Flank. The handler needs to set up and turn so we are moving in the same direction as the dog – just a little bit if you want to move slowly or easily, or turn a bunch and make the dog feel as if they are losing a race behind you.
If you put your disc filled hand up towards them a bit and guide them in, the Hook is Set. You can now start to push and pull the dog around, bring them in close to us, or we can give Cross cue – heck we can do any of them, because the dog and handler are hooked up.
Commitment is Key
What you are doing with Flatwork is moving your dog around the field. You are pushing and pulling. This happens through handler movement, primarily your shoulder orientation and the orientation of upper torso, but also your feet, legs and hips. Movement, intended movement, or simulated movement by the handler creates and relieves pressure that pulls or pushes on the dog.
When the handler commits to a movement it is much easier for the dog to follow. Watch these videos a few times and notice how the dog commits to these shoulder and body movements. We’ve got to Set the Hook here, just like with Luring, to get the commitment of the dog. Once the hook is set and the handler is committed to a movement, the dog will follow.
4 Keys of Flatwork
Mark what you like and be consequent
Be honest on the Drop
Set the Hook with the trailing hand
Dog and Handler must commit