Maya, my 1 1/2 year old chocolate female is the first lab I've ever owned, and I'm training her using Fowl Dogs. I was slow to get started with her structured training last summer, so just made it through obedience by the time hunting season came along. She's always loved marked retrieves in the backyard, so we did a lot of those over the winter, when it wasn't 20 below here. She'll retrieve marks until the cows come home.
Once the weather finally broke I started up with hold training. Took my time with it to make sure she had a really solid hold, taking about 3 weeks. Started the forced fetch two days ago and it's going so well I'm not really getting to do an ear pinch. Got the ear ready to pinch, hold the bumper a foot in front of her while she's on the standing table, and as soon as I tell her fetch she grabs it. The second day went just the same way, pinches not needed, even when moving to fetch off the ground. Today we did walking fetch in the yard and she's all over it. Never a refusal, taking off like a bat out of hell as soon as I utter the word.
While I'm ecstatic that this appears to be going so well, is it going to come back and bite me in the rear end that I haven't had to actually 'force' her to fetch?