Drop on Recall Classroom

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Over the next 4 weeks, I am going to teach you my secrets, drills, and training methods to teach, improve, and proof your _________________.


IntroductionHow to TrainGamesSequencingTypical ProblemsProofing
Description of Exercise/Skill:

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Exercise Discussion

The dog will sit in heel position next their handler. On order from the Judge, “Leave your dog”, the handler will command and or signal their dog to stay, and walk to the other end of the ring that was designated by the Judge. The Judge will then say “call your dog”. The handler with either verbally call their dog to come or will signal their dog to come but not both. The dog will promptly obey the handler’s command to come. On a verbal (“Down your dog”) or signal from the Judge, the handler will either signal OR command their dog to down. The dog must go down quickly and stay in a down position. The Judge will then either verbally say “Call your dog” or signal the handler to “call” their dog. The handler can either verbally call their dog or signal their dog to come. The dog must sit directly in front of their handler. Like the recall exercises, the dog is expected to front and finish.

The DOR is an extension of the Novice Recall. The only change is a down at some point after the recall and before the sit in front of the handler. You may give verbal commands, or signals (but NOT both) for the “Drop on Recall”.

List of skills that your dog needs:

  • Stay in place when left.
  • Come when called.
  • Down quickly on a command/signal.
  • Promptly come on the second recall.
  • Come into a front and then finish.
  • All this should be done with your dog focusing on YOU, his handler.


Ideally, all skills in the Drop on Recall exercise should be performed with focus and attitude. When I leave my dog, I want to see him “drill a hole” in my back with his eyes. I am looking for my dog to be in an “active” state. That is, he is on his toes, and ready to respond at a moment’s notice. When I call my dog, he should bolt off the sit, and RUN towards me. He should not slow down or stop until a command is given. The instant the “down” command is given, my dog should promptly drop in a sphinx down while maintaining focus on me. He should stay in an “active” state on the down and until the second recall command is given. As soon as the recall command is given, my dog should run into a perfect front and remain there until given a finish command/signal.

What you will need:
• List of items needed for training

_________ Training Log
PDF Points to remember

Questions? Ask DebbyQ

Recall games encourage intensity and speed. Remember, your goal is attitude and attention FIRST – accuracy should only be added once the DESIRE is present.

Games when leaving your dog:
• Leave your dog. Turn and toss a treat/toy as you say “get it”.
• Leave your dog. Turn and tell your dog to get a toy or treat that is in your hand. Hold your hand with the toy/treat out from your body so that your dog will willingly dive for the reward.

Games when your dog is approaching you:
• Call your dog. As your dog is running towards you, turn and run away.
• As our dog gets near you, release your dog to a treat/toy in your hand.
• Throw a toy through your legs as your dog approaches you.

Make sure that you vary the way you reward your dog.

The 4 ways I reward my dog while training are:

  1. Go back – this is where I go back and reward my dog by either handing him a reward or toy while in position OR release my dog with a “Jump To Hand“.
  2. Throw back – anytime after I have left my dog in a stationary position, I can throw a toy/treat back to my dog.
  3. Send back – this is when I pre-place a toy/treat behind my dog and send my dog back to it as or after I have left my dog.
  4. Release forward – while my dog is on a stationary position, I release my dog forward to a jump, toy or treat.

Video Notes: In this video, we are training the Drop on Recall (DOR). Note the different distances from our dog that we are using games. We drop our dog closer to us since he is still perfecting the exercise. At marker 0.58, our dog drops rear first. We do not reward, rather we release and try again. With a successful drop, we reward our dog in the drop position. Placement of reward is a valuable tool when training. As our dog gains confidence, we begin to stagger where we drop our dog or if we proceed to sequence more skills after the drop. During our training session, we use various games and keeping our dog on his toes.


  • Video your dog doing a DOR and randomly add games to each skill.
  • Learn to anticipate the game that will enhance your training.
  • Did you have any problems?
  • Was your dog staying in an active state while on his sit/down?
  • Did your dog stay focused on you the entire time?
  • What do you see that can be improved?

When Sequencing the Drop on Recall (DOR) skills, start by teaching a random drop instead of teaching in a formal recall. That is have your dog go into a down in various locations or activities.

Once you are sure that your dog has an awesome fast drop in all locations and situations, start adding the drop to an informal recall. This is where I would be somewhere with my dog, call him to come to me, and drop him. I will not be standing in a “formal” recall body posture. When my dog drops fast in response to my command/signal, I give huge praise. I DO NOT front my dog.

When first starting to sequence the DOR, drop your dog closer to opposed to further from you. Once your dog is confident and speedy on his response, start dropping your dog further away from you. Rewards will be delivered more often to my dog and he will not be called to front.


  • Leave your dog on a sit stay. Leave 10 feet. Call and drop your dog. Toss a toy or treat when your dog is down.
  • Have your dog drop. Leave your dog and call him to come to you. Reward him for a fast recall off the down by tossing a toy/treat between your legs for him.
  • Toss a treat 10-15 feet from you and send your dog for it. As your dog runs back to you, drop him, and then toss him a treat/toy.
  • Leave your dog on a sit and go 20 feet. Call your dog and drop him as he is coming to you. Revv him a bit before calling to you. As your dog bolts off the drop, run away and let him catch you.

WORD OF CAUTION. When dropping your dog, resist the urge to always call your dog off the drop. Instead, go and reward your dog, OR release your dog by throwing a toy/treat behind your dog. This will keep your dog from thinking all reward is on you.

A game I love to play with my dog is the “Cookie Toss” Game adding drops and fronts. Toss a treat, have our dog run to you and toss another treat so your dog will RUN past you. Once your dog is wild about the run, give him a drop signal/command as he turns to run to you after grabbing the treat. Praise and mix up whether you call him to front OR release him to play OR break into another “Cookie Toss” Game.

Video Notes: Sly and I are putting the DOR together. I am using both verbal and signal when combining the skills. Over time diminish one or the other, but will be able to use either in the ring. Sly is not ready to sequence the entire exercise together. That will be added after I have worked more on fronting from a down position. Sly does an awesome job with the individual skills. Great attention and enthusiasm.


  • Analyze and write each skill for the Drop on Recall Exercise.
  • What is your criteria for each skill. How should your dog do each skill? Your criteria and vision should be as detailed as possible. The more detailed the better since this will be the vision you want to achieve and train.
  • Train each skill and video. Pay special attention to the attitude of your dog when he is performing the skill. Is it happy? Dragging? Active?
When working in the drop, I have a few guidelines
If my dog stops or drops, I quietly go get them by collar. Back up a few steps heading back to the position I was at. LET GO of collar as I continue to back up and praise if my dog continues to me toward me.
If my dog slows down, I keep my mouth closed and when my dog passes the halfway point, I praise and party.
Trying to speed dog up with games will not work. Games are for rewarding or surprise releases.


Typical problems/solutions

The following are typical issues that could happen when training the Drop on Recall (DOR) either during training or while in the show ring. It is not a list of EVERYTHING that could happen. If there has been a situation that has happened to you when training or in the show ring, PLEASE post it in the FaceBook Group.

Your dog anticipates by dropping before you give a signal/verbal command.

Virtually every dog that has ever been trained to do a “Drop on Recall” has anticipated (or continues to anticipate) the Down portion of this exercise.

Anticipation looks like this: either the dog drops in the absence of a command, or slows to a walk at the point where he expects to see or hear the Drop command. This is not necessarily a handler problem or a training problem. It is more often a sign that the dog is thinking about his work. The dog will have learned that the handler praises and treats a smooth and fast response to the “Down” command. So what can you do about it?

When my dog anticipates, I correct it in the following way;

  • My dog stops or drops on his own. I say “oops” or “what did you forget”.
  • Then I calmly walk to my dog, take him by the collar, and walk backwards a few steps.
  • I DO NOT say anything else.
  • Once my dog is moving towards me, I release his collar and then praise him for coming towards me but do not give him any treats/toys.
  • I will do another recall without a drop, and praise my dog for coming past the point that he anticipated or repeat the correction if he anticipates again.
  • I let my dog WORK through it!

Your dog comes before he is called.

Rewarding the stay is an important “balance” needed in training. Balance how often you throw a toy/treat back to your dog while he is in his stay to calling him off the stay. Anytime the balance is off, review your dog’s “Stay” foundation. See MY “Building Blocks” on this website for more ideas.

Your dog is slow to drop.

First, review your dog’s Sphinx Drop. Make sure all criteria is met and your dog understands his job.

Next, review the random drop games in Week 1 Sequencing and make sure your dog will drop during the games and in new locations.

Your dog continues to move forward or “travels” before going down.

In this case, there are 2 different options to try. In many cases, I would do some of both.

  1. Review your foundation of Random Drop training to ensure that your criteria are being met on the drop in different circumstances and environments.
  2. Give a drop command and signal. If my dog does not immediately start to drop, I keep my signal hand UP, I start walking toward my dog. I will walk toward my dog until my dog stops and or drops. Timing is important.
    • If my dog stops, I start walking towards him. If he drops, I freeze my motion and will praise and release.
    • If my dog does not drop, I will continue to walk into him and place him on the drop (no verbal) then praise and release.

Your dog does a GREAT drop and then anticipates the second part or the recall after the drop.

This is usually a signal to you that you are calling your dog too much off the drop and not rewarding your dog while he is on a down. Always balance your training with rewarding on the down or by throwing a toy/treat behind your dog.

Training Tip – The road to a successful ring performance is a GREAT FOUNDATION! Don’t ever be afraid to go back and review your foundation steps. I like to revisit steps on a regular basis to make sure I do not have any holes growing in my training and sequencing. Holes are so easily fixed if you catch them early!


  • Video and analyze your dog’s Drop on Recall.
  • Does it meet your criteria?
  • What problems do you see?
  • Are there any skills that need improvement?

Proofing – the last Steps to Success

Dealing with distractions – When I see my dog avoiding distractions, I add chutes to either side of my dog’s path. The chutes are placed approximately 4 feet apart. I will teach and reward my dog for committing to line up for the chutes and then I will add them to my recalls. When testing, I will place a distracting off one side of the recall line. This distraction will aid as a push to my dog. He will want to move away from the distraction. If he doesn’t go through the chutes, I will mark the response with a negative marker (“nope”, “oops”, etc.) and abort the repetition. I will calmly walk to my dog and show him that he is to come to through the chutes. On the next recall, I will move my dog closer to me and call him. I will give my dog a big reward and praise him for coming to me through the chutes. My training will continue to test distractions to either side of my dog’s line until he is confident to always come straight to me.

Here are a few FUN ways to proof your dog’s Drop on Recall. :>)

  • Call you dog as you would normally. Instead of giving him a drop command, say a word other than your drop word like “dumpling” or “Dallas”. As an alternative, as your dog is coming toward you, instead of saying your drop command, repeat your come command. Make it easier by saying the other word or command softly.
  • Practice the recall at a distance at least twice as long as you would normally. Excite and encourage your dog to be fast as he is coming to you. When he is moving very quickly, surprise him by asking him to drop. If your dog is having problems don’t excite him as much before dropping him. Over many repetitions excite and challenge your dog more.
  • Set up your dog to practice the recall in a place where he will pass through a doorway or another entrance or exit. Leave him and walk through the doorway. When you are a distance on the other side of the doorway, turn, face your dog and call him. As he begins to go through the doorway, tell him to drop.
  • As your dog is coming toward you, walk slowly backward. Drop him while you are moving. Simplify by taking only a few steps backwards.
  • Visit a shopping center. Practice the Down On Recall (DOR) in an area where people are pushing carts or talking over loud speakers. If your dog is really distracted by the noise, move further away from the noise or set your dog up so that your back is to the noise when you call.

Video Notes: In this video, students are calling their dogs through and past distractions. On marker 1:00, a students calls her dog through a tire and then drops him. The last clip of the video, another student calls her dog and then releases him to get a Dumbbell. Mixing and matching skills as well as testing and rewarding effort are great ways to proof your dog.


  • Videotape a short training session of your dog’s DOR Exercise (1-2 minutes).
  • What proofing did you do?
  • Did you have any problems?
  • Did you add surprise releases and games when your dog gave effort?
  • Was your dog staying in an “active” state while on his sit and down?
  • What do you want to improve?