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What should I do with my potential washout?

  • Keep putting money into him?

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Discussion Starter #1
What are the odds of a dog out of a solid breeding not being able to make it to the JH level? I have an 8 month old lab out of a good breeding that isn't progressing well. I have him with a pro that can't seem to get him to fetch on command. He is in his 4th week of force fetch. Obiedience went well and he's got hold and drop down. He retrieves bumpers on land and water and has a lot of drive, but accoring to the pro he freezes up and refuses to fetch when you apply pressure? The pro said he only wants to retrieve on his own terms. Any suggestions?

Thanks for the help.
 

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ANY dog with retrieve drive can get a JH title.

After 4 weeks of FF, it is COMMON for a dog to shut down or whatever. The key with FF is to work through issues.

I don't know what pro you have your dog with, BUT if your pro is telling you after 4 weeks to wash him out, I'd find a different pro.

If the pro has had the dog for 12 weeks or so, then you might consider it depending on the pro.

FF is not about delivering to hand, it is about control and "who is boss".....FF is one of the first steps in changing the retrieving game from the dog's game played by his rules to the human's game played by human rules.

WRL
 

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because he won't do it for the trainer does not mean he won't do it for you.

"freezing up" is an interesting term. sounds to me like he is giving the trainer the bird instead of fetching it.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the respones. I feel better now! My trainer has not advised me to give up yet. In fact, my trainer said "We have managed to get him to hold an object but not to fetch. We will continue to work on this and maybe enlist the help of some other trainers for some ideas that will persuade him. I believe that once he is through this phase and gets out in the field he will enjoy working. "

Before I sent him off at 6 months of age, he would never quit retriveing when we played in the water (loves water) or house, even after 10-20+ back to back throws. He would occasionally quit on me in open spaces on land after 3 or 4 throws. I did not think much of this at the time untill my trainer mentioned this as a potential problem after being in thier program after 4 weeks.

To date, I have invested $2600+ in the dog and training fees. And was just trying to get some opinions from you guys. I think they train 24 dogs at a time between 2 trainers and I was also thinking my dog just needs more attention. Before I switched trainers though...I just wanted to make sure whether or not it was possible that a dog with desire could fail to ever complete FF and never obtain a JH level. I'm just looking for a hunting companion/test dog.
 

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"I think they train 24 dogs at a time between 2 trainers and I was also thinking my dog just needs more attention. Before I switched trainers though..."

It sounds like you might have drawn the wrong conclusions from what others have posted. In your initial post, it kinda sounded like your trainer wanted to give up on the dog 4 weeks into FF, and I believe THAT was what WRL (and likely LVL and Shayne) was saying to beware about (although I'm sure they'll correct me if I'm wrong). Now you're saying the trainer doesn't want to give up and is trying to work through it. Under those circumstances, I would say to let him keep plugging away. Some dogs breeze through FF and others are a biatch. Sounds like your dog is the later. The guy earned your trust to get your dog in the first place...he must have done something right to earn it. I'd call him and discuss your concerns.
 

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brockdb said:
What are the odds of a dog out of a solid breeding not being able to make it to the JH level? I have an 8 month old lab out of a good breeding that isn't progressing well. I have him with a pro that can't seem to get him to fetch on command. He is in his 4th week of force fetch. Obiedience went well and he's got hold and drop down. He retrieves bumpers on land and water and has a lot of drive, but accoring to the pro he freezes up and refuses to fetch when you apply pressure? The pro said he only wants to retrieve on his own terms. Any suggestions?

Thanks for the help.
This is hard to answer without knowing a little more background. What exactly does the term "freezes up" mean? What method of ff is the pro using? Has the pro used any other methods to ff?

The old, conventional method of ff is the ear pinch. Some dogs will accept this and ff rapidly. Other dogs will not train using this method. In these instances, the toe hitch might be a better alternative. If the dog is refusing the ear pich and pulling his head back and up, the toe hitch will counter this by forcing the head down.

If neither the ear pinch or the toe hitch works, there are other tricks and techniques that good pros have in their toolbags that will get most dogs over the ff hump. These can get a little more agressive (generally with a collar) but the whole point of the ff is to instill a quick and rapid (reflexive) response to the command fetch.

Generally speaking most dogs with a pro are still in ff at 4 weeks. It might be just going to ground, or going to pile, but they are still in ff training. Most pros will take a week to socialize the pup and get acquainted. This is followed with some basic obedience, hold/drop and then ff. So don't get too discouraged, as it sounds like your pup is still about on timeline. Also remember that each and every dog trains differently and on a different timeline. A good pro is one who is aware of this and has a good/deep bag of tricks and techniques to try on those dogs that are not cookie cutter in their training.

The good news is that if your dog is good and solid with hold and drop, then ff is not that far off. It may just take a little time and/or a different technique.

T.Mac
 

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Hew, I'd agree with you, except for:

$2600+ in the dog and training fees
:shock:

Either that was a top-of-the-line pup (high $ end), or that trainer charges one h*ll of a lot for one month's training.

I stand by my advice, time to shop for a different Pro.

Lisa
 

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brockdb,

Lets be a little more basic here....

How long has the pro had your dog? You said you have paid $2600 plus for the dog and training.

How much are you paying the pro, how long has he had the dog and how long has the dog been in FF?

Unless you paid $1500 for the pup, it sounds as if you have paid multiple months of training fees.


Yanking a dog from a trainer in the middle of ff is unually not the best option.
WRL
 

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Brockdb,

May I ask....What are your goals for this pup???? ( You mentioned 'Junior Hunter'). The answer to that question might help us all a tad bit to give you some better advice...

--Nicki
 

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I'd be wary, because after 4 weeks on the table, is the only thing being created a bad attitude? I'd hate to yank in the middle of FF, but having gone through with with one of my own, I had MONTHS of work to do to instill confidence back into a dog that well-respected field trial pros have said that he has a lot of bottom, wants to learn and please. AFter 5 weeks of FF on the table, he would throw himself on the ground and moan like you put a hot poker into his chest.... I wish I would have yanked him.
 

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WRL said:
ANY dog with retrieve drive can get a JH title.
I agree 100%. And any competent trainer should be able to channel the drive in order to manipulate the dog into doing what the trainer wants.

But at the same time, most judges I watch are too lenient judging style in Juniors. And "style" is integrally linked to "drive."
 

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Discussion Starter #14
A little more background on the dog:

I paid a little over $1400 for the dog (got him at 5 months old from War Eagle where he was in their puppy program) and was very pleased with him. When I got him from War Eagle he seemed to have a lot of retrieving desire (get's excited as soon as he sees a bumper, I have a basket full of doken fowl trainers and bumpers near the door and as soon as he comes in the house he trys to grab them, if I let him roam in the house he eventually works his way to the basket to get his dokens, he loves the water (gets really excited) and has never quit on me when I throw it in the water, I have to hide the bumper under my shirt to get him to stop most of the time and then he still tries to find it, if I let him go near water without throwing a bumper he has jumped in the water and swam around for a while until he finds something to retrieve (bought me back some reeds once :eek: ). However, he has quit on me before when I threw the bumper in an open field after the 3rd or 4th throw (sometimes he would not even acknowledge I even threw it) but I would just put the bumper up, assuming he was just having a bad day.


Training with a pro in Texas is costing $550/month + visits since he is 3.5 hours away. He started table work 1 week early because obedience went quick (I had him doing most OB commands before he went to them) so he's in his 5th week of FF starting today.


According to the pro:

"He reacts passively, which is not unusual but does present problems in training. This does not mean he cannot be trained" "Progress is going slow with FF and he won't Fetch on command"

"He freezes up"/"Wants to retrieve only on his terms"/"does not always retrieve under pressure" The trainer mentioned that sometimes they'll throw a "happy bumper?" and he won't get it.

I have trust in the trainer but I'm just wondering if I should send my dog to another trainer to hopefully get more one on one time. At 12 dogs for each trainer I can't see them working with each dog for more than 45 min - 1 hr each day. May be my dog needs 4 hrs/day? How much time is normal?

I'm glad to see that everyone feels that my dog should have no problem getting a JH title. My goals for the dog were to be a hunting companion first, then a hunt test dog on the side. Money is not an issue and I planned to take the dog to his fullest potential but if he could just at least accomplish a JH title I would consider the dog worth the every penny (that's assuming I don't have to spend 8+ months in pro fees to get him there). All in all, when me and my dog are hunting with my buddies on opening day of dove season and that first bird is dropped, I just don't want my dog to cock his head at me, give me that puzzled look and force me get my own bird while he watches me and all my Buds laugh at me. Wouldn't that be horrible :oops: , especially since they know how much I'm putting in this dog.
 

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OK....here it is, plain and simple.

Some dogs have REALLY REALLY funk attitudes in FF. They can be the biggest SOBs during this time. What works is time and patience.

Your pro has obviously made a great commitment to get the job done. It often takes two or three weeks of hammering at a road block in order to break through. Fortunately, usually when you do, the rest of training sails.

This is not a dog that will likely not retrieve a bird you have shot when out hunting...he might not deliver it to hand (at this time) but I would not worry about hunting this fall.

Another thing, you need to have a heart to heart with your trainer. In my opinion, you are asking WAY TO MUCH WAY TOO SOON.......NOBODY trains their dog for four hours straight. It is 5 or 10 or 15 minutes here and 10 or 15 minutes there. You can't hammer away at a dog for 4 hours straight.

If I were you, I'd buy the book "The Ten Minute Retriever"....it will explain to you why short sessions more often are better than one session that is way too long.

WRL
 

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brockdb said:
The pro said he only wants to retrieve on his own terms. Any suggestions?
If I had a dog that the trainer said this about after 4 weeks of FF, I think I would find another trainer. How does the dog act around the trainer? I think with the right trainer you should have no problem having a dog get a JH and be a reliable hunting dog.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
"NOBODY trains their dog for four hours straight. It is 5 or 10 or 15 minutes here and 10 or 15 minutes there. You can't hammer away at a dog for 4 hours straight. "

Oh no...I don't expect that...I was exaggerating there. I was just questioning tha may be my dog is slower than most dogs and needs more training time per day than this pro can give him. How many 10-15 min sessions are normal? Thanks, I'll look into that book, that would probably clear up a most of my questions.
 

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Quote:
$2600+ in the dog and training fees




Either that was a top-of-the-line pup (high $ end), or that trainer charges one h*ll of a lot for one month's training.

I stand by my advice, time to shop for a different Pro.
I feel just the opposite of LVL.

I'd give the pro another month to get the force fetch down. FTP maybe not but at least the force fetch part of it. If he didn't I'd get another dog. Life is to short to put up with 10-12 years of a dog not doing what you tell him.
 
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I agree with Howard. Some dogs just do not handle force fetch well. I think it's really rash to say dump the pro, esp since we don't know your pro, your dog, the situation. That would be really unfair. If you trust your pro, then get off this board and work with the professional that you hired to train your dog. The advice you get here is worthless in the scheme of things as far as how your pro got your dog to where it's at, the trainability of your dog, etc. etc. We just DON'T KNOW. There's a reason you're paying the guy. Unless you don't feel comfortable with him, let him do his job.

I've had dogs here that took FOREVER to force fetch. Some dogs are not socialized and raised properly (intro'd to pressure, etc.) and get highly offended and shut down. Others have dogs in their pedigree that forecast trainability issues. Other dogs just take a while to do it, period, no matter what. Unless your pro is a bad pro, your dog may just take a while to get it.

If you feel uncomfortable with your pro's capabilities, go somewhere else. But from what you've posted and the tone of your emails, it sounds like your pro is doing a good job being honest and keeping you up to date on your dog. I have a dog here that had some serious desire and marking issues. It's been three months now and he's finally running junior level marks with some gusto. We or his owners could have easily given up on him. A good pro will let you know when it's time to quit. Esp if they do have 24 dogs (that's a full load); more than likely, it would be easy enough to dump your dog and get another in for training. If they're in a situation where they could easily replace your dog with another client, then I would be even more trusting of them -- because I'd rather replace a difficult dog with a fresh one if I have one coming in.

I know you exaggerated with the "hours" statement... But the bottom line is that a good trainer reads the dog and KNOWS when to quit or how much extra time to put in. Some dogs can go out to the yard, do well for 3-5 minutes and you should put them up. Others need to go on and on. It's all relative. I think the average pro does a couple of sets of marks and one or two sessions of yardwork a day.

When I've had a dog in your dog's situation, I will sometimes back off for a couple of weeks, let them loosen up in the field, and then come back later. That's worked a number of times. Other dogs need to be completely removed from field work just to do force fetch lessons, although I hate to do that and don't do it frequently. It just depends on what your trainer reads in WHY your dog is refusing to get through FF.

Take care and good luck.

-Kristie
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks again for the help. Good news...my trainer said they made some progress today and that they found a way to get him to respond. They said that they will keep me updated this week and I plan to visit with the trainer at the end of the month, so he will have been through aprox 6 weeks of FF by then and may be the picture will be a little clearer by then. They seem to think they can work through it. I feel confident that the trainers are top notch, in fact one is in the SRS. I was just beginning to doubt my dog and whether or not he may need more attention. They mentioned before that he has strong retrieving desire though. He does have Gator Point blood in him (FC-AFC HRCH Gator Point's Sweet Potatoe Pie on the sire side) + others on the dam side and I remember a couple of posts here mentioning stubbornness being a trait in this line. Looks like my dog picked this up :D !
 
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