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force fetching

1778 Views 17 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  Elmer Fudd
does anyone do this or is this the old way of making a good retriever just reading some books waiting to get a new pup
i have had a few good retrievers but i never like how when your on a pond they will run around it and then swim the shortest path instead of diving in and swimming it ?
any suggestions?
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Force fetching will definately help any dog. It is not the fix all solution to all problems, but makes them more reliable. When done right, I have never seen it make a dog worse.

I would suggest reading all the books you can find on it or paying a trainer to do it. If your dog doesn't have tons of drive, its not going to pound the water like you see on videos, that isn't from force fetching, well, its not all from force fetching. Force fetching can make some dogs that perform lazy retrieves speed things up but there are some other methods for that. Force fetching makes retrieving a must, instead of an option. Thats how I look at it at least.

As far as your dog running around the pond for the ducks, I would guess you haven't worked them a lot on the pond in the off season. Set up a situation to simulate the fallen duck in the pond and when your dog starts to run around the pond call him off and make him come back.

Does your dog break everytime or do you "send" the dog on the retrieve? From my experience dogs that kinda wonder off after birds as you are shooting will run around the pond, if the dog is sitting waiting for you to release him, he will probably pound the pond strait on like your looking for. Make it fun for them, make him wait a couple minutes, he will be shaking with excitement, then release him...

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Let me start out by saying that I HATE FORCE FETCHING and COLLAR CONDITIONING. I hate everything about them. With that said, I wouldn't own a dog without doing both.

The force fetch process, if done correctly, can decrease the possibility of a multitude of bad habits. Refusals, hardmouth, tearing up ducks, wandering, meandering,etc. It's part of a training a building block in absolute complience while your dog is working.

FF ing is probably the most difficult thing a dog must go through. If you have never FF'd a dog, seek professional help. I recommend a pro trainer, but you can also seek out a retriever club and get together with some of the experienced folks to help you and your dog through the process. If done incorrectly, you can kill your pups desire to retrieve at all.

As for taking the shortest route via land, that's a personal preference. I don't mind my dog taking a shortcut, especially if it means he gets out of cold water and on to land more quickly while working. Others, especially those who run HT's, have an absolute fit if their dog travels in anything other than an absolute straight line.
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You'll be amazed at FF results. I know I was. Another bi-product of FFing a dog is an overall more obedient dog. This is a big process to go through and the dog learns you will not bend from what you want, and therefore has a deeper respect for you as a trainer.

As for seeking a professional trainer. If you have the money and that's the road you want to take, go for it. If you are into training your own dog then it is something that can be tackled on your own. Just remember, this is a tedious, frustating, sometimes long, exhausting, but possibly very succesful process when done right. The key is reading, watching videos, and learning. You don't want to learn while you do it to your dog. You want to learn well in advance so you know what you need to do without thinking too much about it. I read things for about a year until my pup was ready and then I too was ready. This is the first dog I have ever trained and I am more than happy with the results as well are people who have been around dogs for a lifetime. Just take your time, don't make deadlines for yourself. To be completely honest, it took me about 3-4 months from the time I started "hold" and then started on pile work. This is a long time, but it was definitely worth it. I could write forever on this because I truly believe in the method, but I will stop for now unless you have more specific questions.

Oh yeah, the primary method I used was the one illustrated in Smartfetch by Evan Graham.
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fowlhunter8 said:
i never like how when your on a pond they will run around it and then swim the shortest path instead of diving in and swimming it ? any suggestions?
Force Fetch really has nothing to do with the problem you are asking about. You are talking about Bank Running or Cheating Water, and FF has nothing to do with this. But on the other hand if I were just training to dog for hunting purposes, then bank running would not bother me in the slightest. I would want the dog out and back, taking the quickest route. If you are playing the Hunt Test Game, then this would need to be addressed before you could get your SH Title.

Retrievers, retrieve because they are bred to do so, meaning they want to retrieve items, and it really don't matter what. Force Fetch is a technique use to get the dog to retrieve because he is told to. So if you dog is retrieving and coming back and laying the bird at your feet or out in front of you. And you waqnt him to hold it until he is told to "Drop" then FF is the ticket. And like was said before, I believe that every dog should be FF'd.

But it will not give you the tools to stop Bank Running. cooter
Here's some FF tips I think some of the links are broken but look through them. Force Fetched or Force Retrieved is mandatory for a good working hunting dog. All my Labs have been FF but this is the first one I've actually witnessed trained. This is were I seek Pro help. Probably the most difficult training process that takes alot of patience. With that said after observing the training process of my pup. I'll do my next one.

Cooter is right on the money IMO
FF'ing might not directly deal with "cheating" but it is the beginning of formal training, atleast in my opinion.

bullet said:
...Force Fetched or Force Retrieved is mandatory for a good working hunting dog. ...
i have responded similiarly to this before. while it sounds like this is a good method and i am actually researching it currently, it isn't mandatory by any means. my dog has been force fetched and will hold something until i remove it from his mouth. if i tell him to "leave it" he will drop it and if i tell him to "hand it hear" he will pick it up and give it to me. again, not to discredit the method of training but it's not the only option...
There is always the dogs that stand aside from the others in one way or the other. But it is not common to get dogs that will do these things on there own. I regularly have guys contact me and tell me they have genius's for a dog. At 12-16 weeks they are doing blinds. :cool: Well, they will be for the most part, but they are not doing it to be doing a blind. They have such a limited amount of training that they just pick up on a cue of some sort. Then by the time it is time for Formal Training, you get the call that I Have Screwed Up The Dog, or He Has Lost His Mind.

Force Fetch has basically 2 functions. (1)It gets the dog to hold until he is told to Drop. (2) It get the dog use to dealing with, and learning how to shut off pressure. Nothing more. But it is the basis for Formal Training, because teaching the dog how to deal with & shut off the pressure is the key to the rest of ALL training. So like PitBoss said, it is the technique that allows ALL other training.

Training is like a foundation to a house. Each technique is a stepping stone to the next level, and the main rule is. If you are having a problem with the next level, back up. The dog probably doesn't have the last technique master enough to move on. This is why you can't or should skip around in the training process. One technique leads to the next one, and why you leave one out, it is like leaving a black hole in a brick wall. May not cause a problem right now (Usually will), but it will cause you one later. A dog that has not been Force Fetch gicves you NO tool to pick up if the dog quits on you in the field. And I have seen several guys want to FF dogs that are 5-6-7 years old. They get old enough that if they just don't feel up to the task, they just don't do it, and leaves you with no where to go to get them back in the groove. But a FF'd dog can be snapped right back in the groove.

But all that being said, everyone has their own needs for the dog, and how they choose to want him to react in hunting situations. That is the great thing about dogs, they will do what you train them to do. Just remember if the dog is not doing something that you want hi to do. Rarely is it's the dog fault. It is OUR lack of training that has him in this spot. :thumbsup: cooter
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In all honesty that is one of the best posts I have read on this site. Welcome to the site!
98ramtough said:

In all honesty that is one of the best posts I have read on this site. Welcome to the site!
I will have to agree with that. I have read alot of things on FF including some of Evans stuff but that is probably by far the best description of the purpose of FF that I have read. You ever think about writing a book :toofunny: :toofunny:

pitboss said:
"has" or "has not" been?
has not been...sorry about the typo.

cooter, i am not saying the method isn't valid. i was merely pointing out that it's not absolutely necessary to owning a reliable hunting companion. again, solely because of some of the members of this site's comments about the effectiveness of FF'ing a dog, i am researching it pretty extensively. it does seem like a very good thing. intially i was pretty against the whole idea of using discipline with pain to any capacity when training a dog. (wolter's philosophy)

i know my dog is not the norm because i have trained/owned more than one and know what kind of issues this can create. allow me to also say that in no way do i think my dog is a genius. he is a mountain of imperfections just like i am. i will say this though, in the 8+ years he has been bringing birds back to me he has yet to drop one or fail to return it. make no mistake that he has been trained to do that to some capacity. i told him, then would show him what i wanted and he would do it. and continues to do it to this day.

i wholeheartedly agree that training is the foundation for success with dogs. i am just saying that FF'ing isn't the only way to do it.
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Great post cooder!! Very well written and worded perfectly. :thumbsup:
Shpshtr,you're right FF isn't mandatory, in fact some retrievers can get away with it. But I will say it's mandatory for me. And don't get me started on Wolters.
I think Wolter's is a good jumping off point for very basic training. Many people may have trained dogs entirely by the method and got good results, but I honestly don't think it is nearly thorough enough.

I watched the Water Dog video and read one of the books and I picked up some things from them, but other things in them just seemed plain stupid. One such thing is the toe hitch for FF. I think this is probably the worst way to apply pressure to a dog for FF. How are you supposed to support this method in the field if you should have a refusal?

My point is that you'll pick certain things up from different sources that are good or bad. Gain as much knowledge as possible so you can use the good stuff that you like from every technique.
My pup just turned 84 days old...when he is old enough(adult teeth) I will use the FF method. I have been going by the Wolters method and in the video they do suggest using force fetch. Drake the pup from day 49 to day 70 did great..but from day 70 to 84 he has been grab assin around,
I mean from retrieving great to ,hey I'll stop and sniff this and drop the bumper and "here" without the bumper.At times I wanna beat his arse..but I do not...because I'm patient.....and mellow.
Cant wait till those teeth grow in...then his butt is mine..LOL
Still taking it slow.....going to make this work...even if it takes alott of work.Maybe not this season but next season will be great.
You gotta love those web footed dogs..... :laughing:
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