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Old 01-26-2013, 10:01 AM
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Force to Pile aka FTP

Force to Pile aka FTP

As we head into spring we begin to focus on tuning up our now-loose gundogs, and continue Basics on those that halted FF progression last Fall. Force to Pile is where all aspects of basic obedience are assembled together with the elements of force fetch. It might be useful to have a discussion of how you approach FTP.

So, how do you approach and execute FTP? What are your goals for it? How far do you usually lengthen the distance to the pile? What are your forcing procedures; from side, en route, from remote sit, etc.?

EvanG
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Old 01-26-2013, 11:36 AM
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I am in this place with Bonnie. We had finished 3HC, FTP, and TT last year, and were getting set to move into 3LP when hunting season started...

Rather than jumping right back in at 3LP once the craziness of in-season girls is complete (but before my puppies get here!), I think I may step back and review FTP and TT with her before proceeding.

I teach FTP on the soccer field across from my house (how handy of the school board to put it there for me). I start by identifying the pile, probably about 15-20 feet back--a comfortable toss. I gradually extend the distance on this field back to 20-25 yards. By the end of it I want to dogs to be showing focus on the destination when sitting at my side, and to leave with purpose and momentum when sent. I force from my side, remote and en route, but the vast majority of sends are freebies as pressure-pressure-pressure tends to wear down my dog's attitudes.So the balance I have to watch for is using enough pressure to reinforce the requirement to go, without wearing down the dog's attitude.

Once they are hammering out to the pile on the soccer field, I move it to the field I use for TT. I teach the back pile again and reinforce it at FTP distances ( i like that my FTP baseline corresponds to the far intersection so it builds in casting back from that intersection for later in the process), and then build the line back to full TT distance, also doing a remotes from the near intersection, before I add in a stop and cast en-route to proceed with the TT lessons.
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:28 PM
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I hope you who are competing with your dogs - HT or FT - are not glossing over this important part of training. I believe that if you don't do a thorough job of FTP that you have not finished force fetch.

EvanG
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:46 PM
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What are the possible consequences of not forcing to pile?
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Old 01-30-2013, 11:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gdgli View Post
What are the possible consequences of not forcing to pile?
Great question! There are several important consequences, and they start with a trainer heaping expectations of a finished retrieve on a dog that hasn't been trained to perform one. FTP assembles vital parts into a finished product; the fully-trained retrieve. Many a trainer has failed their dog by just giving them a hodge-podge of skills, and then requiring them to perform as if the process were complete.

The fully trained retrieve is efficient and reliable. It is also uniform; the same each time; the dog goes, fetches the first retrieve object he comes to, instantly recalls to the handler, finishes as directed, and delivers on command - all with style. That is because FTP training works dynamically to produce exactly that.

In addition, a dog thoroughly trained through FTP is also finessed in his pressure conditioning so distractions don't divert him, or keep him from finishing the task he was sent to perform.

Pretty important, don't you think?

EvanG
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Old 01-31-2013, 12:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EvanG View Post
Force to Pile aka FTP

As we head into spring we begin to focus on tuning up our now-loose gundogs, and continue Basics on those that halted FF progression last Fall. Force to Pile is where all aspects of basic obedience are assembled together with the elements of force fetch. It might be useful to have a discussion of how you approach FTP.

So, how do you approach and execute FTP? What are your goals for it? How far do you usually lengthen the distance to the pile? What are your forcing procedures; from side, en route, from remote sit, etc.?

EvanG
Yes, indeed, FTP is an extension of FF; it strengthens the compulsion to make the retrieve. [I may not, however, consider it to the where all aspects of basic obedience are put together with FF, although I suppose it could depend on how one defines basic obedience. But that's not the point of this thread.]

Sterregold's approach is solid, particularly the limited number of stimulus events. Too many nicks/burns will increase the likelihood of developing a bad attitude about retrieving (lose momentum) and of flaring (which is a P.I.T.A. to deal with ... it can become a lifelong issue for some dogs).

And this is an opportune time to see how your dog is reacting to the number of sends, the number of nicks, nick v. burn, the level of the stimuli (this is a biggie) ... is it high enough or is it too high, etc. Said another way, you must pay careful attention to every movement the dog makes ... i.e., you must read the dog.

To the questions:
Distance to pile - far enough to put in two nicks ... around 60 yards is my best guess.
Forcing procedures - I prefer forcing from the side and en route. If I see some hints of flaring, I will force remotely.

Questions:
How do you know that FTP is complete?
Under what circumstances do you revisit FTP once it's completed?
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Old 01-31-2013, 12:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FTGoldens View Post
To the questions:
Distance to pile - far enough to put in two nicks ... around 60 yards is my best guess.
I take mine to 100 yards in small increments. I do this because that pile becomes my Back pile for T work.
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Originally Posted by FTGoldens View Post
Forcing procedures - I prefer forcing from the side and en route. If I see some hints of flaring, I will force remotely.
Me too.
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Originally Posted by FTGoldens View Post
Questions:
How do you know that FTP is complete?
I determine that by concurrent sessions in which all its primary functions are uniform and reliable, and by assessing that pressure conditioning is sound.
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Originally Posted by FTGoldens View Post
Under what circumstances do you revisit FTP once it's completed?
I re-visit FTP all through Basics in land T work & Swim-by. Then, as the dog goes through Transition, pile work continues extensively because many of the drills I run are pile-based. Later on, I return to some of the drills of Transition as maintenance exercises. Many of them are excellent drills to maintain a solid foundation for more advanced skills and skill sets.

EvanG
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Old 08-01-2013, 03:28 PM
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I have a question related to this thread. I'm not sure if its completely what you are thinking. I have Lucy almost through land FF. We're on water FF now. We are starting on having her go Back to the pile and heel to my side. Distances are short at 10 or 15'. I have only 2 piles. She's pretty good. But occasionally she'll go to the wrong pile and start to pick up a bumper. I have been walking over and having her drop the bumper. Then pinching her ear walk her over to the correct bumper. She picks it up and I release the ear pinch. I walk back to my original location and she comes and heels. To reinforce, I have her Hold the bumper for 30 seconds. Sometimes she will drop the bumper and I have to have her pick it up again using an ear pinch, then back to Hold. Am I doing it right? Only have her go to the pile 6 times or so and then end the session. She is very tired afterwards and I don't want to wear her out mentally. I don't want to nic her at any point. I've been using the nic only for re-calls.
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Old 08-01-2013, 06:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alaska7133 View Post
I have a question related to this thread. I'm not sure if its completely what you are thinking. I have Lucy almost through land FF.
So, Hold, ear pinch for Fetch, Walking fetch, Force to pile? All of those before water?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alaska7133 View Post
We're on water FF now.
Water force? Forcing across water to a pile?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alaska7133 View Post
We are starting on having her go Back to the pile and heel to my side. Distances are short at 10 or 15'. I have only 2 piles.
Why 2 piles?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alaska7133 View Post
She's pretty good. But occasionally she'll go to the wrong pile and start to pick up a bumper. I have been walking over and having her drop the bumper. Then pinching her ear walk her over to the correct bumper.
This should be a red flag to you. All these functions are steps of formal Basics. If there is one thing that will throw a wrench into Basics it's turning the exercises into something that is NOT basic. 2 piles instead of one, for example. Do you have a diagram of what you have been doing?
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Originally Posted by Alaska7133 View Post
She picks it up and I release the ear pinch. I walk back to my original location and she comes and heels. To reinforce, I have her Hold the bumper for 30 seconds. Sometimes she will drop the bumper and I have to have her pick it up again using an ear pinch, then back to Hold. Am I doing it right?
Forgive my bluntness, but "no". I'll share something the late great Rex Carr shared with me one day at C.L. 2, his training grounds. He said "I'd like to have two T shirts printed up, and hand them out as folks come on the property. One would say "Learn not to burn." The other would have just one word on it; "Simplify". What you are doing sounds like it would work far better in a simpler form.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alaska7133 View Post
Only have her go to the pile 6 times or so and then end the session. She is very tired afterwards and I don't want to wear her out mentally. I don't want to nic her at any point. I've been using the nic only for re-calls.
I'm with you on both points. Too much work in a single session dulls the dog's enthusiasm and that diminishes a teachable attitude. If you have not soundly e-collar conditioned, don't use the collar. Are you following any particular program?

EvanG
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Old 08-01-2013, 09:03 PM
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I'm working with a woman that has trained many dogs since the 60's. She is not a pro and prefers to keep her amateur status. She is breed specific - goldens. She uses Connie Cleveland's methods for training. Connie has also chosen to keep her amateur status. My friend has been active in field trials for many years.

We are through hold, FF on land, we just started force to pile. We haven't done much with water since we didn't have open water until early June. Lucy just learned to swim then. When I say water force, I mean retrieve in the bumpers or birds in the water. Then swim back to me, hold the bird, then come to heel position and hand the bird to me when I ask for it. When she doesn't do exactly what I want I use the ear pinch to put her in the correct position. She wants to drop the bumper when she gets out of the water and shake. We have not retrieved across a body of water to land on the other side to retrieve a bird. Having a bit a trouble finding something like that here in town.

I set up with 2 separate bumpers. I've worked on turning her to each bumper to mark and understanding doubles. We did it when she was very young with treats on bowls. Now that she's bigger we're doing it with bumpers. I had planned on extending the distances. I'm happy to change to just one bumper. I was trying to teach her Back with a whistle sit.

Thanks for your thoughts. This is obviously my first dog for field work.
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