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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been working on force fetching my dog since he's bad about dropping birds. Today however we seemed to hit a wall. I've been working on force fetch using a pile of bumpers, and he's been doing alright with the occassional refusal, I then bring him back to heel and reinforce with a collar correction. The actual training sessions seem to be going fine. Whats got me concerned is this afternoon he didn't really want to pick up fun bumpers. Previous to starting FF this dog would retrieve bumpers all day long. I wasn't real confident about getting into a fight about this at this time as this is a very sensitive and soft dog. I have been doing two sessions of FF twice a day with a couple of fun bumpers before and after and this problem just cropped up. I was also throwing a Dokken for him which we haven't used at all for FF. I started FFing with wooden dowels and bar bells and then transitioned to large white knobby dummies. I think the pressure may be getting to him and I might back off for a few days, take him out and throw some fun bumpers and see what happens and then just work on hold with bumpers and birds and try getting him to deliver that way, then use collar corrections for dropping on the way in. Any other ideas or advice would be appreciated. Should I try and pussyfoot around this or turn this into a battle of wills? For a little more background this is a springer spaniel that will be used strictly as a gun dog. All I want to accomplish is a nice delivery and hopefully get the dog steady to flush and steady in general. Any advice?
 

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jwdavis said:
I've been working on force fetch using a pile of bumpers, and he's been doing alright with the occassional refusal, I then bring him back to heel and reinforce with a collar correction.
Huh?
jwdavis said:
I might back off for a few days, take him out and throw some fun bumpers and see what happens and then just work on hold with bumpers and birds and try getting him to deliver that way, then use collar corrections for dropping on the way in.
again huh? If you chose to do fun retrieves or marks while in the middle of FF it is a risk. You need to keep your standards consistent and your corrections consistent with what you are doing in FF. If you chose to put you and your dog in that position you need to be ready to scamper out and grab an ear and put them on the bumper.
jwdavis said:
Any advice?
pick a proven program and stick to it. Find a live in person, person to stand at your side.
Ken Bora
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi Ken,
This isn't the first dog i've force fetched, but he is one of the softest I've ever seen. What I mean by bringing the dog back to heel is that at this stage in the game the refusals I've been getting go like this: The dog starts out at heel. Fetch command is given. The dog moves toward the pile but doesn't pick up a bumper. Instead of starting the collar pressure while the dog is hovering over the pile I pull him back a few feet, then fetch burn fetch. Problem solved and as I've been taught by pulling the dog off the pile before starting collar stimulation you prevent the bumpers from becoming "hot". You are right about maintaining your standards and maybe I do need to back up refusals on fun bumpers with an ear pinch. I just figured I might try and get a few other people's take on this. Doing my best to be a phase III trainer :)
 
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jwdavis said:
Hi Ken,
This isn't the first dog i've force fetched, but he is one of the softest I've ever seen. What I mean by bringing the dog back to heel is that at this stage in the game the refusals I've been getting go like this: The dog starts out at heel. Fetch command is given. The dog moves toward the pile but doesn't pick up a bumper. Instead of starting the collar pressure while the dog is hovering over the pile I pull him back a few feet, then fetch burn fetch. Problem solved and as I've been taught by pulling the dog off the pile before starting collar stimulation you prevent the bumpers from becoming "hot". You are right about maintaining your standards and maybe I do need to back up refusals on fun bumpers with an ear pinch. I just figured I might try and get a few other people's take on this. Doing my best to be a phase III trainer :)
I'm guessing you're talking about force to pile and not force FETCH?
 

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Should I try and pussyfoot around this or turn this into a battle of wills?
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I'm far from an expert, but I have found that you cannot pussyfoot around anything unless you have an excpetional ("natural") dog. Most dogs that people call "soft" are really just "smarter than the owner" and have figured out the lazy way out of doing something they do not want to do. I was in a similar place recently, I turned it into a battle of wills, won, and the dog is making great strides now. It was a miserable few weeks winning the battle, but well worth it. I'd quit the fun bumpers since they seem to be adding to the problem. Back up a step or two so he can have some success and then go foward again; win every battle.
[/quote]
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Krisite ,
You're right. I do mean force to the pile. :oops: I've always considered this the final step in the yard before I start demanding delivery in the field. I guess I've been lucky in that most of the dogs I've force fetched that have started out with a lot of natural retrieving desire haven't had this problem, the whole FF process basically cleaned up their delivery and was a stepping stone to bigger and better things. My first dog was alot like this but that was 12 years ago.

Zoe,
I tend to agree with you and I think he may be trying to play me. We'll see.

8)
Josh
 
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jwdavis said:
Krisite ,
You're right. I do mean force to the pile. :oops: I've always considered this the final step in the yard before I start demanding delivery in the field. I guess I've been lucky in that most of the dogs I've force fetched that have started out with a lot of natural retrieving desire haven't had this problem, the whole FF process basically cleaned up their delivery and was a stepping stone to bigger and better things. My first dog was alot like this but that was 12 years ago.

Zoe,
I tend to agree with you and I think he may be trying to play me. We'll see.

8)
Josh
The timing and manner in which you're using the collar sounds odd. Has he been collar fetched? I normally wouldn't use the corrections you're using. If he's just out of traditional force fetch, I would have done walking fetch, collar fetch, teach the pile and then force to the pile. If you're getting lots of dropping and refusing on pile work, you need to back up and repair your force fetch either with basic force fetch, walking fetch or collar fetch (or stick fetch if you do it).

I would bet the use of the collar is what's causing him to have a problem retrieving. The timing doesn't sound sensible as far as his being able to understand WHY he's being corrected. IF FF was complete, then I would be doing manual pressure if I got a refusal in pile work. But if it happened more than 2-3 times I'd be going back to previous steps like I mentioned above. Otherwise, the pile is going to be a miserable lesson and you'll lose his attitude, which it sounds like is already happening.

-K
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hi Krisite,
Yes I did do all of those previously, but I do think what you're saying is valid. I do think manual ear pinch corrections may be where I need to step back to. I'm not getting a ton of refusals but I do seem to be losing alot of attitude recently. Please explain what seems odd about my correction timing as this is how I've always seen the corrections done at this stage with the collar. The dog does seem to understand the corrections and how to shut the pressure off, but I could be reading him wrong, possibly explaining the down turn in attitude. I look forward to your input.
Josh
 
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jwdavis said:
Hi Krisite,
Yes I did do all of those previously, but I do think what you're saying is valid. I do think manual ear pinch corrections may be where I need to step back to. I'm not getting a ton of refusals but I do seem to be losing alot of attitude recently. Please explain what seems odd about my correction timing as this is how I've always seen the corrections done at this stage with the collar. The dog does seem to understand the corrections and how to shut the pressure off, but I could be reading him wrong, possibly explaining the down turn in attitude. I look forward to your input.
Josh
At this stage of the game, timing is critical.

You say:
"I then bring him back to heel and reinforce with a collar correction.'

If you're going to correct for lack of compliance with fetch (or technically holding, but still you reinforce the fetch), you've lost valuable time here by "bring[ing] him back to heel". I'm not sure what that accomplishes other than increasing the time between the point at which he drops the bumper and the time at which you communicate to him that he's not allowed to drop it.

The correction should happen immediately following the drop. So if I have a dog coming back from the pile that drops the bumper, I'm going to approach them immediately and reinforce the fetch/hold thing.

By adding commands and movement in between the time you get the refusal and whe you reinforce the fetch, you're clouding it in the dog's mind and his perception of WHY he's getting correction. Ideally, correction happens at the instance of the non-compliance.

The fact that you're losing attitude indicates something may be wrong. I stress "MAY". Most dogs lose attitude at some point in force fetch, regardless of how hard the trainer works to balance it and perfect their timing.

-K
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hi Kristie,
Thanks for the advice. I think I may be muddying the water when I say I "bring him back to heel" what I mean is I Pull him back off the top of the pile before I start the correction. Not here, heel, sit, then fetch burn .His refusals don't involve spitting out the bumper after its been picked up, he just moves toward the pile but doesn't pick up a bumper, he just kind of is "shopping" the pile. I'll check this thread tomorrow, I got a test I need to study for. Thanks again for the help.
Josh
 
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jwdavis said:
Hi Kristie,
Thanks for the advice. I think I may be muddying the water when I say I "bring him back to heel" what I mean is I Pull him back off the top of the pile before I start the correction. Not here, heel, sit, then fetch burn .His refusals don't involve spitting out the bumper after its been picked up, he just moves toward the pile but doesn't pick up a bumper, he just kind of is "shopping" the pile. I'll check this thread tomorrow, I got a test I need to study for. Thanks again for the help.
Josh
Sorry, I guess I misunderstood. You are correct in your original post about being very careful when correcting at the pile. If it's happening more than a time or two per session, I'd back up.
 
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