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Thread: The Hold ~ A critical skill.

  1. #1
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    Default The Hold ~ A critical skill.

    Aye Mates,
    Though grossly simplified, the job o' the trained retriever is to flush, mark, locate, and retrieve our shot game birds, be they upland birds or waterfowl, on land or on the water. In the course o' gunning for birds, we have all experienced a bad hit that invariably results in a crippled bird going down. How severely that bird is wounded is a key factor in its retained mobility and the bird will most often try to seek cover or escape. In such cases, a retriever's ability to mark the bird's fall and take a straight line to the area o' fall is highly important. Additionally critical is that the retriever has developed good tracking / scenting skills to locate downed birds that are hiding, running, or swimming to make escape. Also critical to the chained behaviors that comprise a competent retrieve is the ability o' the retriever to firmly hold a still lively bird whilst making the retrieve to prevent its escape and potential loss. There is a balance struck in the fine gun dog betwixt a firm hold that prevents bird loss, whilst not exerting overt mouthing or pressure on the bird so as to make it unfit for the table. A big wiley rooster pheasant with formidable spurring skills can be challenging and especially so for a younger, less experienced retriever, or a dog that has been poorly trained.

    Training of the conditioned HOLD is in me own opinion a critical element o' forging a dog that will subsequently be properly FORCE FETCH conditioned, that being a retriever that will make a retrieve upon command as a matter of compulsion.

    IP9ADvTzQwu0ge+tbbKqmw_thumb_a258_Fotor.jpg
    Making The Retrieve ~ Seen here is me young gun dog MAC making a retrieve on a still lively rooster pheasant that was shot by me gunning Mate Billy in the background. MAC is recalling to me whistle. MAC will return to sit at me left side whilst maintaining a HOLD on the bird until I issue the verbal command "GIVE", he will then release the bird gently into me hand.

    ZKV23LHARWSPOYwroJ%liQ_thumb_a259_Fotor.jpg
    The Hold ~ MAC is seen here seated whilst maintaining a nicely controlled HOLD on this very alert rooster pheasant. The mouthful o' bird and grasses are a visual testimony to the tussle that likely took place betwixt MAC and the rooster in the heavy cover in which the bird was dropped. The bird's objective was survival whilst MAC'S objective was to recover the bird and make the completed retrieve to meself. A retriever that drops a bird upon return to the proximity o' the handler rather than delivering to hand is akin to a wide receiver that drops a text book perfect pass from the quarterback - INCOMPLETE !

    All said, one cannot understate the importance o' proper HOLD conditioning as a lead up to FORCE FETCH conditioning. A well conditioned HOLD is important in minimizing sloppy mouthing and rough handling o' birds and in avoiding the loss o' precious game.

    SHR LAKE CHAFFEE'S AUTUMN LEGACY O' TRAD FINIAN MAC JH is a 20 month old gun dog trainee and currently is in his 2nd year afield as a working gun dog. MAC is owned and trained by yours truly.

    Cheers,
    THE DOG WHISTLER ☘️🇮🇪🇺🇸

  2. #2

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    Or you could just hunt them 100's of times and they will train themselves, NOT! The best labrador I ever owned was taught the hold command but I never force fetched him. He never needed it. His grand sire was Raider and if I remember correctly Raider was never force fetched.

  3. #3
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    Westksbowhunter,

    "Or you could just hunt them 100's of times and they will train themselves, NOT!" You and I both know that just is NOT the case. I am not saying that everybody has to, nor wants to, Force Fetch condition their retriever. Too each their own on that matter. Dogs can in fact have a nice natural retrieve and some are fine with that. Other dogs will most certainly benefit from being Force Fetch conditioned. I am a strong advocate for doing FF regardless and do so with most every dog I work with

    Cheers,
    Mike ☘️🇮🇪🇺🇸

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by IRISHWHISTLER View Post
    Westksbowhunter,

    "Or you could just hunt them 100's of times and they will train themselves, NOT!" You and I both know that just is NOT the case. I am not saying that everybody has to, nor wants to, Force Fetch condition their retriever. Too each their own on that matter. Dogs can in fact have a nice natural retrieve and some are fine with that. Other dogs will most certainly benefit from being Force Fetch conditioned. I am a strong advocate for doing FF regardless and do so with most every dog I work with

    Cheers,
    Mike ☘️��������
    I have force fetched every dog I have owned except for one, and he was the best of them all. The first sentence was a joke by the way, just a remark for Goosemaster.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by westksbowhunter View Post
    I have force fetched every dog I have owned except for one, and he was the best of them all. The first sentence was a joke by the way, just a remark for Goosemaster.
    WESTKSBOWHUNTER,
    I fully understood that the first sentence was a joke and was laughing me Irish arse off on this end. Sad to see such mis-information put out there for new pup owners to swallow as truth. It just ain't so.

    As for the dog ye didn't FF being the best of all, perhaps he was destined to be regardless as to if you had FF conditioned him or not. Where dis he fall within the number of Labs you had previously trained? Perhaps your training skills had improved significantly by the time you had trained him? It may all be relative or at least contributory.

    Mike ☘️🇮🇪🇺🇸

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by IRISHWHISTLER View Post
    WESTKSBOWHUNTER,
    I fully understood that the first sentence was a joke and was laughing me Irish arse off on this end. Sad to see such mis-information put out there for new pup owners to swallow as truth. It just ain't so.

    As for the dog ye didn't FF being the best of all, perhaps he was destined to be regardless as to if you had FF conditioned him or not. Where dis he fall within the number of Labs you had previously trained? Perhaps your training skills had improved significantly by the time you had trained him? It may all be relative or at least contributory.

    Mike ☘️��������
    He just had something different which you could see as a young puppy. I have never seen a dog that could trail a cripple like he could. We shot a rooster one morning that landed up hill and on a sand road which he could not see fall. As I ran up the hill I saw the crippled bird sprinting across a cut corn field. My dog crested the hill and quickly hit the scent trail. At that point it was down hill. He took off trailing and got to some cattails over a 1/2 mile away and went out of site. My dad said he would never get that bird. So we just waited at the truck. About 10 minutes later we saw him coming out of the cattails. When he got a couple hundred yards from us we could see he had the rooster, still alive. He made retrieves like that routinely. He pointed when birds would hold and flushed birds when you thought the field was empty. I could hunt him in 10 degree below zero temps in 60 foot of water and he never hesitated. He looked like Raider but in a bigger package, 87 lb with ribs showing, he could out hunt any dog alive. We put him to rest in late August and I will never get over it.

  7. #7

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    Here he is after a hunt.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  8. #8
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by westksbowhunter View Post
    He just had something different which you could see as a young puppy. I have never seen a dog that could trail a cripple like he could. We shot a rooster one morning that landed up hill and on a sand road which he could not see fall. As I ran up the hill I saw the crippled bird sprinting across a cut corn field. My dog crested the hill and quickly hit the scent trail. At that point it was down hill. He took off trailing and got to some cattails over a 1/2 mile away and went out of site. My dad said he would never get that bird. So we just waited at the truck. About 10 minutes later we saw him coming out of the cattails. When he got a couple hundred yards from us we could see he had the rooster, still alive. He made retrieves like that routinely. He pointed when birds would hold and flushed birds when you thought the field was empty. I could hunt him in 10 degree below zero temps in 60 foot of water and he never hesitated. He looked like Raider but in a bigger package, 87 lb with ribs showing, he could out hunt any dog alive. We put him to rest in late August and I will never get over it.
    Aye Mate,
    Sounds like he was one hell of a special retriever. I am so sorry for ye loss. So tough to lose them and I have been there myself more times than I would prefer to recollect. I miss them all.

    Best Regards,
    Mike ☘️🇺🇸🇮🇪

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