To Force Fetch or Not to Force Fetch?

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To Force Fetch or Not to Force Fetch?

Post by Onk » Sun Sep 27, 2015 7:05 am

My Brit now just plain refuses to retrieve anything. As a pup he would and through his first full year of hunting. He started getting selective when he would retrieve after the first year. I only hunted a few times his second season because of an illness I had that year. He always finds the downed bird but will either stand beside it (if it's dead) or lay down with his legs on it (if it's alive). If someone I am hunting with goes to pick up the bird he will snatch it and bring it to me. He'll be 5 in December, I've never force fetch trained a dog and not really sure if it's the right thing to do. So any advice?
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Re: To Force Fetch or Not to Force Fetch?

Post by gonehuntin' » Sun Sep 27, 2015 7:17 am

Sounds to me like the dog is a natural retriever and just calling your bluff. If it were me that would be an affront to me and I'd ff the dog. Which is why I don't take chances and ff them all from day one anyhow.
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Re: To Force Fetch or Not to Force Fetch?

Post by Dakotazeb » Sun Sep 27, 2015 7:24 am

I'd FF that dog in a heart beat. Nothing worse than a dog that refuses to retrieve. But if you never have done it yourself I would spend the money and have professional do it. Cost will probably be about $600-700 but in the end it will be worth every penny. I've had Brittanys for 20 years and have paid to have a couple FF'd. I tried it myself but found it difficult when I got to the "force" portion of the training.
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Re: To Force Fetch or Not to Force Fetch?

Post by h&t » Sun Sep 27, 2015 8:08 am

how much is it bothering you? Only you can decide if you'd try fixing it, after considering the cost and the risks.
If you do it yourself, you can screw your relationship with the dog forever, esp 5 yo.
Someone you pay to do it can screw it up too. So it'd be important to find a trainer you trust.
Greatest debates of our times....
I'd use jealousy to train fetch - another dog or a person, as you describe.

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Re: To Force Fetch or Not to Force Fetch?

Post by Trekmoor » Sun Sep 27, 2015 10:47 am

h&t wrote: I'd use jealousy to train fetch - another dog or a person, as you describe.
As I don't train force fetch the above would be the first thing I'd try too. If it did not work then I'd either try F.F. or C.T. and I'd try C.T. first of those two as there is less that can go badly wrong when done by an inexperienced trainer.

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Re: To Force Fetch or Not to Force Fetch?

Post by polmaise » Sun Sep 27, 2015 11:54 am

Onk wrote: I've never force fetch trained a dog and not really sure if it's the right thing to do. So any advice?
Usually, when some one thinks or say's 'not really sure' , it can be a call to "bleep"-ure them they are either right for not doing it or wrong for not doing it?

When some one asks after 5 years ,then that there is a 'ding' moment ? ..Shoulda,woulda coulda ?.

Sounds like your main issue is 'Stands over game' ?> rather than retrieve?
FF , (IMO) has nothing to do with either.

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Re: To Force Fetch or Not to Force Fetch?

Post by Higgins » Sun Sep 27, 2015 1:01 pm

Sounds like he may have plenty of natural retrieve. I would test him. I'd send him for a retrieve and when he leaves, so would I, in the opposite direction. Say nothing. What he does next will speak volumes.


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Re: To Force Fetch or Not to Force Fetch?

Post by s223196 » Sun Sep 27, 2015 4:05 pm

what is C.T. ?

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Re: To Force Fetch or Not to Force Fetch?

Post by polmaise » Sun Sep 27, 2015 4:22 pm

Ask the one who posted ;)
Last edited by polmaise on Sun Sep 27, 2015 4:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: To Force Fetch or Not to Force Fetch?

Post by s223196 » Sun Sep 27, 2015 4:28 pm

Trekmoor wrote:
h&t wrote: I'd use jealousy to train fetch - another dog or a person, as you describe.
As I don't train force fetch the above would be the first thing I'd try too. If it did not work then I'd either try F.F. or C.T. and I'd try C.T. first of those two as there is less that can go badly wrong when done by an inexperienced trainer.

Bill T.[/quote
this

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Re: To Force Fetch or Not to Force Fetch?

Post by Trekmoor » Sun Sep 27, 2015 7:04 pm

C.T. = Click /treat. A method in which a clicking device operated by the trainer "marks" the correct/wanted behaviour from the dog and the dog is then at once given a "treat." The treat can be food or just about anything else a particular dog really loves . There is a lot more to it than that but I definitely am not a clicker "expert." It isn't a method I use very much but it can cure some bad retrieve problems if done even at my level of incompetence.

The best thing about the method is that if you make a muck-up of training it, very little or no harm is done . The same cannot be said for a badly messed up F.F.

As I said earlier, I would use other methods first .....if jealousy can be called a method. The dog does seem to have a retrieve instinct but it has been allowed to atrophy or become a bit warped over a period of years.

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Re: To Force Fetch or Not to Force Fetch?

Post by oldbeek » Sun Sep 27, 2015 10:01 pm

I watched some vidios on force fetch, built a table and trained my dog FF after she started not fetching wild birds. Use lots of patience. don't get hard on the dog and you will not screw him up. Work at it day after day until he gives in. My dog fetches perfectly on command and I think we are closer from the experience.

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Re: To Force Fetch or Not to Force Fetch?

Post by gonehuntin' » Mon Sep 28, 2015 4:56 am

oldbeek wrote:I watched some vidios on force fetch, built a table and trained my dog FF after she started not fetching wild birds. Use lots of patience. don't get hard on the dog and you will not screw him up. Work at it day after day until he gives in. My dog fetches perfectly on command and I think we are closer from the experience.


Good observation. There is no stronger bond with a dog than after you have ff'd it.
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Re: To Force Fetch or Not to Force Fetch?

Post by mnaj_springer » Mon Sep 28, 2015 7:23 am

gonehuntin' wrote:
oldbeek wrote:I watched some vidios on force fetch, built a table and trained my dog FF after she started not fetching wild birds. Use lots of patience. don't get hard on the dog and you will not screw him up. Work at it day after day until he gives in. My dog fetches perfectly on command and I think we are closer from the experience.


Good observation. There is no stronger bond with a dog than after you have ff'd it.
I would agree. Dogs need structure and consistency. FF, when done correctly, provides both. Lots of people are intimidated by the process, but in my mind it is training 101: teach the dog your expectations and then enforce (reinforce) the rules. If you are unwilling to do so, your dog will never view you as the leader, and will try become the leader himself.
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Re: To Force Fetch or Not to Force Fetch?

Post by h&t » Mon Sep 28, 2015 8:05 am

WRT clicker (CT), I find it's useful for teach a young dog new things, not so much for changing old habits...

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Re: To Force Fetch or Not to Force Fetch?

Post by Timewise65 » Mon Sep 28, 2015 8:07 am

The worst dogs I have ever hunted with were not Force Fetched! That includes some flushers, some pointers, and some retrievers.....!

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Re: To Force Fetch or Not to Force Fetch?

Post by EvanG » Mon Sep 28, 2015 1:25 pm

gonehuntin' wrote:
oldbeek wrote:I watched some vidios on force fetch, built a table and trained my dog FF after she started not fetching wild birds. Use lots of patience. don't get hard on the dog and you will not screw him up. Work at it day after day until he gives in. My dog fetches perfectly on command and I think we are closer from the experience.


Good observation. There is no stronger bond with a dog than after you have ff'd it.
I completely agree. But then you know that!

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Re: To Force Fetch or Not to Force Fetch?

Post by Soarer31 » Tue Sep 29, 2015 6:50 am

Timewise65 wrote:The worst dogs I have ever hunted with were not Force Fetched! That includes some flushers, some pointers, and some retrievers.....!
Just choked on my coffee...

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Re: To Force Fetch or Not to Force Fetch?

Post by Trekmoor » Tue Sep 29, 2015 7:14 am

:lol: I can't really argue against Timewise's statement because I've never hunted with any dog that had been force fetched.

My only observation is this..... Britain has virtually no F.F. trained gundogs at all including all the F.T.Ch.'s. Timewise's statement could therefor mean that every F.F.'d gundog in America is a better gundog than any British dog. Somehow I doubt if that is true ?

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Re: To Force Fetch or Not to Force Fetch?

Post by cjhills » Tue Sep 29, 2015 8:32 am

Timewise65 wrote:The worst dogs I have ever hunted with were not Force Fetched! That includes some flushers, some pointers, and some retrievers.....!
Had one dog that was force fetched from a well known Midwest kennel. Problem was they had to sell her
because she was scared to death their the trainers. I paid about twice what she was worth to get her out of there. She was a great dog for me and was my foundation female. She did have an awesome retrieve but it was not worth what they did to her.
Could be the worst dog you hunted over were not force fetched but maybe they were just bad dogs....Cj

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Re: To Force Fetch or Not to Force Fetch?

Post by gonehuntin' » Tue Sep 29, 2015 8:58 am

cjhills wrote:
Timewise65 wrote:The worst dogs I have ever hunted with were not Force Fetched! That includes some flushers, some pointers, and some retrievers.....!
Had one dog that was force fetched from a well known Midwest kennel. Problem was they had to sell her
because she was scared to death their the trainers. I paid about twice what she was worth to get her out of there. She was a great dog for me and was my foundation female. She did have an awesome retrieve but it was not worth what they did to her.
Could be the worst dog you hunted over were not force fetched but maybe they were just bad dogs....Cj[/

If a dog is cowed after going through ff, it is a problem with the trainer, not with the principle. A dog can be brutalized at any time during training by a bad trainer. It is not a fault of the program.

Are dog's as happy when ff is completed as when it was started? Absolutely not, but they will be in a week or two, they'll be trained, and the'll have a stronger bond with the trainer than before it started. Dog's don't have to always be happy during training. Some dog's are a-holes just like some people and their attitude is reflected in their training, it is not a reflection OF the training.
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Re: To Force Fetch or Not to Force Fetch?

Post by NEhomer » Tue Sep 29, 2015 9:20 am

To bring up a variant of all of this, my setter's just 10 months old and I've released pigeons and done obedience work. I'm planning on just seeing how this first season goes and then adjusting his training regimen to suit what needs he presents.

In any case, do you all agree that should I need to FF, it should happen perhaps next summer when he's 1 1/2? 10 months is definitely too early, no?

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Re: To Force Fetch or Not to Force Fetch?

Post by gonehuntin' » Tue Sep 29, 2015 11:41 am

Ten months is not to early to start IF he's had a ton of bird contacts. If not, hunt him for a year. A year and a half is actually a great age to ff him.
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Re: To Force Fetch or Not to Force Fetch?

Post by polmaise » Tue Sep 29, 2015 12:03 pm

Timewise65 wrote:The worst dogs I have ever hunted with were not Force Fetched! That includes some flushers, some pointers, and some retrievers.....!
The worst dogs I have ever hunted with were ones that were not trained! That also includes many flusher's,many pointers,and many retrievers.....!

Almost all of them could flush,or Point,or Retrieve! ..But those skills were already in the individual dogs . The rest of the stuff that is required when hunting with us mere humans requires training no matter what camp you follow.

I tend not to hunt with these ones that have no training.

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Re: To Force Fetch or Not to Force Fetch?

Post by NEhomer » Tue Sep 29, 2015 1:01 pm

gonehuntin' wrote:Ten months is not to early to start IF he's had a ton of bird contacts. If not, hunt him for a year. A year and a half is actually a great age to ff him.
That's what I'm thinking. Seems like a dog needs a certain level of maturity so that it doesn't confuse potentially unpleasant stimulation/correction with hunting and birds.

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Re: To Force Fetch or Not to Force Fetch?

Post by gonehuntin' » Tue Sep 29, 2015 2:31 pm

All dog's are different. Some can go through ff at six months, some not. It always seemed to me that the older a dog became (to a point) the easier the accepted ff. They accepted the pressure better and in a more mature manner.
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Re: To Force Fetch or Not to Force Fetch?

Post by polmaise » Tue Sep 29, 2015 4:02 pm

NEhomer wrote: Seems like a dog needs a certain level of maturity so that it doesn't confuse potentially unpleasant stimulation/correction with hunting and birds.
Pretty much ?...But the dog has to know how to and love retrieving first .

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Re: To Force Fetch or Not to Force Fetch?

Post by Soarer31 » Tue Sep 29, 2015 9:58 pm

IMO there is no need to FF PROVIDED you start at "play fetch " with a 8 week old pup

Heck in my early 20 "s had 2 Dobermans , as a party trick I trained them to fetch my smokes, matches and car keys from the dinning room table

Having nothing against FF I used it myself on my latest pointer because I got him at just under 12 months old and he never was given the opportunity to learn to retrieve as a pup from the previous owner

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Re: To Force Fetch or Not to Force Fetch?

Post by skunk » Wed Sep 30, 2015 12:03 pm

I followed Evan Graham's Smart Fetch method on my dog. I found that applying more pressure did not make him comply so I backed off because I didn't want him to start "clamming". Evan mentions this in his video but just says "Don't try to defeat your dog by applying more pressure as that can lead to clamming issues which we won't go into here"... I wasn't sure what to do so I just kept applying an even amount of pressure and made the dog pick up the bumper by forcing his head down to it and pushing the bumper/paint roll into his mouth. We got past that and he knew what he was supposed to do.

From that point it was just more and more practice.

My dog isn't perfect as he will still bite down on the bird too hard but he does not sit and try to eat it like he used to do...

The folks at Perfection Kennel are coming out with a retrieve training DVD "soon" (was supposed to be August 1st but they're still in the final stages of editing). I really like their Perfect Start / Finish DVDs so I'm excited about their retrieve training and I plan to buy that to see if I can use that to clean up some of my dog's issues. In their other training methods, they apply as little pressure as possible to the dogs and they show multiple dogs going through the various broken down steps of training so I expect the same very thorough work out of this DVD. Hopefully they finish it soon but if you're worried about the force aspect, I suspect their methods may be better for you. (I'm just guessing here based on their other videos since it isn't out yet, obviously)
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Re: To Force Fetch or Not to Force Fetch?

Post by polmaise » Wed Sep 30, 2015 3:16 pm

skunk wrote: My dog isn't perfect as he will still bite down on the bird too hard but he does not sit and try to eat it like he used to do...
Enlighten me ?> What part of this was to do with FF that Evan or anyone of repute advocated in the process.

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Re: To Force Fetch or Not to Force Fetch?

Post by gonehuntin' » Wed Sep 30, 2015 4:24 pm

From my aspect, an important aspect of ff is that it controls movement of the jaws and teaches a dog to keep his head up. Works with some hard mouth dog's, not others. I don't believe there's a trainer in the world that can cure a truly hard mouth dog. Nor a system, other than a bullet to the head.
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Re: To Force Fetch or Not to Force Fetch?

Post by Trekmoor » Thu Oct 01, 2015 3:52 am

I have read several times now that teaching an F.F.'d retrieve can cure hard mouth. I wouldn't know since I don't teach F.F., I have heard or read of other "cures" too but I don't think there is a dead cert cure.....other than a bullet to the head.

Hard mouth seems to come in too many different forms for any one training method that can cure all of them. There are dogs that only bite down on the first bird they get during a hunt. There are dogs that only bite down on strong runners. There are dogs that bite down hard enough to squeeze a birds guts out and there are dogs that don't appear to be putting any pressure on birds but whose birds have their ribs caved in just the same !
I cannot see F.F. being any more successful than any other method for curing any and all of the several variations of hard mouth.

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Re: To Force Fetch or Not to Force Fetch?

Post by gonehuntin' » Thu Oct 01, 2015 5:10 am

I would agree with that Bill. To me, I don't consider a dog killing a bird a fault, as long as the bird is still fit for the table.
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Re: To Force Fetch or Not to Force Fetch?

Post by Timewise65 » Thu Oct 01, 2015 9:56 am

I can see that many are confused or have information that is inconsistent with most FF training. Since a couple of you have mentioned Evan Graham, I will quote from his SMARTWORKS for Retrievers, Volume one, Basics and Transition, Chapter 6, page 47

"Force Fetching -- This is the core of the system"

"Force fetching is not an option to use when a mouth problem has come up. It is a fundamental component of this system. Regardless of how maniacal your dog is for birds, this procedure is a must. It will ensure the proper delivery of birds to hand. And is the nucleus of active momentum by way of providing a positive mechanism of compulsion."


Over my lifetime I have seen many field dogs who are either hard mouthed and/or do not deliver to hand! Most of the time I was able to confirm that these dogs were not FF. I also have hunted with some fine dogs that are soft mouthed and do deliver to hand that were not FF. So I know in some cases it can be done, but I believe it take a very experienced trainer to first recognize the dog as a dog that does not need to be FF, and secondarily being able to provide alternate training techniques to accomplish the desired outcome on that particular dog.

In general, properly done, FF will dramatically increase the odds of having a dog that will deliver to hand and be soft mouthed.

And of course, these dogs must also be thoroughly trained gun dogs in obedience and basic field training....that goes without saying!

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Re: To Force Fetch or Not to Force Fetch?

Post by skunk » Thu Oct 01, 2015 12:15 pm

polmaise wrote:
skunk wrote: My dog isn't perfect as he will still bite down on the bird too hard but he does not sit and try to eat it like he used to do...
Enlighten me ?> What part of this was to do with FF that Evan or anyone of repute advocated in the process.
I'm not sure I understand what you're asking or getting at. Before I force fetched my dog, he would try to keep the bird for himself. Now that I have taken him through the process, he doesn't do that as he must bring the bird back to me. The problem I still have is he will still bite down hard on the bird when he does pick it up.

I don't want to make this post about my dog so I'll leave it at that.

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Re: To Force Fetch or Not to Force Fetch?

Post by polmaise » Thu Oct 01, 2015 3:10 pm

Timewise65 wrote: And of course, these dogs must also be thoroughly trained gun dogs in obedience and basic field training....that goes without saying!
I'll leave it here 'Skunk' . 8)

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Re: To Force Fetch or Not to Force Fetch?

Post by Soarer31 » Thu Oct 01, 2015 10:02 pm

the only ones I know that can cure "hard mouth" are the breeders

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Re: To Force Fetch or Not to Force Fetch?

Post by BellaSpinone » Fri Oct 02, 2015 5:57 am

Did you teach your dog to sit? Come on command? If your expectation is a reliable retrieve then it needs to be taught. The use force or some other method, that is your choice and somewhat depends on the dog's temperament. I follow SmartFetch program for my Spinoni. Not a fan of the wording "force fetch". We don't say force sit, force recall. I prefer to think of it as trained retrieve.

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Re: To Force Fetch or Not to Force Fetch?

Post by gonehuntin' » Fri Oct 02, 2015 7:11 am

BellaSpinone wrote:Did you teach your dog to sit? Come on command? If your expectation is a reliable retrieve then it needs to be taught. The use force or some other method, that is your choice and somewhat depends on the dog's temperament. I follow SmartFetch program for my Spinoni. Not a fan of the wording "force fetch". We don't say force sit, force recall. I prefer to think of it as trained retrieve.
You can prefer that term, but when a dog quits retrieving, you force it to. For the amateur, your method is fine. Most pro's today still FORCE the dog to retrieve.
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