Golden Retriever Dog Forums banner
1 - 20 of 36 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
358 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Question to you all is - can a WC (Canadian Working certificate) be successfully completed without teaching a force fetch?

I live in the country with about 150 acres of land, some frozen ducks in my freezer and a girl who is "soft" but loves to please. Am I out of my mind for even contemplating this? Unfortunately for me the closest field club is a 4 hour drive away and winter is on its way (Snow last weekend).

Can anyone recall any good books that are easy for a beginner and don't rely on a force fetch? I went to the Canadian National with a friend last year who does field work and it was so beautiful I cried!

Thanks
Rebecca
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,195 Posts
I want ducks!!!
Sorry, no clue, but look forward to the answers from others!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
358 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I want ducks!!!
Sorry, no clue, but look forward to the answers from others!
I actually have 2 lives one as pets and about 6 wild ones in the freezer ready for training!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,195 Posts
I'd prefer the frozen ones, please....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,195 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
986 Posts
Question to you all is - can a WC (Canadian Working certificate) be successfully completed without teaching a force fetch?

Can anyone recall any good books that are easy for a beginner and don't rely on a force fetch? I went to the Canadian National with a friend last year who does field work and it was so beautiful I cried!

Thanks
Rebecca
Rebecca,

There are skills your dog needs, and so you need them. But they're only needs if you desire high performance standards for your dog in the field. If you don't mind failing at tests, train poorly. Train just a little. Give your dog the minimum, and he'll give it right back! Sound appealing?

Okay, let's talk straight about training. I'm sure you have a mental picture of force fetch as a process much like putting Fido on the rack! But, like so many elements of training, it has everything to do with knowing what you're doing, why you're doing it, and how to go about it. Force fetching a dog does not need to live up to its populace billing, which so commonly frames it as brutal. Only people are brutal.

These negative stories about force fetch are perpetuated by people who don't know what they're talking about, or what they're doing, or they wouldn't be so eager to publicly confess their ignorance about it. There are non-force books on the market - always have been. They are nearly all superficial snap shots of the training process, written mostly for marketing, and not so much to produce reliable performing retrievers for fieldwork.

It's up to you, but if you want to know about the training process, or any part of it, just ask.

"A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Live dangerously. Get a little knowledge." ~ from the movie 'Lord love a duck'.

EvanG
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,906 Posts
OK I too am VERY new at this, and want to learn more. I am hoping to work on the fetching techniques over the winter and hope my young golden will pick up the bird. She goes after it, she is un sure about picking it up. I am also on a retriever training board, and I was recommended there to pick up Smartwork by our above poster ;) and another book called The Smart Fetch book.

I was cautioned on that site that you can't really learn from a book, and my experience in what I have done with horses and dogs is "I agree" but it can give me some ideas where to start while I find what my options are.

Where I train agility the owner of the facility does hunt tests and trains, I am hoping she will put together a winter class on fetching. I was also instructed to join a club. Are you that remote there are really no clubs near by?

I too have frozen fowl in my freezer! Dog people you want to caution people before they enter your freezer. LOL
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
986 Posts
I was recommended there to pick up Smartwork by our above poster ;) and another book called The Smart Fetch book.

I was cautioned on that site that you can't really learn from a book, and my experience in what I have done with horses and dogs is "I agree" but it can give me some ideas where to start while I find what my options are.
Have you seen the SmartFetch DVD? It's a 2-disc, 2 1/2 hour very detailed program showing the techniques, expected issues, solutions, and even 'reads' to watch for from "Hold" all the way to starting Pattern Blinds. Ties together with and serves to augment the book of the same name. Literally hundreds of brand new trainers learn from this course and successfully force fetch their own dogs each year.

One unique aspect of my system is that I go with it. Anytime you have a question, I'm on forums all over the web, including this one. You can also email or PM me anytime. If needed we have a personal consultation service by phone. You can do this.

EvanG
 
Joined
·
677 Posts
I went through this issue with the "forced retrieve" in obedience. You CAN teach a decent retrieve using positive methods. I used the reliable "click and treat". It took longer than the people in my class who used the "ear pinch" forced retrieve. However...I now have an enthusiastic retriever who can't wait to go to retrieve his...whatever..
My coach, who is a proponent of forced retrieves, was so impressed that she has referred other students who want to explore this method to me. Takes patience and persistence, but it works.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,164 Posts
But there is a huge difference between a 40 foot retrieve across a ring and what dogs are expected to do in the field. I do force fetch my dogs for both venues (start with a shaped retrieve using clicker and treats, but later add in an ear pinch), but I think it would be much more difficult to get where you want in the field without a force fetch than it would be in obedience.
 

·
Humankind. Be both.
Joined
·
7,650 Posts
I went through this issue with the "forced retrieve" in obedience. You CAN teach a decent retrieve using positive methods. I used the reliable "click and treat". It took longer than the people in my class who used the "ear pinch" forced retrieve. However...I now have an enthusiastic retriever who can't wait to go to retrieve his...whatever..
My coach, who is a proponent of forced retrieves, was so impressed that she has referred other students who want to explore this method to me. Takes patience and persistence, but it works.
I'll second that, and add that if the behavior is truly fluent, it will hold up in the field on a bird. Granted, it will take a long time to get true fluency under those conditions, but I believe it can be done.

FWIW, I put a JH on Quiz w/o a forced retrieve and he only failed 1 test, and it was due to a poor mark, not anything having to do with his hold/retrieval of the bird.
 

·
the party's crashing us
Joined
·
4,418 Posts
But there is a huge difference between a 40 foot retrieve across a ring and what dogs are expected to do in the field. I do force fetch my dogs for both venues (start with a shaped retrieve using clicker and treats, but later add in an ear pinch), but I think it would be much more difficult to get where you want in the field without a force fetch than it would be in obedience.
Exactly.

FF is not only about picking up and holding a bird. Lots of dogs do this naturally or with a little coaxing, and never have a problem dropping or blinking birds. However FF teaches fundamental skills that are invaluable in advanced training.
Yes you absolutely can get a WC/JH without FF if your dog has a good natural hold, likes birds, and you're willing to toss away a few entry fees if the dog runs into something he's not been taught to overcome in a testing situation.
Most people end up FFing their entry-level dogs because they drop birds and won't deliver to hand. If that's what took to convince them to FF in the first place, and their goal is a JH/WC/WCX (no handling), then they will probably never see the true benefit and value of FF. It will be a means to an end, not part of the program. That's neither here nor there but know there is more value to it than getting the dog to hold a bird.
 

·
Registered
Brady Aedan Finch and Wren
Joined
·
13,681 Posts
I am working with a field instructor who teaches a thorough fetch program but WITHOUT ear pinches, toe yanks or an e-collar. It is kind of a back to basics approach where the dog is taught what is expected step by step, but with praise and rewards rather than corrections based. My instructor does very well without force, but as mentioned there is a structured program for teaching fetch.

I would hate to think that if my dog fails a test, it might be blamed on the lack of force fetch rather than holes in my training;

In the end, it needs to be a personal decision. Yes, you may donate entry fees but the generous donations are not limited to those who do not force-fetch :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
986 Posts
Exactly.

FF is not only about picking up and holding a bird. Lots of dogs do this naturally or with a little coaxing, and never have a problem dropping or blinking birds. However FF teaches fundamental skills that are invaluable in advanced training....Most people end up FFing their entry-level dogs because they drop birds and won't deliver to hand.
Correct. And that, of course, leads us right back to the many people who do not understand the process, and think they can replace force fetch with a clicker. But clickers (or other OC mechanisms) represent only a portion of the full training cycle. Force fetch is a different element of the process, and it deepens and formalizes training to a higher level of reliability.

Teach, Force, Reinforce; often misunderstood, but still is the full cycle of training. But, once you've given your dog a fair, temperate, but thorough education, you'll see a change in that animal. They become more secure, more stable and sure of what their job is. The end result is also a more reliable dog - one that succeeds at his work far more often than he fails, and that makes for a truly happy and expectant dog!

Force fetch has become a standard component of most successful modern methods for developing retrievers for fieldwork, and for good reason. These dogs love doing what they do. Like any athlete, they like it more...have more fun at doing it when they're successful. The more consistently they succeed, the more often their job is fulfilling and rewarding. It's just pure logic, and you can see it day to day in the field.

EvanG
 

·
Registered
Brady Aedan Finch and Wren
Joined
·
13,681 Posts
Can anyone recall any good books that are easy for a beginner and don't rely on a force fetch? I went to the Canadian National with a friend last year who does field work and it was so beautiful I cried!

Thanks
Rebecca
I reread your post and have a few books to recommend

Positive Gun Dogs by Jim Barry, Mary Emmen and Susan Smith
Motivational Training for the Field by Lorie C Jolly

I would also like to say that regardless of how you decide to train the retrieve and handling, you will probably find good sources for training ideas, drills and problem solving useful. There is a selection of recommeded reading on the GRCA site

www.grca.org/events/field/field_read.html

I can recommend just about anything from James B Spencer and Evan's SmartWorks system (yes, I may not be a force fetch advocate but these books are in a prime spot in my library .. grins) and am really enjoying and using the Carol Cassity book.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,174 Posts
I have used the ear pinch but only when he absolutely refuses to go for the retrieve & knowing that he knows how! One ear pinch & then next retrieve is done with enthusiasm - he's just testing me!:uhoh:
 

·
the party's crashing us
Joined
·
4,418 Posts
I have used the ear pinch but only when he absolutely refuses to go for the retrieve & knowing that he knows how! One ear pinch & then next retrieve is done with enthusiasm - he's just testing me!:uhoh:
Hi Gwen, I'm not saying that this is not working for you but -- this sort of training gives FF a bad name. This is NOT force fetch. This is applying pain to get a desired result rather than training the dog to do it 100% of the time.

If he "knew how" he wouldn't refuse to retrieve. If he knew his only option was to pick up the object then he wouldn't refuse to do it. Clearly the dog doesn't understand his job and has not been reinforced in a systematic way. He isn't "testing you" he's confused or unaware. FF is NOT pinching a dogs ear because they didn't pick something up.

How did you learn to do this? Did you follow step-by-step instructions like Evan's SmartFetch, Mike Lardy books, or any of the many obedience books that FF to a dumbell? If not I would suggest going back and following one of these programs. You will see a much higher degree of success and your dog will understand the corrections he is given. If you are having to give the same correction (ear pinch) multiple times over a course of time for the same infraction, obviously it is not working, and the dog does not understand why you are doing it.
 

·
Humankind. Be both.
Joined
·
7,650 Posts
And that, of course, leads us right back to the many people who do not understand the process, and think they can replace force fetch with a clicker.

No, I think I can replace the negative reinforcement (application of aversive that is removed once desired behavior is achieved) with positive reinforcement (rewarding a systematically-built correct behavior).

Force fetch is a different element of the process, and it deepens and formalizes training to a higher level of reliability.

Different how? Scientifically, it still has to fall w/in the 4 quads of OC. As for "...training to a higher level of reliability," that is your opinion, based on your experience. IMO, it would be most polite (professional courtesy?) to state it as such.
 

·
the party's crashing us
Joined
·
4,418 Posts
As for "...training to a higher level of reliability," that is your opinion, based on your experience. IMO, it would be most polite (professional courtesy?) to state it as such.
I think it's safe to say Evan has an abundance of experience to back up his opinion.
That and his opinion is shared by 99% of the trainers with a similar amount of experience in retriever training.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,195 Posts
I enjoy reading everyone's different viewpoints, I learn from each one.
And I think everyone is entitled to treat their own dog exactly how they feel most comfortable training.
There's room for all of us.
That said....I know Evan has trained hundreds of retrievers to very high levels of success in the field, so I do tend to weight his opinion pretty heavily. Success speaks for itself.
 
1 - 20 of 36 Posts
Top