Force fetch....Am I going too fast?

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Force fetch....Am I going too fast?

Postby BearRiverBanded » Sat Jun 06, 2020 8:54 am

So my dog is now 1 yr old and with a little more free time I have been working him more often. During retrieves he would drop the bumper 5 ft from me every time so I took the leap and decided to try force fetching him. This is my first time doing so and I have talked to a handful of trainers and watched a bunch of instructional videos.

My questions is Am I going too Fast??

I am currently on day 13 I have only ever had to actually pinch him 3 times other than that he reaches up, down, across the table, off the table, holds for as long as I say. We have even done some 10 ft fetch hold heel give drills and without hesitation he does it. He will also do ladder fetch and walk by the first bumper fetch the second heel hold give.

Long short of it he does exactly what I have asked and has needed very minimal correction.
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Re: Force fetch....Am I going too fast?

Postby Bluesky2012 » Sat Jun 06, 2020 9:18 am

Am I reading this right? Grand total you have pinched his ear 3 times? If so you’ve missed the point of force fetch.


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Re: Force fetch....Am I going too fast?

Postby BearRiverBanded » Sat Jun 06, 2020 10:43 am

You are correct. I believe he has learned how to turn pressure of by fetching what he is told to. I have also done a handful of retrieves as I normally would during training and he has yet to drop the bumper. He holds until I say give it.

Is that not the purpose? For him to learn how to turn off pressure as well as fetch and deliver to hand every time so far.
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Force fetch....Am I going too fast?

Postby Bluesky2012 » Sat Jun 06, 2020 11:57 am

In 3 times he hasn’t. You’ve taught him to “fetch”, but he’s definitely not force fetched.

And no, delivery to hand is only one single piece of the foundation it’s intended to set. Depending on the program it is often used for a gateway and building block to the next step.

You missed the force in force fetch. You just coincidentally pinched a dogs ear 3 times while it was reaching for a bumper.


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Re: Force fetch....Am I going too fast?

Postby RShockley » Sat Jun 06, 2020 1:27 pm

Force fetch is more about setting up a dog’s attitude and understanding of pressure for the future than it is delivery to hand. A proper a reliable delivery is just one of the products it produces. If you have only applied pressure 3 times you aren’t doing force fetch. How you proceed is up to you based off the dog you want.
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Re: Force fetch....Am I going too fast?

Postby Rick Hall » Sun Jun 07, 2020 3:56 am

RShockley wrote:How you proceed is up to you based off the dog you want.


Yep, if you want a dog you'll be able to say has been force-fetched, you'll have to include force with every rep of every step for a while.
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Re: Force fetch....Am I going too fast?

Postby BearRiverBanded » Sun Jun 07, 2020 5:33 am

Ok thanks for the advice I appreciate it.
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Re: Force fetch....Am I going too fast?

Postby Alaska_Skeeter » Sun Jun 07, 2020 8:53 pm

I spent 7 years in Logan...fantastic duck hunting in your area...when I lived there in the 1980s it was a 90 day season and 7 duck bag limit plus some great goose hunting.

Why do you want to force fetch?
It is common for an untrained dog to drop a bumper on return, as he stops
one solution is to KEEP MOVING as the pup returns and have him
slowly heel while holding the bumper. KEEP MOVING, Praise pup for holding,
rinse and repeat.

Gradually transition into less and less movement, praising pup while he is holding the bumper,
and eventually pup will learn to return and sit no problem.

I do force fetch but because I run AKC Master Hunter and Q field trials where the retriever
must retrieve cold, wet, skanky ducks that have the scent from other dog's retrieves.

Back in my sheep hunting days I only hunted waterfowl and no hunt tests so I did not force fetch
because my labs had warm, freshly shot ducks to retrieve, not wet, cold, skanky birds.
My duck hunting partners also do not force fetch and have some wonderful duck dogs.

I think Rick Hall does not force fetch his dogs that retrieve thousands of birds?
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Re: Force fetch....Am I going too fast?

Postby BearRiverBanded » Sun Jun 07, 2020 11:22 pm

This dog will be the dog I guide with during the season. I just want to make sure he is on top of his training. I am not a fan of force fetch but then again I have never dont it.

Right now he is doing what I am asking of him and he learns fast and has a lot of potential. He and I both still have a lot of learning and training to do but I look forward to every session.
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Re: Force fetch....Am I going too fast?

Postby Bluesky2012 » Mon Jun 08, 2020 5:26 am

BearRiverBanded wrote:This dog will be the dog I guide with during the season. I just want to make sure he is on top of his training. I am not a fan of force fetch but then again I have never dont it.

Right now he is doing what I am asking of him and he learns fast and has a lot of potential. He and I both still have a lot of learning and training to do but I look forward to every session.


Since you will use him to guide, why not find a good pro or local retriever club and get hands on help so the dog reaches its max potential and helps boost customer experience?


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Re: Force fetch....Am I going too fast?

Postby BearRiverBanded » Mon Jun 08, 2020 5:36 am

If money was not an issue I would. But, at the same time I am fairly young and willing to learn to train my own dogs. I have trained my own pointers and my last two labs, were my labs the best out there? Not compared to some dogs but compared to some dogs i have hunted with they were more obedient and driven.
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Re: Force fetch....Am I going too fast?

Postby Rick Hall » Mon Jun 08, 2020 6:21 am

BearRiverBanded wrote:This dog will be the dog I guide with during the season.


Know this isn't what you've inquired about, but I'm going to offer it anyway. If the dog's to work for the public, he should, first and foremost, be a good (obedient and well socialized) citizen with solid blind manners. Only thing worse than an unmanageable dog becoming the focus of the hunt is one that's behavior spoils potential shooting opportunities.

A pup that isn't quiet and relatively still in the face of game, Is going to be "that damn dog," even if it might just as well be your guests' own inability to hold their water that's boogering opportunities. No matter whether legitimate gripe or excuse, solid blind manners eliminate it - and, of course, help bolster the bag. Pup can't retrieve what he's run off.

Think about how Pup will be expected to hunt, and it's probably not going to be as most amateurs and pros, alike, train with Pup sitting at heel. Acclamation in training to how you'll actually hunt should save you much of the grief handlers of even otherwise competent pro-trained dogs deal with until their dogs learn what's expected of them while hunting - which is retraining your customers won't want to pay for. Our field hunts, for example, are out of sunken pit blinds, some with shallow dog boxes and some without, and dog box or not it's best that dogs hunt laying down. So when guests ask me about bringing their own dogs on that type of hunt, I explain that drill and am almost invariably assured that "Pup will lay down." Which far, far, far too often translates to "Pup will lay down for a little while in the house, but is going to jump up and dance when he hears a call, much less sees birds trying to work." Don't let your pup be that pup for lack of prior acclamation.

Acclamation to the terrain and conditions Pup will actually retrieve on, in and under is also huge. Because one can hardly train much at all in our part of the country without incorporating rice fields, it came as some surprise to me when hunt testers from other parts of the country spoke of the difficulty their dogs had with some of the wide-open, "featureless" stubble field marks that are routine for our local dogs. By the same token, if you want to see a pro-trained and force-fetched dog "no-go," just stick him in our marsh where precious few, if anyone, trains. Nearly all without prior acclimation find the flotant, and sometimes just marsh in general, overwhelming. Doesn't mean they couldn't learn to work it, just that they've not been brought on to.

Point being that preparing Pup for the actual job ahead in small building block steps beats living snot out of trying to make the transitions OJT. And all the more so, when you're betting paying guests' hunts on it.
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Re: Force fetch....Am I going too fast?

Postby HNTFSH » Mon Jun 08, 2020 7:13 pm

BearRiverBanded wrote:Right now he is doing what I am asking of him...


You've gotten some great advice here. Keep in mind an "ask" is not a command. It's not a choice for the dog.
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Re: Force fetch....Am I going too fast?

Postby BearRiverBanded » Tue Jun 09, 2020 10:58 am

I definitely think y'all have given me some great advice.

Mr. Hall I want to thank you for the words of insight. I don't plan on following any particular training method from anyone particular, I take what they say and apply it to how I will be hunting and how I want my dog to be trained.

And by any means he is asked to do something that is the command and if he does not do said command he will get corrected.

I do appreciate any and all advice.
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