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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I do not want to start an argument between any of the more experienced trainers here but I have to ask...
I have a 9 month old yellow lab that is doing great. I have never trained a hunting dog before but this dog has picked up everything I have tried to teach it very quickly. Right now at our location (i.e. without many distractions) she obeys; heal, sit, come, "Go" my retrieve command, give, and are working on direction control for blind retrieves. She does not have a stay command because I am training her to hold a command until I release her or give her another command. My big question is about force fetching though. Right now my dog will not drop a dummy, bumper, stick or rock that I throw until I tell her to except for one occasion where she threw up with a dummy in her mouth and she did drop that one. I have had my hunting and training buddies tell me she doesn't need force fetched and others say she HAS to be. Could you more experienced trainers give me your thoughts and reasoning behind it for my situation? Also, I do not plan on competing with this dog. She is being trained to be a hunting dog and life long friend.

Thanks,
Tim

P.S. I am also new to the forum and this is my first post. So let me know your experiences with this forum also.
 

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You can train a dog to be a great hunting dog without FF, I have five in my kennel that have never been. It will be up to you to make that call. If you have any doubts you have the option to FF. Good luck with your training :)
 

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I have to FF a dog. It is an integral part of the training program I follow which is a force based program.

You don't have to FF your dog if you don't want to. You also don't have to follow a training program, you can just teach new skills to the dog in a random fashion. I've found that when I tried to just teach the dog this skill and that skill in hopes of ending up with a finished retriever, I was not successful. And this was after a pro had done formal obedience, force fetch, collar conditioning and had started the pup handling.

For me, following a comprehensive training program with a well established sequence of training through basics and transition (transition is where I fell off the wagon and started the this and that training method with my 1st lab), has made all the difference in the world. And as I said, FF is the basis for the program.

Aside from the way I do it, you will find that the vast majority of top field trial and hunt test trainers, and I would guess trainers of hunting companions as well, FF their dogs.

But, you can certainly do it a different way if you want to.
 

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GO and NO would be too close for comfort for me. I know you were asking about FF but that stood out.

as far as NEEDING to or NOT. I'm new to this the last several years and just a few dogs under my belt. But I couldn't imagine not having the tool for training.
 

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I'm not an "experienced trainer" but have a 2.7 year old male who was taught to "fetch", "hold", sit and hold, and "give" using bumpers, birds, balls, shoes etc. from land and water, all without force.

He is extremely reliable and hasn't dropped a bird or bumper upon delivery since he was first taught the commands at 8 months.

He has a Junior Hunter title and two pheasant hunting seasons under his belt. He may be an exception to the rule, but your dog may be an exception too. You can still do the force fetching drills, just without the force. It has worked well for my dog - but he is not a Field Trial hopeful, just a hunting dog and good ole pal!

A lot of folks on this forum are training their dogs for competition. Some others on the forum just train for hunting or a combination of both.

Good Luck,
jennifer

P.S. I agree with post above about "Go" sounding a lot like "NO". You could consider adding another syllable, I hate to admit it cause it sounds hokey, but my send word for my hunting dog is "Go Get". I got some eye rolls from the hunt test judges.
 

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Rocks and sticks?
 

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To me, there is much more to FF than the dog picking up an object. As Glen said, it is the basis for most training programs. It teaches the dog about pressure and ultimately gives the dog a "job."
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks to everyone so far. I appreciate your inputs. As far as the "Go" sounding like "No", I do not use "No" as my term for an incorrect behavior. This is going to sound weird, but i use an "AH" sound that comes from my throat.
 

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Thanks to everyone so far. I appreciate your inputs. As far as the "Go" sounding like "No", I do not use "No" as my term for an incorrect behavior. This is going to sound weird, but i use an "AH" sound that comes from my throat.
Tim, you're a rebel. Where did you learn all those sounds and commands?

Obviously you can get a dog to retrieve by saying "boo", or any other word if you wanted to. Just not sure why you wouldn't use more conventional terms.
 

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a pro i train with said a guy that showed up for training day would do this....when his dog would get close to the bird he would make a loud siren sound and move his finger around in a circle over his head. true story.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I exaggerated with rocks, she only did that once haha. The basis of my training with Maggie (my pup) is from the 1st fowl dogs video. I changed it up a little because I didnt have some of the resources available that trainers do, hence starting off with sticks. She graduated to bumpers and dummies when I put her in my new supervisors kennels who has everything a trainer would need. I use different terminology so if I am out with another guy and she hears a command she would not get confused. Did I make a mistake in doing this?
 

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I exaggerated with rocks, she only did that once haha. The basis of my training with Maggie (my pup) is from the 1st fowl dogs video. I changed it up a little because I didnt have some of the resources available that trainers do, hence starting off with sticks. She graduated to bumpers and dummies when I put her in my new supervisors kennels who has everything a trainer would need. I use different terminology so if I am out with another guy and she hears a command she would not get confused. Did I make a mistake in doing this?

The only mistake is the mistake a dog didn't understand....Make the dog understand....:)
 

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.... I use different terminology so if I am out with another guy and she hears a command she would not get confused. Did I make a mistake in doing this?
It's unnecessary. Generally send dog for retrieves on name, so unless all of your hunting buddies have dogs named Maggie...
 

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To force fetch or not to force fetch, there isn't even a question.
 

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As a general rule you shouldn't throw sticks for dogs to retrieve. If my grandson or wife does this while playing with a dog I don't get upset with them, just tell them not to do it.

You don't want your dog to be hunting hard for a bird, can't find it but comes across a stick and brings it back.

So I don't do sticks.
 

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The Fowl Dawgs DVD"s are a great program to follow. Rick has been training dog professionally for 25 years. He is very good at what he does. You are training your FIRST dog and you decided to "change it up a little" You did a very smart thing by getting and following the program, right up to the point where you decided not to follow the program. Get the rest of the DVD"s and FOLLOW THEM. You wont be sorry. BTW Rick FF every dog, even the gun dogs.

Welcome to thr RTF and good luck with your pup.
 

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I have hunted and had both types of dogs. FF VS. Non FF. No comparison and every dog that I had or have will be FF without a question or doubt in my mind.
 

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I've trained dogs both ways. I doubt I will go back to a non-force-broken dog. But at the time, I was quite happy with the dog I trained, non-FF.

I'd suggest you seek out local clubs, people, pros, whatever. See for yourself what you like and what you want to emulate, and move in that direction.

I trained a couple dogs without the e-collar but still FF'd them. I was happy with them too.

I now have a FF'd dog, trained as close as I could follow, to Lardy's program. I'm happiest with him.

Chris
 

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GO and NO would be too close for comfort for me. I know you were asking about FF but that stood out.

as far as NEEDING to or NOT. I'm new to this the last several years and just a few dogs under my belt. But I couldn't imagine not having the tool for training.
Most folks have a "release command" that is used to release their dogs to go do whatever they want. For example, if you have all of your dogs sitting and you want to cut them loose to go play, you have some command. I've seen many folks use "OK" for this command, and I always avoided that due to its frequent use in casual conversation.

I personally use "no" as a cue for dogs. I also use "go" for a release command. I've done this for many years with many dogs. I've never had a problem. I believe this has to do with inflection, body language and context.

For my dogs, a "no" and a "go" are totally different.

I actually think this underscores a piece of why some trainers prefer clickers for certain training cues. The "click" takes the inflection and voice out of it. It theoretically gives a totally consistent message every time.

I would suggest that if you're going to run organized hunt tests or dog games, you may want to consider using fairly standard terms. I like to stand out for what's happening out in the field, with good performance. I don't like to stand out because of "odd" commands.

There's no one "right" way though.

Good luck!

Chris
 
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