Force Fetch

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Force Fetch

Postby Bluesky2012 » Thu Aug 15, 2013 11:05 am

I am currently beginning the process of force fetching my 16 month GSP.

We are currently working on hold right now, and if everything goes well, will begin the real FF process this next week.

I know a lot of people have questions about FF, just as I do, so I am going to try and document the process on here as best I can, and if anyone has comments, critiques, or questions, please post them all on here as I go. I will do the same.

Day 1:
Hold,
began by holding dog at sit position next to me, and had a glove on my right hand. Grabbing the into the dogs mouth and around the lower jaw with my gloved hand, began to command hold and he squirmed and tried to get away so Id pull him back and keep holding his bottom jaw and tapping the top of his nose occassionally to keep it tight enough on my hand.

After he began to settle with this, we repeated a few times and he began to tolerate the gloved hand in his mouth. Lots of praise and repeated "hold" was used.

After probably 4 rounds, we switched to him holding a dowel, grabbing the "V" under his jaw, putting the dowel in, and then clowing his mouth and commanding hold. Made sure to pull up his lips each time to make sure he wasnt biting them. He began to catch on and I didnt have to hold his muoth shut, and began instead to add taps to either the top or bottom of his jaw/mouth to close it tighter and keep his head raised. If he dropped it, Id smack the top of his head, command "hold", put the dowel back in his mouth, and then command hold, etc.

He began to hold it for short times, and when commanding "give",I'd wait until he pulled his head back from the dowel after I was holding it.
Last edited by Bluesky2012 on Thu Aug 15, 2013 11:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Force Fetch

Postby Bluesky2012 » Thu Aug 15, 2013 11:09 am

The next day I kepy using the dowel and a paint roll interchangibly, commanding hold but making him sit for longer times, and occassionally walking around the house with me while holding the item. He walks fine with me without dropping, but doesnt do other obedience while holding it (which I assume is fine this early so I'm not concerned). I completed two sessions the first day, three sessions the second day, and three the third day. All were between 5-10 mins, or roughly 5 holds apiece.

Day 3:
I began making him hold a hammer because of its lopsided weight. He does not like the hammer and tends to get anxious when I bring it out, anticipating the potential corrections if he drops it. Has anyone else experienced the same issue? I assume hes still just unsure of "hold" and with more practice he will be more confident.

Comments, etc are appreciated.
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Re: Force Fetch

Postby sharris » Thu Aug 15, 2013 6:46 pm

The hammer doesn't make sense to me. Especially if it is already adding anxiety.
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Re: Force Fetch

Postby Bluesky2012 » Thu Aug 15, 2013 8:30 pm

I have a pro trainer working with me through it and he says to use it because it makes them have to learn to carry awkward objects the dont like, regardless. Really builds their hold
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Re: Force Fetch

Postby swampbilly 1980 » Fri Aug 16, 2013 5:19 am

Bluesky2012 wrote:I have a pro trainer working with me through it and he says to use it because it makes them have to learn to carry awkward objects the dont like, regardless. Really builds their hold

The pro you're working with has more than likely FF'd more dogs than I ever will, but here's my take on the hammer thing regardless-
First of all, a dog really doesn't "want" to HOLD any object it doesn't like, that can be a paint roller, a training buck, a rock, a stick, the kitchen sink, or even birds . Objects that it "does want"to HOLD will be on his terms.

There are weighted training bumpers for teaching HOLD, and are weighted to teach pup to hold the object straight and to avoid cigaring because they're awkward and uncomfortable if not held straight. Also gives pup a more solid HOLD with a heavier object. Same idea with a hammer.
Thing for me is-
I don't concern myself in intial Force with trying to teach pup to hold awkard objects, the idea is to introduce pressure, teach the dog what it's about, get the dog thinking "forward" on the command to FETCH, and keep the dog as "comfortable" with the process as possible. There's already a certain level of anxiety.
Most dogs I've ever seen when picking up a heavier bird, will adjust it, and learn how to pick up something awkward that it's been SENT to.

And the dog doesn't have to be FF'd to learn how to pick up akward objects either. :smile:

No disrespect to your trainer, and not implying what he's got you doing is wrong, by no means!
Just a comment you asked for.
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Re: Force Fetch

Postby i_willie12 » Fri Aug 16, 2013 8:45 am

I never was big on the "objects" in FF... Dogs work with bumpers and birds.... Not wooden rods and hammers etc.. I work with bumpers and birds not random "objects" A lot of the "object" trainers are old school guys
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Re: Force Fetch

Postby swampbilly 1980 » Fri Aug 16, 2013 9:03 am

i_willie12 wrote: A lot of the "object" trainers are old school guys

And THAT'S what worries me Willie :wink:

Hoping I've not missed an important FF' fundamental by not FF'ing with hammers, stapleguns, circular saws or horseshoes :lol3:

Joking aside -
I know they did it for a reason, but believe I've got it covered within' what I've been doing.
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Re: Force Fetch

Postby Bluesky2012 » Fri Aug 16, 2013 10:12 am

I just figured, I'm puttin up new drywall, he might as well be able to help. We're starting with a tire to help me change a flat next.
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Re: Force Fetch

Postby dogyak » Fri Aug 16, 2013 10:42 am

A lot of the old timers used a hammer in their FF program . I think he is using an old trainer named Mr Reese up in NC who I thought had retired .
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Re: Force Fetch

Postby i_willie12 » Fri Aug 16, 2013 11:41 am

And a lot of FF started with bird dogs!! They had to FORCE them to retriever and it was FORCE!!!! Labs naturally want to retrieve.... The FF is something we do to them to clean this up.. Make them transition through T and pile work.. We are all affraid that at some point our dog is going to blink a bird and we are going to have to force them to retrieve... Anyone ever have to force their dog to pick up a duck??? I bet no. Now at some point your dog might want to not do a drill and you will have to force them to the pile But thats because we are asking them to do something that isnt natural to them

I'm split on FF i feel most hunting dogs dont need it BUT mine have been FF due to extended work/training..

If i was going to use "object" training it would be 12oz beer cans!! :thumbsup: For obvious reason!! :yes:
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Re: Force Fetch

Postby sharris » Fri Aug 16, 2013 3:37 pm

i_willie12 wrote:
If i was going to use "object" training it would be 12oz beer cans!! :thumbsup: For obvious reason!! :yes:


That is total misuse of FF. :biggrin:

Image

By the way Bluesky, keep posting your progress. I did the same as you (had a pro help me FF my own dog) and it worked really well. We used bumpers and worked off the ground instead of a table. The hammer idea still seems a bit strange to me, but hey, whatever works for you.
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Re: Force Fetch

Postby CatSquirrel » Fri Aug 16, 2013 4:44 pm

We are all affraid that at some point our dog is going to blink a bird and we are going to have to force them to retrieve... Anyone ever have to force their dog to pick up a duck??? I bet no.


Actually...yes. I have a dog that got toe clawed in the eye by a lively hooded mallard hen in training and it took me forever to get him over it. He would blink hooded birds like crazy. Not deads, not shot flyers, just hooded birds.

My approach was pretty simple....I just hooded and shackled a live birds feet and wings and let him have at it in the yard. At first he blinked....so I just stepped up and grabbed the bird and re threw it. No pressure.
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Re: Force Fetch

Postby dogyak » Fri Aug 16, 2013 5:32 pm

Will agree that a well bred retriever will most of the time will retrieved , it's in their genes . I still do it because it's another form of OB . It molds the way a dog will accept all training . It establishes attitude , compliance . A good FF program , the dog will learn to hold , drop , and fetch on command .
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Re: Force Fetch

Postby Bluesky2012 » Fri Aug 16, 2013 5:35 pm

Yeah thanks for the input guys.

It's day 4 now
We've been repeating the same drills, using dowels, bumpers, etc. I even got him to hold a shaving cream can, etc just to make him comfortable with what ever I gave him.

Been using a lot of praise and little force (corrections) at all because he's really starting to enjoy it. At first I had to almost pry his mouth open by grabbing teeth and lip, but now he gets it and will pretty easily open his mouth to grab what ever.

I'm not using a table, so we are doing it in the house, yard, etc just to help him know to hold anything anywhere. Even making him follow me around at heel holding stuff.

Gonna just keep repeating this till my next meeting with the trainer. If anything changes till then, ill let y'all know but if its a few more days of the same, I won't waste space on it. But so far so good.
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Re: Force Fetch

Postby Bluesky2012 » Wed Aug 21, 2013 8:40 am

To keep everyone posted on the current status.

For the past few days we continued hold and he was good on it. Able to walk and hold objects, nothing too crazy and he enjoyed the training. Was able to hold pretty well for as long as I asked, only dropping on out of every probably 6-7, and that was after extended periods of time or after walking a lot, so good enough to start FF.

Last night we began the real FF (this is Day 7 if you include the hold days). Met with the trainer and we are strating 15 minute sessions twice a day on FF.

The general plan is I am sitting on my dove stool in my yard, keeping his e-collar on him (not using it) and his leash attached to him and planted under my foot to keep him still. Using my right hand, I am grabbing his E collar and with my thumb, I am pulling his ear back a little and sticking my thumb in his ear and holding it against the e collar strap. I command fetch, while starting to apply enough force to make him yelp a little. Began with the dowel right at the tip of his nose, command fetch and when the dowel goes in his mouth, I say hold, and immediately release the pressure. Then lots of praise. If he drops it, force immediately goes back on, say fetch again and hold pressure till its back in his mouth. By the second or third round he quit trying to jump and hollar as much and went for the dowel fast. Repeated the process a few times, and he was holding it tight and began to understand the pressure. Repeated a few times, then moved the dowel about 6 inches from his mouth and continued the same process. Everynow and again he would try and squirm away and fight instead of immediately grabbing the dowel, but seems to understand for the most part, but occasionally wants to try and escape but no matter what pressure stays on till he gets the dowel.

Repeated the process again this morning, but using the other ear (because in upland I dont always know which side hell be on as I approach so I want him to understand the ear pressure from both sides just in case).

Same results, a little struggle at times, but understands the process, and will lunge to get the dowel. Most the "fetches" are about 6 inches from him, but a few are about a foot away if he struggles a bit and backs up before moving towards it. Will do another session tonight. He yelps every now and again during the process, but the yelping seems to be settling down as he seems to realize it doesnt make a difference and doesnt remove the pressure. Not using a ton of pressure either, just enough to make him want to get it.
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Re: Force Fetch

Postby Labs » Wed Aug 21, 2013 10:20 am

i_willie12 wrote:And a Anyone ever have to force their dog to pick up a duck??? I bet no.

You haven't trained with some of the ducks we use....LOL
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Re: Force Fetch

Postby Bluesky2012 » Sun Aug 25, 2013 4:39 pm

Sorry I havent posted in a bit, here is what I posted on gundogforum to keep yall posted

"My GSP is progressing well with force fetch (in my opinion). Done about 5 sessions so far, and he is already progressing in his distance. He is lunging for the dowel at full arms reach, and really seems to understand the process.

Do yall maintain the same pressure the whole process, or do you let off as you go? Right now im sticking with what I have been."

Since then we have been maintaining the same process. Hes on the ground, ear pinching while I say fetch, hold the dowel with duct tape on the sides to make it like a dumbell. He has been doing great with it out at any distance. I also began to work on getting it closer to the ground. We haven't had any issues until last night. The past three sessions (last night, this morning, this afternoon) I began trying to get it closer to the ground.

Now he is beginning to try to jump around a bit sometimes and avoid the fetch. Also, he rarely gets it off the ground. If i have it in my hand an inch from the ground, hes usually fine, but sometimes reluctant.

My trainer can't be reached right now because hes out of town so I'm looking to see if yall have any guidance or words of wisdom.
Is this a battle that I keep on pushing with the same, its just a normal speedbump in the force fetch process? I understand dogs don't generalize well, so it is a little change, but he has been good at it at any height or distance, until it is on the ground. Now sometimes he acts like it doesn't exist and will instead try to jump and flail around until I either drag his head towards it or lift it up.

Whats yalls advice?
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Re: Force Fetch

Postby dogyak » Sun Aug 25, 2013 5:22 pm

To me or you it does not seem like a big deal from the hand too the ground . But some dogs it is . Stay the course and he will get it , just don't rush it and take as long as it gets . Try this when moving to the ground , keep your hand on the dummy at the edge and just lower it slowly by inch or two at a time until you are closer to the ground , don't rush . Do this for awhile until you are almost to the ground over a period of time . When moving to the ground , have one end of the dummy touch the ground while holding the other at the edge at an angle . If he gets to retrieving on command on a consisted basics , then lay it down without touching it . By this time he should understand what you want . Again don't rush thru this and love that dog up with praise :hi:
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Re: Force Fetch

Postby Bluesky2012 » Mon Aug 26, 2013 7:45 am

After last nights frustrating session, I pushed forward this morning. I changed where I was pinching on his ear and let off on the force just a TINY bit and it seemed to make all the difference. The tail started wagging, he didnt fight me, and he drove hard for the dowell. I think the issues all were compounding but it seems that I was misreading the dog with a little too much pressure, and used the same place on the ear too much making it too sensitive. After he was able to regain his composure and motivation this morning, we were able to really work, and now he is grabbing the dowel off the ground at any distance. My hand is still on the dowell or an inch or two off but it was a good bit of progress. Also, having the dowel at an angle to the ground seemed to help a bit more with the transition.

I think the change in elevation (moving to the ground) mixed with a bit too much pressure on a sensitive spot was the issue. He seemed to be focusing too much on the sheer pain and wasn't able to focus enough to accomplish the task. Instead of working to turn off the pressure, I think he was just trying to survive it.
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Re: Force Fetch

Postby Tanner01 » Mon Aug 26, 2013 8:27 am

I have only forced fetched two dogs and my GSP l did at 6 months. I used light pressure with the ear pinch continuously until she responded. With my trainers help we transitioned to the e-collar which made fetch of the ground easier, especially walking fetch.
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Re: Force Fetch

Postby Bluesky2012 » Wed Aug 28, 2013 6:07 am

Well like everything else, one step forward, two steps back. Started having the struggles again this morning, basically the same issue. He started not wanting to grab them again off the ground, and also was getting distracted this morning (we're training off the ground outside). So we are back to the dowel just off the ground and back to regular pressure working on getting his drive back hard and working on getting back to the ground.

I assume by just taking it back a slight bit in the progression and repeating for 3-4 sessions should fix this. Its just very frustrating that were stuck at this point.
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Re: Force Fetch

Postby swampbilly 1980 » Wed Aug 28, 2013 11:42 am

Bluesky2012 wrote:After last nights frustrating session, I pushed forward this morning. I changed where I was pinching on his ear and let off on the force just a TINY bit and it seemed to make all the difference.

'Blue, there's a lot more experienced FF'ers out there than I ever thot about being, but does seem to me you're making a great effort to read your dog :thumbsup: .
Let me just toss this out there for your consumption-
Keep in mind you're Pressure Conditioning your dog. That "means" it can't be done without pressure. You don't need to overwhelm your dog with pressure, and you don't need to use less pressure because it makes the dog "feel good".
It's kinda' sorta' like Collar Conditioning- you're finding a threshold and using enough pressure to change the dogs' behavior...whatever "measureable" amount of pressure that equates to.
And that's all you're doing.

It ain't easy trying to be consistant with an ear pinch- not like Collar pressure where the dial and the numbers are in front of you :wink:

Instead of working to turn off the pressure, I think he was just trying to survive it.

Somehow your dog lost what the concept is. How do you believe that happened?
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Re: Force Fetch

Postby Bluesky2012 » Wed Aug 28, 2013 1:38 pm

I believe I overshot the pressure and made it hurt too much then undershot it to where he just didn't care. I'm trying to find a hold a sweet spot that I've been dancing around. Also I think moving to the ground confused him and that's why the pressure is confusing him. Make any sense?
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Re: Force Fetch

Postby Bluesky2012 » Wed Aug 28, 2013 2:34 pm

Guess my dog just isn't a morning person because our afternoon session went much better, kiding but it was better. We did 10 mins started with one about a foot off the ground then went to the ground with my hand eventually being 6-8inches away and he was doing better. Only struggled on a few but better. Gonna keep repeating this for a few more sessions over the next few days increasing distance my hand is away.
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Re: Force Fetch

Postby swampbilly 1980 » Thu Aug 29, 2013 4:42 am

Bluesky2012 wrote:I believe I overshot the pressure and made it hurt too much then undershot it to where he just didn't care. I'm trying to find a hold a sweet spot that I've been dancing around. Also I think moving to the ground confused him and that's why the pressure is confusing him. Make any sense?

Makes perfect sense, and moving to the ground will create a certain amount of confusion. It has every time for me on the handful I've done.
Keep in mind that if everything was good on the table it shouldn't be a looong dragged out process to get pup Fetching off the ground. Pup should've been Fetching the length of the table and should understand that FETCH is a command, you don't do it until commanded to. In other words, the dog shouldn't break from SIT to Fetch when you put your hand up there in an effort to avoid pressure. He should Fetch when, and only when you command it to...with and without pressure, with an honest effort to get an object in his mouth with good forward movement.
He shouldn't be Fetching out of fear- he should be Fetching because he understands the command and is conditioned to understand the pressure-
There's a big difference between the two.
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