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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I would appreciate your advice regarding an issue I am currently battling with. My dog is now 6 month old, good FT pedigree, smart, fast and passionate in the field, physically quite hard (can take pressure well). I had an early issue in the field as he would go out to the bumper very fast and then start playing "catch me if you can". I did a lot of training of the "here" command, using a long lead in retrieving situations, and made a lot of progress in this respect.
We have been training FF since a couple of weeks, hold went quite good, also moving, heeling drills etc. with a bumper or other object in the mouth, so we started the fetch command some days ago (ear pinch and now stick as distraction). He always dives straight for the bumper, so no refusals, balking, lying down or other avoidance behaviours, but he can be quite vocal on the pinch (which I try to ignore) and in particular tries to lie down with the bumper, hold it with his front feet, hold it like a cigar or otherwise fool around with it. I always have him on a lead and immediately pull him into the right position but that seems to make little impression. Today I threw him a fun bumper afterwards and he ran some circles with it before reluctantly returning to me.
Any help is very much appreciated.
Chris
 

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couple things i noticed just by your post. doesn't sound like you need to throw bumpers till AFTER FF is over.
you shouldn't throw bumpers to your dog without a check cord on him at this point
you need a good bit longer time on ff
you didn't CC to here very well.
 

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I had an early issue in the field as he would go out to the bumper very fast and then start playing "catch me if you can". I did a lot of training of the "here" command, using a long lead in retrieving situations, and made a lot of progress in this respect.

Chris
Are you following any certain program for this? Most will advise you to formalize your obedience before starting FF. In mine I advise CC to "Here" at that time. But you didn't say what steps of FF you have done or if any collar work was done?

Evan
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Sorry for the lack of information. No collar work up to now, "Amish" training with emphasis on basic obedience, some marks(which I have more or less stopped), some "sight blinds" at 60-80 yards which work quite well, casting games to food bowls etc. I have started FF with the Hold command which he does quite well for several minutes with paint rollers, various bumpers, barbells, objects like a hammer etc, also while moving or running to me. Force on the Fetch command is relativley ne, approx 5 days now, ear pinch method and I used the stick as distraction since yesterday. I have not used birds up to now as I wanted to introduce them after FF on bumpers is done. Please advise if I should have missed important information.
Thanks.
Christian
 

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You're asking for your dog to live within a skill set he doesn't have yet. Either keep a rope on him, or stop marking until you have found some form of correction that allows you to bark over here and bite over there, if you get my drift. How devoted are you to non-collar training?

Evan
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
That is exactly the reason why I have almost stopped throwing marks (in hindsight the funbumper today was a mistake). In a more controlled situation like the "sight blinds" I do (taking the dog with me, placing the bumper, heeling the dog back and sending it from some distance away) he generally does quite well and is much less prone to fool around (quick pickup, quick return, sometimes not so nice delivery in the last one or two yards).
What would you propose regarding the issues I described in the FF situation (lying down with the bumper etc)? My guess is I just have to whittle away at the resistance and maybe also use a bit more pressure (apart from the vocalizing -which he sometimes does when I just touch his ear - I can see no signs that he is disturbed by the situation)?
Chris
 

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... He always dives straight for the bumper, so no refusals, balking, lying down or other avoidance behaviours, but he can be quite vocal on the pinch (which I try to ignore) and in particular tries to lie down with the bumper, hold it with his front feet, hold it like a cigar or otherwise fool around with it. I always have him on a lead and immediately pull him into the right position but that seems to make little impression. Today I threw him a fun bumper afterwards and he ran some circles with it before reluctantly returning to me.
Any help is very much appreciated.
Chris
Not sure what you are saying here. It appears you are saying he doesn't lie down, but he lies down???

I follow Lardy's TRT and attended a basics/transition workshop with a 9 month old with similar issues although not quiet as bad. Although Mike generally continues throwing marks while doing FF, he will stop, and suggeted I stop, marks if dog is mishandling and playing with the birds. He also generally collar conditions after FF but sais he has cc to here earlier if he can't get the dog to return by other methods.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Glen,
I meant to say that my dog does not lie down or otherwise shut down or disobey before going for the bumper, but once he has the bumper in his mouth he tries to avoid the delivery by turning away from me, sort of burying the bumper under his body and otherwise fooling around. His hold of the bumper (which is quite good if I place the bumper in his mouth in a structured "Hold" training situation) obviously becomes sloppy in this situation too. My impression is that the pressure I have used up to now does not really concern him. This is not the first dog I am FFing but I have not run into this kind of problem before. I guess I have built in some holes and have to take some steps back. Any further advice is very much appreciated.
Christian
 

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Glen,
I meant to say that my dog does not lie down or otherwise shut down or disobey before going for the bumper, but once he has the bumper in his mouth he tries to avoid the delivery by turning away from me, sort of burying the bumper under his body and otherwise fooling around. His hold of the bumper (which is quite good if I place the bumper in his mouth in a structured "Hold" training situation) obviously becomes sloppy in this situation too. My impression is that the pressure I have used up to now does not really concern him. This is not the first dog I am FFing but I have not run into this kind of problem before. I guess I have built in some holes and have to take some steps back. Any further advice is very much appreciated.
Christian
I have a 6 yo lab that exhibited the same keep away issue as a young pup. He was also a hard dog (take pressure). A pro did his first 7 months of training so I didn't see the FF in progress so not sure what issues he had there. The trainer was very heavy handed. By the time the pup was 13 or 14 months old he was ruined. Freezing on birds, eating birds, very possessive of birds. This all started as keep away. Your description of your dog's behavior is very similar.

How is your dog's obedience? Did he require a lot of pressure to get compliance with commands? Does he forge ahead when heeling in spite if any correction? Does he show signs of possessiveness in the house? Will he take objects (toys, shoes, the remote, etc) and go to his place under a table or behind a chair? Does he forge out the Door ahead of you as soon as you start opening it?

These are some of the symptoms my pup exhibited. I recommend reading the book Leader of the Pack. I also recommend that you Estabilsh yourself as pack leader without force, back off the pressure, use more attrition, and send Pete a pm and ask for the RJ article he wrote (or that was written about him) regarding bird possessiveness.

Your pup may not be anything like mine, but these measures certainly won't hurt.
 

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Glen,
I meant to say that my dog does not lie down or otherwise shut down or disobey before going for the bumper, but once he has the bumper in his mouth he tries to avoid the delivery by turning away from me, sort of burying the bumper under his body and otherwise fooling around. His hold of the bumper (which is quite good if I place the bumper in his mouth in a structured "Hold" training situation) obviously becomes sloppy in this situation too. My impression is that the pressure I have used up to now does not really concern him. This is not the first dog I am FFing but I have not run into this kind of problem before. I guess I have built in some holes and have to take some steps back. Any further advice is very much appreciated.
Christian
Christian,

It sounds very much to me as if your dog's obedience has not been formalized. That's not the same as having merely been taught. You need a higher standard. This not only changes is responses to fundamtal commands, but also his attitude toward compliance in general. The overarching theme of Basics is pressure conditioning. By conditioning your dog to pressure in the beginning of the formal course of Basics you set up a more stable dog, a more reliable dog, and one that has a greater resolve to remain on task. Any of the better programs will show you how this is done. I recommend chosing one and learning thoroughly.

Evan
 

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Glen,
I meant to say that my dog does not lie down or otherwise shut down or disobey before going for the bumper, but once he has the bumper in his mouth he tries to avoid the delivery by turning away from me, sort of burying the bumper under his body and otherwise fooling around. His hold of the bumper (which is quite good if I place the bumper in his mouth in a structured "Hold" training situation) obviously becomes sloppy in this situation too. My impression is that the pressure I have used up to now does not really concern him. This is not the first dog I am FFing but I have not run into this kind of problem before. I guess I have built in some holes and have to take some steps back. Any further advice is very much appreciated.
Christian
Chris,
Good medicine there. Take your time and as mention above, please follow a training program.

I might add...Next time you use a ear pinch with fido, instead of applying presure on the ear, just reach up and grab the ear with no pressure and say fetch and see what happens. If he yelps, then he is playing you. Lastly... you don't have to pinch hard to get the rersponse you want. My penny worth.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thank you all. I will tighten up obedience and come back to FF with a more solid foundation. I reviewed the Farmer/Aycock Basics DVD yesterday and realized that, while my dog normally comes fairly quickly and sits ok, he always stays sort of aloof (even if he yelps) regardless of lead pull/stick pressure and I don't get a real fast/rushed reaction like they show in the CC section.
 

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Thank you all. I will tighten up obedience and come back to FF with a more solid foundation. I reviewed the Farmer/Aycock Basics DVD yesterday and realized that, while my dog normally comes fairly quickly and sits ok, he always stays sort of aloof (even if he yelps) regardless of lead pull/stick pressure and I don't get a real fast/rushed reaction like they show in the CC section.
I am still learning FF on varieties of different dogs. Like my trainer told me...you can't learn FF on 10 dogs-20 dogs or from a video. Yes in a perfect world with a perfect dog some can manage. It sounds like you need some help from someone who has experience with a dog like yours. From the sounds of all your posts your dog actually sounds somewhat soft.

I'm pretty sure what you will find is that you are the one who is soft. Watching my trainer over the last few months with my pup and other dogs I'm amazed at his ability to understand exactly what the dog needs. With my dog he was the ultimate in the "woe is me"....he handled the pressure fine but acted like a drama queen. My trainer had my pup doing things that took me weeks. My biggest problem was I was soft. I'm not saying beat your dog but you need to be forceful and fair. If he doesn't do something he gets "one mississippi" to comply than it is pressure. If he avoids the pressure be consistant until the dog complies. It sounds like you are in the middle of a battle and he's winning. You need to get the upper hand......Professional help is what I recommend.....just one lesson with a good trainer would probably open your eyes significantly. I really feel that watching a video of a dog who is already whipped into shape doesn't help much with these problems. If they showed what had to be done with dogs that were battlers than many people would think they are being too hard on the dogs....it's litterally a battle. Just like with your kids. Some kids learn by a simple stern talking too. Some kids need a little more pressure and taken outside for a little more pressure from Dad if you know what I mean.
 
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