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Do you teach a retrieve or do you rely on cultivating natural inclinations?

If you do teach a retrieve, what is your general process?
 

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To begin with I'm not a British style strainer ...BUT...like all trainers I try to develop the desire to retrieve in the dogs at an early age...If the prey drive is present getting the dog to do what they have been bred for is usually an easy job...When you use the word teach you are implying some sort of training method... Some where in every method ( I believe) force is used...However gentle it may be it is still force...The first dog I trained ( in about '64) was not so called ff'ed...I relied on her desire to do the work I ask of her...A lot of show and tell and there came times when she would not do it..she felt there was no compultion to work unless she wanted too...As your demands for more work increase she may not feel the same about it, so be ready to stop when her desire is shot...Best wishes with the new dog ...Steve S
 

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I have never FF'd one of my own dogs. I have 5 in my kennel ranging from 11 years to 4 years and have never had to "Teach" a retrieve.
 

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I've stopped FFing simply BC its not necessary for me. I try to culminate it from the get go but a good hold program can go a long way. I prefer the simple tennis ball method by Milner but Wildrose has a very thorough program.
 

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Just got Bill Hillman's "fetch" dvd 3 days ago!
Very informative on this subject.
Would recommend.
 

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I train British dogs (I'm not advanced enough to say I train any specific 'method'), and I have not used FF on my last two labs. Their natural drive to retrieve was very strong early on, so I built on that and did not have to "teach" retrieving. I did put both through force hold, which I believe is different than force fetch (we can have that conversation if anyone wants to). I used something similar to Mike Stewart's method. This is simply to ensure the dog keeps the retrieve all the way in to heel and then delivers to hand.

As far as getting a dog who will not refuse a retrieve and avoiding FF at the same time, I believe the most important thing is socialization with retrieving in the first few months. I threw short retrieves with my dogs, only three or four, until they got really jacked up on retrieving. Then, I put the tiny bumper up. If they ever showed a lack of interest in retrieving, I didn't throw any that day and put them back in the kennel. I did everything I could to make sure the dog came out of the kennel going nuts to retrieve... such as going nuts over the dog bringing it back to me successfully, very short sessions, making sure we ended when the dog was the most excited, letting the dog watch other dogs retrieve (not sure how this works, but it definitely jacked my pups up to retrieve), etc. So far, neither of these dogs have refused a send so far.
 

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not a British trainer....old school TST (tennis shoe trainer), Amish...contrary to myth we do not use rat shot,sling shot,cattle prods, M&M's, we do not brutalize our dogs..we will use a heeling stick,leather strap and a very stern voice or an ear pinch or grab their muzzle...we also use place boards taught at a very early age, line dogs to their feed bowls at a very early age...and know how to use a collar but opt not to...

we do not FF instead if anything its more like Force Hold...we dont push a dog to the bird, instead we opt to have the attraction of the bird PULL the dog to the desired spot..we run LOTS of sight blinds, but never to a pile, and we dont repeat marks

We have invited many to come train with us in the Boise area, but have had few takers, but we are not out to change hearts and minds..most will revert back to the more traditional E collar methods..the only convert I could think of lately would be my brother's long time training partner Ted Miller..willing to train with anyone as long as you're not looking to get into a urinating match on styles...we respect almost all forms of training

Our training style has heavy influences from the late John Luther, the very much alive Roy McFall and "uncle George" Wilson..we learned the use of a multi frequency E-collar from Jim Dobbs ...

My brother's early training pals were John Luther, Joe Schomer, Jim Weitzel Sr.,Cactus Pryor, and Roy and George....and he trained with the owner of a golden named Quar :p

disclaimer : I personally have never produced an all age dog,but have had good fortune to run quite a few of them, and let me tell you, its about as much fun as you can ever hope to have
 

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Do you teach a retrieve or do you rely on cultivating natural inclinations?
Like the dog's tail, it depends. :)

When I was more into Springers than I am now I didn't worry too much about retrieving, I wanted to get them hunting boldly first of all. The retrieve was taught later on, initially with tennis balls very much in a play setting; once they'd got the idea I taught them as classic no slip retrievers. The gentleman in the video was an early mentor. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xt6prAhYd0


The only two problems I met with were firstly a reluctance for some of the harder characters to release the retrieve, especially rabbits. Secondly the really aggressive hunters could get bored with repetitive dummy work, and blink a retrieve; this was just my faulty training and inability to read the dog.

'Ere Boss, look what I've found!!

Since then I've taught a more structured and formal (although quite simple) "hold" and "give" routine to Springers and Labs alike. Then we go on much as Bon outlined but without any collar use at all. The method is roughly analogous to Wildrose but much more detailed.

With regards to Labrador refusals all I can say is that in the ordinary course of events I've never had one. My own dogs all come from front line British Field Trial stock; they live for the retrieve, and quite literally would rather do so than eat. I know that's true because I've proved it. I had one dog, now departed, who refused to go up a very steep shale bank after a pheasant. Unknown to me he was very ill with a blocked intestine; again my fault in not reading him correctly. Again ... outside of that I've never had a refusal and that's some thousands of birds across a lot of seasons.

As some may know I do a fair bit of clicker training; but I've have yet to go all the way and teach a clicker retrieve. One who has, is Molly99 aka Pippa Mallinson. here is a link http://totallygundogs.com/clicker-trained-retrieve/

Currently I'm looking at James Spencer's "FF lite". With the start of the training season coming I'm bound to bump up against some Springers who don't want to retrieve at all; it'll be a toss up between that and clicker. It'll all depend!

Eug
 

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Do you teach a retrieve or do you rely on cultivating natural inclinations?

If you do teach a retrieve, what is your general process?
Though I've borrowed some from them, I wouldn't consider myself a "British style trainer," but I don't force fetch (in the conventional sense of the term) and feel I both cultivate my pups' natural inclinations and teach retrieving, largely through making building block successes easy and rote conditioning. Though I will use verbal and/or physical force, as well, when applicable. I'm on my tenth dog so trained, and only one had what might be considered formal "hold" lessons, and those were more along the lines outlined on the Wildrose site than the US mainstream's approach.
 

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right now i have two pups: a "british" lab and a HT/FT golden retriever. Both would get the bird, the lab has always brought it back and using a clicker it was very simple to shape a heel sit and hold. The golden wasn't keen on bringing it back to me but using Robert milners tennis ball game and training with the mentality of "a dog does what pays" he now brings it back to heel because that is the only way he got paid ( with another retrieve). I have also found that less is more when not using force, I only train retrieves two times a week and work on OB and steadiness the rest of the week
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
FF is as much about the hold as the fetch. So if your teaching hold I call it FF.
If you teach hold as in the first steps of a force fetch (I am thinking along the lines of the hold as taught in Smartfetch), I can agree. But I would not call a positive reinforcement hold force fetch. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6oFO9Z0oHBA 2:00 - 2:40)

For me, one of the defining features of force fetch is the use of negative reinforcement. The pinching stops when the dog is doing the desired behavior. Much of the hold training I have seen uses positive punishment - a cuff on the muzzle for mouthing, dropping, etc. So to me, even a force trained hold is different than a full force fetch.

I train British dogs (I'm not advanced enough to say I train any specific 'method'), and I have not used FF on my last two labs. Their natural drive to retrieve was very strong early on, so I built on that and did not have to "teach" retrieving. I did put both through force hold, which I believe is different than force fetch (we can have that conversation if anyone wants to). I used something similar to Mike Stewart's method. This is simply to ensure the dog keeps the retrieve all the way in to heel and then delivers to hand.
On several separate occasions I have heard British trainers (actual trainers in the UK) express confusion about why American dogs are force fetched. "Don't your dogs retrieve naturally?" The answer is, of course, that they do. As far as I can gather, most American retrievers get retrieves and marks nearly daily from the day they come home. Many continue to get marks while they are being force fetched. My duck toller retrieved anything I threw from the day I got him, and taught himself to retrieve to hand on the second day. If FF was to make the dogs retrieve, this wouldn't be possible.

So, if FF isn't to make dogs retrieve, what is it for? Personal opinion, I think the reliability claims are overstated. Is a FF retriever a more reliable retriever than a natural ability only retriever? I believe so. I don't think this is anything magical about the FF process, I think it is an outcome of a trained retrieve.

In my opinion based on my understanding of dog training and retriever training, the benefit of force fetch is in teaching and running blinds. British field trials don't have American-style blinds (I don't believe they have blinds at all), which IMO accounts for the fact that they don't force fetch their dogs. They don't need to, and there would be minimal competitive benefit in doing so. Different trial criteria means different selection pressures, in breeding and training methodologies.

We have invited many to come train with us in the Boise area, but have had few takers, but we are not out to change hearts and minds..most will revert back to the more traditional E collar methods..the only convert I could think of lately would be my brother's long time training partner Ted Miller..willing to train with anyone as long as you're not looking to get into a urinating match on styles...we respect almost all forms of training
If I had it my way, I'd spend all my time tooling around training dogs with different people and talking shop. In a world without teleporters and with rising gas prices, theorizing on the internet is the next best thing. :p
 

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In my opinion based on my understanding of dog training and retriever training, the benefit of force fetch is in teaching and running blinds. British field trials don't have American-style blinds (I don't believe they have blinds at all), which IMO accounts for the fact that they don't force fetch their dogs. They don't need to, and there would be minimal competitive benefit in doing so. Different trial criteria means different selection pressures, in breeding and training methodologies.
They do have blind retrieves, but with their trials there is no set up blind. If the dog that gets sent saw it its a mark, if not its a blind. The judges choose the winner from the total performance of the dog. The dog will have both blinds and marks. Lining is not as important it seems though. Youtube "brackenbird minnow" and you will get an example of a british field trial.
 

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Force Fetch or Forced Retrieve is a misleading name. Every retriever with even mediocre instincts will retrieve.

What "forcing" is about, and this is fundamental to a decent working dog, is teaching the dog to deliver to hand reliably and with a soft mouth, and, teaching the dog that retrieving is non-optional.

Yes, a dog with good instincts will retrieve most of the time, and will deliver to hand most of the time. But if you want your dog to retrieve and properly present the bird every time when given the command, you have to teach the dog that he has no option to do anything less.

Jeff
 

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so are you assuming british retrievers aren't as reliable as FF retrievers? If reliable delivery to hand can be genetic shouldn't we try to increase that trait? I think FF is useful if you will be running FT or MH where a dog's retrieving ability is tested more than its natural game finding ability. I think every camp wants a well trained retriever that delivers to hand and does what is expected of it
 

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Force Fetch or Forced Retrieve is a misleading name. Every retriever with even mediocre instincts will retrieve.

What "forcing" is about, and this is fundamental to a decent working dog, is teaching the dog to deliver to hand reliably and with a soft mouth, and, teaching the dog that retrieving is non-optional.

Yes, a dog with good instincts will retrieve most of the time, and will deliver to hand most of the time. But if you want your dog to retrieve and properly present the bird every time when given the command, you have to teach the dog that he has no option to do anything less.

Jeff
There are plenty of dogs that retrieve everytime that arent FFd. It is simply one of many methods. The point of this thread is to discuss those other methods. BTW..I watch FFd dogs drop and occassional refuse retrieves in the field every year. It isn't a magic technique. BUT I have FFd several dogs
 

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So, if FF isn't to make dogs retrieve, what is it for? Personal opinion, I think the reliability claims are overstated. Is a FF retriever a more reliable retriever than a natural ability only retriever? I believe so. I don't think this is anything magical about the FF process, I think it is an outcome of a trained retrieve.
You really are not close as to what FF accomplishes.
This is a 2 1/2 month old puppy and this is her first duck. It is her 3rd retrieve with that duck that I recorded for my friend that will own her. The very first time she picked up the duck correctly (in the middle) and she delivers to hand. What is a trained retrieve? I flipped the duck out there and she picked it up and brought it back. I didn't train her to do it. Will she be FF-you bet she will, yes, even if she is doing what she is doing now.
 

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I am a british trainer!..thats because I live there.
I do believe however you can make a dog do most things within it's capabilities.
Making it want to do it, is a course' of actions (for the dog).
This little girl at 10 months old would do it all day long I think?
and every one to hand.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uW6KwfSpLPU
 
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