Force Fetch Commands

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FLocker
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Force Fetch Commands

Post by FLocker » Tue May 11, 2010 7:22 pm

I am in ther early stages of doing a force hold and force fetch program for my flushing dog. I am following the program detailed in Pam Kedlac's book, "Retriever training for Spaniels". The book recommends starting with an all positive hold course on the bench using dowels and treats.

So far, my 1 yr old dog is holding a dowel pretty consistently for 30 seconds to a minute and releasing on the "drop" command. She has had about ten 2 minute sessions. she gets a treat when she holds until i say drop, and gets an "ahh!" and another dowel when she spits it out early.

My question is what command to give when i first hand her the dowel. Do i say "hold" as i have been doing, or "fetch"even though i am putting the dowel right at her nose, or something else, or nothing? Eventually, I will have her to go and pick up various objects from increasing distances, and i'll add pressure, once she is holding and dropping reliably.

To further confuse the issue, "back!" is currently her command to retrieve a marked dummy or bird. So after a FF program, will it be "fetch" and "drop"?

am i missing somthing re: how it will all fit together?

Thanks in advance for any and all thougts!

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crackerd
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Re: Force Fetch Commands

Post by crackerd » Wed May 12, 2010 3:04 am

If you're following a "method," it should cover everything from stem to stern insofar as force fetch. Don't think what you've referenced is encompassing enough, especially given its subtitle is something like "How to do it with stubborn but soft dogs."

There are many ways to force fetch and many ways to train a dog as a retriever. Get them in sync to optimize the dog's learning capabilities and you've got a "program." What you're doing seems to be programming a dog in several different directions.

Hold is taught/conditioned after the dog accepts the dowel, which it will do readily. There is no pressure involved because most likely the dog wants something in its mouth. Once the dowel's in the dog's mouth, you repeat "Hold...hold..." Not harshly just repetitively. Then "Drop" or "Out" when you take the dowel from the dog. Eventually, the command is "Fetch!" which is given simultaneously with the ear pinch to get the dog to open its mouth and take the dowel. Opening its mouth on the ear pinch is different than but 95 percent the same as opening its mouth willingly for a dowel or paint roller. You've "forced" the dog's mouth open by applying an ear pinch and then a sequence follows where the dog learns that it can shut off pressure (ear pinch) by having something in its mouth.

But you're getting ahead of yourself, especially with use of "Back!" That's the command for dogs on a blind retrieve, not for a mark. A mark is a bird that the dog sees fall from the sky, and the dog's not commanded to retrieve, it's released--on its name. "Released" because it's a gundog that loves to retrieve in the first place and doesn't have to be commanded to do it.

As for "Fetch!" as a command, it goes away altogether not long after force fetch because--if you're training the dog as a retriever (as a handling retriever, which means it will run blind retrieves and handle on them)--the command that the dog abides by ever after is "Back!" And thereafter "Back!" is pretty much the only command given next to "Sit" (Hup! for spaniels) and the various casts the dog will have learned through imparting a retriever program to it.

But be advised if you're trying to mix and match commands and ideas, or not following a comprehensive program, the imparting will be a lot more painful and frustrating--for both you and the dog.

MG

FLocker
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Re: Force Fetch Commands

Post by FLocker » Wed May 12, 2010 12:14 pm

Crackered, I really appreciate your input, especially when it comes to spaniels.

Your are correct, "back" had been the word i gave to release her to go get a marked fall. I havent really done blinds/hunt dead at all yet. I have stopped dummy tosses and retrieves since I put her on the table a few days ago.

It seems that the method Kedlac lays out is fairly detailed, and i chose it because it was spaniel specific, but i have nothing to compare it to. I have been following it closely so far. It is good to know that the bench commands will eventually go away.

I guess i do need a more detailed set of instructions, because i am having trouble understanding how force fetching a dog on a bench with one set of commands will lead to a dog that will not drop a bird, if for example, another shot bird should hit the ground near her while she is retrieving. (without me having to yell "hold, hold" at her as she returns).

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crackerd
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Re: Force Fetch Commands

Post by crackerd » Wed May 12, 2010 3:27 pm

FLocker wrote:I guess i do need a more detailed set of instructions, because i am having trouble understanding how force fetching a dog on a bench with one set of commands will lead to a dog that will not drop a bird, if for example, another shot bird should hit the ground near her while she is retrieving. (without me having to yell "hold, hold" at her as she returns).
FLock, let me know what you're training for--spaniel hunt test, spaniel field trial, retriever tests, or all of the aforementioned--and we'll walk through and address your concerns above.

But I can say straight out, what you're worried about (and you needn't be, at all) is really irrespective force fetch and down to obedience. And training.

MG

FLocker
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Re: Force Fetch Commands

Post by FLocker » Fri May 14, 2010 9:07 am

Thanks Crackered,

my goal is to have a spaniel that will work similar to a non-slip retriever. Spending most of the days hunt at (or near) heel, and flushing on command birds pointed by steady bird dogs. The retrieve is also critical as well, obviously.

She is coming along great, just displaying some occasional foolishness (dropping birds) and posessiveness when retrieving shot quail.

I realize now that the "hold" I've taught her is a trick, so to speak, and unrelated to a real FF program.

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crackerd
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Re: Force Fetch Commands

Post by crackerd » Fri May 14, 2010 9:58 am

FLock, if you're training your spaniel like a nonslip retriever, you've got to think like a retriever trainer. Ask Evan Graham if the hold is "a trick" in a real force fetch program--in retriever thinking it's actually the original work order for forcing a dog, a big thing to have down going in. And for some of us, who might not go heavy on the pressure, the hold is 90% of getting through FF itself.

Bluntly, I would drop the book you're working with and get Evan's SmartFetch to follow, especially since you've already got the hold out of the way. Evan, and I think I can speak for him, also will address any of your questions or stumbling blocks personally--which is a boon to anybody forcing for the first time or doing it a new way.

The steady to flush spaniel business will almost take care of itself if you follow a retriever program for obedience, because "sit means sit" and that includes when a gundog whether retriever or spaniel puts up a bird. Doing it the retriever way with my spaniels meant they've all been steady at 6 months because steadiness is all obedience. Which is what retriever training springs from, and spaniel training can too.

By the way, what spaniel breed are you working with?--would've thought a Boykin but I also hear the fbcockers are getting mighty popular on the quail wagons.

MG

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