Bring IT Back/Come Back Week 1

Bring IT Back Class –  week 1

Week 1 – Outline

  • Toy rules 
  • Toy Targeting – taking toy correctly and not hands
  • Name Response
  • Get it Game – Building Habits 
  • Deliver to hand – Intro
  • KrazyKookie Game 


In general, we want to be able to use toys as a reward when training.  Using a toy gives us an opportunity to engage close up with our dogs, tugging, as well as rewarding at a distance, thrown toys.

When we start to play with toys, we want our dog to LOVE tug and retrieve.   Once our dog loves toys and in order to complete our training, we need to add our “rules” to the games.   The rules are simple RIGHT?

Why are the rules of toys important?  It boils  down to safety for the both dog and handler.  For instance, grabbing toys should be discouraged to reduce the risk of injury to you, and to prevent the ever so popular “chase me” game.

Same is true for bringing toys back.  Failure to have the “habit” to return may lead to a dog that takes victory laps in a class which lead to a delay in the class, a disturbance among other dogs, or worse a dog fight.

So if your dog is grabbing toys or running around showing off his grand prize, WAY TO GO on building great desire for toy, NOW let’s add some simple rules to enhance and balance your training.

Picking Toys Photo Toys week1

What are the best toys to pick?  Ones your dog loves of course.  There are loads of toys to choose from, floppy, fuzzy, balls, and solids.  BUT look for possible issues that accompany some toys.  Example: some dogs love to shake and kill toys, if this is the case with my dog, I will pick and build desire in toys that are solid or will be less fun to shake.

The Basics  (toy rules week 1 photo)

Once you have built desire in a toy, it’s important to start implementing a few rules:

  1. Your dog should not grab the tug toy/treat before you give him permission to do so.  Instead he will wait for you to invite him to play.   When you want your dog to grab the toy use a command such as “Get it!”   We will go into this more in class.
  2. Your dog should let go of the toy whenever you ask him to do so.  Teach your dog that when you say “OUT” or “Give,” he should release the toy.   I’ll explain more in class.
  3. Your dog should always bring back a thrown toy.   This simple skill can make your training and rewarding so much easier.
  4. Lastly, your dog should only grab the toy when ask and NOT your hand.  OUCH, it hurts when a dog grabs your hand.  :<(

COMMON ERRORS – Handlers Make

  • BEWARE – Luring your dog to release a toy.  That is, your dog will not release a toy and you pull out a treat to trade or you pull out a treat to entice your dog to release a toy.  This training can become a slippery slope especially when you don’t have a treat to trade.
  • BRIBING  – This only works if you have something you want more than what’s in the environment.  Usually this only works in low distraction locations.

Toy Targeting – Taking the toy correctly and not your hands!

Once my dog LOVE tugging and toys, I start to add to target the correct spot of the toy to grab.  This prevents him accidently grabbing or nicking my hand.   Hahahaha.  Saves in band-aides.

Teaching to Target Toy   photo – toy target week 1

  • Grab your dog and a toy.
  • Place ta leash on your dog if he will run off with the toy.
  • When you start a game of tug, praise your dog for taking the toy correctly.
  • I use two (2) consequences.
      • The first is a negative marker to let my dog know if he gets to close to my hand.
      • Second is my free hand or the hand that is furthest from my dog’s mouth, is placed between my dog’s muzzle and my hand he is getting too close to.
  • Once your dog understands the verbal marker means stay away from my hand, I take this drill to new locations.

COMMON ERRORS – Handlers Make

  • Letting the dog grab indiscriminately.  Take the tine to teach your dog how to grab a toy properly.  It will save loads of time getting band-aides.
  • Not Proofing or testing the skill.  Once your dog understand the rule of not grabbing your hand during tug, it is important to go to exciting locations to test.

Video – toy target week 1

Video Notes: In this video, Poe and I are revisiting how to grab a toy in the proper location.   As you can see in the video, I use a marker and or my free hand between the toy and my toy hand as a consequence and to remind Poe that he is getting to close to my hand.   Once Poe and I have reviewed the skill, we take it to the training building where we can make the tugging exciting and test the skill.   

Reviewing OUT       Phot0 – teaching out week 1

How many commands does it take for a dog to release a toy?  Only ONE!

When tugging with your dog, only one command is what is needed for a dog to release a toy.  There is no need to shout, intimidate, or bribe your dog in order to get him to release the tug toy.  As tugging becomes more rewarding, often dog decide they want to keep the toy rather than let it go.  The game then becomes a struggle, and while fun for the dog, it quickly becomes a chore for the handler.

What you need:

  • A dog that will tug
  • A SIT/down command
  • A great tug toy

Review your command to release a toy.

  • Have your dog on a leash and stand on the end.
  • Start playing tug.
  • When you are ready, stop tugging and hold the toy close to your body.
  • Say “Out” or whatever word you would like to use.
  • Then say “Sit or down.”
  • Most dogs will release a toy on the sit/down command.
  • Just speak in a conversational, calm voice.
  • If your dog releases the toy and sits/downs, immediately say “Get it!” and entice him to play tug again OR give him a teat for a nice reward and begin tugging again.
  • With continual practice of this sequence, your dog will learn to let go of the toy and sit/down as soon as he hears you say “OUT”.
  • When your dog consistently drops the toy on cue, you can start to vary how long he must stay in the sit before you invite her to tug again.

COMMON ERRORS – Handlers Make

  • BEWARE – Luring your dog to release a toy.  That is, your dog will not release the toy so you pull out a treat to trade or entice your dog to release a toy.  This training can become a slippery slope especially when you don’t have a treat to trade.

Video – teaching out week 1

Video Notes: First in the video is Karrde.  We are working on a sit or down with a release after tug.  Karrde LOVES to tug.  If he fails to do the sit or down, I chastise him and repeat the sequence again.  While he is in the sit, I use the “Slow Hand” reward.  This delivery of treats slowly helps with self control and something I add into many training sessions.  Riker is next in the video. He loves to tug too.   Riker does a nice job and this makes a great re minder for him of the rules to tugging.  


This is a useful skill when it is necessary to get your dog’s attention in order to give him directions.

“If you have your dog’s eyes, you have his mind!”

Once your dog finds it rewarding to look when he hears his name, using his name before giving a “come” command in a very distracting location can be very beneficial.

Teaching Name Response   Photo –week 1 name response

  • Put a number of treats in your hand or mouth. Keeping small treats in your mouth will make it easy to get AND the dog will make the “habit” of looking at your face.
  • Stand close to your dog. Have a leash on your dog if you feel he may leave.
  • Say your dog’s name.
  • As soon as your dog turns, praise.
  • Take a treat from your mouth or touch a treat to your face. This teaches your dog to look at you!
  • Bring the treat down to feed it to your dog keeping your treat hand close to your body.
  • Your dog should be looking toward your face as he receives the treat.
  • Do this sequence three or more times consecutively and then release your dog.
  • Once your dog is INTO the game, each time you give him a treat, take his collar.

COMMON ERRORS – Handlers Make

  • The dog’s name becoming a negative word. Always make saying your dog’s name and him looking at you a very positive and rewarding experience. If your dog is more than a foot away, he should move closer to you while he looks at your face. Always feed your dog close to you. If your dog is not close enough to hand him the treat, back up and make him come closer to receive the treat.
  • Starting in too distracting of a location. If your dog is distracted and will not respond to his name.  When practicing Name Response this week, start in non-distracting areas and try to train as many times each day as possible.  Each time your dog responds to his name, you should praise and feed him a varied number of treats as he looks toward your face.

Video – Name Response 1

Video Notes: Karrde (pronounced Card), the puppy in the first two clips.  Here he is learning to look toward me on his name.  Note: how I deliver the treat close to me, he has to come to me to get the treats.  A few times he actually would not look away from me, so I tossed a treat and proceeded with training.  In the second clip, I started adding the Collar Grasp as the treat was being delivered.  The Collar Grasp is a very important part of training.  One day it might be important for Karrde’s safety for me to grab hold of his collar.  Training the action will ensure when and if the time comes, he will not be surprised or defensive.  In the last clip, Koda has learned Name Response.  He is such a good boy and is offering a sit which I praise and reward.

NAME RESPONSE – DISTRACTIONS for your DOG   Photo – Week 1 name response 2 

Teaching your dog to turn quickly when he hears his name regardless the distraction will help you in all locations and situations.  Many times this exercise will defuse a situation and can be used to prevent unwanted behavior such as lunging, barking because you are being “proactive.”

  • Put your dog on leash, grab some yummy treats and take your dog to the front yard.
  • Walk around a bit and when your dog looks away from you, say your dog’s name.
  • Your dog should immediately turn to look at you.
  • When your dog looks at you, praise and reward him multiple treats.
  • Feed your dog close to you and hold on to his collar while you are feeding the treats.
  • If your dog doesn’t look immediately, get your dog’s attention by giving a tap on the rear, tug or light leash pop.
  • Once your dog is proficient in your yard, take him for a walk or try this skill the next time you go out training.

Training Tips – This is an easy way to redirect your dog from a distracting situation.  Say your dog’ name while taking a few steps backward and away from the distraction.  Your dog is not given any additional leash as you back away.  As soon as your dog turns, praise and reward your dogs with several pieces of “high value” food in a way that encourages your dog to make eye contact (treats brought to the face and then to your dog).

COMMON ERRORS – Handlers Make

  • Not rewarding effort. If your dog looks away and then quickly looks back again.  Reward the effort your dog gives by immediately looking at you again.
  • Training in too distracting of a location. Practice in non-distracting areas as many times each day as possible. Each time your dog responds to his name, you should praise and feed him a varied number of treats as he looks toward your face. Over time and success gradually increase the distraction level.

Video Name Response 1

Video Notes: Karrde (pronounced Card), the puppy in the first two clips.  Here he is learning to look toward me on his name.  Note: how I deliver the treat close to me, he has to come to me to get the treats.  A few times he actually would not look away from me, so I tossed a treat and proceeded with training. 

In the second clip, I started adding taking his collar as the treat was being delivered.  Taking his collar is a very important part of training.  One day it might be important for Karrde’s safety for me to grab hold of his collar.  Training the action will ensure when and if the time comes, he will not be surprised or defensive. 

In the last clip, Koda has learned Name Response.  He is such a good boy and is offering a sit which I praise and reward.

 Video Name Response 2

Video Notes:  Karrde and I are working on Name Response in this video.  He is still learning this skill.  Notice when I say his name he moves toward me.  That is a great response to his name. 

In the second clip, Karrde and I are behind Dogwood.  There are loads of distractions in this location.  At the beginning of the video, I am actually setting up the camera and letting Karrde go potty.  Not even thinking about it, I said his name.  What a good boy, he immediately looked at and headed towards me.  I always try to remember to have the treat come from my face.  This helps him learn the association between looking at my face and the treat.  Funny Note – While putting this video together, Karrde heard his name being said in the video and he ran over to me.  Bad mom, I didn’t have treats BUT I did stop and reward with lavish praise.

Karrde is doing so well with name response, we move to the front parking for Name Response work.  I wait until he is looking elsewhere, say his name, and praise and reward when he looks back to me.  Each time Karrde looks to me when I say his name.  And each time he receives multiple treats for his effort.  NOTE:  Karrde actually starts paying more attention to me after a few short repetitions.

Get It Game – Building the HABIT!     Photo week 1 get it game holding collar

Guidelines for Get It Game –

  • From the beginning, teach your dog the HABIT to go out fast, pick-up, spin, and come back to you fast.
  • When using treats, make sure that the treats are large enough for the dog to easily see yet will not break apart and easy to eat.
  • Always give your dog HIGHER VALUE rewards when he returns to you.
  • Continue to play the Get It game with treats and toys throughout the dog’s career.

The “Get It” Game is a wonderful way to increase your dog’s desire to immediately look for the tossed object, pick it up, and RUN BACK to you.

This game teaches:  photo – week 1 get it game dog

  • To run out fast.
  • Pick up and eat a treat or grab a toy quickly.
  • How to pick up, turn quickly, and RUN to me.
  • The floor only has one treat, while getting back to me has multiple rewards and FUN.
  • Instills a release word as permission to get something off the floor.
  • Foundation for any type of retrieve from toys to dumbbells, etc.
  • Foundation for the speed in which my dog will go away or come back.
  • Enables an opportunity to introduce the concepts of proofing.

Teaching the Get It Games using treats – the fundamentals

  • Have your dog at your left or right side.
  • Hold your dog’s collar (and leash if in an unenclosed area) with your hand closest to your dog and hold a couple treats in your free hand.
  • Excite your dog (such as “Ready, Ready”) and toss the treat approximately three (3) feet in front of your dog.
  • Immediately release your dog and tell him to “Get it!” while the treat is still moving.
  • Releasing your dog while the treat is still moving will elicit his prey drive and increase his intensity and desire to move away from you quickly.
  • As soon as your dog reaches for the treat, make it URGENT for him to come back to you quickly by calling his name, clapping your hands and/or moving away.
  • DO NOT wait for your dog to eat the treat.
  • When your dog is about two (2) feet from you, bring your hand out from your side and tell your dog to get a treat ( Jump to Hand game) or a toy that is in your hand.
  • Play KrazyKookie or tug and keep coming to you exciting and FUN!

Progression – only do one of the following at a time and only proceed to the next when your dog rocks at the current level.  These training changes are often forgotten steps in this game!

  • Practice sending your dog from both your left and right side.
  • Gradually increase the distance you toss the treat.
  • Send your dog only after the treat has stopped moving.
  • Wean off all verbal commands to come back to you.
  • Keep it FUN!

Bump Up the game.  :>)

  • Go to a lot of new locations with varied distractions.  Good and safe locations include your back yard, your bedroom, garage, or anywhere that is enclosed and safe.
  • Use a lot of rewards and games when your dog gets back to you.
  • Proofing – The last and most important step.  Toss treat near a distraction.  Person your dog loves, dog bowl, under a chair or table.

COMMON ERRORS – Handlers Make

  • Criteria not being met by your dog.   Always watch for fast out, grabbing treat, and running back.  Keeping your eye on the finer points will add to your success as well as your ability to see errors in the future.
  • Not weaning off verbal encouragement.  Once your dog has the HABIT of moving quickly, wean off any additional help or verbal cues.
  • Using treats that explode or fall apart.  If a treat falls apart, it will encourage your dog to “shop”.   :>0

Video – week 1 get it game treats

Video Notes: In this video, Karrde, my youngest, is the first player.  What I liked – Karrde has great desire built to participate.  At maker 0.41, I slow the video down so his tight spin back can be seen.  Awesome!  When we first began, the enthusiasm and intent to get back to me was great but I did not like his turn.  I started adding a verbal to get the tight spin I was looking for and did achieve good results.

Riker, middle child, is next.  Riker has a great spin back and speed away and to me.  Note how he focuses back on me quickly after the last treat at me.  We will begin to start weaning off extra verbal encouragement as we want the spin back and return a HABIT.

Sly, my oldest, is the last.  Most of his efforts are awesome.  This skill is a HABIT for him although periodic polish will be needed.

Deliver to hand –  photo – week 1 Deliver to hand

What you need

  • A tug toy
  • A dog that loves to tug
  • A floor or chair

Push = Play!

  • Have your dog on leash or in a small room. We do not want the dog opting to leave.
  • Get an tug toy that your dog loves.
  • When starting this training, I like to sit in a chair or on the ground.
  • Play tug with your dog.
  • When ready, let go of the toy and encourage your dog to push the toy toward you.
  • Ideally we want your dog to deliver or push the toy toward your hand.
  • Praise lavishly and reward your dog with tug.
  • While playing tug with your dog, again let go of the toy and encourage your dog to push the toy toward your hand.
  • Reward your dog with a game of tug for pushing the toy toward your hand.
  • Once your dog is picking up and delivering to your hand, switch to a new toy and repeat the process.

COMMON ERRORS – Handlers Make

  • Handler waiting for his dog to engage.  Take the toy and put it away.   Give your dog a time out in a crate or let him watch you interact with another dog.  Many times it is good to put all toys away during the beginning phase.
  • Trying to rush the learning process. Teaching this skill might take several sessions but be persistent and patient.
  • Handler trying to grab the toy.  Ah this is all too common. If you step toward or grab at the toy, you are instigating a new game.  It is important to let your dog know it is his responsibility to deliver that toy to you!
  • The handler picking up a toy instead of insisting their dog delivers to hand.  Once your dog knows how to deliver to hand, it will ALWAYS be his responsibility.
  • Offering treats or making treats to visible.  One of the biggest errors I see is handlers offering a treat when their dog will not deliver the toy.  This action quickly becomes a bribe.

Video – deliver to hand week 1

Video Notes:  In this video, I am starting to teach Poe to deliver a toy to my hand.  As I have told many people, Poe has been the hardest dog to teach to bring back and deliver a toy. 

The first clip is our second session.  Silly me I forgot to hit record on our first session.  Note that I leave my hand available for him to push the toy towards. 

Second clip, Poe is getting better with this skill.  Note how he is pushing the toy toward me. Karrde actually tries to give me a toy too. 

Third clip is our forth session with this drill.  

KrazyKookie Game

The “KrazyKookie” Game is a personal favorite game of mine.  I recommend this game for downtime and to relieve stress situations.  Playing this game makes the dog work for the treat, so there are no “freebies” and a dog HAS to give effort to win the reward.  In addition, it is a fun game for both the handler and their dog.

This isn’t your mothers KrazyKookie game.  I have added some new twists and turns to this game that your dog will LOVE!  Even dogs that don’t play with toys easily learn and like playing the “KrazyKookie” Game.

TIP – The secret to the “KrazyKookie” Game is making the “cookie” come alive.  Having your dog chase the cookie is exciting and fun.  This game is a great way to reward your dog while training, especially if your dog doesn’t like to play tug.

Teaching the Game   Photo – week 1 krazykookie

  • Use high value treats and make sure your dog is hungry.
  • Show your dog the treat.
  • Slowly begin to move your hand away from your dog.
  • Keep the treat low or right above your dog’s nose level.
  • To entice my dog, I say something like “hurry, can you get it” in an exciting voice.
  • As my dog follows the treat/hand, I move it just fast enough to keep the treat out of my dog’s grasp.
  • Move the treat slowly in different directions.
  • To let your dog “catch” the treat, slow down your hand just enough for your dog to CATCH the treat.
  • Make sure your dog eats the treat fast!   Make it URGENT to hurry so you can get back to having FUN!
  • DO NOT stop or give your dog the treat.  Rather let him “catch” it.

Tip – Use this game INSTEAD of just handing your dog a treat.  The treat will become more rewarding and your dog will stay ENGAGED with you for a longer period of time.

Bump Up the Game  :>)

  • Repeats– Once your dog understands the game, start to have treats in both hands.  When your dog chases and catches a treat in one hand, immediately pick up the game with a treat in your opposite hand.  Your dog then chases the second treat as you are getting a third treat in your free hand, etc.
  • Speedy– When your dog LOVES the game, move your treat hand faster and more erratically. Keep it fun for your dog to chase and catch the treat.
  • Chase Me/Chase Me– Put a new spin on this game by running away from your dog.  When he catches you, kick in a KrazyKookie game.  When your dog catches the treat, run off and play another game when your dog catches up to you.
  • Take a Breath – play KrazyKookie with your dog.  When your dog is really excited and after he has caught 1-2 treats from your hands, tell him to down.   Take a breath as you count to 3.  Starts to revv your dog and break into a NEW KrazyKookie game.

COMMON ERRORS – Handlers Make

  • Moving the treat hand too quickly when first teaching the game. As your dog is learning the game, keep your hand going at a speed that your dog can easily follow it.  This will give our dog confidence and help the desire to chase.  Only speed up the treat hand once your dog is engaged and loves the game.
  • Stopping the treat hand and giving the dog the treat. This game is all about YOUR DOG doing the work.  Instead, slow your treat hand so your dog can “catch” the treat hand.
  • Not using appropriate treats. Use treats that are of high value to your dog and something he can eat quickly.

TIP – Have your dog CHASE the treat for a little while before allowing your dog to “CATCH” and get the treat in your hand.   Make chasing the treat fun and exciting! 

Video – KrazyKookie Week 1

Video Notes: First in this video is Riker. He is showing the foundations for the KrazyKookie Game.  I move my hand slowly to make it easy for him to “win” and catch the treat in my hand.  Once he lost the treat hand, no worries, I just helped him a bit while keeping the game fun.

Next, is Karrde.  He is still learning this game and the rules.  Karrde can easily go over the top, i.e. over-excites, so I will use this game to help teach him to stay under control yet stay energized.  This will be a great self-control drill for him.

Then, in the video, Riker and I play the game adding in “repeater”, “speedy”, and “chase me” game bump ups.  These additions to the KrazyKookie game will add extra excitement. Note that I am moving around and keep moving away from my dog.  This is a great way to teach my dog to always drive toward me.

Last in the video is Sly.  He LOVES this game and has been plating for a number of years. When he takes too long to get the dropped treat off the floor, I make it URGENT to hurry and get back to me.  At no time, will I accept him to shop or delay returning to me.