Get Leash Class

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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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________________ Forum – Place to ask questions and post YouTube videos! This is a PRIVATE group only for _______ participants.
Questions will be answered until ———-.

Exercise Discussion
The principal feature of this exercise is that your dog remains in a sit or down, whichever is required, while you leave your dog, get your leash, and return to your dog. The orders are: “Sit your dog,” or “Down your dog,” “Leave your dog,” “Leave your dog to get your leash” and “Back to your dog.” For the first part of this exercise, the handler will stand with their dog sitting in heel position in a place designated by the judge. The judge will ask “Are you ready?” prior giving the first order. On the judge’s order the handler will command and/or signal their dog to sit or down without touching their dog or the dog’s collar. Next the Judge will say “Leave your dog,” at which time the handler may give a command and/or signal for their dog to stay and then the handler will walk forward immediately to a place designated by the judge, turn, and face their dog.

After one minute from the time the judge ordered the handler to leave their dog, the judge will give the order “Back to your dog.” At this time, the handler must return directly to their dog, walk around and in back of their dog into heel position. The dog must not move from the required position until after the judge has said “Exercise finished.”

Before starting the second part of this exercise the judge will ask “Are you ready?” On the judge’s order, the handler will command and/or signal their dog to sit or down without touching either their dog or their dog’s collar. On further order to “Leave your dog to get your leash,” the handler may give a command and/or signal to stay and will walk forward directly to the place outside the ring gate entrance designated by the judge for the leash. The handler will pick up the leash, re-enter the ring, stop at the gate entrance facing the dog, and wait for the judge’s order “Back to your dog.” Then the handler must return directly to their dog, walking around and in back of their dog to heel position. The dog must not move from the required position until after the judge says “Exercise finished.” The judge will tell the handler “Attach your leash to the collar and maintain control of your dog.” The handler is required to exit the ring with the dog under control and without jumping, pulling or tugging on the leash.

List of skills that your dog needs:

  • Stay in a sit and down.
  • To be under control while leaving the ring. This does not imply that you and your dog can not have fun and engagement while leaving the ring. It does mean that your dog needs to be under some sort of control and not pulling on the leash or jumping up on people.


While doing this exercise, I expect my dog stay in an “active” state during each stay and while I am returning to him. In addition, my dog should have the self-control to sit/down and remain still without any motion while I leave to retrieve the leash and return to him. Lastly, once I have completed the stay I want my dog looking at my face as I attach the leash to his collar . Finally my dog needs to perform whatever transition games I request as we are leaving the ring. The Transition Games are games I use to get to and from the ring as well and going from one exercise to the next when showing. Spin and twirl are just a couple of transition games I use. Look for my classes “Focus, Hocus, Pocus” and “Crate2Gate” where these as well as other games are taught.

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

_________ Training Log
PDF Points to remember

Questions? Ask DebbyQ

Games – Getting the most out of Training

When working on any stationary type skills, I randomly add going back and slowly delivering treats, with tossing a treat/toy back to my dog. I want my dog staying focused on me, and the best way to do that is to keep training fun and my dog guessing as to what will happen next. Remember “RUN FLUX”!

Games I like to play while my dog is in a stationary position will keep him in an “active” state and also reward the self-control needed to maintain the position.

  • Leave your dog on a sit and when you are 5 feet away, turn and toss a toy/treat to your dog as you say “get it”.
  • Have a treat in your right hand. Leave your dog. Turn and show your dog the treat as you slowly walk back to your dog. If your dog leans forward or moves, withdraw the treat quickly as you stop your motion. Once your dog is still, start walking back with the treat hand extended so your dog sees the treat. See MY “STAY” Classroom on this website for more information on Stays.
  • After you have left your dog and retrieved your leash, stand still for a bit. Then whip out a toy or treat and throw it to your dog telling him to “get it”. Hahahaha. He will be pleasantly surprised.
  • Place a treat or toy a few feet behind your dog before you leave him. Stand next to your dog. As your leave your dog, tell him to “get it” and allow your dog to turn around and go get the treat or toy. You can also play this game after you have picked up your leash and before you return to your dog.

Make sure you vary the way you reward your dog. The 4 ways I reward my dog while training are: Go back, Throw back, Send back, and Release forward.

Video Notes: Getting your leash is nothing more than good ole fashion stay work. In this video, we are practicing stays and adding games. We practice throwing a treat back to our dog after turning to face him. Slow delivery of a treat to work on our dog’s self-control. Release to a toy behind our dog. Note, that when we take off/on the leash, our dog looks at our face. This skill is great for reconnecting with your dog and is taught in my “Focus” classes. During this training session, we add a variety of ways keeping training fun!


  • Video training the above ideas with your dog.
  • Was your dog staying in an active state while on his sit/down?
  • Did you have any problems?
  • Which games did you use?
  • What do you see that can be improved?

Sequencing the Sit and Down Stay are the principle parts of the “Get Your Leash” Exercise. If you would like to see how I teach and reward my dogs for these skills, please see my teaching steps, Building Blocks, on this web page.


  • Put your dog on a sit/down and walk away a few feet. Turn around, then go back to your dog. Slowly deliver the reward to your dog while he is in the stay position.
  • Leave your dog in a sit/down. Walk 8-10 feet from your dog. Turn and toss a toy/treat to your dog.
  • Pre place a treat/toy behind your dog. Leave your dog and after walking 10-15 feet, turn and release your dog to get the pre placed toy/treat.
  • Leave your dog and walk 10-20 feet and pick up your leash. Hold it while your stand still for a period of time. Walk back to your dog and practice Leash on/off.
  • When practicing leaving the ring, use your “transition” games. Keep your dog focused and happy to be in the ring with you.

Video Notes: This exercise is simply practicing a down and sit stay. Riker and I are practicing in this video. The first repetition, I felt he was getting ready to move, so I slowed down my return delivering a slow cookie while in front of him and then again once in heel position. When I asked him to “settle”, my down command, he offered a sphinx down. This is not my criteria. I released him and tried again. Once correct, I left and continued the Sequencing. NOTE: I will NEVER continue with any sequencing if one skill does not meet my criteria! At the end, when putting on the leash, I expected Riker to “look” at my face. This is the “leash on/off” skill that is taught in my Focus classes. I expect this behavior from my dog anytime I put the leash on or off him.


  • Time to analyze and write down YOUR criteria for each skill of this exercise. The more detailed the better since this will be your vision of what you want to achieve and train.
  • Video tape a training session sequencing the Get Your Leash exercise.
  • Are there any problems or issues your dog is experiencing?
  • Pay attention to the attitude of your dog when your dog is performing the skill, etc. Is your dog in an “active” state?
  • How should your dog do each skill and what do you want your dog to look like while doing the exercise? The list may be as long as you want.

Typical problems/solutions

The following are typical issues that could happen during training or while in the show ring for the Get Your Leash Exercise. 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 breaks the sit/down while you walk away or while your pick up a leash.

Make sure that your dog is solid on the stay skills. Train close to your og until he shows confidence and is reliably staying. Only progress when your dog is confident. Add “Stay” Games and slow treat rewards. Please see the “Building Blocks” Classes where the “Sit“, “Down“, and “Stay” skills are discussed and teaching steps reviewed.

When you start to return to your dog, your dog moves or comes to you.

When rewarding your dog, make sure that you balance how you reward. If you always feed your dog from your hand, your dog will want to hurry and get to your hand where the reward is.

Beware when you start proofing you dog. While you DO want to proof your dog, you DON’T want to make your dog fearful or overly worried.

In this video, Riker and I are training the Get Leash exercise. Near the start of the video, I accidentally drop a treat on the ground and Riker moves off his sit stay. What a GREAT training opportunity! First, I use a negative marker to let Riker know that his movement was not appropriate. Then I showed him HOW to be correct BUT he gets no reward other than my praise. I then gave him an opportunity to show me he had learned from his mistake. He was rewarded with a game for his effort. At the end of the video, while I was returning to him, I felt that Riker was “thinking” about moving. My response was to use a slow cookie delivery as a reward. This accomplished two things. The slow delivery settles Riker into the “sit” and reminds him to have self-control.

Your dog pulls you out of the ring after putting your leash back on.

Watch where and how you reward. If your dog always gets rewards upon leaving the ring, what do you think he is going to want to do? Leave the ring to get treats. When training or showing, I always reward my dog during training not afterwards. For Example: as I leave the ring, my dog is still under command, so I ask my dog for things like a spin, twirl or walking backwards. When we leave the ring, my dog and I continue to train. We do not stop and visit. During our “after show” training, I will do tricks or heeling, etc. and my dog will receive rewards when he meets my criteria.

Training Tip – Don’t take this exercise for granted. Stays still have to be practiced and perfected. Next week we will start adding games and proofing the week after. Use these concepts and ideas to keep your dog confident and steady on his stay work.


  • Video and analyze as you practice getting your leash.
  • Is your dog staying in an “active” state when you leave and return to him?
  • What problems do you see?
  • Note any inconsistencies or issues you are having. Example: is your dog staying in a “active” state, is he quickly going into a sit or down?
  • Does it meet your criteria?
  • Are there any skills that need improvement?

Proofing – the last Steps to Success

Proofing is the final step to your training. Take your time and start out easy with proofing. Slowly build on successes.

  • While leaving your dog, turn to face your dog. Then turn back around and walk away again. Did your dog stay in position?
  • While leaving your dog, suddenly break into a run. What did your dog do? Run after you? Simplify by just walking faster or a slow jog. Over time work into running away.
  • After you have left, instead of picking up a leash, pick up something your dog loves. Examples can be a ball, a food bowl, his dumbbell, or a bag of treats. Did this cause your dog to get up? Or did he stay in position?
  • Leave your dog on a sit/down and walk away about 40 feet. Turn and sit in a chair or on the ground and see if your dog will stay. Did your dog come and visit you? If he did, reduce the distance to a few feet and test again. Get more distance only as you dog is successful and gains confidence.
  • After you have left and are facing your dog, have a friend call out a recall command. Did your dog break his sit/down and come to you? If needed, have your friend further away or command in a softer voice.
  • Have a friend walking around your dog talking to him as you leave to get your leash and return. You can make this harder by having your helper be even friendlier by using baby talk or even petting your dog.

Video Notes: Get your leash proofing is much like the sit or down stay proofing. Mix and match what and how you proof. Test your dog’s steadiness when leaving, at your leash, and as you return to heel position. Reward and praise often for your dog’s effort while staying in position.


  • Videotape a short training session of “Getting your leash” and post the video.
  • Write a list of any problems you feel you have.
  • Did you add surprise releases and games when your dog gave effort?
  • Was your dog staying in an “active” state while on his sit/down/stand?
  • What do you see that can be improved?