While yes, this is my general opinion and observation; generally suggested by the majority of professional Retriever trainers. What's the rush?
Well of course it is what it is suggested by most pro trainers because at 6 months they normally get the dog lol and then they get paid to do it. For someone that’s never done it this is a good route, for those that have done it and had success earlier is better in my opinion especially in bigger powerful dogs. Less bad habits, more tools early, better control early, can run marks properly earlier. Lots of reasons if the dog is ready for it to do it earlier. Dogs are sponges early in life the more they learn early the better off they are.While yes, this is my general opinion and observation; generally suggested by the majority of professional Retriever trainers. What's the rush?
Some good points and understand what you’re saying. But who says you have to use a hard bumper to force fetch? The dogs have evolved to a much higher level, so should our training techniques, the more creative we can be to help the learning process to keep up with the dogs the better, but that’s just my 2 cents. To be honest I very rarely use a hard bumper it’s normally at the end of everything just to use a different item to proof the process.Retrievers adult teeth are coming in sometime between 4-6 months. If you've trained a lot of dogs I'm sure you've seen blood on happy bumpers, and dogs dropping dummies more frequently during this time, and this is the time to cease retrieving for some dogs who are especially sensitive to this. The reason you should wait, is that working on "hold" or FF when the new teeth are coming in can be painful to the dog. Not a good idea to do something to cause pain when not necessary. There's a lot of training you can do on marking, steadiness and obedience/line manners before 4 months; there's no urgency to FF before 6 months.