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Dither fish actually means a small fish that is used to signal other shy fish that it is safe in the open. ie the small fish wouldn't be swimming in the open if there were predators or other dangers. Examples would be using neons or cardinal tetras in a discus tank to draw out the otherwise timid discus.
fast swimming schooling species or colorful schooling species like the danios, white clouds and tetras are all good dither fish. You dont need dither fish but it is reccomended if you are planning on buying shy fish like the discus. Make sure the dither fish you want is compatable with the shy fish you have first
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