July 31 day off....almost, Pounce did some preliminary "yard-work" on responsiveness in the holding blind.....good start, produced the desired effect (a very "amped" Pounce with good eye contact) driven by the rationale of avoiding the emotional disconnect and establishing a new standard.........walking to the line "together" as a team

Pounce's 1st Hunt Test Ribbon - Senior AKC

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July 21 heat wave begins (middle to upper 90's) - trained very early (or forget about it)
setup to run a two winger mallards double with a blind after "working" through three holding blinds.......with Daisy in the honor position.......on a placeboard
                        note: Pounce came to the line off lead, used fake gun, steady, picked up the
                                  two mallards and ran the blind....then Pounce sat to honor the third
                                  winger mallard single retrieved by Daisy
                        note: video camera was setup......evidently, I turned it off ('cause it was
                                  already on) just before going to the line...."duh"
drove to Roscoe Riverside Park - Pounce ran three, easy "just go" blinds - home by 9 am
                        note: 2:45 pm and it is 94°F


July 20 high upper 80's  today's sessions - worked on responsiveness and focus with respect to handling (land & water). Decided to use the Modified "Come-In" Drill 
                       note: did drill on land & then water at the Thorson Pond DTA
                       note: after a short drive to the Rockton Road DTA Pounce ran three blinds

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monthly training session analysis through July 31                  testing AKC Senior
         trained -  23 days                                                                  7/16 (fail), 7/23 (pass),
                                                                                                        7/30 (pass) 
         time off from training -  5 days     test days - 3                 
         morning & afternoon (two sessions) -  7 days
         group training - 6 x's
               
note: see June 2016 for previous month's training session analysis

July 2 trained in the afternoon at the Roscoe Retention Pond DTA - Pounce did a two tiered water lining drill focusing on our lining routines, then went to Riverside Park where all three dogs went for retrieving swims in the swift current - cool water in the shade
               note: pounce finished her day off with three, long, non-factor easy blinds ("just go")

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June 7 trained at Thorson Pond DTA - did three land walk-ups with mallards sans e-collar called the "Walk About Drill" followed by a water setup  (double followed by a single) and last let Pounce run a few short tosses (bumper) "in tandem" (honoring and wearing the e-collar) with Daisy and Kooly
                    note: Pounce was very much out of her mind (at  first) with the "tandem",
                              but "settled in" towards the end
                    note: very slight, brief rainfall during this session          
                    note: no training group this evening

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July 22 hot!!!!! do something easy and early...with last night's thunderstorms, this morning was cooler than expected.....trained at Roscoe Riverside Park DTA - ran three, short mallard blinds......then setup three holding blinds with a mallard loaded winger and ran three walk-ups ("sans" e-collar).....the second & third featured a poison bird blind
                    note: home by 8 am and ran Daisy & Kooly in a set of tandem singles (exercise)
                    note: Pounce did a session of off lead OB
July 23 hunt test at Big Bend, WI....42 dogs in Senior running #22....forecast high is 90°F
                    note: a little over an hour drive
                    note: charged deep cycle batteries, took Endless Breeze fans & solar canopies

                    note: took a large ice chest, large container of water, tub, sponge and towels
                    note: brutal humidity early, then cloud cover provided some relief, followed by
                              rain.....right as Pounce finished her second series  

afternoon training group shot flyers with most of the 29 dogs....got home at 9 pm - late
                note: double - wide right side flyer first (and close), memory very wide left and
                          blind up the middle followed by another single and a second blind

                          .......then finished with an honor (on lead)
                note: Pounce was "wired" (right on the edge)...big, excited hunt on last single
                          with a lot of scent on the ground, both blinds were good....sat on whistle
                          took casts...the stiff breeze carrying scent tended to influence "carries"
July 15 day before first hunt test - "chill", but not before an early morning extended, high energy" Hillmann style" yard session..focused on responsiveness and close up skill sets   
July 16 AKC Senior at Bong Recreational Area in Wisconsin - left at 6 am & home early

things did not go as well as was expected

first series - a little too "antsy" in the holding blind, marked the walk-up double with flyer well, not right  beside me on the first send and I said enough to get "dinged" for a controlled break, three whistled the short blind taking a good initial line.....called back

second series - the setup was to the south and that's about where the run went (south). There was no "holding blind" just a truck parked right "BY&IN" the gallery with dogs and people continually walking around back and forth, talking within arms length........She was not relaxed would be a comic description. We were called to the line through the gallery right by the previous running dog and she was a lot more (way more) "antsy" than in the first series. Double goes down and Pounce picks up the "go bird flyer" mallard and after sitting four+ feet in front of me she was not looking directly at the memory duck in the water fifty yards away right by the shoreline. Rather than "fight her", the plan was simply to "send her" and handle......."duh". Went where she wanted to go and handling didn't "pan out" (especially once she got up on land). Pounce was sure it was there somewhere and began an unresponsive, blowing off casts hunt. Told judges I was going to pick her up and honor on lead (which I was sure we would have been doing anyway).
                   note: We weren't ready. In hind-sight, I should have suggested a better holding
                             blind situation/setup. However, not sure that would have fixed everything
                             or anything, but that would have removed one key excuse. She did  not                                  need the distractions and certainly wasn't ready for that in her 1st test.
                   note: Pounce's weak area has been identified and it was not a surprise. Things 
                             happened that really exposed it.  She is already entered in a test next
                             weekend and may just "burn" an entry fee at the line in the first series.
 July 17 Late this afternoon, Pounce and other dogs did a "unique" three holding blinds setup with mallards, three winger and trainers at the Roscoe Riverside Park DTA...focus was on correct behavior in the holding blinds with no retrieve and sent back to work through the blinds (repeat) until a correct walk-up was performed...a blind was available to run immediately after or make another "go" through the blinds...a chance to honor was available, too
                     note: Pounce was off lead for the last 75% of the setup....good effort & huge 
                               improvement
                     note: with a few modifications much can be done with this drill "solo" using
                               wingers........super pleased with how this worked               
                     note: finished with all five happy dogs retrieving "no rule" bumpers from the
                               swift current of the Rock River
July 18 trained early morning at Thorson Pond - setup was three remote wingers in a pod with mallards with two holding blinds......did three "walk up/poison bird" blinds and repeated the "poison" concept with three more individual marks (no walk-up) the second time.......the primary focus was being much more responsive at the line
                      note: Pounce quickly got the idea and the second time around was better
                      note: each set was preceded by using two holding blinds, third setup was a
                                water double with a blind "working" angle entries and exits
Monday afternoon group session was two wingers in  "Moma Poppa" setup with two blinds....decided to "blend" this morning's session....Pounce ran two "single with a poison bird blind" sets. The focus was again the theme of more responsiveness at the line.......
marked well, ran the first long blind well and again my issue of seeing blinds with one eye continues to reveal my depth perception issue........finished with an honor (off lead)
                      note: before Pounce ran, I had her sitting in the middle of the gallery and that
                                was a much needed conditioning situation........she was cool, calm and
                                focused.......did way better than I expected - actually surprised me!!!
                       note: heat wave warnings for Thursday - 96°F, Friday - 97°F, Saturday - 93°F
July 19 Tuesday train land very early and arrived at the Stoughton Field Trial Grounds in time to train in the north west pond....did a setup of three wingers in a "Flip Flop" session
(total of six singles with mallards and two blinds with orange bumpers......no issues except Pounce was a bit "cheaty" on two of the singles
                       note: afterwards the two old dogs (Kooly and Daisy) ran some "tandem"
                                 rapid fire water singles - home early enough to "whack weeds" & then
                                 watch our two great-granddaughters while "Gramma" picks up our
                                 granddaughter from summer school)
                        note: at 3 pm it is 88°F

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July 8 - warm day...late morning, trained at Roscoe Riverside Park DTA and Pounce re-vsited an old set of three blinds, ran the long "fly blind" with a stiff cross wind and then she, Kooly and Daisy ran a bunch of fun water singles "rapid fire" in the swift current of the Rock River....three dogs in the water going in and out in a "turnstile" continuation - "good stuff"....then the three Endless Breeze Fans had them dry by the time we got home..where the air conditioning is "cool"
July 9 special training morning/day at the Stoughton Field Trial grounds - up early to run Pounce
in the "Modified Handling/Come-In Drill" using four piles - focus on lining and handling with a particular emphasis on responsiveness and control .....did not take long plus Kooly and Daisy
had a good workout......arrived at Stoughton about 8:30 am and signed up for the water series
           note: ran a double with a blind and finished with a single and a blind.........moved up to the  
                     east side and waited our turn for the land series - ran a double and two blinds
                     both setups featured the holding blind to the line expectations of a hunt test and
                     was a very good exercise for Pounce's fist test next Saturday with a few things
                     revealed as needing "fine tuned" the next six days
           note: took a "bunch" of photos......edit later
July 10 squeezed in some training....went to the Rockton Road DTA where Pounce ran three cold blinds (125-150 yards) and those went well, finished at Thorson Pond with Pounce doing the
"two dog honoring drill"....Pounce was "at one place" and Daisy in hers 15 yards away.....most of the short tosses were in a grassy area in front of the pond.....however, the last several "turns" were with an orange bumper thrown into the pond.....another good session as Pounce was relaxed yet focused and waited for her turns.....put Daisy up and Pounce ran a 120 yard stand alone single (mostly water)
July 11 early morning - water with mallards at Bong...arrived about 7:30 am....just in time to be first to the "technical pond"....water is low and my Muck boots were just tall enough to make it
so putting a winger on the peninsula (without walking around to the point), focus was on angle entry/exits (many).....with one of the marks and a cold blind across the gravel road

                note: used wingers with mallards and ran the setup just like a test - air first and back to
                          the van using the "van to the line routine" including a holding blind (would have
                          used two, but the gravel surface is very difficult to put a spike in)
                 note: Pounce did well on all three singles and three whistled the blind on a tight line

                           (angle entry/exit water, angle across the road, then into tall grass cover)....she did
                           not cheat the land on the return....the NOT cheating skill is finally "showing up"
                 note: an hour drive there and another hour back home may seem too much for just one
                           setup........but when things go this well it is very rewarding
                 note: lawn needed mowing and with eye treatment tomorrow had to "go at it", did not
                           realize the temperature had shot up to 90°F (over heated) and definitely decided
                           to not attend the scheduled group training session (they did train - had a breeze)
                 note: forty-six dogs entered in Pounce's AKC Senior test this Saturday, we run 3rd and                             early which will be good....for me....forecast is a high of 81°F.....not bad for July

afternoon "temps" were OK.......went to late afternoon training group where Pounce ran a "walk-up" double (mallards) and two blinds followed by a very, very long honor (time)
July 26 Tuesday is "Great-Grandchildren" day care......home early from training in Thorson Pond DTA - Pounce did seven short, successive "stand alone/walk back" very "cheaty" singles plus an extra long one using the "reverse angle" diagonal in the pond
                  note: this went totally better than expected ???....not sure why....sudden epiphany?
                  note: early evening decided to fill the gas tank in the "Kwick" van & made a "semi-
                            training" trip out of it.....Pounce went for a lengthy "on lead" walk in Lowe's
July 27 Wednesday- training plans cancelled....taking care of sick granddaughter (normally in special summer school) while my wife teaches a morning vacation bible school
                  note: afternoon forecast too warm...upper 80's...and I have a summer cold
July 28 foggy, cool morning - arrived at the Gallagher FT grounds early - Pounce did a set of three water "lines" designed for dealing with cheating issues, ran each "line" twice....and she did her work really well......moved up the slope to the south and setup a three remote winger "pod" with mallards to run as a walk-up singles Y-Drill plus a blind "under the arc" of the last mark...used three holding blinds to "go through" for each walk-up encounter...packed the equipment and drove home past the Stoughton property where only one car was present..there was plenty of room for Pounce to run three "meaty", mallard cold blinds off the mound behind the swim-by pond......this finished off a very productive morning of training

July 4 trained early at the Rockton Road DTA where the grass is almost knee high.....ran
six, long walking singles and Pounce was "on target" with each mark.......used a 3 inch, flagged DT bumper.....cool breeze and cloud cover made it a pleasant session (for July)
drove to the Roscoe Retention Pond for Pounce's "first go" at big water - two "stand alone walk arounds" were thrown........steady, "hard to see" at 237 yards....and did two singles in an "out and return" presentation

July 1 left before 7 am and picked up three mallards at a farm near Bong Recreational Area in southern Wisconsin. The morning started out well because no one was using the "Gravel Pond". In addition, the water was low enough to walk across the concrete "bridge" (usually under water). Ran three remote winger singles with dead mallards first to "warm up".

I decided using the wingers for flyers involved "too many moving parts" and tossed with my left arm (rotator cuff surgery healed). First flyer was out into the land area on the other side of the pond....flew good, one shot and Pounce was steady until I released her from afar. That went well.  note: In hindsight it would have better to do the duck removal from crate and "getting ready" behind a holding blind.

After Pounce was sent back to the remote line, the second was intended to fly back out over the pond. It flew where it was supposed to but was just "dinged" on the first shot. This provided Pounce with her first "sluicing" experience. "Dang" that went way better than it could have. Best of all she was steady until released (again).

After running two blinds, I picked up everything and moved to the "upland bluff" south of the gravel pond. The last flyer was on land and by now it seemed like things were going almost too well.......thinking that ahead of time made me focus even more. Steady dog (again), good flyer and one shot concluded a very fine morning.
                   


July 30 Senior test at Horicon, WI (about an hour and a half drive....with pleasant "temps")

home at 8:30pm.....easy driving....long day....second pass....definitely not perfect
                   note: water and land blinds were very, very good
                   note: land blind was "cool"...didn't take long to line her up, fogged" off full bore on
                             the "back" command on a perfect line, whistled once right as she neared the
                             mallard, Pounce wheeled and sat on a dime (zero loop), looked back for split
                             second then bent over to snatch up the mallard.......kind of gave me the chills

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Also, there is a list of things we need to work on.

July 5 trained early - water...Stoughton FT grounds - three remoter winger mallards across the southwest technical pond & three cold blinds across the southeast pond (home 10am)
                      note: each mark was well done (sharp) and "line time" was excellent
                      note: first two blinds were good, but the last was not.....did not see the
                                orange ribbon twenty yards to the left of the blind and could not "get
                                her off of it" until she got there and WE BOTH knew the issue......duh!!

                      note: good session.....with a degree of difficulty which will make running an
                                AKC Senior Hunt Test very doable......we are ready

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July 3 Sunday trained late morning at the "New Place", southwest breeze with a "temp" of 75°F.....setup was three winger marks with mallards followed by two blinds run diagonally
                   note: Pounce's lines to each mallard fall were close to "laser like" and her blinds
                             were very good (made sure my eye problems and depth perception would
                             not come into play).......good to the holding blind and very focused at the line
                             (zero movement) plus her hold, delivery and "drop" have "firmed up"

note: HeartgardPlus to all

Pounce's water setup (single last)

Are We Ready?

July 24 day off (for both of us)...it was hot again...at 2:15 pm it was 91°F....felt like 107°F,
planned visit to Lowe's in the afternoon for a cool walk did not happen (later this week)
July 25 trained Monday at the Gallagher Property (Madison FT) - arrived about 6:55 am and set up three wingers in a planned "Flip-Flop"session - did three walk-up, remote winger mallard singles and a blind (to the south)......then moved the running line south and ran three more remote winger walk-ups plus a second blind (to the north ) - pleasant "temps"

               note: in the first set, all three singles were "splash" water (two in the second)
               note: home by 11:30 am....late afternoon training group 'cause it was not too warm

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One of the required skills in AKC and HRC hunt tests is called a "Walk-Up". There are  many ways to teach this skill. The drill my young retrievers use is called the Walk-About".

This is Pounce's "first go" and to measure where we are with her control it was done without wearing an e-collar. She was a little "squirmy around the edges", but with consistent "reps" focusing on precision, it will not take long to polish this up.

"Duh" old trainer forgot to place a mallard in the third winger.....a little "editing" got us back on course.  Pounce has always been a quick study which means the next session will most likely reveal a marked improvement (no pun intended). 

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late afternoon Thursday is usual a group training day, scattered thunderstorms in the area seemed to be not an issue (I thought).....no one showed, drove four miles to the Winnebago Co. DTA (more wide open and no mosquitoes). Setup a  remote winger, walk-up double with a blind up the middle of the two stations.....Pounced did a good walk-up, stepped on each mark and three whistled the blind......Kooly and Daisy ran several hand thrown singles in tandem
July 29 With a small window of time to train in, the five minute drive to the Square Pond DTA was excellent. Pounce ran the Three Pile Modified Come-In Drill (in a different area)....see the July 20th entry.....next up was a simple 90 yard "stand alone" water single and finished with two, short, remote winger "walk-up singles.....back home in less than an hour 

July 12 morning eye doctor treatment - injection (not fun) and won't/can't train
                   note: high of 81°F and day off for Pounce
July 13 day off for eye issue (avoid any chances of infection) 

July 14 trained early - Pounce did two sets ("flip flop") of three mallard blinds (six total) at the Roscoe Riverside Park DTA and then three mallard blinds at Thorson Pond
                   note: those went well....responsive teamwork and "tight" lines
                   note: group training late in the afternoon

June 6 day off for Pounce and I needed to repair a cedar privacy fence (long over due). While walking behind the fence to get a level from the garage, three hen turkeys and a bunch of little chicks came strolling slowly up the path between the house and fence. I dodged inside the house to grab a camera. They continued to walk slowly through the front yard casually pecking for bugs in the flower beds and then scooted across the road into a heavily wooded lot. They were not nervous.  It was just a normal day in the neighborhood.

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