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  • John Faigh

Why Not Force Fetch?

Updated: Apr 19

My name is John Faigh owner of Windsong Kennel. I have trained dogs over 30 years in upland, retriever and for behaviroal issues. Repeatedly I hear; should I Force Fetch my dog? First let's explore the antiquated methods using "Pain & Compliance". The " Ear Pinch" or "Toe Hitch" method were popular and excepted methods. Do these and other methods work? Yes, however when we use "Pain & Compliance" method, we not only can injure our dog physically but also physiological. The bond we establish with our dog should be based on a mutual working relationship, not from fear.

I prefer to use a method that is not only reliable, but the dog enjoys responding too. How is this started and finished? All with a "GAME ".

The great retriever trainer Bill Hillmann I believe explains this "Game" technique in his video.

Watch his video here:



I hope you took the time to view this video and digest the mechanics of starting and finishing this technique. Trust me folks this method not only works, but first & foremost the dog enjoys it. Recently I was asked to assess a 3 year old German Shorthair that refused to retrieve shot birds: The owner explained the dog had been professionally trained and the ear pinch method of force fetch was employed, near the end of the dogs first hunting season the dog began refusing to retrieve shot birds. The owner sought the help of another trainer, in which the table method of force fetch was used; result was the same when hunting. I then planted birds and watched the owner hunt his dog, the result was the same; my assessment? The dog enjoyed HUNTING more than retrieving. The "FIX" ? Make retrieving "FUN". I employed this "FUN " method of retrieving, and in two weeks had his German Shorthair retrieving reliably with enthusiasm.

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