Every bad piece of training advice I have received started with "You have to do this". No you don't. If you are not comfortable with it, then don't do it. You are more likely to screw something up going into it half hearted. Do some reading on it and decide what is best for your dog and what you are comfortable with. There have been many good dogs trained with and without FF.
I am by far a rookie in the dog training world and I have a dog "solely" for hunting also, as if thats a bad thing? We are not going to convince you to do something you dont want or like. I will say this my dog is a pet at home, a companion in the field and an employee on the retrieve. I didnt get all dressed up for nothing. If theres a bird off in the distance, deep in the tules or across the pond he better retrieve it. From my hunting perspective I can go in the field knowing that if he can mark or I can cast him to it it will be retrieved. FF gives you all that. Done correctly it will only improve a good thing. You wont have to worry about the "what if's." when you say fetch they fetch and understand the correction if they dont.
"Do I have to force fetch?" One of the most commonly asked questions around the net, and it ignores reality. I understand the asking of it because FF remains a mystery for many new trainers. But you don't have to force fetch, or do any other training unless you have performance goals for your dog. The higher those goals, the more training is required in order to fairly expect reliable performance in the field. The lower/simpler your goals and expectations you may have for your dog, the less/simpler are the training needs, at least in theory.
It's as if trainers want to take a dog to hunt, having done as little training as they can get away with. I struggle to relate to that notion because I've found training to be fun and interesting for over 35 years. I've also found that my gundogs were more fun to hunt with when they're better trained. A well FF'd retriever tends to be more stable and reliable when the demands of hunting are higher. They're less distracted, and are less apt to create problems through fundamental failures. That is because FF is a pressure conditioning process. For those who may still have questions about whether or not FF has adequate value to pursue, this should spawn questions. What often happens instead of probing, intelligent questions about it are presumptions about, and condemnation of a very helpful and beneficial skill set. Do it. Don't do it. It's up to you. But do yourself a favor and at least learn about it.
I hung on every word of this but believe that the bold may be the most profound statement I have ever heard about the subject. That's going in my playbook. Good post.
Originally Posted by Evan
Evan you post needs a "like" button next to it.
Yes, Evans comments need a like button, his accomplishments speak for them self. That being said I am sure that all of his accomplishments have been done by using FF as a foundation. IMO FF is as big a part of a dogs foundation as sit and leads to a overall sound dog. My dog is a hunting dog, 60 days a year, the working dog in the field in a hunting situation is as tough on a dog mentally and physically as any "game". My dog runs a few HT's a year but he is a companion and a hunting dog. The first time in the field with a dog that hasn't seen a FF program and a big Canada goes down you will see why FF is so important. It's not natural for a dog to pick up a 16 pound flapping feathered creature. I believe everything I have typed leads to this, IMO FF is vital to a sound hunting companion.
For someone whos' been on both sides of training methods, I'll never, never, never understand the arguements between them.
Have got nuthin' but respect for our friends across the pond who train "traditionally", and nuthin' but respect for those that compete using "traditional" American Retriever Training methods.
Have never had to Force a dog to do anything.
But sooner or later ya' have to change the "want tos'" into have tos'", even with a dog that's not been Collar trained, that is, unless it doesn't matter to you whether or not the dog dinks ya' whenever it feels like it ;)
Eventually the time will come when you need the dog to do something- but it doesn't want to. And that's the time that arrives when you have to force the dog to complete a task whether you've got a collar on it or not.
And for those who argue against FF' yet, take their dog by the collar and drag, run, walk, the dog back to a spot where it didn't SIT when commanded to, I firmly believe you're still forcing the dog to do something, whether ya' want to believe that or not-- It's just a different way of applying pressure.
If your goals in the end for a dog are as such that you don't need to FF, or you don't believe in FF',..then great!
the way I see it-
You don't have to Force Train just like ya' don't have to Non Force Train.
Depends on your goals!