What We Don’t Do — Forced Fetching
Most traditional gun dog trainers resort to using “forced fetch” training to teach dogs to retrieve to hand. In forced fetch training, the dog is subjected to discomfort or pain until it receives an item into its mouth. The discomfort or pain typically is an ear pinch or a small wooden dowel squeezed between the dog’s toes. Once the item is in the dog’s mouth, the pressure is released. Eventually, the dog is taught to move longer distances, pick up the item and return it to the hunter’s hand. Eventually, the ear/toe pinch is exchanged for a shock collar, which allows the hunter to apply “pressure” at a distance, ensuring the dog does not fail to retrieve its target.
Many traditional trainers believe forced fetch training is necessary to: 1) ensure a dog will retrieve a downed bird in harsh conditions (at which the dog might otherwise choose not to perform); and 2) to teach dogs who lack a strong natural retrieving drive to fetch downed birds.
What We Do — Positive Trained Retrieving
We believe that forced fetch training is completely unnecessary, and that reliable, enthusiastic retrieves under harsh conditions can be trained without the use of pain, discomfort or force — and without the use of long-distance punishers like shock collars.
Using the same proven, dog-friendly techniques used to teach retrieving to many competition obedience dogs and service dogs, we can teach dogs to retrieve virtually anything under almost any conditions — including dogs with little natural retrieving drive.
Because our methods do not employ force, discomfort or pain, dogs actually enjoy the training and become proficient retrievers more quickly than many dogs trained via the forced fetch. And by gradually increasing the difficulty and distraction level of the environment, our dogs soon are fetching downed birds in the worst of circumstances — and loving every minute of it.