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In my opinion the "goal" of FF is to condition the dog to managing pressure with a trained response. At least that's how I approach it.
I don't understand either why one wouldn't use birds in this process, at the very least as an introduction of game to the dog. The OP would have saved themselves and their dog stress had the dog been FF'd with birds in first place, even if it appeared unnecessary, before they ever got to the field where it is more difficult to manage a problem, no matter how unlikely, should it present.
 

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I suspect the OP doesn't know about FF. Based on the lack of information provided he probably isn't following an established force based training program.
To OP: are you following a training program? Or maybe Richard Wolters book? Other trainers will help if you will share your location. Why the secret?
FF is an extended process that includes walking ff. At the last stage of this process I drop a couple of ducks into the circle of bumpers and Dokken.
 
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No one likes FF and there is definitely more than one opinion on what constitutes force fetch, but the goal of every approach is to get a dog accustomed to performing a command even when they would rather not, or getting them so crazy / conditioned, that they can’t help but do it. I prefer the latter approach.
Force Fetch does not have to be brutal or torturous IMO. At least not with any dog worth having. Just like training any other concept, use just enough pressure to get the desired response.
 

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Reread what u posted. It makes zero sense…..”Don’t Force Fetch a dog and cause stress” ……”Yes, I Force Fetch, but not on birds” Huh???!!
Because you took my words out of context and completely misquoted me. As I mentioned, all my dogs happily pick up ducks and other birds they will see in the field, long before they are put through FF. I think pressure is unnecessary in the OP's situation or in most situation where a dog lacks exposure/confidence/experience/training. I think usually more exposure and proper training in incremental steps would suffice.

FF is NOT about retrieving, believe it or not.

Force fetch is about teaching a dog how to get out of a pressure situation - about work ethic, and perseverance through pressure. There are probably 5000 threads on RTF alone that discuss the reasons for FF, if you're inclined to go searching, they make for some interesting reading. Yes, a dog learns to pick up, carry, and deliver an item with momentu, when FF is done correctly, and that is certainly one benefit that a person could take to the bank on any number of occasions.

What is better for a dog? To have someone yelling and yelling and yelling at it to 'fetch it up, 'get the duck' and having the duck shoved in the dog's mouth in a failed attempt to make the dog understand the request... OR to actually teach the dog in a logical manner, which gives the dog tools for continued training at higher levels and in more challenging situations. Sit means sit, fetch means fetch.

I am certain there are people here that know the history of FF better than I, but I am fairly certain the many benefits of FF were not discovered until some time after it was used to teach a that 'fetching' was better than a toe hitch or ear pinch. Dogs do things to for their own sake, not for ours. They do what we ask for THEIR benefit. Whether that is because they don't like pressure - mental or physical - (in any degree) or they like food, or they like verbal praise, or they like physical praise. Pressure can be mental when it comes to a dog working for reward too.

Anyway. walking fetch is basically a proof of the fetch command, so I don't really believe it is the training of the command itself. I use ducks (like many do) - but normally for me I use them in the later stage of walking fetch. I don't force on them because there is no need... exception might be if I put a really stinky duck out there that the dog doesn't like. When I do walking fetch the first few times is not unlike regular FF training where pressure may occur or it may not, or with refusal, of course. Ducks are handy for encouraging a refusal on a bumper. I have not had a dog, yet, that refused to pick up a duck at this juncture of it's training. What is more likely to happen (in my experience), is that the dog will be asked to retrieve a bumper, but instead tries to forge ahead to the bird he sees lying on the ground 15 feet away.
 

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Retrievers often learn in spite of the trainer. Many years ago on a hunting trip to North Dakota, I was with a large group. Since I trained and hunted alone most of the time, doing this trip was different. One day we arrived at a large slough. As we drove in, there was a small body of water that caught my eye and I asked them to drop me off there and go on to the spot they had hunted in previous years.

The area was perfect for one hunter. As Daisy and I settle into the cover, I notice a duck far upstream that was swimming around the shoreline and getting closer and closer (not very fast). Eventually, I gave up waiting and did a sneak up the tall cover of the shoreline. Daisy was left back at the "blind". When I stood up the duck jumped and I shot.....down went my very first mature, male Canvasback. What a thrill! :cool:

Soon we were back to the hide. Not long after that, another duck seemed to be taking its time swimming closer and closer. For quite awhile it was not visible. Then it came suddenly into view. I jumped up out of our small blind....shot and down it went. The tall shoreline cover had blocked a clear view and I could not tell what it was exactly.....another Can?

Anyway....Daisy was quick to the fall and refused to grab the duck. I insisted....several times and finally decided a correction was needed (more than one actually). She stayed in one spot treading water while looking back at me and then back at the duck. By then, I decided, "You will bring that duck back!" From her reaction, the order was understood. She grabbed the duck, swam back to me (quite fast), ran out of the water, spit down (at my feet) what she had retrieved (it was a coot), ran past me to our blind and came running back with the Can, tossed it at my feet and looked up with an expression that said, "This............is a duck!!!" :p
 

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Force Fetch does not have to be brutal or torturous IMO. At least not with any dog worth having. Just like training any other concept, use just enough pressure to get the desired response.
I agree, FF does not have to be brutal or torturous, and in fact it shouldn't be at all.
Your last comment is interesting though, "...use just enough pressure to get the desired response".
I'm sure you've noticed there are instances where "just enough" in the yard is not just enough in the field sometimes?
Ever experience a scenario or seen one where the pressure is adjusted to a level the dog is not accustomed to in the field, (having had just enough in the yard), with far less than desirable results?
 

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Maybe we're being trolled.
 
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I'm sure you've noticed there are instances where "just enough" in the yard is not just enough in the field sometimes?
Of coarse, many more factors, variables and distractions in the field as well as a more exciting scenario overall. You can teach steadiness, sit to shot/flush every day. The first time your pup kicks up a wild rooster and you drop it 25 yards away the odds your pup keeps his butt on the ground are about a million to one. Be ready, it is a great training opportunity.
 
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I decided to reveal what happened to Daisy after her initial, negative reaction to a coot.
There were times at duck camp on the Mississippi River when it was slow. However,
the bay on which my trailer was parked always had a large number of coots. Some
of the older hunters referred to them as a "flying gizzard with wings".

Once you get past the smell of what is left of a coot without a gizzard and grill a few, there
is a good reason to go on a coot shoot once in awhile. Daisy got over her attitude about
something that is not a duck (apparently) and liked the idea of retrieving a bunch every so
often. When the duck flights were slow.....there was an alternative. :cool:

Those that were at camp regularly were evidently unable to shake the group think that
coots were a foul fowl...actually, they are a rail with a huge, tasty gizzard. :geek:

 

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Of coarse, many more factors, variables and distractions in the field as well as a more exciting scenario overall. You can teach steadiness, sit to shot/flush every day. The first time your pup kicks up a wild rooster and you drop it 25 yards away the odds your pup keeps his butt on the ground are about a million to one. Be ready, it is a great training opportunity.
So given that it's likely we've all experienced this, would it warrant training/conditioning the desired response by working towards the use of more pressure than "just enough" during the basics/transition? That said it seems that most do not understand the proper application of pressure, collar or otherwise and may never develop the timing skill essential to putting such application to use, which would be a pretty big deterrent.
 

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So given that it's likely we've all experienced this, would it warrant training/conditioning the desired response by working towards the use of more pressure than "just enough" during the basics/transition?
IMO no, use the amount of pressure needed for the current situation. In a field situations with many distractions and a more exciting atmosphere, I think a little higher collar pressure feels the same to many dogs as a lower setting in yard training.
Proper use of pressure is something we all strive for. To little, too much, poor timing, should have or shouldn't have, misreading the dogs intent........... I just try learn from rather than repeat mistakes.
 

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Your last comment is interesting though, "...use just enough pressure to get the desired response".
I'd like to take credit but I'm pretty sure it has been said before.:)
 

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You don't force fetch your dogs?
She is saying it's not necessary to FF them to solve this problem.
. Having done hundreds of dogs like this all that is required 95 percent of the time is playing a game of tug ( if done correctly) or just teasing the dog with the duck then finally letting him have it. That's usually all it takes. Dogs often snub their noses at ducks when first introduced at that older age. Young pups almost never snub their noses at them. Thats my experience with this problem anyway.
Pete
 

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She is saying it's not necessary to FF them to solve this problem.
. Having done hundreds of dogs like this all that is required 95 percent of the time is playing a game of tug ( if done correctly) or just teasing the dog with the duck then finally letting him have it. That's usually all it takes. Dogs often snub their noses at ducks when first introduced at that older age. Young pups almost never snub their noses at them. Thats my experience with this problem anyway.
Pete
It so funny that you mention tug, Pete. Have a 4 month old that, a few weeks ago, was uncertain about carrying dead birds. I used a form of tug with her... just not from the human component LOL... took my male (Toby) who is the gentlest dog there is and threw a bird for him in the yard, letting Eve chase him. Of course she wanted what he had, and grabbed onto the head of the duck, happily running along beside him. He will give up anything else to the other dogs, but he does like birds a bit more LOL! (I would NOT suggest this unless you know the adult dog in question is not going to be a piss ant with a puppy trying to take the bird). Couple repetitions and then a couple of throws for Eve while Toby had to sit and watch....One session, problem solved.
 

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She is saying it's not necessary to FF them to solve this problem.
. Having done hundreds of dogs like this all that is required 95 percent of the time is playing a game of tug ( if done correctly) or just teasing the dog with the duck then finally letting him have it. That's usually all it takes. Dogs often snub their noses at ducks when first introduced at that older age. Young pups almost never snub their noses at them. Thats my experience with this problem anyway.

Pete
Pete, God bless you, man.

Ducks or anything else they can get in their gob (that a pup would have a hard time eatin' but not carryin', and your carryin' on about bigtime letting them know how great they are) - 7 weeks

Sky Dog Cloud Working animal Dog breed

Sky Cloud Plant Dog Natural landscape


I'd no sooner force a retriever on birds than I would force them, or need to force them, on filet mignon...

MG
 

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It so funny that you mention tug, Pete. Have a 4 month old that, a few weeks ago, was uncertain about carrying dead birds. I used a form of tug with her... just not from the human component LOL... took my male (Toby) who is the gentlest dog there is and threw a bird for him in the yard, letting Eve chase him. Of course she wanted what he had, and grabbed onto the head of the duck, happily running along beside him. He will give up anything else to the other dogs, but he does like birds a bit more LOL! (I would NOT suggest this unless you know the adult dog in question is not going to be a piss ant with a puppy trying to take the bird). Couple repetitions and then a couple of throws for Eve while Toby had to sit and watch....One session, problem solved.
Yep, it just doesn't take much to get them going. Early intro is a big key ,whether it's picking up ducks or swimming. 1 year old dogs that come in to the kennel which haven't been in the water either don't want to get in or if they do they can't swim. Little puppies do it naturally most of the time
Pete
 

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She is saying it's not necessary to FF them to solve this problem.
. Having done hundreds of dogs like this all that is required 95 percent of the time is playing a game of tug ( if done correctly) or just teasing the dog with the duck then finally letting him have it. That's usually all it takes. Dogs often snub their noses at ducks when first introduced at that older age. Young pups almost never snub their noses at them. Thats my experience with this problem anyway.
Pete
Right. I can't speak for anyone else but I would simply say that if birds had been included somewhere in the process the OP would never have had a problem to begin with.
What Tobias wrote, I found misleading and perhaps what she was trying to convey was lost between the lines so to speak, but she stated she does not use birds during FF, and then states that she does use them (walking fetch), which in my opinion anyway, is still part of the FF process.
 

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Norwester, you are correct. My definition of force fetch is not the same as yours

We have come a long way since 1998.

Reminds me of "Training you retriever" 7th edition, by James Lamb Free.
A horrible book IMO.
From chapter 8 Training Fundamentals, Fundamental No. 4
"Don't start the serious training too early"
"You won't gain a thing by starting a pup on the retrieving work before he is one year old."
 
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