Force fetching, is not something I would recommend for the novice trainer to do alone without a professional around. You can ruin a good dog by doing it the wrong way. Force fetching is extremely difficult, especially when you lack experience. Are you going to know what to do if a dog does not respond, more pressure, less pressure, do you lighten up on your expectations, do you shorten the session, do you change location. I know experienced trainers can find it hard to read a dog when it is not doing what you expect.
During force fetching you are teaching a condition response to pressure, the condition response in this drill is to hold a bumper in their mouth until the release command is given. Force fetching will be used in all your future retriever training. Take a step back and figure out what you are trying to accomplish with force fetching, knowing this in advance will produce a less stressful training experience for you and your dog... You are going to want to start this on some sort of table with a good tie off so the dog can only sit and nothing else. Once your dog is proficient on the bench it is time to move your dog to the ground. With your dog on a leash you are going to continue your Force fetch training by walking your dog up to a bumper, tennis ball, bird or whatever you want them to pick up and then give them command to FETCH. You want the dog to "fetch" from the ground on command, hold and carry the bumper around at heel without dropping or mishandling them, and deliver properly to hand at heel. The majority of people that try to do this one their own don’t understand that your dog doesn’t understand what the pressure is for. You need to teach your dog that they can make the pressure stop by doing what you want him to do.. While some dogs can be force fetched in a few days, others might take a few weeks, to instill the notion that they can, through their responses to the pressure.
By Rick Schmitz
Behind the Blinds Kennel and Training