I think being that you re new to this,,you need to play it safe. You don.t have the insight yet to understand what Julie was saying to you. Most pro's keep the dogs on the truck while working thus the dogs are kenneled and ready to go again when it their turn.,, ,but I almost always do marks with ff. They are 2 different contexts and as long as you keep it that way the dog won't get sour in the field. Most people try to ff their dog in the field while still in the process of ff. Thats where the sourness comes from. If you let the dog drop birds in front of you and don;t make a stink about it,,,it is actually theroputic for the dog. ( The marking that is ) And the dog will not put the 2 events together. Once the dog is past forced to pile you cn strt to gently enforce it in the field and the transition goes without a glitch. wHEN TRANSITIONING TO FIELD YOU THROW HAND HELD BUMPERS FIRST before using gunners so nothing bad can erupt. Typo not yelling,,,,The marking helps pick the dog up and helps keep a good attitude which is essential for proper learning,,,Okay I am still relatively new and again agree to get a trainer that is willing TO SHOW YOU (since it is of no benefit to just have them do it for you as you will always have to send the dog out) the FF process and identify a trouble spot.
However, reading some of the above posts I am somewhat alarmed: no retrieves during FF and worst no free time except to go to the bathroom, FF, and eat WOW!!
My dog would have found a new owner if I did that. That seems like a prison sentence instead of a integral building block in a training program that allows the dog to do a fun activity but under control and in the face of pressure.
They remind me of the coach that would scream at players and make them run wind sprints till they puke (I had a few). They may get short term results but you suck all the fun out of something that at its core should be fun. Worse you are at high risk to kill the dog's spirit.
This is exactly why I FF my own dog. I know when to push and when not to. When to lay off and when to press. The result, a FF dog that is insane about retrieving, and even better relationship between the two of us (since I was in it with them), and not a single purposeful drop since.
Also try getting rid of obedience during retrieving for while. May be your expecting him to be to obedient to often and in the wrong situation thus squelching his drive.