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I love it! If I can find any photos my husband took several years ago of Jake and Alli, now at the Bridge, and the two house rabbits we had at the time, Lucy and Bandit, also now gone, sitting on the couch together, I will post that too, as Bunny Foo Foo Part II!
 

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Disclaimer:
This conversation has evolved and shifted more than once today, and though I hesitate to disrupt the recent rhythm that has been developing, there are a few things I have to address.

First, I have no idea if the comment was anywhere near directed toward me, but to address the concept of "fly-by" agitators.... I think it's important to acknowledge that some of us do not have the luxury of participating in this forum at will. I personally am away from home 12 hours a day for work, and though browsing the forum on my phone is a pleasure I enjoy for short spurts (for example, I take about 10 minutes to read and decompress during my lunch break and occasionally browse on the train) posting anything meaningful with it is truly an exercise in futility. I do not post and run by choice... I jump in for a short period in the evenings when my schedule permits. That should not preclude me (or others whose demands make access to the internet a challenge throughout the day) from participating in discussions such as this.

Second, Anney you raised a very good point in asking what those of us who are turned off by the concept of force fetch think of the breeders/trainers who handled the fine working dogs who produced our pups. In my case, this hits a number of levels... many people I greatly admire, including my father, strongly adhere to this type of program. I do not admire them or their dogs less because of the methods they've chosen and I do my best to learn what I can from them. What I do not do is use their success to justify abandoning my personal standards for training. The feeling I get when I consider their programs or watch them in action is hard to put into words... but it's not doubt in my chosen route and mostly it's a stronger resolve to follow the path I've chosen. psychology of learning out of hand because the practical implications are only now being developed and tested shows a lack of intellectual curiosity that is far more closed-minded than those who have been repeatedly called such in this thread.

Perhaps this "bunny-foo-foo" forum does not contain the right audience for you. Not all members here participate in field training and not all members here with an interest in the field ascribe to force fetch. Too foo-foo? Too bad. These are the demographics. The low-blow insults and condescension aimed against anyone who dares to disagree with you are not going to quiet your critics and they certainly do nothing to gain our respect or understanding. Think oppositional reflex... it only entices us to pull back harder.

Julie and Jersey
Julie, thank you for this post. It is thoughtful, salient, and insightful!
 

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Thank your for asking. After 13 pages of accusation and pretence, someone finally...just...asked. I appreciate that.

First, let me ask; did you watch the video clip, and have you read the description of the dog and his history? I'm asking because I've gone to quite an extent to make it clear that this dog is an exception, and so is the treatment. The video is merely a demo of a logical transition from forcing on bumpers (force to pile) to forcing on real birds. This is a topic that I get lots of questions about, so I put together a short clip showing the transfer of skills to adapt to birds.

There have been precious few earnest questions here, and I very much appreciate yours.

EvanG
Yes, actually I did watch the video, and I do understand that this dog at the time had a persistent bad habit of crunching the birds. Even so my question still stands, surely there is another method to correct that problem.

And you still have not answered that question.
 

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Discussion Starter #146
Yes, actually I did watch the video, and I do understand that this dog at the time had a persistent bad habit of crunching the birds. Even so my question still stands, surely there is another method to correct that problem.
And you still have not answered that question.
Not persistent; chronic. And the question was “Is it really necessary to smack the dog's face to make him sit?” The answer to that is “No”. But this is a deeper subject than that. Let me start by framing the topics individually.

There is a standard for ‘Sit’ in high level fieldwork. It begins as simple and superficial as for many other applications, but dynamically expands as training progresses. First, it’s just rump on the ground, sitting up tall and straight on command. I would add that as the dog is acquiring higher standards that the response grows ever quicker.

The AKC steadiness protocols call for a dog on line to “Sit still and quiet as birds fall…”. In addition, we require a still, quiet mouth, and that the dog handle game appropriately. In progressive training we tie in “Quiet” (for noisy dogs on line), and make “Hold” corrections for dogs with mouth issues like the dog in the video, and those a part of the dog’s ‘sit’ standard. Just as we transition from ‘fetch’ to ‘Back’ during T work, we transition from commands like ‘hold’ and ‘quiet’ to blend into the sit standard as it will fall under the single command “sit”. That is why the word “Sit” was spoken in tandem with the correction for the mouthiness problem. That’s probably only half of what you were asking about.

The other is what everyone has obsessed about – the “smack”, “whack”, or in other more correct training verbiage “cuff” under the chin…not the face, for the hundredth time.

Of course there are other things we do for that problem, and I would prefer that the least amount of pressure be involved. As a problem persists, I move to more stringent measures, step by step, as the dog requires. How do I know when enough is “enough”?

We use pressure in dog training to change the dog’s behavior. If minimal pressure accomplishes that, we use no more. If it doesn’t, we use gradually more pressure, or pressure of a different kind until we reach compliance. We then praise for compliance, and continue drilling to build and hone the skill, as we reduce the roll of pressure to zero – or such is our constant goal.

I used a host of creative measures with “Wimpy” (video dog), but none had lasting effect. We began with walking hold for several weeks, using no more than a long lead, part of which was looped around his muzzle to habituate him to a quiet soft hold. It's nothing more than a steady, gentle reminder to hold quietly.



This worked until the first time a shot was fired in the field. He is just so brimming with desire (and in the well established habit of showing it as seen) that he reverted instantly. Soft taps on the chin – same result.

Using the degree of pressure seen in the video is very rare (for the hundredth time), and is a last resort. That is the answer. I’ll be happy to address further training questions. But I’m done making excuses for the sound and appropriate training seen on that video, whether anyone else agrees with it or not. Each of us decides what our standards are.
I'm so not interested in smacking my dog around to get her to do what I want or need...there are other ways!
Will you have time for 'other ways', or will you be too busy criticizing what you know nothing about?


EvanG
 

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There you have it. I think Evan answered "the question" fairly and honestly. Now I hesitated to ask if we can get back to the reason this thread was created, to learn about FTP. It may be too much at this point, however I for one am interested in learning more.

My question, and perhaps it is for another thread, but how do you decide what your training is going to be for instance: I know what my dog needs to work on...let's say swinging wide to the mark. Knowing what his issue is, what does your training need to take into account...wind, terrain, etc. My biggest problem is until now, I have never taken wind into consideration (though I am looking to get a puffer bottle with baby powder and start incorporating that into my set up). Basically I guess I am asking is how to plan your session to get the most out of it?
 

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Discussion Starter #148
There you have it. I think Evan answered "the question" fairly and honestly. Now I hesitated to ask if we can get back to the reason this thread was created, to learn about FTP. It may be too much at this point, however I for one am interested in learning more.
Laura,


This is a separate issue from your questions below. So let’s cover FTP here, and perhaps start a new thread on organizing a training regimen for specific issues? If you have questions about FTP please list them here, and I’ll address any of them you like.
My question, and perhaps it is for another thread, but how do you decide what your training is going to be for instance: I know what my dog needs to work on...let's say swinging wide to the mark.
I want to make sure I understand your question. Are you asking about multiple marking set ups, where you’ll need the dog to move with you, or swing with the gun barrel as they do in HRC? Or is the purely hypothetical?
Knowing what his issue is, what does your training need to take into account...wind, terrain, etc?
I suppose more specific background will help move this topic along. But regardless of the issue, one of the most helpful guides a trainer can have is a well-kept training journal. You’ll not only track specific behavioral issues, but also tendencies in the dog that will be important. Such considerations as how prone a given dog is to drifting in a crossing wind should appear in your journal. Other items, like needing to be stronger on short middle retired memory marks, and negotiating points, and so on – all will guide your planning.
My biggest problem is until now, I have never taken wind into consideration (though I am looking to get a puffer bottle with baby powder and start incorporating that into my set up). Basically I guess I am asking is how to plan your session to get the most out of it?
The better you are at journal keeping, the easier it will be for you to plan constructive sessions over a course of time. As a side note, I check wind by simply grabbing a handful of grass, holding it up and letting it drift in the wind.


Judges usually try to adjust tests according to the forecast of prevailing wind, and set up their tests usually downwind. I alternate my training for downwind and crossing wind, depending on my goals.

Taking this information as a start, how do you feel about starting a new thread to proceed with it, and address FTP issues here?

EvanG
 

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I'll start a new thread. But my break is over, so I'll post tonight. Thanks Evan.
 

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Okay first question...

Why force to pile? My understanding is that is to keep dogs from shopping around. However all hunt tests and field trials I have been to there is only one bird thrown. I know that in actual hunting situations, multiple birds fall, but wouldn't the training need to be more focused on the recall? Am I way out in left field and missing the point?

In the now infamous video, it looked like Evan was using the long line for a quick turn around, again, isn't this a recall issue?

I imagine that about 50% of us reading this thread are also planning to or currently working dogs in utility and scent discrimination. Someone briefly touched on this, earlier however it was lost in the "foo fooness". Would the FTP cause issues with the SD? If not, why not and how do we seperate the two?
 

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Would the FTP cause issues with the SD? If not, why not and how do we seperate the two?
I have not done either sent discrimination or pile work yet, but I know you could dedicate a whole topic just to that issue alone. I've read so many experiences and theories on other forums and mailing lists, but I'm not familiar enough with either concept to really understand the details of what people were saying. Like everything else in training, different people have different ways of training each, different reasonings as to which should be done first and why, and different levels of expectations set for cross-trained dogs.
 

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Discussion Starter #152
Okay first question. Why force to pile? My understanding is that is to keep dogs from shopping around.
I understand that perception. That’s a logical result of taking the obvious at face value. And, indeed, de-shopping is a component of the process. It just isn’t it’s focus, so thanks for asking.


Fort to pile, aka FTP, is a net result of the multi-phase force fetch process. Force fetch is widely misunderstood, which is why I devoted an entire book, as well as a 2-½ hour DVD to it. More is wrongly assumed about it, than correctly understood. There are still a great many people who assume that FF is done purely for the sake of a hand delivery. That, of course, is a fraction of the story.

FF, in modern methodology, represents the “trained retrieve”. It grooms the performance of a naturally driven act into its most highly useful and efficient form. Because FTP is the final stage of construction, it represents “the fully-trained retrieve”. What that means is that, having formalized fundamental obedience tasks, we then set out to form all the components of force fetch, and finally assembled them into one dynamic form. FTP brings all those things together in a high functioning state that makes a good retriever a better and more reliable one.

A dog so trained walks at heel and sits on command. There, he may be sent on a mark or blind retrieve as commanded. He will go reliably, fetch the first appropriate fetch object he comes to cleanly and efficiently, and return promptly to the handlers side, sit and deliver – all on command. The fundamental obedience commands & tasks are tied to well organized mouth habits for the most effective form of retrieve, which can be relied upon regardless of circumstances or the whims or moods of the dog.

That’s why.
However all hunt tests and field trials I have been to there is only one bird thrown. I know that in actual hunting situations, multiple birds fall, but wouldn't the training need to be more focused on the recall? Am I way out in left field and missing the point?
If you have the opportunity to watch enough tests and/or trials, you will see dogs that get to the bird, and do things like look back at the handler, roll it with their feet, or roll on the bird…put a foot on it, and rip feathers from it, and a host of things – none of which are equal to fetching cleanly and returning promptly to the handler. They’re just obeying their natural whims, of course. But that is a poor execution of their work, and reveal poor training and preparation.
In the now infamous video, it looked like Evan was using the long line for a quick turn around, again, isn't this a recall issue?
Recall is only a component of the 'formalized obedience' I spoke of. It’s a vitally important one, but still only one piece. They are tied together. The rope is a low-pressure enforcement in the early stages of building the fully trained retrieve, and ensures that when the dog reaches the first bumper, he goes no further, but rather fetches that bumper and returns as commanded. Recall was already taught. The distraction of other bumpers right before his eyes temps him to allow that standard to be diluted into disobedience; not coming when called. We simply enforce the commands with tugs of the rope in conjunction with verbally calling the dog.

I imagine that about 50% of us reading this thread are also planning to or currently working dogs in utility and scent discrimination. Someone briefly touched on this, earlier however it was lost in the "foo fooness". Would the FTP cause issues with the SD? If not, why not and how do we separate the two?
SD is not one of the things a title like “Hunting and Field Forum” brought to mind, so I did not have that pursuit in mind with this topic. But I can see where FF (incl. FTP) might either end up helping or hurting in that venue. One of the foremost authorities in the SD field,
Roger Sigler - Master Trainer, and acquaintance of mine and follower of my system for fieldwork, would be an outstanding source for that information. He bought a copy of the SmartFetch DVD because he believed that system would improve his dog’s SD performance. I defer to his expertise. His website is very informative. http://www.antlerdogs.com/

EvanG
 
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