Force Fetch

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Force Fetch

Postby hunt-chessies » Fri Jan 02, 2009 9:29 am

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 :thumbsup:

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.

HNTFSH wrote:

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.

gonehuntin' wrote:
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. ... 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:

Force Fetch

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.


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.
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Postby gonehuntin1 » Sat Jan 03, 2009 7:18 am


Once the dog is finished with the “jowl pinch”, understands it thoroughly and is holding with it’s head up and reaching for the dowel at the pinch or mere touch on his jowls, it’s time to switch to the ear pinch.
For this you need, or should have, a specialized collar. I like a “dummy”electric collar with a metal golf spike or 1/4” bolt through it, the pointed end facing up. Round this end with a file so it has no rough edges on it and no sharp points. The purpose of this, is to put less stress or pressure on the dog and not more. It let’s you pinch the ear more gently, exerting more pressure, and with less possible damage to the tissue of the ear.


You will need a six foot leash on the dog as well as a choke collar. The choke collar is for my own safety. Every once in a while you’ll get a mean dog that tries it’s darndest to bite you. The six foot leash lets you keep the dog at arm’s length from you and the choke collar exerts pressure on the dog.
There is one, and only one, way to grip the collar and ear of the dog for your own safety. When correctly performed, it is nearly impossible for the dog to bite you unless you let go of the ear. Grasp the collar with the spike in it in your left hand. Three fingers go under the collar (the last three), and your index finger goes over the collar and around the spike. The ear is pinched by your thumb on top of the spike. The leash runs over the back of the dog and between your thumb and index finder, just loosely laying in
place there. Practice this grip several times before you start. It is of utmost importance that utilize this grip exactly as it’s described. Here’s the reason: If the dog tries to bite you, there are two methods of control at your fingers. One, is the ear. With the grip as I’ve explained it, the dog can’t turn in to bite you, because you have the ear firmly grasped between your thumb and index finger. He can’t turn out and try for your wrist for the same reason. If
you lose the ear, grab the lead and hold him away at arms length so he can’t get to you. If he’s persistent, hold him with his front feet off the ground until he calms down. Now, understand, this is VERY rare when any dog tries to bite you, but a pro deals with a variety of animals and a variety of dispositions. A dog that may not bite his owner, may bite his trainer. Better prepared than visit the doctor. I also prefer, as stated before, to start the dog on a bench. It saves on your back, keeps the dog off balance a little, and
puts his head at a more suitable height for ease of insertion and removal of the dowel.





Now, hold the dowel once again in front of pooch’s nose, say “fetch”, and gently pinch the ear. It is a different sensation for him and even though he has readily been accepting the dowel, he may rebel a little at this. Just keep a gentle but firm pressure on the ear, commanding “fetch” and get the dowel in his mouth. As soon as the dowel is in his mouth, remove the pressure from the ear. Get his head up and command “hold” as before. Don’t let him lower his head or spit out the dowel. After ten seconds or so, command “drop” and take the dowel. If he doesn’t drop in command, pinch the jowls commanding “drop”. Repeat this procedure until the dog strains forward at the fetch command and takes the dowel. Use enough pressure on the eat to cause the dog to whimper not scream. This force program is not about abuse and pain, it’s about measured pressure.
Now start gradually working the dowel away from the dog, six inches at a time. Never progress until the dog is straining to take it at each distance. At this time, when you grasp the dog’s ear, it will probably strain and whimper before you even get the dowel in front of it. Now poochie is learning. As you work the dowel away from the dog, gradually lower it to the table top. This could take a couple of days to get to the table top. A dog will readily learn to grasp the object when it’s on the same plain he’s on, but
as it lowers, he resists taking it. This is many times where the battle can come in. Never just drop the dowel on the floor or table top. Always have it angled up so he can easily grasp it. Once he is doing this on the table, it’s time for him to make his living where he will be earning it; on the ground.
Once you put him on the ground, you’ll have to start over again, but it will go very quickly. Now we’re going to get the dog moving as well as fetching on command. Sit or “whoa” the dog, whatever your preference, grasp collar and ear and command “fetch”. When the dog takes the dowel, command “heel”, and see if the dog will walk at heel, holding the dowel firmly. If he drops it, immediately pinch the ear, command “fetch”, and you
put the dowel in his mouth. He still won’t be picking up at this stage. Try again. Command “fetch”, then “heel”. Move short distances, only six feet or so. You want the dog to succeed and want to get him used to moving with an object in his mouth. This is also breaking up his training a little. Beside the pressure and pain of the force, he can now relax a hair and walk at heel, something he should be very with familiar and adept at. When you stop, tell
the dog “stop” or “sit”, however you have been training him, “hold”, then “drop”. Command “fetch” and start working him to the ground. As he grasps the concept and becomes proficient, get the dowel to the ground, keeping in raised and inch or so off the ground by using pressure from your toe on the end of the dowel. Once the dog is taking is like this, we’re done with the dowel. Now we’ll switch to a regular training knobby bumper. I
like using these because the dog tends to carry them by the end, or lets them slip to the side of his mouth, thus letting us correct the hold and carry of the bumper. The bumper should by carried by the middle and firmly in his mouth; no carrying by the ends, no mouthing the bumper.
We’re going again to go through the whole procedure with him, from right in front of his nose to the ground. When you place it on the ground, again raise it by putting pressure on the end the rope ties through with you toe, raising it an inch to an inch and a half off the ground. When the dog is doing this correctly, there will be hesitation on his part at all, he will literally drag you to that bumper. Again, walk him at heel for six feet or so, him carrying the bumper. Occasionally, when you feel he’s ready, command “stop”, proceed in front of the dog, and give the “heel” command so he
comes toward you, turns, and stands with the bumper. Now we have him. Do a lot of this because that’s the position he’ll be in most of the time, coming toward you with something in his mouth.
Next step is to drop the bumper to the ground in front of him and command “fetch”. Don’t let him go slowly to the bumper or go there and stop, slowing down his pick up. Make him do it quickly and briskly. All you should have to do it pinch the ear between your thumb and index finger unless you get a refusal, then go to the spike. Keep throwing the bumper a few feet further each time. You’ll now have to put him on a check cord for the extension of the retrieving distance. I don’t do this much more than ten feet, then I switch to the walking fetch. The walking fetch is how you’ll speed up his pickup and also when we’re going to collar break the dog, if
we do. If we don’t collar break him, we’ll want to use the stick fetch on him for remote extension.
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Postby gonehuntin1 » Sat Jan 03, 2009 7:24 am


Stick fetch is a continuation of the ear pinch and was thought paramount to forcing en
route to a pile. It introduced a dog to another stimulus on the way to a pile before the
collar was actually introduced to it. It is started when you are forcing on the ear and the
dog is picking up off the ground. Now we start all over again with fetch. The bumper is
held in front of the dog, the heeling stick held in the left hand, the command "fetch" given
and a stinging crack applied with the heeling stick to the dog's rear flank. You keep up a
steady sting of the flank until the dog fetch's the object. A dog may not jump for an ear
pinch, he may not jump for a toe hitch, but he will jump for a stick fetch. If he doesn't you
keep tapping harder and harder until he does. When you put that dowel or bumper in front
of a stick fetched dog, he will tear your arm out of the socket to get it. Never get mad,
never beat the dog, it is a controlled and escalated tap on the flank. Now go to the ground.
Again it's "fetch", tap, and guide with the lead until the dog picks it up. Don't let the dog
squirrel out from your side, even if you have to put a flank strap on him and have another
person tension it to keep him straight. When he is doing this, throw the dummy a few feet
out and same routine, "fetch", tap, and the retrieve. You'll know you have him when you
say "fetch" and the dog tucks his butt under him and just hauls tail for the bumper. We
used to like the stick fetch because it kept our hands and face away from the dog and
saved on sore backs because we weren't bending over to fetch the dog to the ground.

Now we progress to a pile. The dog is always kept on a lead for control. We now will
"double rope" the dog to make it easier for him to understand the pile. Put another person
at the pile with a rope leading back to your rope. Hook his rope to the eye of your snap.
Throw a bumper to the pile. Command "fetch" and tap the rear. If dog doesn't go,
command "fetch" again, tap the flank, and have the other person tension his rope and start
the dog to the pile. We're only talking about 10' here. We are trying to make it as easy on
the dog as possible, guiding him through each sequence. When he has this down pat at
10', when we say "fetch", he tucks his butt and hauls for the pile, picks up and
immediately splins to return to our side, we are ready to force-en-route. See the advantage
to doing it like this? We have control of the dog every foot of the way. He can't make a
mistake and get in trouble and it stops us from becoming frustrated.

For force-en-route, we remove the assistant's rope. The assistant stands back to back with
us. He has a 4' buggy whip in his right hand. It is held across his body, right to left. We
command the dog to fetch. The dog launches and the assistant immediately swings the
whip to his right and slaps the dog on the flank. At the exact instant the whip contacts the
dog, we command strongly, "fetch". This causes him to hit 2nd gear on the way to a pile.
When he is doing this well, we'll move back to 30'. The assistant is still there with a whip
in case we get a no-go. Now we switch to a marble. When the dog launches and is 15' out,
sting him in the butt with a marble and command "fetch". Now he learns he is not safe at
any distance. When he has this down, we overlay all this with the collar and start again. It
is also at this time that we substiture "BACK" for "fetch".

Now everyone is sitting there scratching their head and saying, but with the modern
ecollar, why do this? I no longer do, but I'm a died in the wool collar guy. If you are not a
collar man, you do this to prevent no-goes. Remember also that this was developed in the
60's and 70's when collars were not variable intensity, they were thunder bolts from heck.
You had to go through a preparatory program so the dog knew how to escape the
correction of the collar. He was taught under pressure step by step so there was little
chance of failure left. That's why this was all done; to make it easier on the dog during
collar breaking or to end no goes on manual dog's. You can train them one way, or you
can train them the other, but when you say "BACK" they better get the heck out of
Dodge. The most helpless feeling in the world is to tell a dog "dead, bird, BACK" at a
field trial and have him look up into your eyes with his big, sorrowful brown eyes and say
"Who, me boss?". You'll win no ribbon if they go nowhere.
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Postby gonehuntin1 » Sat Jan 03, 2009 7:26 am


During this phase we will give the dog a fast pick up, teach him not to "shop the pile", and teach him the beginning of the blind retrieve, going for a bumper that has not been thrown for him, but only placed.

The first step is to get him to pick up at a fast walk. Scatter several bumpers about the yard, perhaps 10 of them. Walk to each one and as you approach each bumper, command fetch. Don't stop walking unless you have to correct the dog. If he is slow at picking up the bumper or won't pick it up, command "FETCH" and tap his flank with the heeling stick. You'll know he's beginning to understand the drill when, as you approach a bumper, he will actually strain at the leash to beat the stimulus of the heeling stick or ecollar. Walk a short distance and sit the dog. Grasp the bumper and command "DROP". Alternately, command "SIT", step in front of the dog and heel him to you, then grasp the bumper and command "DROP". A quick word about the ecollar. I still don't use it at this stage. After this stage of the walking fetch is when the collar is introduced. I want to be able to reinforce every basic command the dog has been taught manually. Remote correction will then be introduced.

When as we approach each bumper, he begins to strain at the leash and pull to get the bumper, it's time to start pile work. Start with only one pile and scatter the bumpers. Back away about six feet and command "FETCH". If you have to, throw a bumper to the pile, then command "FETCH". Don't allow to much latitude on the dog's part here. Give him a few chances, then pull him to the pile, commanding "FETCH" and tapping his flank with the stick. Eventually, you want him to rocket out of there the command "FETCH" and briskly retrieve a bumper. This stage is where the collar becomes invaluable. If he dawdles at the pile, a quick nick and "FETCH" reminds him of why he's there.

Gradually work your way back from the pile, a few feet at a time. Never let the dog free. Have him on a 50' check cord so he can never bolt and escape you. Keep increasing the distance until you are sending him from 50', he's hauling butt out, snapping a bumper up, spinning, and returning to the heal position at your side.

The final step in his force is to water force him on a pile. It is exactly the same as on land only across a 50' pond. Now, to me, the real force part is finished. From here we will progress to the T and double T, but I really don't consider those a part of force.
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What to do

Postby goosegasm » Mon Jan 05, 2009 7:39 pm

I got a black lab that is about 2 and a half i worked with him myself until about two months ago i took him to have him force fetched when i got him back he was about the same as when i brought him there though he will fetch anything i tell him to and is very excited to do it but when he gets out of the water with it he likes to drop it and shake off then forget about it or sometimes he will start to paw at it and the people that i took him to said to just keep making him pick it back up but my thought is that after a force fetch he should never drop anything however when we goose hunt in a field he will fetch everything perfect bring back and heel up right beside me until i take it from his mouth my next thought is that why take him back to those people they say its gaurenteed but i feel like they didnt do a very good job the first time so i guess im just asking what should i do in this situation
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Postby gonehuntin1 » Mon Jan 05, 2009 8:17 pm

I don't think the problem is with your trainer, it's that you are not reinforcing what they taught. When the dog is coming out of the water, watch him. Just before he drops, he'll slow down and start to lower his head. Immediately command NO, HERE!!!! and if he still drops it, get out there and pinch his ear, telling him FETCH!!!
Did they collar break him? If so, that would make it easier.

All the dog has to know is that YOU can and will, reinforce the force. Every dog will try you on, no matter how good the trainer you sent her to.
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Postby goosegasm » Mon Jan 05, 2009 9:02 pm

So the thing to do then is get with my trainer and have them go over exactly what to do in that situation then go on with that. Another thing though is they said not to use a collar because he sulks when you shock him so i never have used one
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Postby gonehuntin1 » Tue Jan 06, 2009 6:53 am

Yes, that's correct. Get back with your trainer and make him show you how to correct him.

Now you have me concerned about your trainer. You say that the dog sulks when shocked? That is not an appropriate response. It sounds like he's using a collar without variable intensity. If so, I'd dump him in a second. Today's variable intensity collars have made it possible to train a dog of any temperment. I have never seen any dog be spooked by a variable intensity collar unless the trainer ran it on high.

That part of your post has me concerned.
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force fetch

Postby muleskinner » Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:54 am

I have had over the years quite a few dogs some good some bad. Yet, any dog no matter its purpose that is forced to do something by being conditioned by pain gets a broken spirit. Sorta like water boarding, after while the person or dog just goes through the motions does what it is told with out question, but not for the enjoyment of the work. The dogs that I have had that hunted with me as a partner not for me were always better dogs. My current dog is the best I have ever had and he hunts with me not for me. Sure, we both have bad days sometimes I miss and he looks at me like I am a dork, and sometimes he wont quit on a bird that is caught in the current and is a mile away. If I had force broke this dog he would have lost all motivation to enjoy his job in life
to hunt and fetch ducks. I don't believe animals or people do any well that are forced. Sure, basic manners have to happen and be taught but that is the same with kids its called learning the rules and if they have been taught and decide not to follow the rules a spank always works. Bottom line force fetch is just torture but the dog kind.
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Re: force fetch

Postby lostpup » Tue Jan 06, 2009 12:35 pm

Removed as hunt-chessies only wanted FF help here. NOT comments.
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Postby hunt-chessies » Tue Jan 06, 2009 3:25 pm

This sticky is for FF information not your feelings on the subject or Q/A abut it....just reference materials please. The rest of it can be done in the main forums, i don't want the informations covered up by a ton of posts....... thanks everyone.
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Postby goosegasm » Tue Jan 06, 2009 3:40 pm

start doing yoga so i can stick my head up my own what dude thats ate up did i ever once say i shocked my dog i said the guy i had train him did so you need to take some reading lessons at the local elementary school by you some shiny new glasses and read it all over again
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Postby devildog28 » Tue Jan 06, 2009 6:38 pm

I was wondering if you could use an e-collar instead of pinching the ear? I'm probably off the mark, but wouldn't one form of correction be easier for a dog to recognize?
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Postby goosegasm » Tue Jan 06, 2009 7:37 pm

He has a variable collar i do know that and i also know that he said that an e collar he either acts like its not even there or he sulks
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SmartFetch Entry 1

Postby EvanG » Thu Jan 08, 2009 9:31 am

“But we are training dogs that have natural drive to retrieve!”

“Why would I want to force my dog to do something he does naturally?” goes the frequently asked question. After all, retrievers are bred to retrieve by instinct, aren’t they? We would all like to think so, but many are bred just to sell, i.e. puppy mills. Many others are bred with objectives other than retrieving, such as those engineered for their appearance alone, i.e. the show ring. But our focus is on working dogs – dogs bred to do the work for which the breed was established, hunting; bringing game to hand. Why would you need to force a dog like that to do the very work he’s been bred for?

You see, it’s the absence of information along with a love for the dog that drives such inquiries. It’s reasonable, and it’s a question that begs to be answered. So, perhaps this insight will help clear up some of the misunderstandings about this very important subject. Certainly, there is nothing new about people seeking an alternative to doing it – frequently because they have just enough information about it to think it’s something that it isn’t. I think it’s that word, force. A new trainer often hears that word and gets an instant mental image that sends them running the other way!

It won’t go away, and for good reason. Let’s start by clearing up what force fetch actually is (or isn’t).

The Myths

More appropriately, there are more misperceptions than myths surrounding the process of force fetching retrievers. I think it starts with the term force. To the novice trainer/dog lover that word summons visions of a dog being thrashed or brutalized in some way or another. There are stories, some true, some contrived, about harsh measures being used to force fetch, like using bottle openers, pliers, etc. Nothing like that will appear as a suggestion in this text because it has nothing to do with how I approach it. Let’s start there and clear the air about that subject.

Ø Force: In retriever training this is a term that describes the use of pressure to achieve a sure and reliable response. Influence that moves something, says the dictionary. The amount of pressure is specified more by the dog than by the trainer. Often very little actual pressure is needed.
Ø Pressure: something that affects thoughts and behavior in a powerful way, usually in the form of several outside influences working together persuasively.

Nowhere in any definition of these terms is abuse or brutality, nor should it be. Like many things, force and pressure are either good or bad depending on how they are applied.

Another misperception is often the assumption that retrievers do all of their retrieving functions by nature, and shouldn’t need to be forced. Frankly, about all that dogs do by nature is to chase after motion, and follow their curiosity about what they smell. We cultivate the rest, both passively and through the use of pressure. Even the most basic puppy-fetch conditioning we all do to get them started is an act we contrive. These dogs retrieve out of self-centered impulses. Bringing birds to us is not a nature-driven act. Thankfully, it can be easily engineered!

Take a well-bred pup and turn him loose in a fenced yard for three years, or so. Leave him strictly to the influences of nature. Then go out one day and see how well he does on the type of retrieving work that would make him useful in game conservation. Compare his work to even an average gun dog with amateur training. How do you think it would come out? No brainer! Whatever natural gifts a dog may have, without some kind of guidance they will tend to be of little value.

It’s not a negative statement that retrievers need training to do the work we need them to do in the field and marsh. That type of work requires a dog to have good natural abilities, but also to be taught how to put those abilities to work because the skills and functions we require are our idea. We invented them. It’s okay. That’s why dogs and trainers are so often referred to as a team. Both contribute to the effort.

The Reality

First of all, force fetch is more than just one thing. It is a definable process with clear goals. But, within the process are several steps or phases. Those steps will be laid out later, but first let’s examine the goals.

1. To establish a standard for acceptable mouth habits.
2. To provide the trainer with a tool to maintain those habits.
3. To provide the trainer with a tool to assure compliance with the command to retrieve.
4. To form the foundation for impetus (momentum).
5. Pressure conditioning.

Mouth habits include such important items as fetching on command, even when your dog may be distracted, or moody, or any number of things that might interfere with compliance. Sure, you may get away for years without having such problems, but being smart and being lucky are not the same thing. Force fetch gives you a tool to handle this when it comes up, plus some insurance that it is less likely to come up due to this training.

Along with compulsion issues we need to mention a proper hold, and delivery on command. If my pheasant is punctured I want it to be from pellets, not teeth. That actually covers some ground in all of the first three categories.

Let’s spend a little time on number four. Lots of people use the terms momentum and style interchangeably. I think it’s important to distinguish between the two because of how they relate to this subject. Force fetch is the foundation of trained momentum, and provides a springboard into subsequent steps of basic development. Style has little to do with this. Here’s why.
Ø Style: A combination of speed, enthusiasm, and just plain hustle that you see in a dog going toward a fall. Style is the product of natural desire and athleticism.
Ø Momentum: In a retriever, the compulsion from the dog’s point of origin; defined in the dictionary as “the force possessed by a body in motion, Measure of movement: a quantity that expresses the motion of a body and its resistance to slowing down. It is equal to the product of the body’s mass and velocity”.

Clearly, this quality is a tremendously valuable asset in the running of blinds and overcoming diversion pressure. It even applies to running long marks, and/or marks through tough cover or terrain. When you need a dog to drive hundreds of yards against the draining influences of terrain, cover, re-entries, and all of the real and perceived factors that are so commonly momentum-robbing, having a dog with a reservoir of momentum is immensely valuable. Force fetch is where that reservoir is established, and can be built upon.

From the foundation of a forced fetch most modern methods progress through stages that continue to build on this principle. Stick fetch, Collar Condition to fetch, Walking fetch, Force to pile, and Water force are all extensions of the work we do in ear pinch or toe hitch, which are popular means to get it all going. When a dog has finished such a course the result is an animal far more driven, with much more resolve to overcome obstacles and distance and distractions.

Lest we forget ~

I am not suggesting that we harm or abuse dogs in any of this force work I’ve spoken of. The late Jim Kappes said, “A properly forced dog shouldn’t look forced”. I completely agree. Momentum and style are distinct terms, each with their own meanings, as pertains to retrievers. I firmly believe that both are traits that should co-exist in a well-trained retriever.

A fully trained retrieve

Because I’ve worked with retrievers for more than twenty-seven years, and trained with some of the best trainers ever, I believe strongly that a trained retrieve is superior in all ways to a “natural” one. A trained retrieve is complete, sure, and reliable. A dog that has been given a thorough course in all elements of the trained retrieve has a far better grasp of what is expected of him, and how to do it as well as he is physically capable.

The trained retrieve is a complete course. Hold, fetch/hold, stick-fetch (optional), collar condition to fetch (also optional – but strongly recommended!), walking fetch, and forcing to a pile of bumpers (training dummies) - including sending the dog and training him to recall to heel for delivery - constitutes a good course in the trained retrieve. Through this process your dog learns how to properly hold a bird and/or fetch object, gains impetus (a force that causes the motion of an object to overcome resistance and maintain its velocity) for fetching on command, and has that impetus magnified through the progressive steps culminating in “force to pile”. I would add to that process water forcing, as well.

Be Methodical

The fully trained retrieve should be learned from someone who knows how, and performed according to a proven step-by-step method. Keep the rules clear, and the solution obvious for the dog. He should have it made and kept clear how to turn off the pressure applied in association with the command.

Having that foundation, all of the handling functions, such as running lines, returning to heel to deliver, stopping and casting come more easily to the dog, and are executed with greater reliability because of momentum and systematic teaching. The sense of purpose with which the force-fetched dog performs makes all of the functions of handling go together more smoothly for your dog. A force-fetched dog should not question whether or not to go when he is sent, but rather he should know clearly how to respond. Force fetch is a tool for a lifetime in the well-trained retriever. If done properly, it won’t go away.

The above is a compiled exerpt from SmartFetch

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Re: Force Fetch

Postby bigbrit » Wed Apr 08, 2009 9:14 am

Here is an interesting perspective from my father:
The Electric Collar – An Analysis and Opinion
By Robert Milner -20 Feb 2008
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Re: Force Fetch

Postby bigbrit » Thu Apr 09, 2009 8:47 am

Whoops, I realized I posted the wrong article. I try to do too many things at once! This is what I meant to post:
Force Fetch Training Article by Robert Milner

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Re: Force Fetch

Postby Van1 » Mon Nov 16, 2009 6:30 pm

Here is my progression to and thru force fetch.........use it or don't, but it has worked for me and the dogs I train for some time now.................I feel if this helps only one person, it's worth my time and doesn't cost anyone anything but time and that's what we love....time with our dogs both training, at home and in the field. Good luck~!

Force Fetch

You can use a tailgate, picnic table up against a wall, porch, grooming table or any place that is about waist high where you can hang a lead with a clip on it down to the dogs collar (no choke collars here!). Sometimes, e.g. tailgate; you need to run a rope from one side to the other with a small loop in it to put the piece of rope that will hang down to the collar.

Before you can teach Force Fetch you need to teach hold.

a) Bring your dog up onto the surface you plan to use and hook him up
b) Give him a small treat or a piece of dry food with praise for being there
c) Continue this for 3 or more days until the dog is comfortable with being on the table—running to get onto it.

a) Before you can teach Force Fetch there is a lot of teaching to do
b) Put your dog on the table and put the toe pinch rope in place but do not use
c) Open your dogs mouth and say “Fetch” while you are rolling the 2” soft
Bumper into place just behind the K-9’s and hold it there for a second or two with your hands holding around his nose keeping the bumper in place.
Saying “Hold, Hold, Hold” and then without pulling on the bumper say “Give” and you will repeat this sequence for about 5 min initially, praising the dog each time he gives you the bumper by moving his head back from it.
d) Repeat this sequence 3-4 times and then let the dog drop the bumper so you can correct him. Correction will be to grab the muzzle, look him in the eye and say, “NO”. How severely you do this is up to you. It can be from a soft no if that is all your dog needs to a loud stern “NO”,each dog is different. The timing here is to make the correction immediately when the dog drops the bumper. The dog learns from making the mistake and the proper, well-timed correction. Once he starts getting the idea a little pressure under the chin with a finger will help him remember he is to hold.
e) Look for small improvements in time 5 sec, 10 sec, 30 sec, etc.
f) The dog must completely understand “Hold” including being able to hold under distractions such as banging a metal dish on the bench. End each session with a little bit of success and don’t keep going if he is doing well.
g) Each time you finish the “Hold” session, do a short sit, heel or here drill and have a happy session with him for a couple of bumpers and put the dog away with a treat and praise. You should be able to get to where the dog will hold the bumper when you bang a dish or tap the bumper repeatedly
When you have accomplished the above “Hold” Training you will :
a) Continue at this point to open your dogs mouth with your hand while inserting
The bumper and at the same time as the bumper goes into the mouth you should continue saying “FETCH”, TIMING is everything here. Make sure you are only putting the bumper into the mouth behind the K-9’s so as not to gag the dog.
b) It may help to pull the dogs head forward when you say Fetch so he gets the idea he is supposed to move to the bumper
c) This being one of the most important parts of a dogs training do not rush it. The better job of Force Fetching you do, the better your future training will go with pile work, single T and so on.
d) As with the “Hold” part, your timing with the toe pinch is critical here. You start with the minimum pressure possible to get the dog to grab the bumper. You will begin by holding the end of the rope and pull it away from the dog in a way that will cause the rope to tighten on the toes.
e) As you do this and as you did in “Hold”, hold the bumper right in front of the dogs mouth and say “Fetch” and pull the cord at the same time. The amount of pressure on the cord is also critical. If you need to you can gradually add pressure to the toes while “Calmly” saying “FETCH”.
f) If the dog does not grab the bumper the first few times, put it in the mouth, timing as usual here is CRITICAL…as soon as the bumper goes into the dogs mouth, release the pressure on the cord. It usually doesn’t take long for the dog to realize that he controls how much pressure he must endure.
g) You want the dog to understand the toe pressure goes on when you say “FETCH” and off as soon as he grabs the bumper.

a) You will apply pressure each time until you see your dog start to anticipate and try to grab the bumper (NEVER SAY NO). Allow the dog several anticipated fetches and give a lot of praise for them. This is the right thing for him to do but at the wrong time.
b) You will now bring the bumper up in the fetch position and say “Sit”. If he moves to grab the bumper, move it back…do not use toe pressure here or say “no”. He is just doing the right thing at the wrong time.
c) Slow down, be definite in your commands, timing and moves. At this point you will only use toe pressure when the dog refuses to fetch.
d) When you feel confident the dog understands and is only fetching on command, you can start to move the bumper toward the bench a little at a time. Now you need to loosen the lead a little so he can reach the table. He should now be solid in his mechanics of Fetch and should not “move away, anticipate the fetch command, nor refuse to sit when told". If the mechanics are not solid, go back and work on them again right now.

When you are finished with this phase, we will put the dog on the ground and introduce the ear pinch for fetching from the ground and for fetching birds, as well as, for refusals.
Expect this to take anywhere from three weeks to 8 weeks, it doesn’t happen overnight.

Good luck!
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Re: Force Fetch

Postby Huntingwithdaughters » Sun Aug 29, 2010 8:08 am

I agree that the "force fetch" or "force training" label is unfortunate but there are no "finished" retrievers who haven't been through this.

Since we are very attached emotionally to our retriever by the time it is ready to be forced, it helps, IMHO, to work with a pro or a highly experienced friend who has done it before and who is detatched. Since the forcing is done every day for a month, you should attend a few sessions, the first and the last if the dog is with a pro, so you understand the process. I have forced a dozen dogs and one aspect of this drill is usually the same. At about the half-way point, at about 2 weeks, the dog rebels and tries to fight the process. This passes and the dog reaches the point where you say fetch and it snatches up the dummy like its life depended on it. Once you have seen it done, it is much easier to do it yourself.

Richard Wolters, author of Water Dog, introduced me to my first pro, John Weller of Weller Kennels in New Bern, NC. This was in the 1990 and John and I are still great friends. Rather than an ear pinch, an easier way is to tie a string around one of its toes and give a hard yank when you say fetch or drop. The repeated ear pinch can cause a cut and is more awkward to manoever.

We end up with a dog that not only retrieves when we want it too, we end up with a dog that doesn't drop a crippled pheasant and allow it to run 75 yards.

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Re: Force Fetch

Postby TomKat » Tue Oct 19, 2010 6:06 pm

Mr Milner is NOT a proponent of FF training. He believes that it weakens the gene pool in labs and that the answer is better selective breeding. He also believes that FF is a result of the American Field Trial system.

I love my dog, and after she is gone I will get my next one from England. I don't think I will FF train my dog. She has been well trained as a pup, and delivers to hand. To each their own, this is only my opinion.
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Re: Force Fetch

Postby Chaws » Wed Feb 02, 2011 4:33 pm

TomKat wrote:Mr Milner is NOT a proponent of FF training. He believes that it weakens the gene pool in labs and that the answer is better selective breeding. He also believes that FF is a result of the American Field Trial system.

I love my dog, and after she is gone I will get my next one from England. I don't think I will FF train my dog. She has been well trained as a pup, and delivers to hand. To each their own, this is only my opinion.

Go ahead and buy into the marketing BS propaganda and reread some of the posts above. FF is not simply about conditioning the hold response or picking something up when saying fetch. FF is more purposely used to condition a dog to pressure, both physical and mental pressure.
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Re: Force Fetch

Postby harrop » Mon Aug 29, 2011 1:44 pm

This is all very good and a good sticky description of the meathod. Consider before you take this route it is much better to want to go to school rather than "have to" you will do better with all kids if they want to go and look forwards to it. you just cant achieve that desire then force tactics is valid. Same with work, those who want to go to work tend to do far better than those that are forced and everything else in life as the life examples used in the sticky. Its a shame force is used Before other meathods are dismissed out of hand, you never know what you missed and its hard to go back to the easy ways once force is used it can only lead to escalation in my experiance.
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Re: Force Fetch

Postby harrop » Mon Aug 29, 2011 1:51 pm

TomKat wrote:Mr Milner is NOT a proponent of FF training. He believes that it weakens the gene pool in labs and that the answer is better selective breeding. He also believes that FF is a result of the American Field Trial system.

I love my dog, and after she is gone I will get my next one from England. I don't think I will FF train my dog. She has been well trained as a pup, and delivers to hand. To each their own, this is only my opinion.

Oh gosh perhaps we should form a club? you are quite correct using force fetch on one of our English bred dogs will see you ridiculed. It certainly weakenes the gene pool, if a dog totaly won't it is still used as a meathod but the dog is not then seen as breeding material. In a working bred English lab its highly unlikely you could buy one that did not want to retrieve anything from a small pup
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Re: Force Fetch

Postby Chaws » Tue Aug 30, 2011 8:31 am

There are a lot of dogs out there that never really needed to be Force Fetched to get them to deliver a bird to hand, I have one that is a MH from an FC father and out of a female with open field trial points. I FF'd him because that was a part of the method of teaching the dog to turn off mental and physical pressure. FF does not weaken the gene pool. Just another BS tactic that people breeding so called "British" lineage dogs like to use. FF has a benefit of getting a dog to deliver to hand, but if started and conditioned properly from a puppy, most dogs will continue delivering to hand. Too many people throw excessive marks for puppies as well as not encouraging a good deliver and hold which in turn causes the dog to drop the retrieve looking for another one. FF itself is a pressure conditioning process and a very very small part of it is actually delivery purposed.
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Re: Force Fetch

Postby harrop » Fri Sep 02, 2011 4:35 am

Chaws wrote:There are a lot of dogs out there that never really needed to be Force Fetched to get them to deliver a bird to hand, I have one that is a MH from an FC father and out of a female with open field trial points. I FF'd him because that was a part of the method of teaching the dog to turn off mental and physical pressure. FF does not weaken the gene pool. Just another BS tactic that people breeding so called "British" lineage dogs like to use. FF has a benefit of getting a dog to deliver to hand, but if started and conditioned properly from a puppy, most dogs will continue delivering to hand. Too many people throw excessive marks for puppies as well as not encouraging a good deliver and hold which in turn causes the dog to drop the retrieve looking for another one. FF itself is a pressure conditioning process and a very very small part of it is actually delivery purposed.

Oh, but it does weaken your gene pool as you will never know which have not really got the retriever holic streak in thier make-up. Its like "needing an electric collar" ok some do and make good dogs from it - but you are making life harder for handlers of subsequent lines if that dog is bred from. There is no such thing as "so called" in British dogs they are what it says on the box "retrievers" and natural one at that.
I cannot see why you should want to condition a dog against physical and mental pressure. If needed it is a last resort it only removes other tools from the box that are best left in reserve. I might ocasionally need a lump hammer in the tool box but i am not about to use it on re-glazing a window as its counter productive on the job at hand. Making windows you can glaze with a lump hammer is just plain crazy
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