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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First time I've tried FF training and I'm not sure what's normal.

I've done basic obedience work, stick force obedience and dog holds bumpers with no problem on or off lead. I started FF a couple of weeks ago using the ear pinch and my dog responds to pressure but just doesn't seem to be getting the idea of opening his mouth to relieve the pressure.
Normally he reaches for the bumper but only pushes it with his nose at first and then finally opens his mouth a little and allows me to put the bumper in.

Do I just keep on working with him until he eventually catches on? As a novice to the FF and I don't know if this is normal or how long it normally take before a dog catches on and starts greabbing the dummy. I've tried different levels of pressure but he still doesn't seem to want to open his mouth.

Any suggestions or advise would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Tom H. said:
wrench his ear harder and make him lunge for the bumper - In other words make him SCREAM
Yikes!

While a well-forced retriever will lunge for a bumper, eventually, I don't want to leave the above standing without a comment.

In short, I disagree with this sort of a suggestion. Vocalizing should not be the goal of FF, nor of a particular step in FF. Laying on undue pressure at the inappropriate time could mess the dog's progress up even further and it's just not necessary.

For truray, what program are you following? Do you have some good reference material to use as a guide? Did you spend time on "hold" first, and if so, how did that go?

This is tricky stuff and nobody out here in cyberland can know exactly what you're doing and make the best suggestion for you and your pup. This is a step that is best done right the first time. It may also be a good thing to find an experienced local amateur or pro to help guide you through.

Tom, I'm not trying to be a jerk, I just don't want a new guy to mess up a good dog over some confusion on some RTF info exchange!

Sincerely,

Chris
 

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This is just a suggestion which will probally sound like I'm trying to be facetious but I'm not. Reach up with your pinching hand and pinch your own ear. Imagine if you were a dog, what would motivate yourself in his or her shoes. Try different spots on your ear.

I don't have extremely strong hands, but in a way that is a good thing because if a dog knows what to do, and is simply balking I can pinch with all my might and not worry so much about doing damage to an ear with a single pinch.

I don't have anyway of knowing what your dog requires, but the pinching your own ear thing might help in determining how much to pinch.

Most dogs probally cry out when their ear is being pinched good. They might cry out a while while balking, then give in and grab the bumper, and then sort of whimper afterwards like it was emotionally unsettleing. I have seen that.

I've also seen dogs trained by top pros that seem to have a better response to the fetch command than mine do also if that tells you anything. But basically, I can create the tool, use it and make it reliable. With a top pros dog, if you say fetch the dog starts searching the tall grass running around in a circle looking for a bumper, my dogs are looking for something to but it is not quite the same. I think the top pros do a little more with an e-collar than I do, but I wouldn't know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Chris;

I have been following the Mike Lardy training program and going along with it as I have his 3 books.

My dog has been taught the Hold portion of FF and is excellent with holding the bumper sitting and when when heeling, both on and off lead. That portion of the training went well and fairly quickly about a week before he was reliable. I still do the hold every day when I have him out for a walk.
 

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Try using an object with a smaller diameter like a wooden dowel as opposed to a bumper. As soon as you get even the slightest opening roll the dowel into his mouth. You have to get over the hump of him understanding that fetching whatever is in front of him will relieve the discomfort. I am in the process of forcing my first dog now and I had the same problem. It just became nagging more than teaching until we switched to something I could pop right in her mouth without too much resistance. We were quickly able switch back to the bumper after she understood what I was asking of her.
 

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I know you said you were using Lardy's books, which is great, but sometimes it helps to see things. As mentioned on other threads I don't FF all my dogs, but I like the explaination the George Hickox gives on his Training the Upland Retriever video. Maybe it would help you to see it in action.
 

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truray4 said:
First time I've tried FF training and I'm not sure what's normal.

I've done basic obedience work, stick force obedience and dog holds bumpers with no problem on or off lead. I started FF a couple of weeks ago using the ear pinch and my dog responds to pressure but just doesn't seem to be getting the idea of opening his mouth to relieve the pressure.
Normally he reaches for the bumper but only pushes it with his nose at first and then finally opens his mouth a little and allows me to put the bumper in.

Do I just keep on working with him until he eventually catches on? As a novice to the FF and I don't know if this is normal or how long it normally take before a dog catches on and starts greabbing the dummy. I've tried different levels of pressure but he still doesn't seem to want to open his mouth.

Any suggestions or advise would be greatly appreciated.
Too many of the pieces of the puzzle missin' here to give an accurate anwser..................... :?
Don't know whether you're sittin', standin', involving praise, Yada, Yada, yada........during the ear pinch and bumper presentation?

Best approach would be to try and find a mentor to help ya through the FF process...............best of luck............ :wink:
 

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Sounds like the dog may be confused. You need to make sure that early on you are actually sticking/rolling the dowel into the dogs mouth and releasing the pressure as soon as it gets in.

Also, make sure you are using enough pressure. As someone said, nagging by a slight squeeze isn't going to get you very far with most dogs.
 

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Not experianced enough to give you much advice on this. If you feel like you are not getting enough pressure with just your thumb or thumb nail, try using a spent shotgun shell hull. Hold a 20g hull in your hand and use the brass edge of it, it will help you get more pressure.

I'm not saying you need more pressure, but you might? If you feel like you do, then try the shell. My older male needed this, he has thick ears and took a lot of pressure. The shell was the only way to get to him.

My newest subject YLF didn't take much at all. Along the same lines, she was very vocal during this process. She would squeal with or w/o pressure, so I had to determine if she was trying to get out of the pressure or if I was putting too much on her?
 

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Does anyone do the toe hitch? You might try that.
 
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