Force Fetch, Conditioned Retrieve, ect...

Pointing, retrieving, flushing, tracking, behavioral issues, puppy training, etc.

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Re: Force Fetch, Conditioned Retrieve, ect...

Postby ForTheBirds84 » Fri Dec 06, 2019 9:27 am

Wow guys, a lot of great insight and helpful information. I guess to the biggest takeaway I have from all of this is "there is more that 1 way to skin a cat". And the decisions on methodology for training should be based on 1)Your overall goals for your dog 2) Your dog's mentalilty/personality 3) Your own abilities as a handler.

I will say this pup has opened a world of dog training that I wasn't much aware of. I have been around hunting dogs and hunters most of my life, but most have been rough shooting meat dogs(not that that is wrong) But now I see a more clear picture of what these dogs are capable of. My overall goal since planning stages of this puppy is to have a dog that is trained to a level that people invite the dog to hunts so I get to come along. And to have a daily companion that people enjoy seeing.(great manners, and fun personality).

I have jumped into NAVHDA and have really enjoyed seeing the dogs and handlers in this group work. I plan to test him to the to a minimum of UT, with a lofty goal of VC. When I first got the puppy I thought I would just do the NA and be done with the testing stuff but, experiences I have had since then have opened my mind. The NAVHDA group I joined are a great group of people. There is one family that lives about 10 minutes from me that took a dog to the Inivitational this year(missed VC by a hair). They are super supportive. As has been this forum.
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Re: Force Fetch, Conditioned Retrieve, ect...

Postby Doc E » Fri Dec 06, 2019 9:30 am

Dakotazeb wrote:Why do you feel you need to FF? Does the dog have a natural retrieve?


There is a LOT more to FF than a nice retrieve.
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Re: Force Fetch, Conditioned Retrieve, ect...

Postby orhunter » Fri Dec 06, 2019 9:45 am

Here's another little tidbit to digest. In general hunting situations, I don't want to have to send a dog for a retrieve. I want the dog on the bird quickly if it's a runner or if there's more than one bird down, to get the field cleaned up quickly. Having to send a dog wastes time, the dog should know its job without being told. Sending the dog should be reserved for those times when the dog doesn't know there is a bird down or where it is. In the duck blind, this may not work, depends on the setup.

There are those who say this isn't safe for the dog as someone may shoot the dog. I generally hunt by myself and since none of us hunt with idiots, I don't see the issue. Hunting with strangers at a game preserve is another situation not related to actual hunting or what we typically do in the field.
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Re: Force Fetch, Conditioned Retrieve, ect...

Postby Willie T » Fri Dec 06, 2019 10:39 am

orhunter wrote:Here's another little tidbit to digest. In general hunting situations, I don't want to have to send a dog for a retrieve. I want the dog on the bird quickly if it's a runner or if there's more than one bird down, to get the field cleaned up quickly. Having to send a dog wastes time, the dog should know its job without being told. Sending the dog should be reserved for those times when the dog doesn't know there is a bird down or where it is. In the duck blind, this may not work, depends on the setup.

There are those who say this isn't safe for the dog as someone may shoot the dog. I generally hunt by myself and since none of us hunt with idiots, I don't see the issue. Hunting with strangers at a game preserve is another situation not related to actual hunting or what we typically do in the field.


We have differing thoughts Orhunter. I hunt upland birds as much as most. For my purposes I prefer a dog steady till sent in the uplands. I have very few cripples on single birds. The second bird of a double is the most likely bird to cripple due to often being further. Also often having a less than ideal angle. In my case if I have a cripple that is the bird it will happen on most times. If the dog goes on it’s own it’s vision is locked in on the first bird and will usually miss marking the second. So then after you get it back from the first bird you are reduced to hunting dead for the second bird which is the more likely cripple.
On the other hand if a steady dog can mark 3-4 birds and remember them. Then is trained to pick up the last bird down first I find the cripples to be brought to hand quicker and with less difficulty. Also if I know that one particular bird is a cripple regardless of the order they are shot I always send for it first.
In my honest opinion if my dog can not pick up the scent and successfully track a cripple in a quick and reliable manner from the area of the fall I have a lot bigger problem than whether he breaks or not.
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Re: Force Fetch, Conditioned Retrieve, ect...

Postby crackerd » Fri Dec 06, 2019 11:23 am

ForTheBirds84 wrote:Wow guys, a lot of great insight and helpful information. I guess to the biggest takeaway I have from all of this is "there is more that 1 way to skin a cat". And the decisions on methodology for training should be based on 1)Your overall goals for your dog 2) Your dog's mentalilty/personality 3) Your own abilities as a handler.

I will say this pup has opened a world of dog training that I wasn't much aware of. I have been around hunting dogs and hunters most of my life, but most have been rough shooting meat dogs(not that that is wrong) But now I see a more clear picture of what these dogs are capable of. My overall goal since planning stages of this puppy is to have a dog that is trained to a level that people invite the dog to hunts so I get to come along. And to have a daily companion that people enjoy seeing.(great manners, and fun personality).

I have jumped into NAVHDA and have really enjoyed seeing the dogs and handlers in this group work. I plan to test him to the to a minimum of UT, with a lofty goal of VC. When I first got the puppy I thought I would just do the NA and be done with the testing stuff but, experiences I have had since then have opened my mind. The NAVHDA group I joined are a great group of people. There is one family that lives about 10 minutes from me that took a dog to the Inivitational this year(missed VC by a hair). They are super supportive. As has been this forum.


You're in good shape - all NAVHDA chapters are not created equal, but they are equally created with the lofty goal of training you to train your dog. They will likely pressure you to FF your dog, which is not "herd" mindset, but comes from their genuine belief that you establish a stronger bond and the other stuff I mentioned earlier with your dog (with your first versatile breed dog) by imparting force fetch. Four years after force fetching my first versatile, and after she was done with UT(s), I had a change of domestic circumstances with a fortuitous landing in the middle of 3/4ths of the greater snow geese migrating through the Eastern Seaboard. Time to revisit not FF but the handling aspects of retrieving that can spring from it. I've told this story before and more at length and as relative to a versatile breed's determination, but I sent her after a crippled snow in choppy water against a big blow and the goose dived and got downwind at about 500 yards out (yes, big water). The dog continued on her line as cast, got ashore, turned around and began swimming back to me those 500+ yards. It was only as she neared on her return that I saw she had something in her mouth - as dogs are "taught" in force fetch with the "Fetch!" command. As she came closer, I saw that what she had retrieved was a half-full 2-litre soda bottle. She was not going to come back "empty-handed" and let down the side by failing to make a retrieve as the "Back!" command on a blind backchained to "Fetch!" told her she must.

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Re: Force Fetch, Conditioned Retrieve, ect...

Postby ForTheBirds84 » Fri Dec 06, 2019 12:05 pm

First time trying to post a picture. Here's Bodo.
Bodo.B.Rock.jpg
Bodo.B.Rock.jpg (13.43 KiB) Viewed 272 times


First Pheasants

Bodo.Birds.jpg
Bodo.Birds.jpg (17.17 KiB) Viewed 271 times


First deer track

Bodo.DeerTrack.jpg
Bodo.DeerTrack.jpg (116.62 KiB) Viewed 271 times
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Re: Force Fetch, Conditioned Retrieve, ect...

Postby GONEHUNTIN' » Sat Dec 07, 2019 9:19 am

Willie T wrote:We have differing thoughts Orhunter. I hunt upland birds as much as most. For my purposes I prefer a dog steady till sent in the uplands. I have very few cripples on single birds. The second bird of a double is the most likely bird to cripple due to often being further. Also often having a less than ideal angle. In my case if I have a cripple that is the bird it will happen on most times. If the dog goes on it’s own it’s vision is locked in on the first bird and will usually miss marking the second. So then after you get it back from the first bird you are reduced to hunting dead for the second bird which is the more likely cripple.
On the other hand if a steady dog can mark 3-4 birds and remember them. Then is trained to pick up the last bird down first I find the cripples to be brought to hand quicker and with less difficulty. Also if I know that one particular bird is a cripple regardless of the order they are shot I always send for it first.
In my honest opinion if my dog can not pick up the scent and successfully track a cripple in a quick and reliable manner from the area of the fall I have a lot bigger problem than whether he breaks or not.
Willie


I agree with that Willie. Not only is a steady dog safer, it doesn't bust birds. Many times, hunting pheasant in a cattail marsh, I've had a young dog bust on a shot bird only to have more roosters go up. I've shot them and the dog has no idea where they are and many times will break off the hunt for the original bird. I want a dog that is steady to WSF.

I would never, personally, have a dog that was not ff'd. There are just too many benefits to it and NO downside.
I just hate seeing birds die of natural causes unless I'm that natural cause.
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Re: Force Fetch, Conditioned Retrieve, ect...

Postby AverageGuy » Sat Dec 07, 2019 9:33 am

FTBs,

Looks like you two are off to a great start.

I am a big fan of NAVHDA and enjoy testing and running my dogs in their system. For a Hunter seeking a well trained Versatile dog I think it is the best organization and test system out there. I also a member and participate in some AKC, VDD and Retriever organizations tests and training days. Something to gain from all of them.

Word to the Wise, the quality of Clubs varies considerably. I have seen just as much harm as good done at Training days depending on the persons involved. Some Blind leading the Blind takes place and the harm has included some Officers of the club so that provides no assurances of receiving good instruction.

Going back a long time ago I learned it is best to show up and observe people and their dogs. Your best approach will be to have a strong sense of your training plan already formed vs relying on strangers to lead you or tell you what is the one and only best way to train your dog ...

No dog gets trained at training days as training requires daily work, but the exposure dogs and handlers receive is extremely valuable. The chance to observe other dogs and handlers working is very beneficial whether you are learning what to avoid or what to pursue. You will see both. Observation will lead to you to who you might want to seek out as a training partner or advisor. Sounds like you might already have a good mentor. Good deal. I have benefitted from many folks along the way.

I mentioned in my first post that I followed the Perfect Retrieve DVD in part while training my current dog and overlayed an ecollar on the already trained Fetch command as part of that progression. I modified it to use some of the marker word and treat approaches I have used throughout this dog's development. The key difference is pretty slight but I felt it was an important one for this dog's temperament, in that I taught him what Fetch meant and that it was pure fun first. The non-optional "obligation" to bring something back when sent to Fetch followed later and was proofed with an ecollar overlay. As you study Hillman you will see the same in his work as he uses an ecollar nick in his Back FTP work.

This is a cold blind retrieve setup to take a line through that standing flooded timber. My dog passed his first/only UT Prize 1 at 17 months which means he had been developed to have a strong duck search in dirty water and the first time I attempted to run this he hit that timber, turned and went left searching that flooded timber and into the even more heavy cover it lead him towards. We had worked on handling and had success on land and water but the suction of that cover and his prior training overrode my level of control on the young dog at that juncture. I had raised the bar of challenge and learned we were not prepared for it.

So we backed up and did more work. This is our second attempt. My objective is to get him through that timber to the far side and leave him to his own use of nose on the far side as frankly, (as will be the case while hunting), me standing in heavy cover with a the rising bank behind me, 250 yards across the water in full camo, I become pretty much invisible relative to trying to handle a dog at that point. I don't want to take the search out of my dog but rather want to be able to direct him as to where to begin his search.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xok9ssXYhIQ

Dogs and People do best when they are motivated by things they really want to do in the first place. The more you seek out ways to use that in your training and less you rely on Force the better you will be. Both have their place. I don't see me every trying to break a deer runner with a clicker and a piece of hot dog.
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Re: Force Fetch, Conditioned Retrieve, ect...

Postby AverageGuy » Sat Dec 07, 2019 9:53 am

FTBs,

My dog and I explored some new country yesterday. Beautiful Big Bluestem prairie like once covered the entire plains.

Image

Found and shot some cagey hard hunted rooster pheasants. This grass is 10 feet tall. No dog is going to get a mark in that cover. I train for steady to WSF but find it a very difficult standard to maintain through a long season of hunting wild birds alone. But that is beside the point.

Over and over what I find what recovers downed birds is a dog with excellent genetics for it that has been brought along properly to use them. Such a dog's natural drive and understanding that "Hunt Dead" means another downed bird to track and recover. Developing "Hunt Dead" from a baby is what makes a dog great at recovering downed birds, not whether you pinched their ear in downstream training ...

It is common for dogs to have no chance to mark a downed bird while hunting cattails and there is often a sea of confusing scent at ground level where a winter flock of birds just went up. Dogs with tenacity to use their nose to sort it out is what recovers the roosters in those circumstances.

Which is not to say Marking is not a critical skill as well as it surely is. But I observe the point I am making here is glossed over repeatedly in favor of debating OB trained subjects which are not at the heart of what makes a great downed bird dog in my experience.
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Re: Force Fetch, Conditioned Retrieve, ect...

Postby Willie T » Sat Dec 07, 2019 10:31 am

AverageGuy wrote:FTBs,

My dog and I explored some new country yesterday. Beautiful Big Bluestem prairie like once covered the entire plains.

Image

Found and shot some cagey hard hunted rooster pheasants. This grass is 10 feet tall. No dog is going to get a mark in that cover. I train for steady to WSF but find it a very difficult standard to maintain through a long season of hunting wild birds alone. But that is beside the point.

Over and over what I find recovers downed birds is a dog with excellent genetics for it that has been brought along properly to use them. Such a dog's natural drive and understanding that "Hunt Dead" means another downed bird to track and recover. Developing "Hunt Dead" from a baby is what makes a dog great at recovering downed birds, not whether you pinched their ear in downstream training ...

It is common for dogs to have no chance to mark a downed bird while hunting cattails and there is often a sea of confusing scent at ground level where a winter flock of birds just went up. Dogs with tenacity to use their nose to sort it out is what recovers the roosters in those circumstances.

Which is not to say Marking is not a critical skill as well as it surely is. But I observe the point I am making here is glossed over repeatedly in favor of debating OB trained subjects which are not at the heart of what makes a great downed bird dog in my experience.


AG- refined talent usually beats talent alone and different circumstances require different solutions. The best of the best have the talent and refinement to seamlessly switch gears in more circumstances than the rest.

For The Birds- Right On! I am hunting a pudelpointer as well.

Willie
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Re: Force Fetch, Conditioned Retrieve, ect...

Postby AverageGuy » Sat Dec 07, 2019 10:35 am

You Bet. A 17 month old dog does not earn a Prize 1 UT without some some refinements of his genetics. What I am most proud of however is the sheer joy my dog shows while doing a nice job at a lot of different hunting we are Blessed to enjoy.
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Re: Force Fetch, Conditioned Retrieve, ect...

Postby Doc E » Sat Dec 07, 2019 10:53 am

Willie and Gonehuntin have made excellent posts.
BTW, I want a dog that is 100% steady to Flush, Shot and Fall
and will handle on blind retrieves.
But then again, I am a Lab guy and thus a "control freak" :)
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Re: Force Fetch, Conditioned Retrieve, ect...

Postby AverageGuy » Sat Dec 07, 2019 11:41 am

I see my share of other peoples' dogs. I see far more of these perfect performing dogs on the keyboards than in the field while actually hunting wild game over the course of a season.

Big difference between swinging an empty gun on a slow flushing moron planted bird in a Hunt Test (which a smart dog knows well is not actual hunting) vs shooting a rooster flushing hard 30 yards out through a wall of Big Bluestem in front of your face like I did yesterday.

I am not good enough to do that while also keeping an eye on ole Spud for a timely ecollar correction. Him getting on that falling rooster swiftly works for us.

The dogs I see which have best retained their complete steadiness through the fall while hunting wild upland birds are those handled by pro trainers who are guiding other hunters, always ready to issue a timely correction when needed vs a single hunter shooting his gun while hunting alone.

I train for steady to WSF and accomplish it well in controlled settings. While hunting wild upland birds over the course of a long season I do my best to not let my dog backslide past Steady to Wing. (Waterfowl hunting is different and far easier to maintain a complete steady to fall standard of performance while hunting.)

We get along pretty well for the most part and sure enjoy ourselves.
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Re: Force Fetch, Conditioned Retrieve, ect...

Postby Bruce Schwartz » Sat Dec 07, 2019 11:47 am

I hunt chukar a lot. Frequently there's a bird or two that didn't flush with the others but my dog always seems to put them up if she breaks on the rise or shot. So I'm standing there with an empty gun (and maybe with no birds down) watching another bird or two flush in easy range. Probably the same with pheasants. That doesn't happen with a steady dog.

My take on FF is that when Dennis Voigt, Bill Hillman, and the British say it's needed then I'll start doing it. Evan Graham's technique is lauded as the way to go .... but remember that he dedicated his FF "SmartFetch" book to a dog that he had on the FF table for two months before she reached for a dummy! How "Smart" is that?

That said, my current 9 month old PP has zero no interest in fetching a dummy, is passionate about chomping birds, and is about as immature as any dog could be at this age. Might FF be in his future? Teaching a reliable retrieve an evolving process.
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Re: Force Fetch, Conditioned Retrieve, ect...

Postby GONEHUNTIN' » Sat Dec 07, 2019 3:57 pm

Bill Hillman does ff his dogs but with the collar, not the ear. I believe he uses the jowl pinch for hold then jumps to the collar.
I just hate seeing birds die of natural causes unless I'm that natural cause.
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