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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have a 8 mth old black lab, she would drop everything as soon as I stuck my hand out to grab it. So I started the force fetch process, I started with hold, the ear pinching didn't work so I just started using her e-collar as I conditioned her on that a few months ago. That worked and she's getting pretty good with holding, she will sit and hold, walk and hold, and now deliver to my hand. She spits out a few times but usually after one correction she doesn't do that anymore. I have only used level one this entire time of teaching her hold.

So the last two weeks I've been working on fetch, she refuses to open her mouth. I've tried the collar and ear pinch, and not once for one second will she open her mouth for me to put the bumper in. She clinches as tight as she can and looks away from me.

What do I do??? I don't have a table so sit her in front of me, she's on the ground and I'm sitting on a chair in front of her. I was told not to force her mouth open to wait until she opens it and then put it in, but she refuses to open her mouth. Help!


Update:

I read all the posts from everyone yesturday so wanted to clarify some things and update how yesturday went. Raven's hold is very good, she will walk up and down the street with a bumper in her mouth, will heel on me, sit and wait, and come all while holding the bumper in her mouth without any correction at all. When fetching she will now go get the bumper, heel on me, and while she is coming back I say hold over and over. About 98% of the time she will hold until I use the drop command. She used to see my hand coming and would immedialty start to drop so I now go in to grab a few times before I actually tell her drop and take it so she doesn't automatically drop it as soon as she sees my hand.

When I went to my first meeting with the retriever club I had never put her on birds so they gave me a couple to work with her on. She's about half and half on bringing the bird back to me and running up to it and trying to tear the feathers out of it. Since she's good with hold I took one of the wings off the pigeon and attached it to the bumper and said fetch. She grabbed it and sat thier and held it. So I did this over and over and she grabbed it 100% of the time if it was right in front of her face. She will not get out of the sit position if its any further from her reach though, so I'm going to do what one of the other posts said and have her walking and command fetch. I think this is a step in the right direction but not sure if she or I dropped the bumper in training or bird in a field test if I commanded fetch she would do it.

I also want to say Thanks to achiro, I'm going to have him help me starting in four weeks if he can once my children's soccer season is over. Until then I will keep using the bumper with the wing and see if i can get her any further on it. I also wanted to say I took her outside and played with her to try and get her to fetch instead of staying inside and sitting on the couch so she wouldn't associate the two.
 

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I wont be the best response, but I'll go first. When your throwing fun bumpers does she do this? or is it only under training situations? If she'll fork it over when playing re- enforce the "drop" command and leave her off the formal training for a bit... then try the force fetch process without the e collar and in the yard from a standing position. If this works then slowly change to sitting in the yard and work back towards the "formal" FF. Just my 2 cents
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks, no she always retrieves what I throw, but when she does drop it at my feet I can't get her to pick it back up so that's why I'm trying to force fetch her. So far I just pick it back up put it in her mouth and use the hold command. She always give me the bumpers back I've never had a problem with that and she only clinches her teeth when it's time to force fetch.

I think she associates her sitting in front of me with it and that's when she looks away and clinches.

I wont be the best response, but I'll go first. When your throwing fun bumpers does she do this? or is it only under training situations? If she'll fork it over when playing re- enforce the "drop" command and leave her off the formal training for a bit... then try the force fetch process without the e collar and in the yard from a standing position. If this works then slowly change to sitting in the yard and work back towards the "formal" FF. Just my 2 cents
 

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I have found the toe-hitch can be a useful tool for a dog that is refusing to open their mouth. I find it easier to do on the table than on the ground. But, it is equally effective on either.

Tom
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I live in a residential neighborhood so always have the collar on in case she runs after something, she loves the collar. When she see's it she knows we are going to train or head to the lake. I don't have the funds to take her to someone to force fetch, now I did just join a retriever club in my area and went to thier last meeting for the first time. So will contact one of them to see if they can help me force fetch her.

She only starts clinching and refusing to open her mouth when I sit her in front of me to do the force fetch training. Other than that her mouth is wide open and she is retrieving everything. I just can't get her to pick up the dummies when she drops them at my feet. Her hold is getting better and she's delivering to my hand but those times that she doesn't I need her to pick them back up and hand them to me.


Step 1 take the collar off the dog.
Step 2 find some one to help you that lives close by
 

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Some dogs reaction to pressure, any pressure is to freeze up. What you need to do is demonstrate that the right response is movement or action. I've found that using a collar with light ear pressure making them walk helps get them moving. As well having her hold and heel or take a few steps can work.

Toe hitch is another option but please be careful with this. You can put a lot of pressure on a dog using toe hitch and if not done right get the wrong response. If you choose this method get with someone experienced.

/Paul
 

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You put the cart before the horse, and you need to decondition this dog.


Go back to hold, and work hold until she can walk at least one quarter mile without dropping. This gets her back to holding and takes some of the pressure off which you have put on her way too soon in the process. Next, see if she will fetch on command without force. If so, then throw in one pinch for every 10 commands. Make sure that you are pinching properly; poor technique might be the source of the problem. Once that is accomplished, increase the number of pinches on the ear until you are doing a session with all pinches and she is responding positively. Back off of the ear pinch as you would normally do (see Lardy and Graham references), and extend the distances she has to go to reach for the bumper.
 

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You need some help, I'd be more than happy to help. If you want help, pm me and I will get you my number.. You're close enough that you could drive up and I could help you live if needed as well.
 

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I just had a 10 month old freeze up on doing very similiar actions. It took me to push my thumb nail on his gums for him to open his mouth just slightly for me to throw a bumper in his mouth. 1 session like this the dog was reaching for the bumper. I then transitioned the pressure to his ear and no more freezing up. I fought the pup for nearly a week before I gave the gum pressure a try. It was exactly what he needed for it to click.
 

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You need some help, I'd be more than happy to help. If you want help, pm me and I will get you my number.. You're close enough that you could drive up and I could help you live if needed as well.
I agree with Ken. Take him up on this!!!!
 
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