May 27

A Critical Look at Forced Fetching

Is forced fetching the only way to guarantee a reliable retrieve to hand?

By: Thomas Aaron


Forced fetching has become a deeply entrenched method for training gun dogs to retrieve. Many claims are made about its effectiveness – some downright mythical. For example, a quick Google search for forced fetching will unearth (un-web?) many claims that are some flavor of “forced fetching is the only way to guarantee a reliable retrieve to hand.”

The point of this article is to deconstruct that statement into its fundamental elements and answer these questions:

1. Is forced fetching the only way to teach a dog to retrieve to hand?
2. Does forced fetching guarantee a reliable retrieve? Read the rest of this entry »

Apr 10

Will Women Lead Positive Gun Dog Training Into the Future?

WomanTrainingHuntingDogby: Thomas Aaron

It has been a good first week for the Positive Gun Dog Association. We have gained more than sixty members, the majority of whom are positive dog trainers – and the majority of those trainers are women.

I mentioned this fact to another positive gun dog trainer (who’s name I will not mention as I did not get his permission to do so) who correctly pointed out that most positive trainers are women. He went on to tell me he had stopped hiring men to train gun dogs long ago. When I pushed him for clarification, he explained that women are more patient and willing to work with the dog, whereas men are inherently inclined to make the dog do what they say. Read the rest of this entry »

Mar 30

Welcome to the Positive Gun Dog Association

The product of months of hard work, today is the official launch of the Positive Gun Dog Association, Ltd! Our goal is to advocate for the use of positive, dog-friendly training techniques within the gun dog industry and provide education and certification to those wishing to know more about how to apply positive techniques to the art of gun dog training.


Membership is Free! Please consider joining our ranks and putting your voice behind our efforts.


This organization is open to:

  • Sporting breed owners and enthusiasts
  • Hunters
  • Positive dog trainers of any specialty
  • Sporting dog breeders
  • Positive Gun Dog Trainers


Some of the benefits of joining the PGDA are:

  • Access to our Positive Gun Dog Trainer directory and our Club Directory. We currently are hunting down every positive trainer we can find and asking them to join the directory … so check back often to see who we have added.
  • Access to our Members-Only blog: A Mouthful of Feathers
  • Access to our (at least quarterly) newsletter: The R+ Gun Dog
  • Access to our members-Only forums, where you can ask and answer questions about positive gun dog training.
  • Access to our Expert Panel Reports — written by experts for experts


We also offer:

  • Enthusiast-level workshops — Learn to train your own gun dog using positive training techniques
  • Professional-level workshops — Become a certified positive gun dog trainer


Thanks for reading, and we look forward to interacting with you!