Remote Drop Sequence

My pups are taught to "give" a bumper during force fetch. Therefore,
it is necessary to make a transition to "drop". One might ask, why not just start with "drop" from the beginning? I guess the meaning of "drop" during force fetch doesn't fit well with me. 

The easiest way is to eventually chain "give" with "drop" way before actually doing "remote drop". Once I have a dog retrieving and delivering well with "give" (usually in pile work), I will start taking hold of the rope on a bumper and ask the dog to release it with "give" and let it swing down away from his/her mouth. Pretty soon I phase in "give" with "drop" and eventually "drop the give”. 

The dog now will deliver by waiting for me to take a hold of a wing or leg of a bird so that on "drop" the bird falls down away from the dog (just like with the string on a bumper). In no way are you actually taking the bird or bumper from the dog’s mouth. The expectation is "open mouth and let it fall out" on command during early training

Using the language of a pro trainer* that has impacted much of my training, "they become more responsive" and thus less possessive. I really make this a very slow, deliberate, calm and precise sequence. Often, how I get the bumper or bird back from the dog is more important than the drill we are doing. For a high drive dog this is especially significant. 

After it is taught up close beside you, it is very simple to move to a front sit and eventually to remote sits. In no way has it ever made any of my four less responsible for the retrieve on the way back, but they now know on a higher level whose bird it could be at any time.

Once they learn to drop it remotely, it is very important to make sure the command "leave it" is in place. For awhile, a dog can be rather manic about wanting to pick it right back up after a commanded "drop" (when you attempt to call them in without it).  They don't initially understand the full extent of "drop" and "leave it".  At first, they think they are making a mistake.  Mostly, this is a carry over of force fetch, but soon adjust to the expectation.

Working toward a "remote drop" makes a dog function properly at the  line, mouth manners are much better and I think it is a very proactive approach to avoiding unresponsive actions such as stickiness or freezing.  

Of course, there are other uses when hunting, but that is not the fundamental focus for why I teach "remote drop".  I use my "Remote Drop Drill" for maintenance.

update: This skill is more successful in developing control and responsiveness if a dog is being trained in drive (excited) - the
Hillmann factor. 

 Three Dog "Remote Drop Drill" YouTubeVideo

*Julie Knutson defines balance as a function of five factors - retrieving, "birdiness", focus, control and responsiveness. Anytime a dog makes a mistake, the "read" equals the dog is out of balance. By discovering which factor (may be more than one) is the culprit, training should be adjusted to impact the identified weakness which in turn restores balance.  
                                               Explanation of video

A camera was placed behind the setup. The three dogs in the video are Daisy, Kooly and Taffey. This is a "first take" video and I'd never run it with three dogs at the same time before. As you can see there is a bit of confusion at the line. "Who is on first?" However, this provided an excellent distraction to work on their OB.

Orange, 3" bumpers were placed in the far pile and
the grass is long enough to make seeing an orange bumper not so easy.

As you may notice Kooly was throwing some really "loopy" sits on his whistle sits. I chose not correct them at this time and focus on just the video "demo" of the remote drop concept. He did get a "stout" refresher bit of work the next day.

Taffey is my oldest and I have begun to cut her a little slack which is obvious in her slow sits. She is 12 and at my age I don't sit really fast anymore either. The drill was not perfect, but it demonstrates the drill including a few of the more difficult phases that one may encounter when working it.

note: A dog should be capable of working a pile and through basic handling. 

The rationale of the remote drop is a dog becomes less possessive of a bumper/bird because he is more responsive to the handler. The retrieve is balanced by emphasizing and enhancing responsiveness, control and focus. With the new expectation the dog accepts the idea that the bird (or bumper) is not theirs forever which in turn reduces the anxiety and
possessiveness of a retrieve.  The next step up with this drill would be to use real ducks. 

The remote drop becomes an excellent way to interrupt any mouthing issues by sitting the dog immediately.......anywhere and asking for the taught response to "drop".

It elevates responsiveness by using indirect pressure.  The dog's mind and actions can be refocused in the moment.

                GooseBusters - Butch Goodwin's Remote Drop (link)


                        updated 05/05/15