Join Date: May 2011
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
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In the meantime, you can always work on obedience. The better your obedience the easier your dog will do in force fetch. I'll use an example of my own dogs. Miss Lucy was my first dog to be FF. She was a show puppy that I spoiled rotten. Consequently when she was force fetched at 9 months or so, I had made the process very difficult by not having rules and sticking to them, because she was sooo stinking cute. So FF was miserable for her and for us. She went through FF, 3 separate times before FF was solid.
Then my next puppy was Riot. He is not a show puppy, he's a field puppy. When I brought him home I was much better at making choices on what the rules will be and how I was going to enforce them from the beginning. Here's an example. When I called Riot, when he was a puppy, and he didn't come, I went and got him. But I didn't call him unless I have a way to enforce that command of "come". But when Lucy was a puppy, if I said "come" and she didn't come, I would laugh and say "isn't that cute". With Riot, I made sure that I took the time to deal with a problem at that moment, whatever time it took, instead of hoping to fix it at a later date. Another example, I want my dogs to sit at the door and not bolt when the door is opened. So I took the time, every time I opened the door, to make sure I was in a position to control the behavior of the puppy so that he did what I wanted, and if he didn't that I could correct it. With Lucy I didn't do that. I would ask her to do things, instead of being in charge and making those decisions for her. I hope that makes sense.
Would I have known all that when I brought home Miss Lucy? Heck no. I had to screw up a dog before I could bring home the next one and figure out how to do better the next time. Was I perfect with Riot? Heck no, but I was a lot better. When I say screw up a dog, I mean I have a dog named Lucy that will probably never go very far in retriever hunt tests, due to her lack of concern with what I have to say. Lucy just doesn't really care. Riot on the other hand, he cares, he knows that I will enforce any command I give. And the world is our oyster waiting for us to figure out how far we want to go.
Get a journal. Makes notes every day. Write down little things like the weather. But also write down big things, like won't come when called. Make videos of what you are doing. Carve out time every single day to work with your dog for at least 15 minutes. 2 times a day is even better. Don't lose your temper. Don't get upset. Just go slow. Obedience takes time and persistence.
~ Stacey with Lucy and Riot, missing Hunter, Reilly, Tiger and Pennie
Wiseman Wildfire Grayling Fish On CD RA JH SHU WC "Lucy"
Thistle Rock Kicking Up a Fuss CD RA WCX ** "Riot"