Here is a few posts from other areas of the forums to get you started in FF..... Please review this info and then post further questions as needed. If anyone has anything to add please feel free. Good luck to all
While I agree some BIG BOLD STICKY LINK would help there are elements that are still missing. See a suggested link at the bottom of this message.
Perfect world everybody buys a good training program before they get a dog but that isn't the case.
Al even in buy a training program I would guess that the majority of folks do not know when the dog is "proofed" to go to the next level, skip critical elements in the sequence of training, have expectations that do not match required training time lines. FF is just one part of the process.
I recall a period of time where we would just pull up the search function and give the link to a FF description by Cooter or the discussion on training for Hold - -- this link was given and we would not provide any further explanation.
The posts I see on problems with handling, birds lost in brush, water entries, hunting water with a dog at 10 to 12 months and asking on water entry or handling issues indicates to me that many of the dogs have not had time to do all the land sequences throughly, prior to going to water and now there is a question on performance on water when this is a whole other training progress -- starting back at the basics and the basics for land are not fully in place.
Training books are essential, so are training diaries for progression and problem solving -- finding a competent training partner or getting involved in a retreiver club are also IMO equally essential. Many of the folks posting on here may only have 1 or 2 hunting dogs in the their lifetimes. Some like labtrainer, GHD and Gonehunting will have worked with 100"s. For the newbie on the first or second dog. book knowledge is only one part of the act --- what is missing is the hands on experience and you don't get all of this from a DVD as each dog can be different.
As an example try FF on a sensitive dog the same way as you would on a nail head -- good way to ruin a dog. The problem with internet advice is we do not get to see the dog or the trainer and perhaps the problem is with the trainer not the dog or a different approach is needed with that particular dog. One of the worest things that can be done is correcting a dog with pressure when the dog is confused or does not understand what is wanted from it. IMO unfortunately I believe a lot of internet advice can lead to this.
If there were a detailed post on ff, it would eliminate a lot of the chatter here on ff. It would give the new guy a place to begin and if they ran into problems, could then ask on the board.
I actually think there should be a number of stickied hints; ff, introduction to the gun, de-bolting, use of a heeling stick, etc. I think it would be a great place for the beginner to go and would elimintate answering the same old problems time after time.
Gonehunting I am not sure if this link can be put up as a sticky, basically it links to multipe authors for many different discussions. Some like Lardy and Butch Goodwin are recognized as outstanding, others have been around for awhile and provide good information. http://www.carmodybuilders.com/retrieve ... 0info.html
gonehuntin' Posted: Thu Jan 01, 2009 6:48 pm Post subject:
Force training is about so much more than force. It molds the way a dog will accept all training and how he will accept the trainer for the rest of his life. It establishes attitude, compliance, and subservience and firmly establishes YOU as the key figure for the rest of his life.
I have never and will never, understand the objections to "force".
If everyone here thinks about it, we have all been force trained. From the time we are babies we are taught what NO means and taught that there are certain things we have to do. We HAVE to go to school. We HAVE to graduate with good grades if we want a good job. We HAVE to get a higher education to make more money. We HAVE to get a job to support a family. We HAVE to do things we really don't want to do. Why should a dog be any different?
There are things in this life that to be a good citizen, a dog must do, and he must do them like it or not. The force program gives you a set of building blocks that act as the foundation for the structure known as a "trained dog". It gives us the tools to correct many problems that can invariably crop up in a dog's lifetime, the same way education prepares us for the world.
In force breaking the dog will learn to "FETCH"on command, to "DROP"on command, and to "HOLD"on command. He will learn not to mouth, the difference between his name and fetch, the difference between "FETCH" and "BACK". During this time he will be totally obedience trained and stick as well as collar broken. After six weeks he will have been given the basic tools to be the dog most hunters wish they had and that we all admire when we see one work in the marsh.
I learned to force break dogs 36 years ago from a Canadian Pro. I have force broken all of mine since, and hundreds for the public. I will never own another dog that is not force broken.
gonehuntin' Posted: Thu Jan 01, 2009 7:01 pm Post subject:
Now we know "WHY" the dog should be forced, but how should we begin?
I teach them both "fetch" and "hold". It's easier on your back if you use a table. I don't train dog's anymore so don't need a table. I just put an 8' plank between two chairs and use that. It makes the dog uncertain, more cooperative, and saves my old back.
Use a 1" dowel rod. You and the dog face the same direction, dog on your left side. Have a 1" collar on the dog and a leash. Place the dowel in your right hand. Place your left hand over the dog's muzzle, pinch the upper jowls against the teeth on each side of the mouth, command "fetch", and place the dowel in the dog's mouth when it opens it's mouth. When it takes the dowel, you'll have to clear the jowls. It's one fluid motion. Pinch the jowls, as
you place the dowel in the mouth pull up on the jowls so the dog doesn't bite it's own jowls against the teeth, then with dowel in the dog's mouth, command "hold". It won't. Dog will spit the bumper out or try to; don't let it. This will probably be you're greatest battle. I use a 1' section of riding crop handle, cut off, to tap the dog under the chin when I command hold and he tries to spit it out.
At first, hold the dowel in the dog's mouth by clamping it's mouth shut and commanding "no, hold!" each time the dog tries to spit the dog out. Next, command "drop", take the dowel out of the dog's mouth, and do the whole thing again, "Fetch", "Hold", "Drop".
You'll know when the dog's getting the idea when you touch his jowels and before you say "fetch", if it all ready starts to whimper and opens it's mouth to accept the dowel. Now is when you switch to the riding crop handle. Now the dog is fetching when commanded and the jowel is pinched, and holding at least for a few seconds. Now you're going to teach him to hold untill commanded to drop and to keep his head up until you take the
dowel. Every time he turns his head to the side, tries to lower his nose, or tries to spit the dowel out, command sharply "No, Hold!" and rap him lightly under the jaw. Keep his head up and keep it pointed ahead. If the head is up, he can't spit the dowel out. You'll
know you have him when he takes the dowel and sit's there with his nose pointed to the sky and stands without moving untile commanded to drop. If he doesn't drop on command, either pinch the jowel's again, commanding "drop", or step GENTLY on his
left toe at the same time commanding "drop".
Now if the dog will 1) Open his mouth and take the dowel on fetch; 2) "Hold" it, unmoving, nose pointing up until told to drop; 3) Pop open his mouth at the "drop" command, ya got em' and you're ready to progress to the ear.
I teach a three command sequence, fetch, hold, drop because I believe each word to have signaficance and a different meaning. Fetch is a driving command and after the initial jowel fetch should always cause forward movement in a dog. Hold means hold an object, jaws MOTIONLESS until commanded to drop. Drop means to OPEN YOUR MOUTH AND BACK AWAY FROM THE OBJECT. Fetch drives, Hold stops jaw motion, Drop releases. A lot of guys may respond to this and say fetch and hold mean the same thing. They don't and don't listen to them. A pro always works on the assumption that a problem may or can develop with a dog. If a dog thoroughly understands fetch, hold, and back, you have the tools to correct most mouth problems you will encounter. Hope I made this clear enough; now get ready to pinch an ear.
cooter Posted: Thu Jan 01, 2009 10:32 pm Post subject:
I work the whole process with Objects, Bumpers & Birds. Starting with HOLD. Once the dog gets the command figured out, then start inserting different objects to Hold or Fetch.
(1) Wooden Dowel
(2) 1" piece of PVC 12" long, w/ about 3" of Treated 4 X 4 on each end.
(3) 1" piece of PVC 9" long, w/ about 3" of Treated 4 X 4 on one end of it. (Makes the work to hold it)
(4) 12" of Galvanized Pipe, wrapped in tape.
(5) 8" Tire Washing Bristol Brush. (Coarse Bristol's)
(6) 2" & 3" Black Bumpers. I NEVER use the same color that I work dogs with.
(7) Frozen Pigeons, Teal, & Mallards. Progress in size as they catch on. I usually have a Lesser or Snow Goose for the dogs that I know are going to Goose Hunters. Don't want the size to make them wonder.
(8) Rarely Use except on Hard Mouth Dogs. 2" X 10" PVC wrapped in Barb Wire, with the points rounded off. This along with the 8" Tire Washing Bristol Brush will usually stop the hard mouthing and Chomping Dogs.
But on a normal dog, I go through these objects as they are listed, with the birds being the last thing in every new step. I also work ALL of these objects on HOLD also.
FORCE FETCH (Ear Pinch)
Put a collar on the dog so you have something to hold onto. I slip my last 3 fingers through the collar, and use the index finger and thumb to hold onto the ear. This allows you to control his head, and move him to places you want his head to go. This helps with the teaching. You can lead him to the desired position, which allows you to not have him under pressure, while he try's to figure out what you want. It doesn't take long for him to get the idea with pressure on his ear. You will need a good thumb nail or I use a Shotgun shell. Slip the shotgun shell brass under (Inside) his ear and pinch the ear between the Brass Rim and your thumb. As you start the process, be looking for a tender place in the dog’s ear. It will keep you from having use much pressure, but still give the dog a REAL need to get the bumper in his mouth.
(1) Then when teaching Fetch, I start the dog off with his head collared to my Table Post, and feet handcuffed to the table top. This keeps me from having to chase him around, while also keeps their paws from fighting you. The less the dog can fight, the easier it is to focus their mind set. Command FETCH, and many times the dog will YEP and offer a time to slip the Dowel in his mouth. As soon as dowel is in his mouth release pressure, but do not let go of Dowel or Ear. He will try to spit the Dowel out, shake his head, and any number of things to get you to let go, so he can get the dowel out of his mouth. I use my right hand to hold the dowel. There is a “V” under his muzzle, and will allow you to stick you thumb, which will allow you to hold on better, and not let him throw you off. With the thumb in the “V”, you can put you index and middle finger around the side of his muzzle and hold the Dowel in between the two fingers. You should be in pretty good shape here, and if the dogs is rigged to where he can’t run around or move very far you can hold this position. You will have better success with the dog, and he will think that it is not you hurting him, if you don’t have to fight him all around an area. This is why a place that you can secure the dog is going to be in your best interest. HOLD the dowel in his mouth until the dog quits squirming. It might not need to be but for just 3-4 seconds at first, then command DROP, and remove the Dowel. Give his 30 seconds of petting and praise, and repeat the same thing. It will take some days, but you will see the dog start holding the Dowel a little better after the Ear Pinch pressure is released. They don’t like the Pinch, so at some point they will quit looking to get loose from the Pinch, and start looking to get the bumper in their mouth, ASAP. But they do learn how to turn off the pressure. It just takes some weeks. Always have the dogs ear ready to Pinch at the drop of a hat. When the bumper comes out of his mouth, apply the pressure, until the Dowel is back in his mouth. Even if he jerks his head, and make you drop the dowel, apply pressure until the dowel is back in his mouth. There is ONLY 1 way that there is NOT to be pressure. And that is if you command DROP, and take it from him. Once he starts to get a understanding of what you are wanting. The dog will start anticipating and grabbing for the dowel, before the command. This isn’t what you want. If he anticipates, command NO, then don’t give the command FETCH or the pinch. Just relax, and come at him again. They will try to anticipate the command for a while, but don’t let them do that. This is a command, not the dog deciding that if he has the dowel in his mouth he is safe. I start off with the Wooden Dowel on most of these, then progress to the pipe wrapped in tape. This keeps him from getting the biting or a nervous mouthing, like using a bumper will allow. Once he starts Fetching on command, I go through ALL of Objects listed above before I let him lose from the post.
(2) Then while still on the table, with short lead wrapped around the post to keep him from moving up and down the table. Basically just sitting in front with me putting the object in his face, we go through Fetch with ALL the Objects again. All we have really done is changed positions, and released him from the post and handcuff’s. It is at this point that the dog is learning to shut of the pressure. The dog will start seeing that Pawing, Biting, Squirming, doesn’t help. It takes the object in the mouth to Shut Off The Pressure.
(3) Then while sitting in front of me, I start dropping the object position to the bottom of his Chests using ALL the objects. I am looking to make him move his head (downward) to FETCH the object. You will be surprised to how little you can make a position adjustment, and the dog thinks you are doing something completely different. So you make small adjustments as you work through this process. Then once the dog has started FETCHING at this level. Move the Object down again, to about 4-6 inches off the floor or table.
(4) Then fetching with the objects laying on the table. Now he is having to pick them up from the table/floor/ground. Don't start out with something that lays flat on the table, It needs to set up off the table a little to allow the dog to get hold of it. Place the object right down in front of him, Command fetch, and lead his head down to the object. Once he get the concept, then you can lay Dowels, and bumpers flat on the table. From this point on, I usually start with the (1" piece of PVC 12" long, w/ about 3" of Treated 4 X 4 on each end) which will allow the dog to get hold of it quickly and shut off the pressure. Once they know what you want, they CAN pick up a bumper laying flat on the table, but until they learn what you want, the pressure on the ear make them to excited. Again, I work through ALL the different objects.
(5) Then he is hooked up to the Over Head Pulley so he can move up and down the table freely. Place the object (1" piece of PVC 12" long, w/ about 3" of Treated 4 X 4 on each end) right down in front of him, Command fetch, and lead his head down to the object. When he picks it up off the table, I command HEEL and walk to the other end of the 16' Table. Now he is learning to move with the object in his mouth. If he drops it, don't pick it up unless it rolls of the table, or is out of his reach. He picks it up with the Ear Pinch. Then work through ALL the objects.
(6) Then with him still hooked up to the Pulley. I place an object (1" piece of PVC 12" long, w/ about 3" of Treated 4 X 4 on each end) down about 3' in front of him, and command Fetch with the ear pinch until he has the object in his mouth, release pressure, and command HEEL and have him return to the end of the table.
(7) Then move the object (1" piece of PVC 12" long, w/ about 3" of Treated 4 X 4 on each end) to 5' and repeat. By now you are getting him to move farther than you can Ear Pinch as fast as he is trying to move. You don't want to be holding him back while having pressure on the ear. Sends mixed signs. You want me to Fetch, but you are keeping me from it. So now it is time to introduce "Collar Fetch". You should have Collar Conditioning done before you can move to this point. I do Collar Conditioning before I do Force Fetch, but most books teach FF first and then CC. So if you have not Collar Conditioned the dog yet, it is time. Then you come back and pick up the Force Training after Collar Conditioning. ***** So Now We Are Collar Conditioned ***** Start with the Ear Pinch for a day or two to refresh Step 6 & 7 in the dogs mind.
I usually have my wife help me with this due to it taking about 3 hands, but I have learned to do it by myself. I basically back up to (#5) again. When I command FETCH, I use the ear pinch just like before, but my wife hits the "Continuous" button on my collar and holds it down until the dog gets the bumper in his mouth, just like with the ear pinch. Start this collar pressure with a level that does not make the dog yelp, but he can tell the collar is activated. Not trying to warm him up at this point, but just saying there is something new.
After we have done this low level Collar Fetch for 1 day, then I have my wife turn up the level about every 3-5 Fetches. You are still Pinching the ear with every command. The collar should be hot enough that it makes him yep, but hot enough that he is in a rush. I have a Tri-Tronics Pro-500 and usually have it on LEVEL 3. I use the LOW Button at the beginning (Intro to Collar), Then go to the HIGH Button, every 3-5 FETCHES. Not looking for the collar to be HOT. It is still a "Continuous" burn until the objects are FETCHED, but wanting him to start associating the collar with the FETCH command. Still Ear Pinching every time.
Now, start commanding FETCH and Don't Pinch the ear every time, you still must hold the ear like you are going to, but we are bluffing, and letting the collar apply the pressure. Then ear pinch the next time along with the collar. We are working out of the Ear Pinch, but take a couple of days to do it. Now randomly start reducing the # of time you Ear Pinch, until you are not Pinching at all. But you must have a hold of the ear making the dog think that you can lock onto the ear.
This doesn't take but a couple days, because the dog already has the FETCH concept down, and it moves pretty quick. Once you have work away from the ear, then Visit (#6,#7) again with the collar. The dog should be working off the collar totally now, and you can extend the object laying ton the table to 8', then 12', then 16'. The dog will be moving down the table, FETCHING the object and returning with the HEEL command. You are also still working the MILD LEVEL, and the a WARMER LEVEL every 3-4 trip. It is "Continuous Pressure" till the object is in his mouth. Any drops or No-Go's are met with EAR PINCHES. Not the collar.
Once you have him going down the table 12' & 16', you can also throw in a BLUFF with the collar. Just don't BURN ever now and then. Don't BLUFF as regular as 3-4 retrieves at this time, but BLUFF one every so often to see if you are getting it down. Once he is going good without the collar, just NICK him to start him off at the LOWER LEVEL. Don't get in a hurry when you see him going with out the BURN/NICK or Ear Pinch, but we do want to get to the LOWER LEVEL BURNS/NICKS as quick as we can. It is just a gauge to see if the dog is understanding the process. If you BLUFF to often, or to early. You will haft to back up and start somewhere again. Now you about finished on the table. Use all the objects with FETCHING down the table, then switch to a different object with each FETCH. By doing this, you have taught your dog that FETCH is to go get what ever is there, not a certain thing like a bumper.
WARNING: It is critical that you read your dog, and know what collar LEVELS they can work at. We are not looking of over power or burn up the dog with the collar. The collar is a Training Tool (Corrections, or cost for not doing something that YOU know that they already know), NOT a means of teaching. You ALWAYS Teach First, and then correct once you have taught.
It is basically the same as TABLE FETCH, but it is much faster because the dog has the concept of FETCH down. I start this out on a leash, so the dog doesn't have a chance to leave or run back to the kennel. I would work on the leash through most of this. You should be able to race through this, if you took your time and got TABLE FETCH right. Use the EAR PINCH to start out with on the ground. As funny as it sounds, to the dog these are 2 completely different things you are asking him to do. He may even act like you lost your mind when you command FETCH and want him to get it off the grass/ground. When he gets to picking it up, have him HEEL around with the bumper in his mouth. Change up the length of time that he is walking with the bumper in mouth. The idea, is that he holds it until YOU tell him to DROP. Don't get into routines, things like waling 10 steps and then Commanding DROP. The dog will pick up on it, and think that that's all he has to carry it. Change things (Times & Distances) up on him, so it becomes about the commands, not a length of time. You shouldn't have to ear pinch but a day, maybe two at the outside. Then you should be to the collar. But don't move to the collar, until the dogs starts to understand that you are just wanting the same as you got on the table. Shouldn't need to be on the collar but 1-2 days, and then only when he gets sluggish, and acts like he has something else on his mind. Just stay with each thing long enough to see if the dog is understanding the process, then move on. But don't push on until he has it. You should be able to have him FETCHING off the ground with out the collar by now. Again this should not take very long. Maybe 5-7 days at most. If the TABLE FETCH is right, then everything else is down hill.
I use a 15' Leash and about 6 bumpers for Walking Fetch. Lay the bumpers in a straight line with about 20' in between each one. By now you should be able to walk up to the bumper on the ground, command FETCH and the dog pick it up. So that is how you start. Just walk up to the bumper on the ground, command FETCH and have the dog pick it up. Pick up every Bumper for the first few days. As the dog gets the hang of this, he will start anticipating that you are going to want every bumper picked up. Once he gets to this point, then we are going to add "Leave It" to our commands. As you approach the bumper, you will see the dog getting ready to FETCH before you command it. Tighten up on the Leash and don't let him FETCH, hold him off the bumper and command LEAVE IT, and move on to the next bumper. once he start understanding that you are wanting two different things, then randomly start FETCHING bumper. Pick Up 2, leave 1. pick up 2 leave 3. Just throw different things at him. The reason for this, is it gets him out of the pattern anticipating, and makes him listen for the commands.
Next part of walking fetch is to start commanding FETCH as you are approaching the bumper. When you get about 5' away, and you know the dog see's the bumper command FETCH and give him some leash. He should charge out to Pick Up the bumper. When he does, command HEEL and have him come back SIT and deliver to hand. Take the bumper and drop it over your shoulder behind you, and keep the dog moving to the next bumper. As this start happening for you, just add distance to the FETCH, make it 10', then 15'. Once he gets this down, then start the Leave It, and throw random FETCHES at him, and always make is a different number to leaves & Fetches each time. Don't want the dog to develop a pattern, keep it random.
Then I usually go to Pile Drills from here. Pile 6 bumpers up and back up what ever the distance is that you have him Fetching on the leash. Now we can take off the leash and command FETCH to the pile. HERE, HEEL, SIT, DROP. And you are ready to go for the second bumper in the pile. When starting it should be the low level burn all the way to the pile. We will quit this as the pile gets farther away. According to the amount of pressure you are using on the dogs will dictate the number of reps. I usually like to get 6 bumpers, then turn around and get the 6 that you just threw (dropped) over your shoulder. After a couple days of this, run the first 3 at 15', then while he is going for the 3rd one, back up about 3-4 steps, and try to send him on the 4th one from there. If he goes, stay here for the rest of that session, if he balks or No-Go's, then move back up and work some more at the shorter distance. Each day try to back up 3-5 steps. Once you get far enough that you start receiving No-Go's then it is time to slow down, and get more reps (Days) at the same distance. Any time that the dog gets confused, move up and simplify, and back up again. Also once I get to about 10 YARDS I drop the "Continuous" burn, and just NICK him, to kick him off.
This should get you to stopping on a whistle, which Whistle SIT should be taught in Obedience, and right and left handed BACKS. Which is a different write-up.