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I've been reading alot on this site about force fetch and I understand what it is.

My question is...is FF needed in every dog no matter what? What are the signs that the dog needs or doesn't need FF training?

Dutch
 

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You teach your dog Great mouthing habits
Provides you with a tool to maintain Great mouthing habits
Provides the trainer with a tool to maintain and assure compliance with the retrieve command.
Forms the foundation of momentum.
Teaches the dog to turn on and off pressure..
 

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It depends on a couple of things, how far do you want to take your dog (training wise) and how good your dogs natural instincts are. If you have HT or feild trial assperations FF is a must in my opinion because it teaches a dog how to deal with pressure that is needed for high level training. Some dogs are born with good mouths and excellent retrieving desire, they will do just fine without force fetch if your just looking for a meat dog. A FF'ed dog is going to retrieve to hand everytime, not just when it wants to. My first few dogs were not FF, they were good dogs but there were times that I'd have to jump out of the boat to grab a duck that they dropped and they never were able to handle the way my current dogs do that have been FF. FF and collar conditioning are tools you need for advanced feild work.
 

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Dutch - GHD laid out the reasons very well. CDK gave you both sides of the equation from experience.

I'll just add that having the dog FF will resolve huge amounts of training time you'll incur if you don't FF the dog. The pressure issues, the mouthing issues and frankly many OB issues are significantly addressed in the FF process. Same with Hold.

But it's a decision like the e-collar. It's not a matter of which dogs need it, it's a matter of how well you want your dog to perform in the precious hunting and training time we have available to us.

If I was retired and had trained lots of dogs in my lifetime it would be a nice project to go Amish and teach Conditioned hold. But I don't have the time and experience to do that. Nor do I want a sloppy dog in the time we do have afield together. :yes:
 

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I have had this same question brewing in my head for some time now also. And not going against what was said, but can a dog not be trained to be just as good without FF? Has FF been around for decades or were dogs trained differently in the past? I understand the theory behind what FF teaches your dog, but like I said have dogs not been trained differently in the past, and if they were trained differently were they any worse than dogs of now? Im just really interested in FF and the aspects of it, just also want to know if there is a different way to go about it and attain around the same results. Is it basically everyones same perception that FF is what will work best? I just want my dog to be the best he can be and I don't want to slack on any aspect of his training. I really wish I had a hunting dog trainer out here in las vegas but all we got are Sit Means Sit and Sin City Trainers which teach your dog to sit,stay,come(which I have already attained)and a few other OB aspects(which I would rather work on myself than have to pay someone). I don't have a ton of cash to spend on training manuals and dvds and all the good stuff that I keep hearing about. But I am up for suggestions on a good single book to buy to help in all aspects of training. Any help would be great and I am sorry for hijacking this thread!
 

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DuckZilla wrote:

Has FF been around for decades or were dogs trained differently in the past? I understand the theory behind what FF teaches your dog, but like I said have dogs not been trained differently in the past, and if they were trained differently were they any worse than dogs of now?

DuckZilla I saw this on another site and I hope it helps answers your question.

I did not write this it was written By. J. Paul Jackson of Lone Oak Retrievers

(The Sanborn Method

Strange as it may sound, the origins of force-breaking a dog to retrieve actually began with a pointing dog trainer over 100 years ago. According to noted retriever training author James B. Spencer, a pointing dog trainer named David Sanborn developed force-breaking in the 1880s to get his pointers to deliver to hand.
Back in the late 19th century, when Mr. Sanborn invented force-breaking, most dog trainers also worked with horses, and the terminology applied to horses often carried over to the dogs, too. Since training a horse was referred to as "breaking" the horse, it only seemed natural that training a dog would be referred to as "breaking" the dog. Thus, when Mr. Sanborn started forcing his pointers to retrieve, he called it "force-breaking" the dog.
Because pointing dog owners have always been concerned about style in their dogs, Sanborn's approach to force-breaking was slow, methodical and gentle. It involves only applying the amount of pressure necessary to get a response, and it utilizes a great deal of praise. Sanborn began by teaching his dogs to hold a wooden dowel or "buck". He would then teach the dog to "fetch" the buck by pinching its toes with a string. Later, he would replace the toe pinch with a pinch of the dog's ear on the ground. By the time the process was finished he could send his dog after a dead bird on the ground, which the dog would retrieve and deliver to hand.
While all modern force fetch techniques derive from Mr. Sanborn's method in one way or another, many no longer resemble it at all. In an effort to show fast results (or just get it over quickly) many pros have adopted what I call the "Hell Week" approach to force fetching a dog. This technique involves a great deal of pressure in a short amount of time. While it can be fast and effective, it is anything but gentle and can rob a dog of style. Perhaps more importantly, a Hell Week approach just will not work for some dogs.
I personally believe that Sanborn's way is still best after almost 125 years. It is not as fast as the Hell Week approach, but when used correctly it will work with almost any dog that has a desire to retrieve. The only two requirements are that the dog has its permanent teeth, and that it be fully obedience trained prior to beginning force-breaking.)

Now, back to your question. Force-fetch is a process that includes 'forced-hold'. There are some trainers that think that teaching the dog the 'hold' command is enough. As a matter of fact, in his classic training manual written just after WWII, Charles Morgan totally slams "force-breaking". However, in the same book he tells his readers that all dogs should be taught the 'hold' command. I guess he did not realize that this was part of 'force-breaking'.

Today almost all trainers utilize a comprehensive force-breaking program that begins with 'hold' and continues through advanced blind training. I believe that really good trainiers approach it exactly as JT described and do not rush the process. However, they do emphasize that 'FETCH' means fetch, not just hold.

Hope this helps.

Respectfully,

J. Paul Jackson
Lone Oak Retrievers
 

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An answer to your original question:

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.

From SmartFetch pages 6 - 10

EvanG
 

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Wow even from so small a taste of the book I am starting to understand the value of FF. Where do i order this book?
 

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I have a big problem with the usage of force fetch because if a dog is trained to FF right from the start then you dont know if that dog has retrieve instinct. Alot of People will train ff to a dog with little to no retrieve instinct and get a few field trials under a dog then stud it out so they can sell pups as field trial bloodlines etc. Thereby you end up with pups with bad genes/little to no instinct. I have always trained my dogs natural retrieve and dont have any problems getting them to retrieve to hand. The way i train they hold the bird till i give them the command to give it to me. I didnt start out training retrievers tho i originally trained springers for upland. I have trained FF a few times in my opinion i just dont like the process.
 

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v4p0ro0o said:
I have a big problem with the usage of force fetch because if a dog is trained to FF right from the start then you dont know if that dog has retrieve instinct. Alot of People will train ff to a dog with little to no retrieve instinct and get a few field trials under a dog then stud it out so they can sell pups as field trial bloodlines etc. Thereby you end up with pups with bad genes/little to no instinct. I have always trained my dogs natural retrieve and dont have any problems getting them to retrieve to hand. The way i train they hold the bird till i give them the command to give it to me. I didnt start out training retrievers tho i originally trained springers for upland. I have trained FF a few times in my opinion i just dont like the process.
Interesting perspetive and not challenging your experience but I have not see this at the Field Trial level. Drive or 'lack thereof' isn't gonna win any ribbons by which a breeder can claim lines. I would think titles and pedigree would sell dogs. I can't imagine the dog you describe even getting through a SH on the Hunt Test side.

Good reason to look at pedigrees when understanding what you're buying cause afterall - that IS what you're buying.

That said - I don't see FF used as a means to fix weak dogs. The benefits have been pretty clearly outlined in previous posts.
 

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I dont know if it would be "good" but it would do the job. Hell given the right training you could train any type of dog to "retrieve" but the cold would kill or seriously injure alot of other breeds. When i first started duck hunting During the early part of the season when it was still warm i would use my upland dog (springer Spaniel) to retrieve ducks.
 

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Dutch152 said:
So...in reference to what v4p0ro0o says, can you take a run of the mill retriever and turn it into a good hunting dog?
Hey Dutch - regarding run-of-the-mill retrievers being good I would have to say 'maybe' but define 'good'.

Relative to what v4p0ro0o said...I am not sure what he's trying to say. It's pretty easy to tell what a retrievers natural drive is with or without FF. The better bred the dog - the more likely the drive is there. FF isn't for creating desire to retrieve.
 

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I mean that FF makes a dog retrieve whether it has the desire to or not. Instead of the bred in retrieving instinct they are conditioned to retrieve. You can FF train a beagle if you were so inclined. Just because it is FF trained and will go get a bird on command has nothing to do with whether it will be a good duck dog.
 
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