About the DVD

The Fetch Command DVD with Bill Hillmann

Chapter 1 Bill wants the dog to be able to sit. He wants them to retrieve and come back with a bumper. This should not be drudgery. How it's done here, it's a very fun way. The golden retriever female "Torch" had started the "hold" command, so has the beginnings of "hold". You can't start fetch until you have the "hold" understood on a basic level.

Torch hadbeen taught "traffic cop" which means sit and stay no matter what else is happening. Bill uses lots of short retrieves during every session and acts excited himself making sure Torch realizes this all is fun.

Chapter 3 When you are satisfied that your dog understands the fetch command, you're ready then to reinforce a command they have learned. Bill demonstrates the timing of the sequence: Fetch - "nick" with the collar - GOOD!

This is shown in slow motion multiple times. Bill recommends that you practice this without a dog until you're positive you have the right timing. Make sure the Labrador retriever puppy training sessions are fun by interjecting excitement with fun retrieves. Don't sit in one spot and do fetch - "nick" - fetch. Do a little bit and go and do something else, come back to it, go to something else. Torch doesn't even know she's getting force fetched, but she is. Make sure the sessions are fun. When it gets to be not fun, it's not good training. Bill demonstrates ways to mix in other parts of training. If you overdo something, overdo the excitement, not the pressure. You start your sessions without the collar, you get your dog in the right frame of mind, in a working mode, retrieving, balanced with his/her temperament, so they can begin the learning process - leading into it slowly, then reinforce during the session, and ending on a happy note. It's got to get mixed up, it's got to be kept in balance. The only person who can make these decisions is the trainer. Keep the balance.

A dog must be happy and balanced and do the work in these Labrador and golden retriever training sessions. This is supposed to be fun for you and the dog. If your dog is not in balance, you're not training well. You have to monitor the balance of your dog moment by moment, especially with a young dog and at this stage of training. Every moment you monitor if they need more excitement, more discipline, more pressure, less pressure, more fun, less fun. It's just like a teeter-totter. Keep it balanced all the time. You want your dog to stay balanced, not to where you're continually bringing him/her up again; that'll become a habit, and it'll be a bad habit. You want a dog to stay level. It's crucial to having the dog of your dreams.  

Chapter 2 When you are satisfied the dog is holding pretty well, not perfectly but pretty well, you can start to think about teaching the fetch command. Bill holds a bumper, gets Torch excited, teases her with it, and when she fetches he says "Good!" the instant she gets it in her mouth. Make a big deal about this! Torch starts to reach for the bumper, but this isn't force fetch, it's teaching the fetch command. She's had no force, only teaching. There's no drudgery here. There's only learning and excitement. It might take a little longer this way but you have way more dog left when you're done. Always start each session with excitement. When Bill collar conditions on the SIT he uses tiny nicks with the electric collar. The nicks should be barely perceptible to the dog. Put 2 fingers on each electrode, press the button, and you'll know how much the dog is getting. If it's too much for you to handle, it's probably too much for the dog. Make sure you understand that. This is a soft approach, barely perceptible. Torch is collar conditioned to the SIT and to the HERE but not the Fetch YET. 


Basically Bill uses the same process to teach Fetch as he uses to teach all commands:

  1. Teach the command physically
  2. Reward the command with praise
  3. Reinforce the command with the electric collar
  4. Practice the command