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Thread: Force to Pile Questions

  1. #1
    New member
    Join Date
    Dec 2012

    Default Force to Pile Questions

    I Have a 9 month old chocolate lab he is very driven when retrieving marked bumpers but on his pile work he just trots along. He is collar conditioned and with a Tri Tronics exp 200 pro he is on a level 4. When I have him on a front sit and I cast him "back" he turns around and just trots. I have given him nicks immediately after the command back and in route to the pile. I have been Working on FTP for weeks now and he is just not progressing. I would like to see him really driving hard for the pile. He is force fetched collar conditioned and with fun bumpers really drives. I have tried level 4 low medium and high all levels I get good reactions but the very next cast without stimulation he goes back to just trotting to the pile. I feel I have followed FTP stimulation sequence fairly accurately but he just isn't "driving" for the pile on every cast. What would you do? He drives hard with stimulation but without stimulation goes back to trotting.

  2. #2


    It's hard to say actually what to do without knowing what went on during your entire force process. Like what went on during force fetch and the responses you got at that time might have carried over. A lazy response instead of a gotta get it in my mouth reaction. In most cases folks arent comfortable with "force" and don't apply enough leaving a unfinished dog. Or they apply too much and really freak the dog out. Applying the pressure isn't the problem. It's teaching them the right response to get out of it. That is what instills the momentum to retrieve on command and to leave your side with tenacity.
    A lazy response during initial force fetch is my first guess.
    Second, also you need to keep in mind that not all dogs are wired the same. Sometimes you've got to access that this may be all that I can get out of this dog. As long as they go and are behaving. Going, stopping , retrieving and coming I wouldn't worry too much. Dogs like this you might get more out of them as far as casting by doing walking baseball. It perks them up a bit more cause the bumpers are thrown. Doing drill work such as you are doing is pretty monotenous. So you need to balance out your training by having marks. For example. Obedience and handling drills in the morning then a marking setup in the afternoon. That's how I typically do things here.
    Are you one of the guys in the club class?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009


    Have you tried forcing to a pile in another field? Sometimes baggage in one field will interfere with the dog learning the lesson you are teaching. Changing venues can leave that baggage behind. At the least they generalize the ftp work.

    I don't know how far your piles are but I'd keep them short. 10 feet at first until the dog is going well and slowly back off to maybe 40 yards. I've found some sticking points on the distance from the pile we are as to whether or not the pup is getting it. Mostly, you back off a little each send. If you get to a balking distance force from there but move up to and simplify on the next couple sends before moving back slowly again. Try to end on a successful couple of sends even if you have to move up to 5 feet from the pile. Be careful as some dogs will play you swearing they can't possibly go 40 yards t a pile several times in a row but will do it at 25 yards. When they are reliable going to the pile at ~50 yards I change fields and we start all over again for a few days. In the end, before I go on to the place I'll do the double T, I'll stretch out the piles to~ 75 to 100 yards.

    I'd try a couple more places before I went on to the double T. Assuming that's next on your program.

    Probably shouldn't say anything 'cause I haven't seen your dog or you, and know nothing of how you force fetched or collar conditioned.

    Just as a data point, it takes me roughly 4 weeks, 4 to 5 days a week, 4-5 total different fields or parking lots etc, of force to a pile with a pup before I feel they've gotten it and I can move on. At that point, they are stopping on a whistle while going to the pile reliably, there's little bugging or flaring off line at the send, and are taking back casts to the pile after stopping. Also, on their first few whistle stops on pile work, I throw a bumper from the line towards them. Sid Sherwood taught me that trick. He figured that it taught the pup on the first few whistle stops to look back at the handler because a mark was going to come from him. It doesn't quite work that well, but I put it in the can't hurt might help category. I do it for the first 5 or so whistle stops I give a pup.

  4. #4


    I have read your thread on RTF as well and it is clear that you missed some of the fundamentals of Force fetching. Adding resistance to the fetch command will build the drive in the dog. If you want help with this you should go see Tom Rosen at Rosen Kennels 907-373-5614. He is retired from pro training but if you are willing to LISTEN and do the work in steps you will get the results you are looking for. I have not ran across anyone who understands Force fetch or how to do it better than he does. He is old school. There is no need for E-collar forcing with his methods. Give him a call you'll be glad you did.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Chugiak, Alaska


    Labhunt907. Those 2 posts are spot on. I suggest you try to get into one of the retriever classes as there is no easy answer. Not that there is not an answer but as Barron and Howard mentioned, there is allot of foundation work that needs to be in place. No way to handle that on a forum. Get some direct, hands on, help. Just my opinion. Don
    Forgive me for being arrogant. I own 2 Drahthaar's.
    Tundramoor Drahthaar Kennel. Training Versatile Dogs because we hunt it all.
    Memeber of the Alaska Warterfowl Association.


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