FF During Season????

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Re: FF During Season????

Postby Kiger2 » Thu Dec 13, 2018 9:37 pm

Interesting.

The question is why not FF during season, No one provided any reason not to?????

Ryan, Please ask your trainer if he/she has ever done FF during season and the results????? Because honestly, there was no great decision for you to make. Just keep training at home, when hes good, transfer to the field.

Bruce, If someone can come up with a PR method that does everthing a traditional FF method does Ill be all over it. But it is not there. FF is NOT just about about picking up a bird. If thats your goal OK, but it is not s replacement for the benefits of a proper FF.
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Re: FF During Season????

Postby ryanr » Thu Dec 13, 2018 10:14 pm

It doesn't matter. He didn't tell me not to he simply gave me my options. I could stop now and pickup right where I left off hunting season or if I went forward with the ear pinch phase, at that point I'd have to continue thru and finish FF. So yes, I had a decision and after careful consideration I made the decision I felt was best for both me as the trainer and my dog.
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Re: FF During Season????

Postby Bruce Schwartz » Thu Dec 13, 2018 10:38 pm

Kiger2 wrote:Interesting.

The question is why not FF during season, No one provided any reason not to?????


I would say that because no one provides a reason not to does not make it a good idea. I'm not taking sides on that question because I don't know the answer. I can tell you what Evan Graham says about running marks and FF at the same time though: "Many seasoned trainers recommend suspending the running of marked retrieves during force fetch, while others steadfastly believe in continuing with fieldwork. My suggestion is to read the dog. If you can consistently run marks in the field during this time without getting into arguments over the dog dropping birds or mishandling them, then I don't have a problem with marking your dog (running marked retrieves) .... you will have to judge for yourself, but expect your dog to violate the training you are involved in if you continue to mark him in the field, and be ready to suspend it when you see needless pressure for it needing to be applied."

Kiger2 wrote:Bruce, If someone can come up with a PR method that does everthing a traditional FF method does Ill be all over it. But it is not there. FF is NOT just about about picking up a bird. If thats your goal OK, but it is not s replacement for the benefits of a proper FF.


Well, I showed you a video of a four month old puppy who had had PR teaching and it did everything your "traditional FF method" does (except for creating compulsion), which is to say that on command the dog fetches a thrown dummy off the ground, carries it at heel, sits, and then gives it to you on command and is ready for that all to be reinforced with the ecollar (which can create all the compulsion you could wish for). That took all of one week. Please tell me how many weeks spent on a FF table using aversive means of getting to this same point is superior. By my reading you should "be all over it". Why aren't you?
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Re: FF During Season????

Postby AverageGuy » Fri Dec 14, 2018 9:40 am

GONEHUNTIN' wrote:No one has to FF until they do.


And that would be the point I make in reverse with well bred Vdog breeds.

With early nurturing to their natural retrieve I believe the lions share of Vdog breed puppies do not need the full traditional FF program approach. Play retrieve training, "hunt dead" early development, teaching Hold using PR, and finally ecollar overlay will get the majority of them performing far above the average dog, because they have great genetics for recovering game using their prey drive, nose and independent search as their greatest assets. Entering into the relationship taking full advantage of that is the far better path in my view for most amateur trainers and Vdog puppies.

The online forums are full of folks who have trained one or two dogs parroting what they have been told. That FF produces near mythical benefits for Handler/dog relationship and is a must to upper level Test quality performance. I think that keeps the mantra/mindset alive much more so than does the small percentage of dogs which cannot be developed to do excellent recovery of downed game work without pinching their ears.

Many folks are having great success using other methods on a growing scale. The methods they are using have a great deal of overlap with the traditional FF programs in terms of building block steps, they just use a carrot vs a stick working with younger puppies is how I view it.

It is often pointed out that the time comes when a dog will refuse a retrieve as the basis for needing a ear pinch method to address it. But I think the reality is most all of us overlay our ecollars prior to that and use the ecollar to address the need to make the command non-optional. So I think the modified approaches that are being used by folks such as myself, get to the same point anyway.

My reason for comment is because I think the modified methods which use PR in the early stages working with younger puppies are better suited for a wider spectrum of inexperienced amateur trainers working with well bred Vdog breed puppies, which already have a great deal of drive to retrieve downed game if handled correctly.

I think the FT element of the retriever breeds is where the traditional FF programs are rooted which is a far cry different than developing a Vdog to recover downed wild game. Vdogs have been bred for much different work and have a different mental makeup than do FT lines of the retriever breeds. I think they respond differently because of it. And despite our best efforts the Vdog breeds generally fall short when attempting to play in the FT retriever breed games which require a level of control that most Vdogs will quickly grow to hate.
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Re: FF During Season????

Postby ryanr » Fri Dec 14, 2018 9:41 am

Bruce, weeks on the table using aversive methods? I don't think that's how force fetch is done, at least not in my experience. The ear pinch phase is one specific phase and it's typically the shortest phase for most dogs. Why do people seem to focus on that as if the dog is getting pinched all the time for weeks on end? For most dogs, its 2, maybe 3 times and they get it. It might even surprise you to know that more and more trainers are incorporating more PR into the stages of the FF process. It's a lot of praise and a bit of repetition for most of it IMO, you can even use treats in the beginning if need be. Most dogs learns quickly that complying makes "mom or dad" happy and life is good, not complying has a consequence. And for many trainers the FF process is not complete until the e-collar has been overlayed, some trainers call it e-fetch. Because even you agree there has to be a way of making a correction for non-compliance of Fetch, right? So it's not total PR anyway you slice it. Everything I've been taught about the FF process is that it goes way beyond just getting the dog to retrieve (truth be told most versatile dogs are probably 90% of the way there just through good breeding.) It's about conditioning the dog to overcome pressure to be successful and complete the retrieve, no matter how difficult. It's building confidence in the dog and a trust in its handler that if it sent to Fetch, then there is definitely game to retrieve and the dog needs keeping pushing thru to be successful. It's always been stressed to me that FF, done correctly, actually fortifies the bond between the dog and its handler.

During the process, one of the things I was taught to pay attention to is tail position. I want a happy dog, if my dog's tail is consistently tucked I'm doing something wrong or need to take a step back. Yes, the FF process puts pressure on the dog but it shouldn't be a miserable experience for it. I am quick to admit that I have been very, very fortunate to have outstanding training mentors and for that both me and my dogs are blessed.
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Re: FF During Season????

Postby AverageGuy » Fri Dec 14, 2018 10:06 am

ryanr wrote:Bruce, weeks on the table using aversive methods? I don't think that's how force fetch is done, at least not in my experience. The ear pinch phase is one specific phase and it's typically the shortest phase for most dogs. Why do people seem to focus on that as if the dog is getting pinched all the time for weeks on end? For most dogs, its 2, maybe 3 times and they get it. It might even surprise you to know that more and more trainers are incorporating more PR into the stages of the FF process. It's a lot of praise and a bit of repetition for most of it IMO, you can even use treats in the beginning if need be. Most dogs learns quickly that complying makes "mom or dad" happy and life is good, not complying has a consequence. And for many trainers the FF process is not complete until the e-collar has been overlayed, some trainers call it e-fetch. Because even you agree there has to be a way of making a correction for non-compliance of Fetch, right? So it's not total PR anyway you slice it. Everything I've been taught about the FF process is that it goes way beyond just getting the dog to retrieve (truth be told most versatile dogs are probably 90% of the way there just through good breeding.) It's about conditioning the dog to overcome pressure to be successful and complete the retrieve, no matter how difficult. It's building confidence in the dog and a trust in its handler that if it sent to Fetch, then there is definitely game to retrieve and the dog needs keeping pushing thru to be successful. It's always been stressed to me that FF, done correctly, actually fortifies the bond between the dog and its handler.

During the process, one of the things I was taught to pay attention to is tail position. I want a happy dog, if my dog's tail is consistently tucked I'm doing something wrong or need to take a step back. Yes, the FF process puts pressure on the dog but it shouldn't be a miserable experience for it. I am quick to admit that I have been very, very fortunate to have outstanding training mentors and for that both me and my dogs are blessed.


But you haven't attempted to train a GWP without pinching its ear. So reality is you are operating on hearsay vs personal experience. And you have continued to have problems with your first dog despite having attempted to use the ear pinch approach e.g. hardmouth/clamming.

Not an attack, just an example of the point I make directly above for the purpose of a fair airing of the points being discussed.
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Re: FF During Season????

Postby ryanr » Fri Dec 14, 2018 11:13 am

I'm not operating on hearsay at all, at least I don't see how I could be? I'm not advocating against PR nor am I trying to make this a PR vs FF thing. I refuted Bruce's claim that FF is about weeks of aversive methods and explained that from how I learned and continue to learn, the FF process involves a lot of PR and the maligned ear pinch is probably the shortest phase of the process. IMO, if your correction involves the e-collar from the start, it's still the FF process but rather than ear pinch first and then later overlaying the e-collar as the correctiono ultimately just using the e-collar for a dropped object, you're simply leaving out the ear pinch. But it's still an aversive method (or compulsion as Bruce chose to say to soften it) that obviously you must believe is necessary to be successful in the process.

I was making my previous post I think at about the same time you poated yours and after I posted I saw yours. In reading yours I believe there are a lot of similarities between what you do and how I've been learning FF.

Regarding my first dog, the method has nothing to do with my issues with him. Rather it was my failure to complete the FF process properly. Combined with a little bit of the fact that he's one of the most prey possessive dogs I ever encountered (it's hardwired in him.) I was not quite prepared for that level in my first versatile. BTW, I overlaid the e-collar with him and that is my method of correction. And I have zero issue with him recovering game, in fact he's exceptional on cripples. It's the final delivery or presentation to hand. And I also brought a lot of PR into my efforts with him to get a cleaner delivery. When I finish FF up with my younger dog I'll continue putting him back thru it as well. When I started with her I had him doing it again as well only I think my approach is much better this time around and he was responding. Again I don't think the method is the issue, it's the application of it by the trainer.
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Re: FF During Season????

Postby AverageGuy » Fri Dec 14, 2018 11:32 am

ryanr wrote:I'm not operating on hearsay at all, at least I don't see how I could be? I'm not advocating against PR nor am I trying to make this a PR vs FF thing. I refuted Bruce's claim that FF is about weeks of aversive methods and explained that from how I learned and continue to learn, the FF process involves a lot of PR and the maligned ear pinch is probably the shortest phase of the process. IMO, if your correction involves the e-collar from the start, it's still the FF process but rather than ear pinch first and then later overlaying the e-collar as the correctiono ultimately just using the e-collar for a dropped object, you're simply leaving out the ear pinch. But it's still an aversive method (or compulsion as Bruce chose to say to soften it) that obviously you must believe is necessary to be successful in the process.

I was making my previous post I think at about the same time you poated yours and after I posted I saw yours. In reading yours I believe there are a lot of similarities between what you do and how I've been learning FF.

Regarding my first dog, the method has nothing to do with my issues with him. Rather it was my failure to complete the FF process properly. Combined with a little bit of the fact that he's one of the most prey possessive dogs I ever encountered (it's hardwired in him.) I was not quite prepared for that level in my first versatile. BTW, I overlaid the e-collar with him and that is my method of correction. And I have zero issue with him recovering game, in fact he's exceptional on cripples. It's the final delivery or presentation to hand. And I also brought a lot of PR into my efforts with him to get a cleaner delivery. When I finish FF up with my younger dog I'll continue putting him back thru it as well. When I started with her I had him doing it again as well only I think my approach is much better this time around and he was responding. Again I don't think the method is the issue, it's the application of it by the trainer.


Bruce will speak for himself but the approach I used did not use the ecollar for a correction from the start as your post suggests. It used PR to teach the dog what was in it for them in getting the object in their mouth and holding it properly. And then it overlayed the ecollar at low enough levels the dog felt it but that was all. It teaches the dog that the tickle it feels starts the moment the fetch command is given and turns off the moment it gets the object in its mouth. Once that is taught then what I would term to be a correction with the ecollar may come into play should the dog refuse the command or drop the object along the way.

That is distinctly different than the ear pinch method where pain is involved in the "teaching" phase ahead of the correction phase.
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Re: FF During Season????

Postby ryanr » Fri Dec 14, 2018 12:51 pm

Sorry it wasn't clear, I didn't mean you were doing it from the start of the process of teaching the dog to hold the object. I meant you were using it at the time the enforcement starts (where ear pinch would come in), once the dog already has the understanding what "Hold" means. (In my case, we use the same word, Fetch, throughout from the beginning of teaching the dog to hold the object.)

Your method is not distinctly different because I never learned to use the ear pinch at all in the teaching phase. That's been my whole reason for refuting Bruce that it's weeks of aversive methods. Heck no, when we teach, we teach and just like you we give the dog a thorough understanding that when we say Hold (or Fetch) and simultaneously the object goes in their mouth they are to hold it until commanded Out. And it's done with a lot of praise. The ear pinch is still weeks away from that (and then when the ear pinch is introduced the dog quickly understands after only a couple pinches (typically) and it's not likely needed again as the final lessons of the FF process are finished in the remaining days or weeks.)
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Re: FF During Season????

Postby Bruce Schwartz » Fri Dec 14, 2018 1:08 pm

I get what you're saying Ryanr.

ryanr wrote: FF process is about conditioning the dog to overcome pressure to be successful and complete the retrieve, no matter how difficult. It's building confidence in the dog and a trust in its handler that if it sent to Fetch, then there is definitely game to retrieve and the dog needs keeping pushing thru to be successful. It's always been stressed to me that FF, done correctly, actually fortifies the bond between the dog and its handler.


You're correct. These things are all said about the secondary benefits of traditional FF, and I've wondered about them for years. I concede that it could be so for those dogs who think they're always in charge, but it would be hard for anyone to say my dogs' bond with me is lacking because I hadn't pinched their ears.



Once again, PR just gets the dog to quickly understand that you want it to take a dummy, to hold it, and then give it to you. It's done quickly with a willing (and eager) subject and these actions become commands whose compliance is enforced by the ecollar. Simply stated, there is no longer any reason for your dog to spend any time being confused about what you want it to do when you can guide it to success with food. Aversive means are no longer necessary - that's my whole point.

Ryanr, I'm thinking you could do this FF method during the hunting season with no problem. I don't know of any really definitive videos on PR for this, so if anybody knows of some it would be nice to see them.

AG, thanks for your comments.
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Re: FF During Season????

Postby AverageGuy » Fri Dec 14, 2018 1:12 pm

My current dog was moving up and down the table to get the object in its mouth before I ever overlayed the ecollar. He was doing it because he already loved to fetch due to his genetics and our early development work, and he enjoyed the praise and treats he got when he did it.

Prior dogs I trained with an ear pinch, had their ear pinched at the same time the command to "Fetch" was given, the dog opens its mouth in reaction to the pain, the object is placed in it's mouth as the ear pinch is immediately released. Some learn to do it quickly others fight it.

I understand that the Hold command precedes the ear pinch but that does not change the fact that the ear pinch (pain) is also being used in the teaching phase which is distinctly different than the approach I used with my current dog. And those that advocate it is the "best" or even the only reliable way, too often do so not having even tried a different approach.
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Re: FF During Season????

Postby ryanr » Fri Dec 14, 2018 1:49 pm

When I first start I'm only looking to get the dog to accept and hold the object for a few seconds. I open the dog's mouth and say Fetch while simultaneously putting the object in its mouth. I just want it to hold it for a second two, then I quickly say Out and LOTS OF PRAISE. I repeat it, maybe a second longer on this top or the next and that's all. And it's praised each time.

I build off that gradually increasing the time. And always with praise for success. If the dog drops the object, I immediately pick it up, open the dog's mouth and put it back in while saying Fetch simultaneously. I keep the dog on like short 5-inch lead that is looped on my wrist. As I build time in if I notice the dog holding it too loosely or starting to spit it out I give little tug upward on the lead. When it holds it correctly I give it a little soft praise. Eventually I'm walking away from the dog and around the table as it holds the object. And I get the dog walking with the object, first only to the end of the table but soon enough off the table around and back on too.

Lots of praise for success and the dog isn't ear pinched once during all this.

So not distinctly different IMO. In fact I'd say much more similar than not. Whereas I think you're starting off with Hold as the initial verbal command when I'm teaching the dog to hold the object I'm simply using Fetch as the only command from the start. Keeps it simple for the dog and handler I guess. It's just how I was taught but either way works. I would say the main difference in what I do vs what you're doing is the point where you go directly to overlay the collar I still do the ear pinch first and the collar overlay comes later in the process. Other than that I think we're very similar in what we do to get there.
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Re: FF During Season????

Postby AverageGuy » Fri Dec 14, 2018 2:01 pm

You are just talking about the Hold phase of your training and avoiding discussing the Fetch/Ear pinch part which is where the difference gap in the two approaches gets alot larger.
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Re: FF During Season????

Postby ryanr » Fri Dec 14, 2018 2:10 pm

AverageGuy wrote:You are just talking about the Hold phase of your training and avoiding discussing the Fetch/Ear pinch part.


I'm not avoiding it. I'm taking you through exactly what I do up to the point of ear pinch (which is where you begin overlaying e-collar). You seemed to think there was ear pinching going on in that phase, the teaching phase but there isn't and I just wanted to be clear.

Just like you do with the e-collar, my dog is moving up and down and walking all around the ground holding the object before it ever gets ear pinched. Doing it that way and the dog (typically) only gets pinched 2, maybe 3 times before they clearly understand and don't get pinched again. I can't imagine pinching the dog ever before that during the teaching phase. I realize it was done but that's archaic to me and I can see why so many pro trainers went thru dogs to find the ones that made the cut. Modern force fetch even with the ear pinch isn't anything like that from what I've been taught.
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Re: FF During Season????

Postby AverageGuy » Fri Dec 14, 2018 2:51 pm

No I don't think there is ear pinching going on in the Hold phase of your training. Recall that I used the same method on a couple of dogs myself years ago.

But in my training of my current pup, he was going up and down the table picking up the object off the table when I said Fetch and pointed towards it prior to overlaying the ecollar. When he did that I would use my marker praise word and exchange the object for a treat. In the training method you used on your first dog, you pinched his ear and said fetch at the same time. When he opened his mouth because of the pain in his ear, you placed the object in his mouth and released the pressure on his ear. Your were teaching him that getting the object in his mouth ASAP when you commanded Fetch was the fastest path to relieving the pressure on his ear. That is a teaching phase of training and it uses force not the dog's voluntary choices/actions. I have used both and understand where the differences lie between them.
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