Teaching the Drop on Recall

  Teaching the drop on recall for Open is frequently postponed until a dog has completed its novice career with straight recalls. This means there has been a LOT of reinforcement history for fast straight recalls, so the dog has a strong belief that he should always be running as fast as he can and never deviate from his path. Then, suddenly, the owner is waving arms, yelling "down!" in a very peremptory tone, and looking upset when the dog pushes through the distraction and keeps on coming. This can lead to slow recalls in general, no recalls for a while, and a lot of frustration for dog and owner alike.

   This exercise must be trained a piece at a time, and then put the fluent parts together easily in a way that the dog will enjoy. It will preserve confidence and controlled speed and improve the dog's focus. But the parts need to be isolated and trained to fluency before they are put together. 

    The parts in addition to a focused, confident straight recall, are:

    1) The stationary down on command, beginning directly in front of the dog, and working up to 25 feet between the dog and handler. The down must be performed in place  and immediately in response to the command.

    2) The dog must understand that his name is an attention cue, not a recall command by itself. For my dogs, their names mean, "Stop what you are doing and pay attention to what I am going to ask you to do next." When it happens in the context of a recall run, it means to stop. If the dog stops on command, then it's easy for him to drop.

      

 Here's  a video demonstrating how to teach and combine the components of the drop on recall.