Our first time out...
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Thread: Our first time out...

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    Milesmom's Avatar
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    DefaultOur first time out...

    Hi everyone! Well, yesterday morning we went out to meet a training group for the first time. We had 3 men, 2 women and 6 dogs. The two experienced guys were very, very welcoming and helpful. They spent alot of time with me explaining things. I really appreciated ever bit of it.

    Learned to throw ducks and bumpers. My favorite was throwing a duck in the air and yelling "Bang!" since I don't have a training pistol yet. :-)

    My dog did very well doing land and water retrieves with a bumper. He wants no part of hold a dead duck, though. :-( I am surprised by this because this is the same dog that proudly brought me a deer leg that stunk to high heaven last spring! He has also brought me dead bunnies, dead raccoons, none of which were fresh in varying phases of decay. Disgusting. Now a dead duck is a problem? How can that be?

    He may have to hold a duck to get his dinner this week. He didn't like holding a glove and he didn't like holding a metal article and I insisted he do so to get his dinner and he learned to hold them for me like it or not. I was shown how to do a force hold and force fetch. I don't know, I am not sure I understand how to do it correctly and I am just not excited about pinching my dog's ear to make him cry and open his mouth. I don't want to inflict pain to get him to perform. I do think we can work through this, though. I taught him to love the teeter totter after he became deathly afraid after a wild fly off by assigning very high value to it. So I am hoping I can teach him to love picking up ducks!

    By the way, there is a dead duck in my freezer now. Does that mean I am "IN"?

    Ann & Miles
    MACH ARCHEX "Miles" (DOB 3/10/2006) UD RAE MXS MJS OF CW-OB3 CW-ARF CW-AR CW-ZR2 CL-1 (DOB 3/10/2006)
    "Hartley" (DOB 7/21/2012) RN CGC CW-OB1

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    GulfCoast's Avatar
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    Congratulations on your first step! Get earplugs along with the training pistol.

    You are getting poor advice on FF if the dog is crying out at this point, unless the dog is just a great actor. Some of them are, its the K9 equivalent of "flopping" in basketball when there was no real foul. You do not have to FF the dog to get him to pick up a duck, but it does make the pick up and delivery much more "reliable." I would work on getting him birdy with clipped wing pigeons or ducks and then transition to dead birds. Making him hold a duck for his dinner is not a bad idea. If you are going to FF you dog, I would ask around and send him to a pro that is not known for a heavy hand, and tell them you just want the table work down through "walking fetch" unless you aim for senior or master work. If you are going to FF the dog yourself, I would get Evan Graham's Smartfetch book and DVD, and follow it to the letter. I suspect that you can get your dog to pick up a duck and bring it back without being FF'd, if you steadily work on it. Once he realizies that is what you want, and he has to do it, you will be good to go. However, remember in Jr. the dog WILL have to deliver to hand.
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    Thanks. After I posted this, I read Evan's article on FF that is on another forum and gave more thought to what was explained to me about FF yesterday. I honestly think that was all he could think of a resolution to a retrieve problems.

    First, no one did it with my dog. The guy just said the idea is the pinch gets them to open their mouth to hold the items. But he also said never use a duck or item I want him ot eagerly retrieve. use something else, then transfer to the duck. Well, I don't need to force other items. He generally will pick up or fetch/retrieve most anything tossed out for him to do so. He already does retrieves and holds/delivers to hand other items. We are already there. We are at the point where we need to transfer that behavior to duck. So I don't see how FFing other objects is going get him to retrieve a duck. He has a high retrieve drive in the field or on water. They were surprised at his drive. I almost wonder if we did it once with a bumper, then a second time with a bird, he'd do it with the bird because he is so pumped up for it at that moment. It might work better than sticking a duck in his face and say8ing "get it" or "hold". Not sure about that but it is a thought. There is some trial and error with dog training.

    He is generally very amenable. Once he figures out I want him to hold a duck, he will do it. I just have to figure out how to help him understand his job.

    How do I get him "birdy"? What is a clipped wing pigeon/duck? Is it a dummy with feathers or a livng bird that can't fly? Where does one get such a thing?

    Ann & Miles
    MACH ARCHEX "Miles" (DOB 3/10/2006) UD RAE MXS MJS OF CW-OB3 CW-ARF CW-AR CW-ZR2 CL-1 (DOB 3/10/2006)
    "Hartley" (DOB 7/21/2012) RN CGC CW-OB1

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    Its a real live bird, with flight feathers pulled. Available at any farmer's market or farmers trading days. You tease the dog with the live flapping bird, and get him fired up about birds. Like, a bird is the coolest, most desirable thing in the whole world. Once they are fired up ("birdy") about bringing back a live flapping duck, its usually not a big deal to get them to bring back a dead duck.

    In addition to a clipped wing live bird, I would get a frozen duck, roll it into his mouth, and say "hold." Tap him gently under the chin if he starts to drop it. Don't LET him drop it, watch him like a hawk. Take the duck with the command "drop." And repeat, until the point he will heel with a dead duck in his mouth. Then go to semi-frozen. Then fresh killed. After this, drop one on the floor very close and tell him "fetch." He should pick it right up. If not, walk him up say "fetch" and put it in his mouth. You do this enough, he will get sick of having it stuffed in his mouth and pick it up himself. Then, back off 10 steps "Fetch." Then 20 "fetch." Then work in a bird boy tossing the dead duck on close mowed grass. He should zip out there and get it and bring it back at that point.
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    Thanks Mr. Gulf Coast! You are the best!

    This sounds very similar to training a dog to hold a dumbbell at first. He didn't necessarily want to hold that dumbbell for me. Like Evan's article says, a retriever doesn't just do this on his own always. He didn't want to just hold it for me either. I trained him to do that. I was thinking if the bird is completely frozen won't seem so distateful to him. Maybe a bibi size ball of squirt cheese might make it seem better.

    Thanks fo rall the suggestions. We will work through this! :-)

    Ann & Miles
    MACH ARCHEX "Miles" (DOB 3/10/2006) UD RAE MXS MJS OF CW-OB3 CW-ARF CW-AR CW-ZR2 CL-1 (DOB 3/10/2006)
    "Hartley" (DOB 7/21/2012) RN CGC CW-OB1

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    Quote Originally Posted by Milesmom View Post
    Thanks. After I posted this, I read Evan's article on FF that is on another forum and gave more thought to what was explained to me about FF yesterday. I honestly think that was all he could think of a resolution to a retrieve problems.

    First, no one did it with my dog. The guy just said the idea is the pinch gets them to open their mouth to hold the items. But he also said never use a duck or item I want him ot eagerly retrieve. use something else, then transfer to the duck. Well, I don't need to force other items. He generally will pick up or fetch/retrieve most anything tossed out for him to do so. He already does retrieves and holds/delivers to hand other items. We are already there. We are at the point where we need to transfer that behavior to duck. So I don't see how FFing other objects is going get him to retrieve a duck. He has a high retrieve drive in the field or on water. They were surprised at his drive. I almost wonder if we did it once with a bumper, then a second time with a bird, he'd do it with the bird because he is so pumped up for it at that moment. It might work better than sticking a duck in his face and say8ing "get it" or "hold". Not sure about that but it is a thought. There is some trial and error with dog training.

    He is generally very amenable. Once he figures out I want him to hold a duck, he will do it. I just have to figure out how to help him understand his job.
    Force fetch is a very important process for a retriever. It is the foundation and often initially the motivation for the begining dog. Think of it as Heeling and Recall exercises for obedience, it is possible to pass novice if your dog Generally does them but as foundation exercises they are part of all other exercises. An obedience dog often has a default behavior to not do anything if it is confused, better to not make a mistake. A dog that has been force fetched should have a default to keep going till it finds something to retrieve. There have been retrievers that have broken a leg on the way to a bird and still come back with the bird.
    There are 4 catagories that your dog will be judged in every test, you can fail in any catagory.
    1 Marking/Memory How well the dog goes to where the bird landed.
    2 Courage/Perseverence How well the dog fights the conditions and factors that are between him and the mark, and how well he sticks with it and doesn't give up.
    3 Trainability How well the dog follows your comands. These commands include everything you tell your dog to do, heel, sit, recall, etc.
    4 Style Does the dog look like he enjoys what he is doing, does he want to do it, Is the dog pleasing to watch work. Never confuse speed with style, Speed can help indicate style but dogs can have style without being fast.

    Force fetch is used for way more than teaching a dog to pick up a bird, it is also used to condition the dog to work under pressure. Think of it as boot camp. Boot camp isn't just about teaching Marines to shoot, it is about teaching them to work as a unit, to trust each other to believe in each other, to have disipline. The force fetch process isn't just about picking up a bird it is about everything else too.
    to Me Force fetch includes Hold, Ear pinch, Picking up off ground, Collar conditioning, Walking Fetch, Ladder Fetch, Force to Pile, Mini Tee, T, Double T, Water force, Water T, Swim By, Shore breaking.
    Light, "weedy" individuals are definitely incorrect; equally objectionable are cloddy lumbering specimens. Labrador Retrievers shall be shown in working condition well-muscled and without excess fat. Females should weigh between 55 and 70lbs and Males between 65 and 80lbs. Height females 21.5 to 23.5 inches males 22.5 to 24.5 inches at the withers.

    Kelly
    HR Greenwoods Sealion Tsunami SH "Wave" born 3-9-2010
    Greenwoods Amber Wave VCD2 RA SH AX OF WCX CGC "Amber" born 4-13-2005
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    True. But if Miles is not going to be running blinds, and is not going to be trained to handle, I think it probably is not necessary for getting a JH. I put several finished passes and a JH on a dog without doing CC/FF/FTP et all. I would not do it that way AGAIN, but it should be no great shakes for a JH title (as long as they don't throw a bunch of really cheaty water marks). If someone had aspirations of the more advanced field titles, I would do straight Rex Carr basics/transition, CC, FF, force to pile, and especially water force and swim by training and give the dog all the tools. If the OP gets hooked on the game, then she will probably want to fully equip the dog. If not, she has a nice JH dog that does not handle, which is still better than a lot of dogs in the marsh!
    Last edited by GulfCoast; 05-24-2011 at 10:48 AM.
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    Absolutely if all they want is a Junior title then handling is not required. But looking at the titles Miles has They are all advanced titles, she doesn't stop at the novice level, Ann seems to actually like training Miles and will train him just for fun. I am pretty sure Ann also isn't an avid duck hunter and she might never be. But she does know the advantage of training her dog one level above the test she is running. Miles has already been taught a blind (go outs) Handling (Directed jumping)Lining drill (directed retrieve), Heeling way better than most hunt test and field trial dogs, Bush drills (retrieve over jump), Remote sit sorta (drop on recall). Takes direction at a distance (signal exercises). Every exercise in utility, open,novice obedience is a simpler or shorter version of what is fpoound in senior and master hunter.
    Light, "weedy" individuals are definitely incorrect; equally objectionable are cloddy lumbering specimens. Labrador Retrievers shall be shown in working condition well-muscled and without excess fat. Females should weigh between 55 and 70lbs and Males between 65 and 80lbs. Height females 21.5 to 23.5 inches males 22.5 to 24.5 inches at the withers.

    Kelly
    HR Greenwoods Sealion Tsunami SH "Wave" born 3-9-2010
    Greenwoods Amber Wave VCD2 RA SH AX OF WCX CGC "Amber" born 4-13-2005
    Chino Ca

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    Wow Kelly, thanks, very observant. I do like training my dog.

    My main hesitation for the FF is that I don't yet understand it and don't quite know exactly when to use it or how. I am getting the impression it is a useful training tool if used correctly. Used incorrectly is just abuse. Like the eCollar. I don't need to use corrections often, but I will do so if Miles knows his job and is blowing me off. After 5 years of working together, he knows who's in charge. Generally a failure to perform is due to lack of understanding on his part because either he is learning something new or that my handling was unclear. I am looking up articles and YouTubes on the subject.

    Maybe you can help with one thing I am confused on. How does FF help with handling? I see the connection with getting the item in stressful or distractingsituations but I am missing the connection for handling.

    Ann & Miles
    MACH ARCHEX "Miles" (DOB 3/10/2006) UD RAE MXS MJS OF CW-OB3 CW-ARF CW-AR CW-ZR2 CL-1 (DOB 3/10/2006)
    "Hartley" (DOB 7/21/2012) RN CGC CW-OB1

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    Force Fetch is actually a multi-step process, that starts with hold, and ends at Force to Pile. Many people use "FF" to refer just to the table work (ear pinch/toe pinch) and not the entire process. FF is the foundation of handling/running "real" blinds, as it teaches the dog it MUST comply with a command ("go") whether or not the dog is in the mood. Sooner or later, usually much sooner, a non forced dog decides that it would rather not do something it percieves as difficult/scary/not fun. This usually involves distance, repitition of booring work, water, mud or ice. This is true no matter how much "drive" the dog has, or how much the dog "loves to work" or "wants to please." When you start running blind retrieves other than on a mowed fairway, its not something natural to dogs to hold straight lines against factors. A dog that has been forced understands that compliance is not an option. It actually improves the attitude of most dogs. Nor is it the chamber of horrors many of the cookies and bandana crowd make it out to be. Done correctly, its no big deal and non-traumatic, and certainly not abusive. And its the best tool to advance a dog quickly and humanely through basics and transition to becaome a higher level handling dog. Without FF, most handlers that get a dog to run blinds through pure attrition spend most of thier training time patching holes like popping, no go's, cast refusals, the fun never ends, if they try to run anything other than "golf course binds to obvious targets." That is why FF is the foundation of a true "take it anywhere and run any blind" handling dog.
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