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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there

I have a 9 month old golden retriever who is just not eager to pick up bumpers. I have done walking fetch, stick fetch, and fetch no fetch with him and he seems to understand the point, but still is slow to pick up the bumper. Any suggestions?
 

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Was your dog ever eager to pick up bumpers (or tennis balls, ducks, etc.)? New (probably not really new at all) wisdom says they must be crazy for retrieving before you do any obedience and further training such as FF.

Maybe this dog is not cut out to be a working retriever. That's a tough pill to swallow, but you know in your heart if it is true of your dog.

If you believe your dog can make it and are not ready to give up, find anything that the dog likes retrieving, and get the dog jacked up with lots of excitement retrieves. Work the dog in the morning when he's fresh, limit activities/free time before training by crating the dog or similar. Try to make your training sessions the most fun the dog has all day. You can't get the enthusiastic retriever your looking for with force.
 

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In hopes of moving the thread along:

1. does he reliably comply with the command?

2. how does he do when retrieving?

3. is he any quicker with birds?
 

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Does the dog have a high drive to please? does he have all his permanent teeth in with no issues (abscess, broken puppy teeth, etc)? Does he understand the point of beating the pressure?

I don't think a dog necessarily has to retrieve before FF - I FF'd my Australian Shepherd since I compete in obedience with him, and he wouldn't even consider chasing an object before FF. We're working on utility now, and he sure does some fast, flashy retrieves. I do think FF has to be done right - he has to understand how to turn off pressure, and he needs to know he *can* turn off pressure. A dog that can't ever get away from pressure gets pretty sullen. It's also a big help if the dog actually wants to please, but I'd sure think a Golden Retriever would want to please unless he's been inadvertently taught not to...
 

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Live birds....
Helped my dog. Go find somebody who has quail or pigeons, clip a wing, and just let him chase it down and have fun. for the first couple times that is...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks all for your replies! Let me see if I can answer all of your questions...

I do feel like he's going to be a great competitor once we get past this. He has an insane drive to retrieve... my club has been impressed. He is very quick with birds in the field but I haven't tried to use them for force fetch yet.

He has all of his adult teeth with no issues and I do think he understands beating the pressure. However, I think I may do another session of collar conditioning to fetch to make sure he is understanding the concept.

The one thing is that he is pretty soft. I've been told not to baby him but if he feels like there is too much pressure he will start avoidance behaviors and it's no fun for him (or me). Once this starts I usually back up to something he's solid on, end the session on something good, praise him, and we are done. I don't want to intimidate or scare him... that's not at all my idea with this.

Thanks once again!
 

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Is he really soft or is he manipulating you? The Golden I have and those I've been around tend to be really, really intelligent...some times too intelligent for their own good. I wonder if he hasn't figured out that if he shows "avoidence behaviors" that you'll back off and "end the session on something good, praise him, and we are done".

Force fetch isn't about fear or intimidation. It's about conditioning the dog so that they understand how to deal with pressure....by complying with your command, the pressure is released. Based only on your description, again, I wonder if he hasn't figured out that instead of complying he can avoid and get his way.

I would recommend you spend some force fetch sessions with someone that is very experienced at force fetching many dogs with varying personalities so they can help decipher what the real issue is and help you get through it.


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Hi there

I have a 9 month old golden retriever who is just not eager to pick up bumpers. I have done walking fetch, stick fetch, and fetch no fetch with him and he seems to understand the point, but still is slow to pick up the bumper. Any suggestions?
I do feel like he's going to be a great competitor once we get past this. He has an insane drive to retrieve... my club has been impressed. He is very quick with birds in the field but I haven't tried to use them for force fetch yet.
I've not FF'd 100 dogs in my life yet, so I may not know what I'm talking about, however can only share some observations on the first 13 that I have done.
From what I've observed FF' doesn't magically "surgically or mentally implant" retrieving desires. Do believe that it enhances what the pup came out of the womb with, and how you went about presenting retrieving in the first six months, (or however long), in the pups' or dogs' life.



He has all of his adult teeth with no issues and I do think he understands beating the pressure. However, I think I may do another session of collar conditioning to fetch to make sure he is understanding the concept.
Can say that the first few dogs that I FF'd, and that I "thought"understood pressure didn't... In other words, everytime I wasn't 100% sure there was a reason for the uncertainy.....the dog didn't understand pressure as he should have. But of course that was only me and not you.

The one thing is that he is pretty soft. I've been told not to baby him but if he feels like there is too much pressure he will start avoidance behaviors and it's no fun for him (or me).
Agree with the not "baby"-ing...I would not reward the avoidance ay all.
I would try to find someone with more experience to oversee what you're doing.

Edit*-Also wanted to mention that it could be possible that you've not struck a good balance in your dogs' training diet with birds and bumpers..Sometimes using too many birds exclusively in training can turn a dog off of bumpers..(as it pretty much should!,lol). But with a lot of more training to do with bumpers, I've always found it to be a good idea to strike a good balance with birds to avoid that situation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you! I think I'll go ahead and wait until I can meet up with someone who better understands FF to continue. I think I may have to just backtrack and re-collar condition, etc. I never thought about manipulation... and that's very possible because he is extremely intelligent.
 

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I'm wondering how you got this far into the process without advancing your dog's reactions in the initial stages?

Evan
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Evan, I will private message you on the goldenretrieverforum.... I don't have enough posts here to do so yet.
 

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Old dog trainers have a saying for just about everything. My 70 yr old training partner keeps telling my how much he hates my Golden. His reasoning is that he can't stand a dog that is smarter than him.

Goldens are like that. You just have to out smart them and keep at it. try to spend more time in the explain stage rather than the force phase of training. turn the drills into games and things will come together.

With my Golden and the seveal that I've trained I've noticed that the more they like you the more they will play with you. They are wired differently than Labs and can't be trained the same.

At age 2 yrs they seem to grow out of the game stage and come into themselves. Take time and teach rather than break your dog.
 
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