Force-fetching, also known as force-breaking, is a training technique used to teach hunting dogs to retrieve on command. It involves using physical pressure to encourage the dog to retrieve an object and bring it back to the handler. Force-fetching is typically used with retrievers, such as Labradors and Golden Retrievers, but can also be used with other hunting dog breeds.
Force-fetching is often necessary in hunting dog training when the dog has not developed a natural retrieving instinct or when the dog has developed bad habits, such as dropping objects or refusing to retrieve. It can also be used to teach the dog to retrieve objects that it is not naturally inclined to retrieve, such as waterfowl or game with strong scents.
The force-fetching process typically involves several steps. Here are the general steps that are typically followed:
1. Introduction to the fetch command: The first step is to introduce the dog to the fetch command. This is done by holding a dummy or other object in front of the dog and saying “fetch.” The dog is then encouraged to take the object in its mouth.
2. Introduction to the ear pinch: Once the dog is familiar with the fetch command, the ear pinch is introduced. This involves using a collar or other device to gently pinch the dog’s ear when it fails to retrieve the object or drops it before returning it to the handler.
3. Introduction to the “force”: The next step is to introduce the “force.” This involves applying physical pressure to the dog’s mouth to encourage it to hold onto the object. This is done by holding the dog’s mouth closed with your hand while gently applying pressure to the object in its mouth.
4. Introduction to the “fetch and hold”: The final step is to teach the dog to retrieve and hold the object until it is released by the handler. This is done by using a release command, such as “give” or “drop,” and rewarding the dog with praise and treats when it releases the object.
Force-fetching can be a controversial training technique, as it involves using physical pressure to train the dog. It is important to note that force-fetching should only be done by experienced trainers who are knowledgeable about the technique and its potential risks. It should never be done in an abusive or harmful manner.
In conclusion, force-fetching is a training technique used to teach hunting dogs to retrieve on command. It is often necessary when the dog has not developed a natural retrieving instinct or has developed bad habits. The process typically involves several steps, including the introduction of the fetch command, the ear pinch, the “force,” and the “fetch and hold.” It is important to use force-fetching only under the guidance of an experienced trainer and to never use it in an abusive or harmful manner.