Taffey's first six months of training highlights - 2000             
                                             (a timeline specific only to her)
                                                     
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                                                                Unique Puppy Timeline (goto link)                                                      

                              
Here is a short list of the order in which critical skills were introduced to Taffey.

               Taffey's Force Fetch notes (first time trainer - 2001)
                   Force Fetch Notes (goto link)

               Experienced trainer's critique of FF process - 2001
                   FF Critique (goto link)     
                  

The above two detailed documents are not meant to show "how to do something". They were recorded to keep a detailed, first time attempt at force fetch. At the time, an article about FF was read on Oak Hill Kennels Internet link and a nice article written by an old time trainer (Grady?, can't remember who it was) were my few references. After much reading of Internet forums and armed with other perceptions of FF in books by Paul & Julie Knutson and Dobbs, we began.  The FF notes served two purposes, 1) to keep on top of my day to day actions and reactions, and 2) as a possible source of info for anyone who might find it interesting reading later on.  Every article I read on FF had very little in the way of errors.  As a teacher, I realized long ago learning is not an error free process.

I had chosen to use "Thank You" for my release (instead of "drop" or "give it"). Kind of funny now, and I guess it doesn't really matter, but chained out that command later to "give it". "Thank you" just didn't have the ring of being in charge.

Over two years later, for me, the force fetch process is much more clear. I've helped some friends work through some difficult situations and will soon have the new book on FF by Evan Graham.  I will not do things exactly the same on my next pup, and know that everything was done to do the best job possible on the first. Each pup blazes the way for the next, but never loose touch with this basic concept..........each is unique in its own way and you must "discover" the differences.   


                  
                                
                                                       Learning mode pups forever ask, "What's next?"
.
 

                       Bench Mark Training Highlights (summary -   starting fall of 2000)

 1st retrieve to hand                                    6     weeks
 1st point (wing)                                           6 ½  weeks 
 home                                                             7     weeks (48 days)
 1st deep water swim                                 8 ½  weeks       daily walks first
 1st deep water retrieve                            10     weeks      3 months - woods
 training table overs - R/L                        11    weeks       & prairie (easy to 
 1st airborne water entry                           11    weeks       hard cover) with
 backward heeling - R/L (two-sided)     11    weeks       water plus,  3- 4
 intro to place boards (feed on)               3     months     water and land
 gun condition'g tape (Master's Voice) 3 ½ months     retrieves per trip
 whistle sits (chaining)                               4     months    
 flushed first field pheasant                      4     months     
 start primer pistol (distant)                                                 
 remote sits & wear dummy e-collar       4 ½ months
 Collar conditioned (here – a la Dobbs) 5 ½ months      lots of marks
 force fetch (FF)                                            6     months       (every day)
 three-handed casting (B. Goodwin)      7     months
 intro to pigeons (pointing & bird imprint)
 primer pistol (at the line)
 finish collar conditioning (a la Lardy)
 force to pile (FTP)                                      8     months
 steady to shotgun at line                         8 ½ months
 steady “poor man” marks (two dog)
 1st & 2nd Started HRC pass                     9     months
 platform casting                                         9     months
 HRC Started Title (4 passes)                 10     months
            SHR Kwick Taffey of JoeMac’s
 force to water                                            10    months
 single & double T (modified - Dobbs) 10-12 months 
 wagon wheel & many different
        lining drills    
 de-cheated water
 pattern blinds
 cold blinds (land & water)
 swim-by (out of order, "newbie" duh!)    
 doubles & triples (L&W)
 1st & 2nd Seasoned HRC pass               12   months
 first heat cycle                                            13   months
 HRC Seasoned Title (Missouri)             14 ½ months
               SHR HR Kwick Taffey of JoeMac’s
 Birds - lots "of‘em", hunted, planted, launched, walk-up’s, sit to flush & shot
     (yard & field) for 5 months (Nov-March), plus some duck hunting,
     game preserve upland guide dog 16 months (three times)
 two HRC Upland Test passes             18 months
 APLA  CP Title (33.5 out of 35)             19 months
            CP SHR HR Kwick Taffey of JoeMac’s                                   
 AKC Derby time!  (started training with FT - white coats)
                                                                                                               goto: top

          

                       Taffey’s FF Daily Log   Jan, 2001

        Preface: Kwick Taffey is a very fast learner that has been retrieving to hand since six and a
        half weeks. Every retrieve from land/water through heavy cover and over obstacles has been
        consistently returned to hand. She was super-socialized by her breeder and could whip up and
        down a staircase at seven weeks. She was swimming in deep water at nine weeks and doing
        water retrieves at ten weeks. She’s already got an airborne entry. Her teeth have finished
        growing and there is no apparent gum soreness. She is very solid on her OB and adjusted
        quickly to low-level e-collar conditioning on here and sit. Therefore, FF is starting at two
        weeks prior to her sixth month (a stretch according to some circles). However, everything that
        we’ve done to date seems to be a blast for her and as long as it stays fun we’re not going
        to tread water. Besides, there’s nothing but ice outside. We have a 1500 sq.ft. heated
        training area that works well in this cold weather.
                                                                                                           
Jan. 20 Day one - Phase I (hold).   Having already been familiarized to a 16 foot training table, she was collared to the post on the end. First time for this and she froze, was obviously scared, then fought and struggled.  She’s never been scared like this before.  My first reaction was, “This is OK!” because I’d like to see how she deals with it. This is similar to the first time a yearling horse is snubbed up to a post and they find out there’s just nothing they can do. The old-timers used to call "giving the neck". It’s a good lesson. She calmed down in a few minutes and a wooden dowel was placed gently in her mouth. She spit it out a few times (which is good!). However, after supporting her chin, she quickly learned that she had to hold it.  I think the stress of the post turned out to be an advantage because up until now she has done everything too easily. This was the first serious pressure she has had to deal with. Under this new stress she held it loosely and was obviously not too happy. With my hand under her chin she held on and started to relax.  After tapping it a few times, her grip firmed up. She released it with “thank you” as the command.  I like that command as opposed to “give it”. Some time ago I saw a handler use that, and I thought it made the two of them look more like a team. Two more “holds” and the first lesson was over. The three “happy” bumpers I think “jumped” her out of the stressful lesson quite nicely.  Later, that day she seemed much sharper in her backward healing session. In the evening I took her off the table and did “hold” in a sitting position (again with the wooden dowel). This went very well, and we even did heel/sit  around the exercise area while holding the dowel. I’m glad there was that initial struggle and stress. She has responded well.  Excellent first day!

Jan. 21 Day two started out with hold at a sit. Great, she spit it out a few times (I really wanted her to react this way) and then firmed up her grip for more in and out “hold/thank you” steps. The heel/sit went well. On the fourth go-around a heavy  dumbbell was substituted for the wooden dowel. Again she attempted to spit it out (much heavier and awkward), but the taps firmed up her grip and she ended by doing sit/heel quite well. A couple of “goods” here and there really perked her spirits up. Reading her attitude before the praise, she looked reluctant about carrying the dumbbell.  After the praise, it suddenly seemed like a good thing.  I need to remember to maintain her strong desire to please.  Verbal praise is greeted with just fast tail wagging and seems to be only a mild distraction that she can handle.  Physical praise seems to create too much of a distraction.  When she’s uptight (pissed) she kind of pins her ears. When she’s playfully mad she wrinkles her face. I will keep that in mind for later reference.  In the afternoon we went for a walk and tried heeling while holding a dummy. As soon as she saw something in the distance she spit it out and continued to do so. After a few tries, this was discontinued. I reminded myself of the many posts that have said the hold portion of FF is passed over too quickly by many handlers. It was obvious that the change in location for training had been too much of a distraction at this time.  Later at night (in the training room) we did a few heel/sit plus some backward heeling exercises and moved into “hold” with the wooden dowel. She was very eager so I went to the heavy dumbbell and ended up with an unbalanced dumbbell. The last two times she opened her mouth to receive the dumbbell.  After cheerfully jumping over the solid obstacle a few times (while carrying the heavy dumbbell), it was a wrap. We finished with a few double “happy” bumpers again over the jump.  She kept a positive attitude throughout the session.  She’s really looking good!  Tomorrow morning we’ll use a heavy, large rubber dummy.  In the afternoon we’ll try hold on a short walk outside.  In the evening we’ll graduate to frozen quail and pheasant.  She’s already retrieved a frozen quail and carried dead pheasants around when we’ve come back to the truck after hunting.  On one trip she retrieved a dizzied pheasant.  I’d like to make a connection with the training sessions and the trips she’s been on. (Just a note: She goes as a spectator in her crate, and goes out in the cover when we finish.)  I passed on the bird session (no time).
                                                                                                                                                Jan. 22 We started with warm-ups, after she cheerfully stuck her head into the pinch collar (she’s, also, wearing a dummy e-collar during all training sessions). After some heel/sit forward and backward (still against the wall) we moved to “holds” with the wooden dowel. Working in sequence, we went through the dowel, a heavy dumbbell, and an unbalanced dumbbell. I’ve started rapping the ends with a heel stick. This makes a pretty good distraction.  There were no “spits”, and she finished by jumping obstacles and doing a few right/left forward and backward heeling without any drops.  Today, after the first few “holds” she started to open her mouth and grab the dumbbell. She won’t give it up if I just tug on it, but she will release it by simply opening her mouth on the “thank you” (give it) command.  We’re doing some birds tomorrow.  I can see a problem coming. The ear pinch, “fetch” steps are very soon, and she is already grabbing for the dowel and dumbbells. Do I need to find a way to get her to fail when we get to the ear pinch phase?  If no ear pinch is required to grab the dowel, how do I get her to respond to pressure? I’m anticipating the possibility of off the floor grabbing without a pinch. This is an example of a pleasant problem - a fast, smart, very tractable pup that’s been retrieving to hand since six and a half weeks. She at times seems  one page ahead of me and essentially she’s (or I’ve?) created a shortcut that I hadn’t anticipated traveling. I don’t think it is wise to go through early fetch steps and then (let’s say) get to walking or stick fetch and have to introduce the ear pinch. Time for some retriever forum suggestions. On a walk this evening she started to spit the dummy out. Maybe she’s getting tired of the “hold” game? 

Jan. 23rd No replies from the forum. Nobody is interested, the post is lousy, or I’m being shunned. (Oh, well?) This morning she spit out the light dowel each time I said heel.  It took several chin taps and wrapping the check cord around her mouth to get her to respond correctly.  Finally I remembered a post that said don’t say heel.  “Ah-ha”, experience (someone else’s) can be very helpful.  She evidently doesn’t like the feel of it because the heavy dumbbells were eagerly held and carried nicely on the heel command. She’ll soon realize there are no choices. I’m going to hold off on the birds for another day. Only one session was done today. I found the proper approach to her reaching for the dummy before fetch or the ear pinch has been introduce. I’d been saving various posts from FF threads for the last seven months, and in reviewing them, there was one that mentioned this situation. When the time comes for the ear pinch just present the dummy farther and farther away until she won’t take on the “hold” command; then introduce it. Another post expressed the necessity of making sure the pup learns that this is not just a game where they are allowed to determine when to “fold their chips”. Every object must be held and eventually all objects must be retrieved to hand. I bought ten mallards (@$8) for FF and later bird boy marks.
                                                                                                   
Jan. 24th Today is day five and we’re starting out with small rubber dummies and will move to the larger ones (one with a wing on).  Did two sessions (hold, heel, sit, obstacles, and tapping with heeling stick). She dropped the bigger ones a few times in the morning. The evening was perfect.  Tomorrow I will introduce frozen birds. 

Jan. 25th A frozen pheasant and duck were added to the sequence.  I only did one session, and she was excited! (big birds - small mouth - no problem!) 

Jan. 26th Today’s sequence was small dowel, heavy & unbalanced dumbbells, small/large/large winged dummies, frozen pheasant and duck. You could see her excitement building as we got closer to the birds. At that time she was climbing all over my back when I went to the fridge. Yaaa! I’ll do the birds again but unfrozen tomorrow. This will finish off Phase I.  I’m very pleased with the progress! 

Jan 27th I decided to pass on the unfrozen birds until later, and proceeded to pass go and collect $200. Time for Phase II - “The Ear Pinch’.  First, I was going to get the leather collar fitted with the “rivet idea” of Lardy’s, but decided the buckle and ring would probably work.  I intend to continue using “hold” until we get to the ground, then chain in the “fetch” command. One article (Grady’s) uses this because above the ground is initially “hold” (because you’re either stuffing it in or the dog is grabbing it out of the air) and finally “fetch” will mean pick it up from the ground (get it yourself because that’s what you’ll be doing from now on). I like that approach even though it is not as common.  I let her play with the kids in the morning and just generally chill out until 2:30 pm.  I decided to leave the dummy e-collar off for this (that would mean three collars and why?).  After backward heeling (really getting good and she‘s likes it!) we went to Phase II with a small rubber dummy. First pinch reaction was a weak, pansy-like whimper and a “why are you doing that to me” look.  She wouldn’t/didn’t get her mouth open and no take. Second pinch got the same reaction with a louder yelp plus she tried to lay down. Now I see why one instructor likes to FF at 6 months. Smaller pups are easier to control. Third pinch was pretty hard. She yelped and bared her teeth to me. Good!  Fourth pinch the dummy rolled into an open mouth and the ear was released. I remembered to let the release of the ear be the reward and not say “good”. Fifth pinch was similar with a hint of “I understand!”  Sixth pinch it was obvious.  Decided to try one last one at about 6 inches. She reached forward for the dummy on the pinch.  Excellent! I quit with a cheerful pup (no sign of stress). She was put into the training room crate for a half hour to let it sink in and then moved back inside.  What a good start! She learned how to shut off the pain and bounced out of the suddenly new pressure quickly.  As for my earlier concerns and looking for information on possible future problems resulting in a lot of wasted energy, from now on I will deal with unexpected situations as they come up and avoid predictions.  (I will continue to use “hold” until we get to the floor.  My guess is two more days, if we go once a day. There’s no rush!) 

Jan. 28th- Day nine, she’s very cheerful this morning and literally jumped into the pinch collar (because training is so much fun?).  Actually, the last three days I’ve been keeping attention to a minimum to heighten her desire for anything. Does that make sense? It seems to be working.   After getting the leather collar and check cord on she led me to the training area. First pinch, she reached and grabbed. OK! Second pinch, I restrained and she pulled to the dummy held a foot away. This was hard to believe (at least from all the posts I’ve read). Third pinch, she real pulled out all the way to an arm’s length grab. Each time I really laid into the pinch on the metal buckle with no yelps.  OK! I repeated at arms length with heavier restraint and closer to the floor. Her response was a hard lunge and grab. Oh well, I just couldn’t resist going to the floor.  I chained “fetch” with “hold” and with a slight hesitation (She’s not sure what fetch means?  Why should she?  It’s the first time!) she lunged for the dummy and yanked me down so she could pick it up. That’s a wrap!. I need time to figure out what to do later this evening. Is this going too easy?  Dam, she learned that so quickly it’s making me nervous!  Another thought, I need to introduce distractions. About ten o’clock we did the second session. I’m going to pinch all the way to the dummy. First pinch - whine, lunge (with restraint), and grab at about a foot out in front on the floor.  Second pinch produced a whine and kind of a charging plunge forward to pick it up about four feet away.  Third time - no pinch and she still lunged and grabbed it off the floor.  Fourth time, a hard pinch produced the same positive results. Last time no pinch still picked it up. Every time she is very happy afterwards and follows at heel waiting for sit to give it back.  It’s hard to believe but it seems as if she thinks the pain is just part of the “fun” and it’s no big deal. I threw two happy bumpers and she really ripped out to pick each one up. She was her usual “juiced” happy self then she was crated for the night. This went super but the ”fetch” command needs to be taught more. It was chained with the hold command but the number of times has been limited. Tomorrow I’ll go to the floor about six times in the morning and again in the evening and just use “fetch”. Then we should be ready for walking fetch followed by stick fetch. (note: See end of the 29th comment. Duh!) I figure it’ll be just about two weeks. 

Jan. 29th- Day ten, yesterday she was very responsive to the ear pinch.  I wondered about what degree to apply, since it’s been almost too easy, I decided to lean on her a little bit more.  After an easy warm-up pinch fetch/hold chain, the next one was hard with a lot of restraint and just the “fetch” command. She bit my wrist (no damage), yanked me off balance (almost fell down), and then went to the grab the dummy. I’ve made my decision about this pup. She’s not soft! We then proceeded to pick up a heavy dumbbell and the unbalanced one on alternating pinch or no pinch “fetches”. She drove to the objects but was slow returning a couple of times. (She was kind of playing with it. Maybe it is her smart way of avoiding the next pinch? Not sure.)  I need to think about that. She pounced on a thawed out pheasant. The duck she wouldn’t pick up; so immediately I did the pinch and she reluctantly picked it up. I quickly thought, “Do I want her to be afraid of ducks because of an ear pinch?” That was over- ruled by, “She has no choice!” With a hard ear pinch and a push to the duck, it was in her mouth. The next time it was very quick as she tried to avoid the apparently forthcoming pinch. Im sure she understands the “fetch” command.  A couple of quickly snatched happy bumpers and that was a wrap. She finished very cheerfully and upbeat (into the crate for reflection time). This morning went very well. In the afternoon I will do a couple “fetches” on the floor and proceed to a three dummy walking fetch drill.  It’s time for the second session. The pinch/fetches went perfect. Three dummies were place in a circle for our first go at walking fetch. After a complete pass around and a few interesting glances, I said fetch and nothing happened. So I said fetch and pinched to the dummy. She grabbed at my wrist and tried to lay down, but she eventually picked it up.  My ten year old came out to watch and quickly left. I knew he was upset about the ear pinching. Oh well, I’ll explain it to him later.  As the session progressed, I realized I should have watched Lardy’s tape one more time. Between the uncomfortable motion, tangling check cord, and awkward positions of pup and her collar, I felt really “klutsy” for the first time in FF. This drill needs more room than the area I was working in. The pup made progress and did several diving grabs. Those where she “beat me to the pinch” were sharp. Is that a pun?  Nevertheless, I need to visualize what I’m trying to do before tomorrow. It’s a lesson not unlike watching a blacksmith put a shoe on a horse. It looks so easy until you try it for the first time. Tomorrow will be better. One positive is that the puppy finished very cheerfully. I guess the overall results were OK even if the skill level was ugly.   After reviewing walking fetch and finding that Lardy’s tape didn’t have what I wanted (he was using a stick in walking fetch and that was my misread),  I realized I had screwed up the order by doing walking fetch before stick fetch. Idiot! Tomorrow we do stick fetch! 
                                                                                                                                    Jan. 30 Day eleven  I expect this to be easier, after yesterday’s experience. Fortunately, this great pup is naively willing to put up with anything.   If you get a pup that will give total devotion no matter what you do, don’t be careless or push your luck. Ok, this morning we officially did our first session of stick fetch. By saying fetch with the ear pinch, restraining, and then tapping with the stick the pup needs to get the dummy. The correct order is fetch, tap, fetch, ear pinch. Things went very well and she quickly learned that she’s got to fetch under any circumstances. During the session I caught myself tapping more than once because she stopped and didn’t follow through. I reminded myself that the tap is not to make her fetch (like a  punishment) but as a distraction that she must ignore. Hitting her twice begins to take on the nature of punishment. Experience is necessary to rein in the emotions of the moment. The check cord was allowed to trail since she was heeling well and maintaining a close positive behavior.  That made the handling at lot easier. I, also, tried to remember the heel, sit, release commands so those didn’t get sloppy. At times I felt like I was rushing the whole thing. I must make a conscious effort to slow down.   She did well and made progress. The last stick fetch in the sequence (about the tenth one) required nothing but the fetch command after faking the possible stick rap or ear pinch.  She pounced on the dummy and it was a wrap. The two fun bumpers were cheerfully fetched.  Tonight will go smoother if I slow down and concentrate on the correct sequence. Stop and think about the next event before initiating it.  I’m a  night person so about 11;30 pm my pup and I went to the yard for the last time and then came inside for a training session. She was eager to get to the training room and the stick fetch efforts went smoothly.  After about six consistent fetches, I decided to go to the walking fetch. At first I set out two dummies and mixed things up. I decided to ear pinch a couple of times for slow responses and mixed up the butt taps. This went very well and the check cord seemed much easier to handle.  Lady’s tape on this made the mechanics simpler to visualize.  Up until now, this had taken less than ten minutes, and she was still going strong.  I decided to add a thawed pheasant and duck to the rubber dummies. We walked by the birds several times and concentrated on the dummies. At first when I’d say fetch she’d try to blow by the dummy to a bird but soon learned that the one in front when fetch came up was the one to grab. The birds got their turn and she did well on these. I was especially happy with the way she picked them up with a nice solid mouth full. She was at first a little reluctant to give them up but soon was giving them to me without lunging after the birds as I took them away. I’m almost finished with forced fetch! The best part is her positive, willing attitude through it all. Eleven days seems like a long time, but it went quickly and it helped that she’s a natural to begin with.  

Jan. 31 This morning I timed the whole session from start to finish. It took a total of 20 minutes. First, she was fed on her place board. I’ve been doing that for about a week. Then we went out side to do “hurry up”. Soon back inside she zipped to the training area and jamed her head into the pinch collar with her tail wagging. Am I spoiled or what? The floor has a flashlight cover, two dumbbells (heavy balanced and unbalanced), two rubber dummies, a water bottle (filled), and the wooden dowel. There were no refusals except with the “new” objects. After pinching to these once, she continued to pass by or “fetch’ on command as I selected. She likes to pick up the balanced wooden dummy the most.  (Easiest?)  After about six passes around the floor and about 15/16 fetches, it was a wrap. I still remember one post that stated “no matter how long FF takes the performance is not a clear-cut indication of what kind of retriever you’ll finally end up with”. I’m not sure whether that was to prop up a frustration problem that new trainers might experience or just that there are many more obstacles to overcome with FF being only one phase in the long haul. The twelve days were a great growing experience for both of us. Now I have to make a decision about what type of collar conditioning I really want to develop - avoidance or direct pressure? Next is force to pile (not finished with total force fetch).                                                                          
                                                                               goto: top

             FF Critique (to date)

The above FF notes were sent to an experienced FF trainer and a request was made to critique the process. After receiving a detailed reply, the following responses were made about specific points made in his critique. The > symbol represents the trainer and # the "FF newbie" (Taffey's trainer). 

                #Thank you for taking the time to respond. I thought I would comment on your points.

>The worst type of dog to FF is a dog that is TOO eager to please.
                   # This is a pup may fit that category. She did try to bite me a couple of times,
                      but maybe that was just an instinctive reaction.
>Day 1: I may have only strapped her to the pole on day one and allowed her
              to get use to it first. But you seem like you had good results.
                   # I agree this could have gone either way (did read pup correctly).
>Day 2: Personally, at this stage, I am not looking for the pup to comply outside........way
              too many distractions and you are only teaching her that she can get out of complying.
                   # I realized that it was a dumb mistake (fortunately, no apparent damage).
>Day 3:Seems like this day went great..........again try not to give a command while a dog is in
              the middle of FF..........while training outside FF. Becomes a pissing match.
                   # Ok
>Day 4:I think it is very important to teach the pup to make her/his OWN decisions, and by
             wrapping the rope around the muzzle you are taking that option away............it is
             good to have the pup to have the option of dropping so that you can correct it.
                   # This comes from reading too much info on force fetch. Not my idea, but I
                      bought into it.  I see your point.
>Day 5:You did well here by backing up and make sure the dog had the task understood.
                   # Ok
>Day 6:It is very wise for “newbies” to do as you have done.....................once you have     
             taught a command review it a while till dog does it second nature.
                   # Ok
>Day 7:This is a step that few do..................I think it is a wise decision to complete
              hold by offering a number of different objects. GOOD job!
                   # Ok
>NOTE: The only other thing I can think of that I would do before we get to the ear pinch is to
          put the bumper in pups mouth and command hold, while holding I would throw her favorite
          retrieving object down, if she drops the bumper you still have work to do...if not I would
          move on to a bird..........then a live bird...................you see where I am going. These
          are distractions that pup is going to come across and it is much easier to teach pup now
          rather when she is out in the field with more freedom to make her own choices.
                    # Realized this later, weak area.
>Day 8:Now here is were we get sticky!..........it is really important to get that dummy in
             the dogs mouth on the very FIRST ear pinch.
                    # Obviously I didn't get this done. Lack of experience and knowledge is
                       no excuse. Unfortunately, I can't go back in time.
             It is just as important not to allow the pup to spit out the bumper...........that is an
             ugly habit to get out of.
                    # Again poor concept on my part, but her strong
                       holding and carrying instincts bailed me out..
>Day 9:Now, it seems that things are going TOO well, TOO quick and I know
             that seems good, but remember this is FORCE fetch and so far you are hardly forcing
             her...............sure you are applying pressure...............but you must create some no
             goes to allow your authority to be seen. Now I may be putting the cart before the horse
             here and you may have covered this later on ..........if so, my apologies!..
                     # I sensed this and tried to correct it later, maybe it wasn't
                        very clear or well described.
> Day 10:Now here is where I think you maybe putting the cart before the horse............I NEVER
             switch objects until pup is picking up off the floor at a distance and I am applying some
             type of restraint and she is still pulling me to the bumper..............this process is
             stressful enough and I surely do not want the pup having any ill feelings towards
             birds................because birds later will be used to get pup UP. And I must say you
             have progressed to walking fetch a tad earlier then you should have.................in all
             the years I have FF’ed, by time I got that pup to walking fetch there was not
             refusals...................walking fetch is not about fetching as much as it is about
             controlling the dog and teaching him to fetch the bumper when I tell you. It should not
             be a pissing match. I have not read were you have progress through normal FF phases:
                      # Yep, I was concerned here and reacted instinctively instead of thinking
                         it through (pretty weak approach).
>I.E. Fetch with bumper right out in front of dog, then high, then low, eventually working to get
             the dog picking it up off the floor, and walking out and picking it up from 2 feet, 5 feet,
             10 feet.........this is were you can restrain the dog and really force him to make decisions.
                      # Basically did the restraining stuff.
             I will (once the dog is picking it up off the floor from 10-15' away)
             command fetch and once the dog has got about 1' way from the bumper pull on
             the leash and command fetch again to see what he/she will do, will they
             pull me or come running back to me?
                      # Did this and had to ear pinch first couple of times.
             I also will use the lead to hurry up returns...................I will (once
             I have gone through the above stage) yank on the leash once the dog had got
             the bumper in his mouth and “sorta” reel him in.............if he drops, I ear
             pinch. You will be amazed about how this will hurry him back to you.
                      # Did this too, in retrospect it's hard to write down every thing even            
                         though you're trying to compose  an informative document.
>Day 11:I do stick fetch before I do walking fetch walking fetch is (in my
              program) the last thing I do before FORCE TO A PILE. Not that I won’t use a
              stick at the tail end to walking fetch................maybe just different terms.
                      # I screwed up the sequence here (just the first day, she bailed me out)
>Day 12:seems like the normal progression. In conclusion there are a few things I throw in               
              as well that I did not read:
               >Remote sit holds    
                      #  Have done.
               >Heeling with bumper in mouth from a remote sit  
                      # Have done.             
               >Collar Fetch 
                      # Going to do.
               >bb gun fetch (marble fetch)
                      #  Not going to do.

>In summary (critique): It seems as though this part went very quickly.............now that can
  be because she is one of the elite or......because she is very pleasing...........only time will tell.

                 # I will go back and look at my answers. There are some which indicate a "poor"
                 technique. When I revisit collar fetch, I will attempt to shore up those areas and
                 compensate. In looking at my info, I'd been convinced (that if things went well)
                 two or three more weeks would pretty much cover everything.  Would the twice a
                 day sessions have anything to do with my rather short timeline? I've never had what
                 you'd call an "elite" dog, but this one is very different than any of the previous
                 and seems special. Maybe I'm just another bias "FF newbie" owner.  My two previous
                 labs were only "hold" trained and proceeded (after my training) to make OK hunting
                 dogs. I appreciate the time and effort you put into your reply. If I ever have
                 to FF a pup again your insight will be invaluable. You learn by doing!

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