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Introducting live birds on Force Fetching

Dear sirs:
I am in the process of force fetch training my Dratharr. She is just over a year old. She has her second test coming up in September and I am worried that I am taking her training to slow. So here are my questions; At what point do you introduce live game into force fetch training? Also, how far do you go on a blind retrieve? do you ever help the dog find the blind retrieve? (to show that it is out there)

Dratharr owner,

Your question is when to introduce the live birds to force-fetching. Wheew! I'm glad you didn't ask how to force fetch 'cause that may take a line or two to explain correctly.

Live birds, the way I do it, are introduced toward the end of force-fetching process, after the dog has demonstrated willingness to hold objects, pick up objects and when you are sure that you don't have a MUNCHER (hardmouth) on your hands. Put the bird in a restraint, (sock or harness) place it first in the dogs mouth, then give the fetch command, expecting the dog to hold the bird (and fer Chriminy sakes, no CHOMPING).

If you do get a dog that crunches on the birds, well, maybe you did something wrong, or too fast, go back and slowly get the dog to hold without tenderising first. I start at the very beginning with my hand in a scented glove placed in the dogs mouth, command fetch, if I feel the dog clamping down too hard I just make a fist and say easy, or aaah aaah aaah! It usually works right off the start and eliminates the munchitation situation.

The second part of your question dealt with blind retrieves. Although I've never seen a blind dog retrieve, I'll do my best to answer your question. On a serious note, "When do I show the dog the dummy on a blind retrieve?" Well, if you've sent the dog on a blind and he comes back empty handed, shame on you! In the early stages, I always have a safety, an extra dummy for the dog to bring back in case they lose scent or just dont find the original dummy. Besides, it will bolster the dogs confidence more to come back with something.

Sneak an extra dummy out when the dog is down range just in case, may save the whole set.

Til then, best of luck

Have fun out there,
and pick up your brass,

Steve Anker
Anker Outfitters

For more information on force fetching, try:
What is the "Forced Retrieve"?
Force retriving with an E-Collar
More on force fetching
Beginner's force fetching
The Hold: The first step in force fetching
When force fetching doesn't work
Is force fetching with negative reinforcement necessary?

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