Bring IT Back/Come Back Week 3

Bring IT Back Class – week 3

Week 3 – Outline

  • Pic Up Stix
  • 2 Toy Game
  • Name Response – Proofing
  • Reliable recalls – Drill
  • Kandu 

Pick Up Stix 

This game helps build reward history in picking up and delivering an object to my hand.      Photo – pick up stix week 3

  • Gather a number of random items.  Use easy items to introduce this game.
  • Get your dog and some yummy treats.
  • Start by sitting in a chair.  This is a familiar sight picture for your dog.
  • With your dog in a relaxed position, place an object on the floor in front of you and ask your dog to “Get It.”
  • Use whatever encouragement is needed to get your dog to pick up the object and hand to you.
  • When your dog delivers the object to you, praise and reward with multiple treats.
  • If he does not try to pick up object,
    • make sure you have started with easy to pick up objects,
    • make sure your dog is proficient with the Get It game,
    • put your dog up and try again later,
    • let your dog watch another dog have fun and playing the game.
  • Continue changing the objects when training so your dog learns that picking up and giving you objects is fun and rewarding.
  • Once your dog knows the game, repeat the process while you are standing.

Bump It Up – Follow and Pick Up.  This is a useful drill that I use around the house.   Hahahaha, helps if I drop something.  Photo – bring it back week 3 and 3a (pick which one looks best)

  • Once your dog is readily picking up and handing various items to you, it is time to Bump Up the game.
  • Select a number of objects such as a sock, towel, oven mitt, etc..  Please make sue your dog will not swallow any of the items.
  • Once your dog loves the Pick Up Stix game, place the objects on counters around your training area or house.
  • Load your pockets with high value treats or have treats pre-placed near the items.
  • Walk around your area and “accidentally” drop an object near your feet.
  • Laugh, look at your dog, say how silly you are that you dropped whatever the object is, and ask you dog to “get it” and give it to you.
  • Lavishly praise and reward your dog with treats.
  • REMINDER do not carry or have treats in your hands, treats are rewards and not lures.
  • Once your dog knows and loves this game, give your dog jobs around the house.  I.e. bring you their dinner bowls or the newspaper.

COMMON ERRORS – Handlers Make

  • Letting your dog drop the object at your feet instead of delivering to your hand.  Once your dog will deliver to hand, they must always do so.
  • Bumping up the level of distractions too quickly.  Take your time and make Bringing To Hand a FUN game!

Training SECRET – This is a great skill for your dog to have.  In my home, I drop keys, silver ware, or a piece of laundry and my dogs dutifully pick up what was dropped and rush to me.  Hahahaha.  We have even built in bringing dog bowls to me after meals!

Video pick up stix

Video Notes: In this video, Poe is learning how to deliver many different items to my hand.  When choosing objects to use, I use familiar and unfamiliar objects.  This way he will learn to generalize the behavior.   Getting what is asked and delivering to my hand.  If at anytime Poe starts to shake the object, I use a negative marker to let him know that is not what will get a reward.   All in all, Poe really did a great job.

Video  Bring it Back week 3

Video Notes:  First in this video, Karrde and I are working on picking up different objects and delivering to my hand.  If any attempts are sloppy, we repeat the item.  If he drops an object, I insist he pick it up again and deliver to my hand.  As we work through the various items, it is clear that Karrde is learning this game but giving loads of effort.  When Karrde has trouble, I encourage him and give him loads of feedback BUT let him work out the problem himself.

Riker is next and has done this game before but these are new items for him.  We are using various items for him to pick up and put in my hand.  Even though I am not throwing the items, Riker is thinking about getting each to me quickly.  This HABIT will help to build the desire to return to me quickly when I toss a toy reward in the future.  

Sly is at the end of this session and he has done this drill many times before.  He LOVES to pick up and deliver to me.  Once during this session he grabbed the treat from my hand too roughly out of over excitement.  The consequence, which he understands, is lightly taking hold of his muzzle and telling him to be easy.  

Next in the video, Karrde and Sly are picking up various items as I walk through my home.  I even throw in a tea strainer.  Hahaha.  Karrde has a bit more trouble with the water bottle but comes through like a champ.  This is a skill we work on randomly while at home.  With time, Karrde will be just as good as Sly.

The very two last clips are all three of my dogs bringing their food bowls to me after they eat.  One of the dogs actually drops a bowl and I say ” you dropped it” in the video and ask the dog to pick it up and deliver again.  We do this drill on a daily basis after their meals.

2 Toy Game      Photo – 2 toy game 2020.week 3

The 2 Toy Game is wonderful way to help your dog learn to run out to toy, grab it, and bring it back to you quickly.  This game is very important for a dog that does play retrieve games but does not bring the toy back to the handler.  The Get It Game is a great foundation for this game which teaches the HABIT to run out, grab, and run back.

This game uses two toys.  I use longer toys that are easy to handle.  You will keep one toy (the best or favorite toy) and throw the other.

  • Start off by playing tug with your dog.
  • Throw one toy a short distance from you.
  • As your dog is picking up the first toy, back away from him calling and hitting or dragging toy on the ground.  I add in telling my dog to “get it”.
  • As your dog runs toward you, continue to excite with verbal praise.  It is ok if he drops the tossed toy.
  • If your dog drops the first toy, once he is playing tug with you, play all the way back to where the first toy was dropped.  While still playing tug, pick up the dropped toy, then have your dog release the toy he is tugging, and repeat the game.
  • DO NOT worry about your dog bringing back the tossed toy.  That comes with time.
  • If your dog does bring back the tossed toy, encourage him to deliver the toy to your hand.
  • Stop the game while your dog is still eager to play.  Always keep him wanting more!

COMMON ERRORS – Handlers Make

  • Not being exciting enough.  Once your dog picks up the tossed toy, be exciting and make it worth getting back to you quickly.
  • Standing still.  Backing away from your dog helps to DRAW him toward you.
  • Only carrying one toy.   Be proactive and ready.  While your dog is learning to pick up and get back to you with a toy, it is important to always have a back up toy.  This will ensure you can reinforce the HABIT of grabbing and coming back.

Below is Riker’s first try at this game.  He loves playing tug and needs to learn coming back with a toy.  His bringing back the toy will start another game of tug.  So he is learning to activate the game!

Video – 2 toy game week 3

Video Notes: Poe is first in this video.  We have just started to train the 2 toy game with him.  He LOVES to kill, shake, and run around with toys.  Since this is a behavior I do not want when training, we have spent some time with delivering and building value in brining toys back to me BEFORE starting to train the 2 toy game.   I use non-reward markers if he falters in getting the toy to me and praise and reward for effort.  Overall I am pleased with this session.

Sly is at the end of the video.  He has been doing this game since he was a young puppy but to this day still LOVES to play the 2 toy game.  

VIDEO  – 2 toy game Riker week 3

Video Notes:  Riker is a youngster in these video clips.  In the first section, we are working in a low distraction area and Riker is learning the 2 Toy Game.  We have already been working on tugging and this is the next step once my dog LOVES the tugging game.  When playing the game, I use two toys of equal value, one toy to throw and the other to encourage back to me.   Before I toss a toy, I slap it on the ground to get Riker’s attention on it and build excitement.  All is fun and happy and we end while he is still wants to play more.

In the next clip, Riker and I have moved to a new location to train and build distance.  Again, I will slap one toy to get his attention on the toy that will be tossed.  Once the toy is tossed, I will encourage Riker to run and get the toy.  He is always encouraged to grab and run back to me quickly.   The jump up with the toy is the next step.  I want my dog PUSHING they toy towards me and trying to invite me to engage with him.  I pushed this session a bit too much and he disengaging from me at the end.  This is a learning opportunity for Riker.  Games stop if you disengage!   Engage earns fun!

NAME RESPONSE – DISTRACTIONS – People and Dogs   Photo

Teaching your dog to turn quickly when he hears his name regardless the distraction is the KEY to your dog responding in all locations.

  • Take your dog to a training area with a person and or person and dog.
  • Put your dog on leash and grab some yummy treats for your pocket or a tug toy.
  • Walk around a bit keeping a distance from the distraction.
  • When your dog looks away from you, say your dog’s name and start to back up and away from the distraction.
  • Your dog should immediately turn to look at you.
  • When your dog looks at you, praise and reward him multiple treats or a great game of tug.
  • 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 on the leash.

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.”  

COMMON ERRORS – Handlers Make 

  • Not testing and making a skill reliable.   You will need this skill most when in a distracting location.  PROOF and PERFECT!
  • Waiting to see if your dog will respond.   Waiting creates a delayed response in the command cue.
  • Calling your dog’s name more than once.   Call once and reinforce whether your dog is correct or not.  Reward if correct.  Consequence when he chooses poorly.



Video Notes: 


Reliable recalls – Adding Distractions.     Photo – Recall off distractions week 3

An important step to a great “Recall”, is the ability to call your dog off any distraction.

  • Pre-place a distraction on the ground.  The distraction can be anything from a dog toy to an empty dog bowl. 
  • Start with something easy and build difficulty with your dog’s success and over many training sessions.
  • Have your dog in the training area and on a loose leash if you are in an unenclosed area. 
  • Move slowly toward the distraction on the ground.  We just want to move enough so your dog will get distracted.
  • When your dog starts to move toward the distraction, say his name/recall command.
  • The perfect time to call your dog is when your dog looks at or starts to go toward the distraction.
  • When your dog turns toward you, praise him and greet him with tug or feed him a few treats.
  • Only get closer to the distraction as your dog gains confidence and chooses to come happily to you every time he is called.
  • When your dog is confident and will call away from the distraction, it is time to bump up the challenge with more distractions.
  • Bump It Up idea – after your dog is called off the toy a few time, send your dog to get and bring the toy to you for tug.  Then place the toy back on the ground using it as a distraction again with recalling your dog off of it.

TIP – I often use the things my dogs LOVE against them while training.  In this instance, I would find people, environments, or situations that will distract my dog.

COMMON ERRORS – Handlers Make

  • Waiting for their dog to respond to a recall command.  Make it urgent for your dog to get back to you.  Call him once and immediately start backing up.  Make coming to you fun and rewarding.
  • Calling a dog multiple times.  Only use ONE command.  If you get into a jam where your dog is off leash and does not come, do get him!  The only exception is if your dog’s life is in danger.
  • Taking a dog off leash to “see” if they will come when called.   Build the habit and reinforcement history BEFORE taking such a chance.

VIDEO – recall off week 3

Video Notes:  Poe is first in this video.  This is his first effort at calling off a distraction.   When he starts to head toward the toy, I call his name or “here” and he pivots quickly and comes back to me for a great game of tug.  Durning this training, I want Poe to learn turning off a distraction gets massive reward from me.

Next is Riker.  He has done this training before.  We get more distance from the distraction and I let Riker get closer to the toy before calling him.  When Riker gets back to me, he gets LOADS of treats for his great effort.

Sly is last in this video and has been doing this drill since he was young.   He even gets to the get the distraction as a reward!

Kandu Drill   Picture Kandu week 3 teaching skills

This drill gets it’s name from my first golden retriever, Kandu, or Du as everyone knew him.   Hahahaha.   He always DID.  :>)    As a pup, Du was into everything and my job quickly became keeping him busy.  He loved and wanted to see, visit, and be a part of everyone’s “life”.   Du was a handful and this drill is something I came up with just for him.  It taught him how to respond to commands regardless of what was around us.

Since Du, I have trained this skill with all my dogs.  It teaches my dog to know where I am and be able to respond to commands at a moment’s notice.   This drill also improves direct and indirect focus.

The following video is just one example of how important this skill can become and yes this has happened to my dogs on more than one occasion.  This was Sly’s first time in Open JWW.  Thankfully, the incident did not adversely affect Sly or his career but without his fast response, it could have been much worse.

VIDEO – JWW run Sly Interrupted

Teaching the fundamentals

  • Start with your dog on leash.
  • In a low distraction area, start to walk on a loose leash with your dog.  This is not heeling, rather a loose leash walking.
  • While moving forward with your dog, give a simple command that your dog know well, such as sit.
  • Ideally, your dog will perform the skill quickly.
  • Praise your dog for complying in a fast manner.
  • NOTE:  use treat rewards randomly while doing this drill.  Instead, rely more on praise and petting. 
  • If your dog does not respond quickly, use a consequence such as using a negative marker and walking into your dog or a light pull up on the leash, anything that you use when training.
  • Release your dog from the sit and start to walk again with your dog.
  • After a few steps, give the same command again.
  • Praise and reward for effort.
  • Look for your dog to comply immediately with the command.
  • NOTE:  I often do a few repetitions in a row.  I.e. walk a few steps, sit command, release and walk a few steps then a sit command, etc. 

 COMMON ERRORS – Handlers Make

  • Giving more than one command.  When picking a command to use during teaching, make it an easy command your dog understands and does well.   It is important that your dog perform the command the first time, every time, and in any location.
  • Waiting to see if your dog will respond to the command.  In the long run, waiting to see if your dog respond to a cue will teach him a “delay” in performance of the command.  In other words, if I ask my dog to sit and wait 3 seconds for compliance, I am then building in a 3 second delayed sit.  If you want your dog to respond quickly, YOU need to be ready to mark or abort any attempt that is less than your criteria.

Video – Kandu week 3 teaching

Video Notes: In the beginning of this video, Karrde is learning how to do the Kandu drill.  We are in the training building with low distractions.  Karrde does well but I felt his response to the “sit” command was a tad slow.  As a consequence, I quickly add a slight pull up on his leash.  This is letting him know he is not responding or sitting fast enough.  He does not get rewarded on every effort, rather I save rewards for the best efforts.  Also, during this training session, I utilize slow delivery of treats to reward stays.  This is explained more on my website under the “CLASS” page  and in the “Laying a GREAT Foundation” section. 

Sly is next in the video.  He is demonstrating how he can do various commands while doing the Kandu drill.  Sly is an old pro with these drills so we are working this drill off leash.  During our training, we added a number of different commands to challenge Sly. 

Riker follows in the video.  I have placed a toy on the ground to start training with a mild distraction.  This is an important step before taking this drill to a more distracting location.  Riker does a great job although he does grab the toy once.  The consequence was me telling him he “cheated”.  Hahahaha.  At the end of our session, I told Riker to “get it” to reward his great session.