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.?
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.
How do you know that FTP is complete?
Under what circumstances do you revisit FTP once it's completed?