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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am about to start Force Fetching my lab.I have heard that if not done properly it can really screw a dog up. I have also been told by several people that have FFed their dogs that it is a pretty easy task. I have studied up on this, and feel that I can FF my dog myself, but what are the signs that you are screwing up?

My dog knows what fetch means, and was VERY receptive to slight ear presure tonight.

Any other knowledge would be great.

Thanks.
 

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Not sure what the specific signs are you are screwing up. But, if you feel confident you know how to correctly do it, just don't give up. Also, don't rush the process. Keep reinforcing. And resist the temptation to move to quickly. The last thing you want to do is cause confusion. You will reach tough spots where nothing seems to be going right. Then all the sudden, it will seem like a light will come on and every thing is great. I have force fetched (or tried) 2 females. The first went smooooth as silk. She's awesome. The other just flat wouldn't do it. you couldn't make her open her mouth with channel locks. Thus, she never realized the reward of complying. I even had a pro try her. She just had an extremely high pain tolerance and was having nothing to do with it. Good Luck. Force fetching is the best thing I ever did with my first dog. And I don't even think it was necessary. Just made all other aspects of training sooooo much easier.
 

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Are you sure you can stick it through to the end with your own dog? It's harder to finish this with a dog you have a bond with than it is with someone elses dog. If you think you can finish the job, then go for it but if there's any doubt, starting it without finishing will cause more harm than good.
 

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In order to do it correctly you basicaly have to tear you dog apart and make him think come heck or high water he better pick up whatever you tell him to. Even if your dog picks up everything quick you need to make sure that at one time or another you he screws up so you can apply the proper pressure to him. I know several pro trainers that will take thier personel dogs to someone else to get them force fetched because they can't make them selves do it to thier own pooch. It's a vital part and building block if you want your dog to pass the standerd of being great instead of just good. I personely would leave it to someone else especially if you have never sat in on a pro doing it. If you do decide to do it your self make sure you use several items like hair brushes,steel rods, wooden dowl rods, etc. if he picks these up no problem you may want to try a steel brush or filling the steel rod with cement, just make sure that you dont use anything like a duck or dummy. Also make sure that when you pinch thier ears that you go from the opposite side and behind thier head. Another thing that you can add in is when you make them walk the table start to use your hand signals. It's more or less taking your dog to the point that he wants to quit but stopping before he does. If he starts to get to down and doesn't want to cooperate force it on him and then put him up to think on it but if it gets to bad you need to stop and have some fun days with him to build him back up. There is alot of little tricks to the trade like when to use light constant pressure and when to just nick him hard. You don't want to torcher the animal but it comes close at times which is why I'd let a pro do it. They do it for a living and a months training is alot cheaper than having to get a new dog and start all over. If your in the houston area call steve hendricks 713-816-6533. He's one of the best in texas and even if your not in the area give him a call cause I'm sure he can steer you to some one closer since he seems to know almost everyone in the biz from trials and hunt tests. Good luck and if you have any other questions don't hesitate to ask me. I don't know everything but do remember most of the things from when I had my dog trained.
 

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Sage advice from Catn' Around. After the experience I had with my second dog, I'll probably never do it again. Over the years, I have come to the conclusion I was dang lucky with my first dog. However, if you are conviced you know what you are doing, and you are confident you can follow through to the end, I would not want to dissuade you from doing it. The fact that I trained my first dog, makes hunting with her even that much more satisfying.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I just wonder if I should forgo FF and just get my dog SUPER excited by using real birds. He knows what fetch means, but I don't feel that he is super reliable. I also want to teach him FF so I can instill HOLD. When he brings dummies back, he drops them in front of me and then goes to HEAL.

I am gonna call Steve today and see about getting a 1 on 1 lesson with him.

I got my dog from South Texas Lab Rescue, have no gty that he is full bred, and don't have the $$$ to spen on having him trained by a Pro. I don't care if he is perfect, but would like to be able to depend on him to fetch birds....should I get an invite to go hunting.
 

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did you get the book water dog? i got it along w/ some other books and they were a life saver. the local library has em. the one thing i can say is patience and make it fun for him at first. and always leaving him wanting more, dont over do it. treats work good. is he already sitting on command and staying. if not thats the first thing i did on my lab and he's doing real good at 8 months old. it was a joy working w/ my lab. when i got him doing all the things a lab should do it gave me a real feel of accomplishment. but you have to do it almost everyday. and if he comes in the house and he picks up everything and wants play w/ it or brings your wifes favorite pair of shoes to you, dont scold him or hell get confused. my dog has just about chewed up everything in the house. also a decent shock collar is a must. they really learn fast when they get jolted every now and then. go for it! it's not that hard if they have it in em. and most do.
 

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The only negative thing I have ever heard about books like Water Dog, is they promote starting obedience training (sit, stay, etc.) as early as 8 weeks. IMO that is way to young for a puppy. Their attention spans are to short and you run the risk of frustating them (and yourself) and making the dog hate training. Of course, every dog is different. I'm sure it has worked with tons of dogs, otherwise the books wouldn't be so successful. I have always chosen the path of simply socializing the puppy, reinforcing retrieving instincts and teaching "NO" until 4-5 months old. At 5 months old he/she is mature enough you can completely obedience train a in about 2 weeks.

I really like the book "Retriever Training" by Tri-Tronics. It has all the basic "non-collar" training in it, and continues on with Collar training if if you chose that path.

Just an additional 2 cents.
 

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Don't go by the water dog books there are alot better books/video's out there. The walters books are good for there time but are outdated. If I can remember the name of the tapes I'll let you know. The biggest problem with walters is he tells you how to do stuff but dosen't tell you what to do when they mess up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I read a number oif books about Retreivers, Labs, and Training. I like 10 Minute Retreiver the best.

The common thread of training was to break each lesson into small, simple tasks.

My pooch is about a year and a half, is very obedient, and knows what fetch means.

I talked to Steve Hendricks the other day (real nice guy) and he told me to bring my dog out and he'd "test" him. After talking to him, I have been heading in the right direction with my training, but have allowed my dog to develope a BAD HABIT. He will fetch, then bring his bumper back and drop it near my feet, then return to heel. I let Hunter develop the habit of droppping the dummy, and will soon start working on breaking it........

There is a huge difference in what I know (I thought I was pretty good), and what a pro knows. I guess that is why he makes a living at it, and people like me have to pic their brains.

I really enjoy teaching my dog things, and ish there was a laid back club to get involved in, in the West Houston/Katy area.
 

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The best thing about having your dog trained by steve is it's like getting a lifetime membership to his kennel. He'll let you come and train at his facillities and land when ever you want to and he'll show you what to do, what not to do, and what to do next. Every tuesday he takes his upper level dogs to somewhere new, and he always leaves an open invitation to customers and helping hands. If he suggests that your dog needs training don't take offense to it. He's a straight shotter and isn't telling you that cause he needs the business. The last time I talked to him he had a 3 month waiting list. I'm sure he'll steer you in the right direction.
 
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