A Critical Look at Forced Fetching
Is forced fetching the only way to guarantee a reliable retrieve to hand?
By: Thomas Aaron
Forced fetching has become a deeply entrenched method for training gun dogs to retrieve. Many claims are made about its effectiveness – some downright mythical. For example, a quick Google search for forced fetching will unearth (un-web?) many claims that are some flavor of “forced fetching is the only way to guarantee a reliable retrieve to hand.”
A new client recently asked me why he should pursue positive, reward-based training over a more punishment-based method. To be honest, I really appreciate questions like that.
It is easy for positive reinforcement trainers to assume clients are already committed proponents of dog-friendly training. But they often call us simply because they saw our advertisement or because a friend referred them to us.
Humans need to feel connected to others, and we sometimes bond as deeply with our dogs as we do with those of our own species. However, the flavors of human-canine bonding can vary wildly. On one end of the spectrum are those who fall in love with dogs based on their looks, personality or intelligence. On the other end are those who become attached to dogs in order to fill the holes left by emotional wounds. There probably are as many variations of this bond as there are dog owners, and any variation can be unhealthy if proper consideration is not given to providing for the dogs' needs. So, what do dogs need from us?
As a dog trainer in Denver, Colorado, one complaint I often hear from prospective clients is: “My dog will not obey me!” Typically this means the dog only obeys when it wants to. Troubleshooting the issue generally is pretty simple, as there are several common reasons a dog will not do what is asked of it:
Does your dog constantly jump on you? Is he rambunctious in the house? Does he plow over the kids? Does he stubbornly mouth you when he wants you to play with him? Does it seem he can scarcely contain himself? Below are a few guidelines on teaching your overly-excited dog to calm down.
Perhaps the 80's rock band, Dire Straits, said it best when they described the rock star life style as "your money for nothing and your chicks for free." The phrase drums up images of filthy rich musicians destroying hotel rooms, getting DUIs in their Ferraris, and smashing priceless Gibson Les Paul guitars on stage as if money, civilized decoru
One concern dog owners commonly express about positive reinforcement training is that their dogs will only obey for food treats. Truth is, the concern is valid (and a possibility) if food is the primary reward for obedience and positive reinforcement training doesn't progress towards its proper end - weaning the dog from food rewards.
Eliminating indoors and territorial marking in the home are two of the most common reasons dogs end up being relinquished to shelters. This article provides some simple steps for dealing with both of these behavior issues.
Understanding wolves helps us to understand dogs better. However, research over the last twenty years has radically altered our understanding about the nature of wolves. And while dogs are almost genetically identical to wolves, tens of thousands of years of domestication have created significant differences that should be taken into account by dog trainers and owners.
In this five part series, I am discussing some well-intentioned but serious mistakes dog owners commonly make that actually cause behavior problems in their pets. I'm also suggesting some tips that will improve your dog's confidence, obedience and overall wellbeing.
This article covers: