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Evan Graham wrote an introduction to Force Fetch which is permanently posted on another website's Gun Dog Forum. My question is regarding building momentum with FF. I'll be referring to Evan's introduction to FF.

Years ago I was taught to do FF with a regular training dummy, much like in the Danny Farmer and Judy Aycock "Retriever Training Basics" video. Great video. I was taught that when you reach the point in Force Fetch where you are putting the dummy on the ground, I was taught to lift one edge of the dummy off the ground to help the dog progress. At least until the dog learns to pick it off the ground cleanly.

We have a local pro who uses obedience style dummies in which a dowel rod is suspended between two large ends. The rod is far enough off the ground that dogs pick it right up. It avoids the "pitfalls" of dogs who don't want to pick up a dummy lying flat on the ground.

Graham writes that FF is the foundation of momentum. One of the many reasons we do FF, is that momentum is important to our dog in overcoming distractions, terrain, tough cover, re-entries, and all the rest.

My question is this.

Is using a suspended dowel rod the way to go in FF, or, does the dog learning to pick up the dummy from flat on the ground go deeper into the dog's mind and do more for momentum later in the dog's life?

Thoughts?

Chris
 

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I think the line from the vid I use is "I want the dowel to be my bad guy" Total retriever, I use it at the start. Then go to bumpers, froze birds, fresh dead and then live.


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I think the line from the vid I use is "I want the dowel to be my bad guy" Total retriever, I use it at the start. Then go to bumpers, froze birds, fresh dead and then live.


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I use a dowel for the same reason,want it to be the bad guy,and before going to ground I also like to do a couple sessions with anything that will fit in their mouth,hammers,bottles,small propane bottles,try to find something they refuse to fetch,so I can reinforce the fetch,(they really don't like the little propane bottles or half filled water bottles,probably because stuff is moving around inside,some dogs hate plastic pipe).
And when I start hold,prior to fetch,I like to use my hand in a rough leather glove.
 

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I would be reluctant to use anything hard like propane bottles, glass bottles and the like which can and do break off teeth when the dog is reacting to the pressure to to retrieve. If you must use an object that is hard then wrap it in something that will not cause the dog to suffer a broken tooth.
 

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I've used obedience style dumbells to start FF and avoided the use of bumpers in early stages of FF for the same reason as Ken. Because JVE said in TRT that he does it that way. If you are familiar with JVE's accomplishments, you will surely come to the conclusion that starting a dog off in FF with a dumbell style dowel does not deminish the effectiveness of FF.

But the dog does later learn to pick the bumper up off the ground. This is a necessity for pile work which is central to most programs. I've never seen a pile of dumbells used in FTP, TT, etc.

Don't worry about how deep this goes into the dogs mind. The dog must pick up a bumper off the ground. Whether you start with a dumbell and switch to a bumper or whether you start with the bumper and hold one end up (Dobbs does both) doesn't matter at all IMO.
 

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Deeper into the dog's mind, I think, can be done by overcoming resistance during the fetching process. Do you use gradual restraint while force fetching? I think that is how I interpreted Smartworks Force fetch process.. By overcoming the resistance factor, the dog builds a stronger response, i.e. More momentum. As I have said many times, I am just a student of the game trying to learn so take it for what it is worth! :)
 
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