throw marks for your dog during the force- fetch stage of his training? The
answer to that question can get complicated because it’s sometimes difficult to
weigh the risks.
will teach your young dog to pick up and hold a bird on command, but it is also
the first serious pressure related drill that your trainee will experience.
Some dogs simply can’t handle pressure well and will quit retrieving when the
rigors of force fetch are applied.
how good a marking dog you have, when any type of pressure is applied, his
marking skills will diminish to some degree, during this period. Force fetch makes a dog realize that he no longer
has the options he once thought he had, such as: “do I feel like making this
retrieve,” among others. When a dog comes to that realization, it will be a
defining moment in his career and it can be a make or break situation. His
response will tell you whether or not he wants to become a hunting dog.
had emails and phone calls from distraught readers of my column wanting to know
if they have ruined their dog, because their dog no longer marks as well as he
did before force fetch was started — some even said their dogs quit retrieving
altogether. So what now?
thing for any novice trainer to do is stay below the level of pressure that
will make his dog reluctant to retrieving, but that’s often hindsight. Still,
if your trainee refuses to retrieve because of training pressure, it’s never
too late to back off and recover his desire again. First, observe and analyze
your dog’s attitude when you throw him any marks during pressure related command
that you are teaching. Is his gait towards the bumper/bird slower, or the same as usual? Is he more
cautious on his retrieves than before? Be prepared to adjust your training
program the very instant you notice any severe change in your dog’s attitude
Cajun dog training rule No. 15 comes into play here; “There has
to be something in it for the dog for him to continue to be advanced.” Always
maintain his eagerness to retrieve, and, of course, the best way to do that is
to shoot live birds. If you can’t get a hunting dog charged up about retrieving
with shot birds, you may have a serious problem. You have either gone too far
too fast, or you have possibly run out of dog.
If you have
pushed too fast, just back off. If you have run out of dog, you should consider
making you currant dog a pet and move on to a more promising candidate. The
best rule for any novice trainer to follow is to proceed with caution. As I
heard my Uncle Frank say many times, “when you don’t know, you go slow.” Always take your time and think before
jumping into a problem with your young dog, fellow trainers; you’ll find things
work out better that way.
training! GRADY ISTRE can be reached at reibar.com