Bring IT Back/Come Back Week 4

Bring IT Back Class – 4 week

Week 4 – Outline

  • Bringing back a tossed toy
  • Dead Toy Game
  • Reliable recalls – Drill
  • Kandu – Distractions
  • Wrap Up – Dealing with Down Time

Bring It Back – Tossed Toy   Photo

  • Grab a toy and your dog.
  • Place your dog on a leash if you think he will leave with the toy. 
  • Take your dog’s collar and toss the toy a few feet in front of you.
  • I use a “get it” phrase to encourage the correct behavior.  This cue is taught in the Get It Game.
  • Release your dog to get the toy and begin to move slowly backwards as your dog is picking up the toy.
  • Ideally we want your dog to deliver the item to your hand.
  • Praise lavishly and play tug with your dog for giving you the toy.  
  • Once your dog is picking up and brining back the toy for tug, switch to a new toy and repeat the process.
  • Progress to tossing the toy a few feet further and have fun!

COMMON ERRORS – Handlers Make

  • Letting your dog drop the toy at your feet.  Once your dog will deliver to hand, they must always do so.
  • Not making it important for your dog to get back to you.   Always insist that your dog bring back the toy.  Review foundation steps on a regular basis to keep your dog performing good habits.




Video Notes: 


DEAD TOY Game   Photo

Dead Toy Game will help in your training when you need to place a toy out as a reward.   Play this game with all dogs to build desire for the dog to run out quickly, grab the dead toy, spin, and return quickly to you.

Placed out a toy

  • Pre-place a toy a few feet in front of you.
  • * Reminder, grab a second toy to keep on you if it is needed to ensure that your dog will grab the toy and run back to you.
  • While holding your dog’s collar, REV  him up and tell your dog to “Get it”.
  • Once your dog has picked up the dead toy, tell him to “come” as you start to back away from your dog.
  • When the dog is back to you, play a great game of tug.
  • Only once your dog is running out and returning fast will you increase the distance you place the toy.
  • As you train, continue to move away from your dog as he spins to return with the toy.

COMMON ERRORS – Handlers Make

  • Placing the toy to far away from you.   Start easy and close to ensure success and build good habits.
  • Not having a second toy INCASE it is needed.   Always have a second toy on you if it is needed to ensure that your dog will grab the toy and run back to you.   Build GOOD HABITS.



Video Notes:

Reliable recalls –  Drill

Adding Distractions   Photo

When adding people and dogs as distractions, start with one person and build on success.   When introducing dogs as distractions, make sure the dog is friendly.  Usually when adding another dog, I will have a person and their dog working on a sit or down with my dog on leash.   Over time, I will increase the distraction to the help and dog playing tug or doing simples skills such as a jump.

  • Enlist the help of a friend and head out in your training area.
  • Keep the distractions easy at first and only increase once your dog is confident and successful.
  • Have your dog on a leash.  The leash MUST remain loose at all times.
  • Begin to walk toward the person distraction.
  • You are NOT heeling, rather you are out for a walk with your dog.
  • As your dog see the person, call your dog as you back up.
  • Praise and reward your dog for coming to to you.
  • Start further from the person and move closer only as your dog becomes confident with his task.
  • Praise and reward your dog for his good choices.
  • Note: treats and toy are kept hidden until your dog has come.  Praise first, treats/toy second.
  • If at any time your dog begins to pull ahead of you, or goes toward the person, call him.


Once your dog is rocking and coming to you every time you call him, bump up the difficulty level by:

  • Have your dog go to and greet the person, then call him.
  • Go to a training class and call your dog becomes distracted.

COMMON ERRORS – Handlers Make

  • Your dog readily goes to a distraction.  Simplify by moving further away from the distraction.  Let your dog be correct so he can be praised and then test him again by moving  a little closer.
  • Allowing your dog to randomly leave you to go visit people or dogs.   Make your training and showing about training and showing.   Make leaving you to say HI to others a command and a treat not an everyday occurrence.

VIDEO:  – video with dog in agility field .. recall off

Video Notes: 


Kandu Drill   Picture – Kandu week 4 proofing

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 helped teach him focus and how to respond to commands regardless of what we were doing.

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

Adding distractions

  • 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, 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, use 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.
  • Does your dog comply immediately with the command?
  • Praise and reward for effort.
  • NOTE:  I often do a few repetitions in a row.  I.e. walk a few steps, sit, walk a few steps, sit, walk a few steps, sit.

 Progression – Try one or all of the below.

  • Go to new area with a bit more distraction and repeat the above drill.
  • Wait to give your first command until your dog is distracted or smelling something.  What a GREAT test!
  • The toughest location is saved for last.  Example, my dogs love the agility field, so this will be the last place I train this drill.
  • Use a NEW command, such as down, spin, or twirl, but keep it an easy one that your dog knows well.
  • Mix up commands you use.  In other words use a sit the first time, a down, the second, a sit again the third.
  • Only practice this drill off-leash when in an enclosed area AND your dog is consistent and confident in a variety of locations and doing a mix of different skills.

 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 for your dog to see if he will perform a cue will teach your dog a “delay” in a command.  In other words, if I ask my dog to sit and wait 3 seconds to respond to none compliance, then I am building in a 3 second delayed sit.   If you want your dog to respond quickly, YOU need to be ready to mark or abort an attempt that is less than your criteria.

Video – kandu week 4 proofing

Video Notes:  Karrde and I have gone to a pet store to do some training with more distractions.  This environment definitely gives Karrde a run for his money.  Karrde gets praise with all good efforts but when not paying attention, or responding quickly enough, I tease and give him a light poke in the side, or turn toward him while I razz him.  We go to two different areas while in the store.  The second location is more distracting that the first.   Note how much more focus he is giving me by the end of the video.  Also, I used a slow delivery of a treat to test one of his downs.  Very pleased with Karrde’s improvement with this drill.

Next in the video, Sly is demonstrating Kandu in my agility field.   He loves this area but can focus on me and any command I toss his way.  Riker then joins the fun.  While Riker is younger, he too knows what is expected and rises to the occasion when given a command.  Lastly, Karrde and I work on the Kandu drill in the field.  Karrde is still very young.  He finds this environment EXTREMELY exciting and needs this drill to balance his training.   As you can see, he is very distracted in the video wanting to do something fun.  This is a great opportunity to make sure he can listen to commands even in an heightened state of arousal.   This is a drill we will visit on a regular basis to balance our training.

Wrap Up – Dealing with Down Time

HOW TO avoid the zoomies and correctly handle downtime.     Photo

Have you ever been training and see dogs take off running or zooming around with a toy?  Such a frustrating behavior and it can become dangerous as well.

There are a number of reasons a dog might take off.

  • Missing foundations in recalls and habits to bringing back toys.
  • Disconnect from the handler.
  • Lack of rapport between handler and dog.
  • Disconnect between the dog and the handler.
  • And the list can go on from there!

More importantly, HOW do we fix the problem or stop it from ever happening?

First thing is to create good HABITS and teach solid FOUNDATIONS.

  • Teach a solid recall.  This is a great way to get your dog back to you quickly.
  • Teach your dog to bring back a toy.  Playing tug and tossing a toy are wonderful ways to reward your dog BUT he must be reliable on always bringing the toy back.
  • Teach a fast random sit or down.  My #1 skill to train all my dogs.  A must in any emergency situation.
  • Make a HABIT of teaching your dog to stay with you.  This will prevent your dog from learning the behavior of wondering off to “visit” others.   When training, play and interact with your dog and keep your dog with you!  Other people do not need to visit with your dog and your dog doesn’t need to socialize with other dogs.  Keep training time all about training.
  • When training with your dog AVOID turning your back and walking away from your dog.
  • If you make a mistake on a sequence, PLAY with your dog.
  • If you need to talk to a friend or instructor, put your dog in a crate or on a bed, OR put your dog on a down stay and watch to make sure your dog remains in the position, OR put a leash on your dog.

In this class we have covered many skills needed to become successful when training and showing with your dog.  We have worked on a solid recall with distractions, taught your dog the value of bringing back a toy, and reviewed how to get fast sits/downs during distracting situations.   These skills have given you the needed tools to have a reliable dog to train and show.  Building good HABITS in training will carry over and save you loads of $$$ in show entries later.