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Feb 28 another warm day.....high of 60°F - Pounce's early morning (and daily) OB session
went to another level......a fresh, thawed mallard "in mouth" most of the time "upped the
ante" considerably...will do the "mallard enhancement" about three times a week for awhile, mid-day trained first at the Square Pond DTA (grassy area) and did Pounce's first spring revisit of single-T (mostly for a quicker whistle sit) - no issues.....then drove a few
miles west to the Rockton Road DTA to run five, good sized, "stand alone", walking singles.....again with a mallard as added excitement.....very solid on all the distant, delayed sits waiting for me to "get out there" for the next single = good, challenging day

Feb 9 four cold days in a row with the last AKC OB class this morning
                note: did brief indoors OB session - early morning
                note: OB classes ended, the experience was well worth the winter time spent
                note: afternoon 1:15 pm....."temp" 17°F with wind chill +1°F = rest of day off  
Feb 10 decided not to train today, 2 in. of new snow and 16°F with a wind chill of +1°F
                 note: could not come up with any good answer for "Why?" (getting soft)
Feb 11 forecasts a bit warmer (around 20°F...not much) took day off, worked on income tax   
                           note: indoor, "high drive" OB sessions every night (late)
                           note: looking forward to the "Lion & Lamb" month
Feb 12 trained in the afternoon at the Rockton Road DTA after driving by earlier in the morning.....snow gone there, but still a lot in our front yard, it was in the low 20's with a single digit wind chill (in and out quickly), Pounce ran the "Super" X-Box Marking Drill in
the "stand alone/send back" mode, "check downs" on one side & "through the old fall(s)"
on the other & the wind proved interesting (down wind throws went a long way)
                           note: next Kooly and Daisy ran four singles (each) in tandem for exercise
then Pounce was back out to run a variation of Carol Cassity's Renegade casting drill
                            note: casts on the wider angles were silent, the tight angle casts included
                                      a verbal "back"
                            note: good results with pounce's marks and handling - sharp, upbeat & fast
                            note: Pounce was in total "ziparoo" mode today...translation = normal
                            note: caught the usual "tongue out" photo plus a new look (wrinkled nose)
                                 and probably because I had only sent her out there to pose

Feb 17 one of the those "could/should have" trained days, but "slacker mode" took over
Feb 18 way too many other things to do and another day off for all
                        note: Pounce's two a day, indoor OB sessions are producing great "reps"
Feb 19 what a "strange" day for February = 57°F, sunny, 35+ mph winds (wind advisory) and
the ground "cover" is either snow, ice or mud........mud is winning
                        note: day off from outside training
Feb 20 trained in the afternoon - 54°F, sunny with 10+ mph winds at the Roscoe Retention Pond DTA (the west land area)....Pounce ran a "stand alone/send back" version of Hillmann's
"Pin-Point" Marking Drill - after three days off, lots of energy to burn......however,  she was steady, "all over" each mark and delivered under control
                         note: the long hike (out and back) had her zipping all over and into an
                                   over-flow area with shallow, lunging water......IN FEBRUARY

Feb 26 balance analysis points toward needing more work on lining and handling plus using ducks more often.....marking is going really well
                    note: took the day day off from training - granddaughter and two great
                              granddaughters are visiting this afternoon plus it is 34°F with a wind
                              chill of  26°F........good timing.......tomorrow, it will be in the 50's...train

Feb 27 trained in the afternoon at Rockton Road DTA (five minutes away), middle 50's and a strong, southwest wind.....Pounce ran a handling/lining drill first with the focus on whistle sits......Kooly & Daisy ran two cold blinds for "old dog" exercise & to give Pounce a breather before her "stand alone/walk back" setup with two diversion concepts

Feb 15 trained at Rockcut State Park DTA - ran the three-peat blinds (east) and modified
to make a "come-in" drill.......3-4 inches of "new" snow & warmer weather
             note: up early for snow "moving" (driveway & sidewalks) - trained this morning

             note: refer to the Dec. 7th & 24th journal dates for the original 3-peat entries
             note: the distance on the Dec. 7 "three-peat" has since then doubled  
Pounce was in high drive with the "fluffy" new snow, very "hacky" and slipped several
whistles......began to wonder if the high volume traffic noise from the Interstate was
causing issues with hearing the whistles......simplify in the morning making changes of less distance & cover plus no Interstate "noise" closer sits for the "come ins"              
Daisy & Kooly ran six, short walking singles when picking up the three "Ghillie Shrubs"

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Feb 2 Tuesday morning at 10:30 am was Pounce's fourth AKC OB class
                     note: put her in drive before the class and this proved to be "interesting",
                               need to have "strangers" interact properly with her on lead (jumping
                               up and wanting to play)
                     note: rain, sleet, snow and high winds - not a good day to be outdoors
Feb 3 yesterday's weather did not result in conditions which would prevent training today,

went to the Winnebago Co. DTA and setup a "Pin Point" marking drill for Pounce.....Daisy and Kooly ran it in tandem afterwards..Pounce actually marked much better than the older dogs (which was good...because they are excellent markers) used  primer pistol, "stand alone/send back" mode with seven "Ghillie Shrubs" added as a "cover barrier". Kooly and Daisy "bounced" on their 1st attempt, but Pounce ripped right through on the long singles
                      note: needed the DeWalt drill to place "shrubs" in the frozen ground and very
                                little snow was left on this slightly sloped area
                      note: 34°F with a wind chill of 26°F  (stiff breeze out of the west at our back)

                      note: one of today's photos was used for the February journal banner

Feb 21 cooler this afternoon (warm for February) - trained at the Winnebago Co. DTA
Pounce first ran three singles using wingers (beeper, primer), after taking a break while Daisy ran six "stand alone/send back" singles, Pounce was back out to run her first "Schooled Triple", then after taking a second break while Kooly ran his six singles (different area), Pounce came back out "did" a set of three cold blinds past/beyond the winger/stickmen that were left in the field....blind number one had several factors the made it difficult (revisit!!!)

                         note: afterwards she wanted to do more and was not tired.......I was, my vote
                                   was the only one that counted

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"Two blinds including Pounce's most challenging cold blind (#2)"

Feb 4 trained at the Rockton Sport Complex, searched four different areas looking for short grass and no ice.....last place "fit the bill"....Pounce did a drill to work on handling with respect to lining and casting plus a focus on "loopy" sits....it was a "Combo Mini-Star (threepoints) Come-In Drill" (temp around 30°F, wind chill low 20's)
                  note: It was effective and will be repeated twice a week for awhile.
                  note: Pounce is driven by one concept  "Show me and I can do it (except for
                            those loopy sits).....If I just weren't so fast.....it would be  lot easier."

                  note: Kooly & Daisy had the day off ....old and not complaining
                  note: indoor morning OB game (off lead) was fun and repeated late this evening

Feb 8 trained Pounce at the Rockton Rroad DTA (southeast side) and worked on scent diversion skills (running blinds past strong, wind blown duck scent using a mesh bag of thawed out mallards), moved the "running lines" successively closer as the drill progressed
                  note: completely "sucked" to the scent on the first cast and needed two casts to
                            get her back on line using longer than normal "sits" before casting
                  note: second "go" had a slight "veer' followed by a whistle sit and from then on
                            she was sailing right to the blinds pile, even when the gap was much closer
                   note: continues to be a quick study (repeat next week - wind from the right side)                    note: did the usual early morning & late night OB fun session
                   note: Kooly & Daisy got the day off (cold & windy- 15+ mph) done quickly 

Feb 25 drove the Winnebago Co. DTA again and setup a remote winger double with mallards, afterwards the winger stations were left in place and two cold blind were planted 
                  note:  memory required a brief hunt, blinds were an "adventure" - walked out to
                             close the distance and "hacked" them out....reminder to self....again...do  
                             real ducks more often
moved wingers west to a totally "fresh" area and did another remote winger double, marks "were much better", especially the memory....blinds were better, too.....this is the third time I was "notified" that we need to use real ducks more often......duh!
                   note: a cold, stiff wind out of the north made it seem worse  than it was and with
                             a lot of walking/moving/carrying/running.....when the last winger packed
                             and ready to go home....it was good to be finished
                    note: Pounce is a great little motivator

Feb 29 trained today (snow storm tonight - "The Lion Arrives")...1st up was day two of the later winter of  re-visiting Single-T at the Square Pond DTA "grassy area", 2nd up was a "Pin Point" Marking Drill at the RockCut State Park DTA and 3rd repeated at the Rockton
Road DTA the  "Lining/Handling Drill" (see 2/27 journal entry)
                             note: The original plan was to NOT do any testing until Pounce was
                                       almost two years old. That has not been as difficult as I thought.
                             note: The Hillmann philosophy of consistency, practice and repetition    
                                       is now resulting in a steady flow of really good training days.
                             note: did an "exercise" session of singles with Kooly & Daisy
                             note: morning, indoor, OB session with focus on whistle sits was "fun",
                                      skipped evening OB session
                             note: filled gas tank on snow blower

          Pounce's January and February training in northern Illinois was a huge success. 

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Feb 16 late morning trained at Kelly Myer Field DTA set up a similar and simpler drill with the same focus as yesterday's drill (with very little cover, less distance and no Interstate highway noise), in addition the indoor OB sessions now include a larger proportion of "whistle work" and hand signals/cues during the on/off lead work (less verbal and more "field focus")    note: this went well, with a significant improvement over yesterday 

five day analysis: Day one Feb 12 =  total "zipperoo" day, Day two Feb 13 = sensational and exciting field day with mallards, Day three Feb 14 = lazy, easy day off........energy restored, Day Four Feb 15 three tough blinds drill setup because of fresh snow, into the wind (new diversion) and lots of noise from the Interstate highway produced over the top, out of balance dog with a not aware or thinking trainer (until after the fact), day four Feb 16 = simplify & restore balance

Feb 13 bitter cold today.....not good and planned early on to not train, but the forcast 
is a winter storm watch with a good amount of snow....so put on "Long johns" to train
Pounce at the Rockton Road DTA - took two mallards and did six walking singles, a 
short "stand alone/walk back" double & two cold blinds...cool session (no pun intended)
                 note: singles were "zippy" fast and accurate, double more challenging with no
                           gunners left in the field, she knew there were two marks, but the "picture"
                           changed to "retired" guns, her two blinds were excellent (one whistle on
                           first and two on second with fast sits and good changes in direction)

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Pounce's "stand alone/send backs"
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  Refer to the August 13th and 15th
   journal entries -
"Come-In Drill"
                (Dennis Voight)

Feb 5 afternoon - sunny, west wind, 31°F feels like 25°F......pleasant ......trained the same
place as yesterday, repeated the basic concepts of  yesterday's drill, but reversed the direction (to have wind at our backs), skewed the three destinations so the far left was now the longest (diagonal)
              note: fast with a very noticeable improvement in the "loopy sit".....trying to stop                              first, then turning...instead of turning when trying to stop..the "come in" cast
                        is making a difference...she seems to more interested in wanting to know
                        what/where the next cast will be......this is the result of the "come in" step,
                        it is somewhat like an indirect pressure altering her original intentions/habits
              note: did "regular" early morning, fun, off lead OB session, will repeat late tonight
              note: Kooly and Daisy had the day off
Feb 6 planned on doing long, walking singles with a primer pistol and mallard at the Winnebago County DTA.....however, upon arriving "the bag" with whistle, e-collar and primer pistol apparently was left behind....not the mallards...so we trained anyway....Pounce did not need anything but the mallards......ran five long walking singles and "pinned" every mark
               note: the two older dogs (Kooly and Daisy) ran five short bumper singles in tandem
                         which gave Pounce a short break before running two cold blinds....fast with
                         only two casts for each & used "loud" verbal "sit" to handle (no worries) and
                         noticed the "loopy sit" (we've been working on 4th & 5th) was much improved
                note: forgetting the "tools" provided an interesting "perspective" - the standards
                          appear to be well established and without a hint of being "collar wise"
                note: Pounce's early morning, fun, off lead OB sessions was sharp and was
                          repeated again late this evening (5-7 minutes)........the impact of correct 
                          repetitions is beginning to transfer into the field (automatic reflexes)

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Feb 7 on Granddaughter "watch" this morning, trained Pounce early this afternoon Rockton Road DTA - diversions - "poison bird", "under the arc" & "tight behind gunner" - two KRDs
                    note: weather = cloudy, high of 48°F with wind chill in the 30's &15-25 WSW,
                              however, with a elevated highway behind us the wind was blocked
                    note: Pounce did (as usual) her "early" morning, off lead and fun OB session
first KRD went well, she caught wind scent of the poison mallard, but was willing to take
the cast to the first blind, picked up the duck and two whistled the "under the arc" blind
and two whistled the "tight behind the gunner" blind, with hindsight....I should have quit there.....setup the second KRD more toward the south, poison blind was a bit loose, then
picked up the mallard mark.......after that it went poorly, under the arc was past heavy
scent from the mark and finally finished with the long blind "behind" the gun with scent
tempting her (a lot).....forgot about several months ago when we had not been using
ducks for awhile and the first day...she kind of lost it......a few follow up sessions with
ducks and she mellowed out.........today was a hint to use ducks more regularly
                    note: last setup was three cold blinds more to the south
                    note: used remote winger for the marks                           

Feb. 22  Pounce worked two sets of "through the old fall" winger singles and after each set the wingers were "reloaded" again for her first "walk-ups".......first set of "walk ups" used a winger primer "shot" and the second set was done using a shotgun with primer loaded blanks....in addition, with each of the four setups there was an OB "walk" from the van all the way to the line and back.......at heel (off lead, 4X).......it was a "busy" training session and she
kept her cool........while at the same time not being unlike the "energizer bunny" 
                       note: not bad for February - cloudy, south wind, 38°F and wind chill 33°F

    "Pounce flies.....when she is having fun"

       "Focus & Pay Attention"

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Kooly & Daisy "in tandem" session

Feb 1 Monday - weather issues did not materialize..trained late afternoon at the Winnebago
Co. Forest Preserve DTA......Pounce's initial setup was an intro to an angle back drill called 
the Kwick "Pivot" Casting Drill and used (first time with Pounce) Kwick "Ghillie" Shrubs
Kooly & Daisy ran six singles apiece in the "stand alone/send back" mode for exercise
and providing a short break for Pounce....her next setup was a Poison Bird KRD 
                       note: casting drill went as expected....new & in teaching mode, with Pounce
                                 figuring it out quite well for first time (repeat in four training days) 
                       note: in the KRD no issues with the poison bird, but "Miss Loopy" is back
                                 after good, long initial lines.......need to "review" the standard
                       note: early morning indoor OB "fun session" went really well ...off lead and
                                 "in drive" and repeated late this evening
                        note: the new versions of the Kwick "Ghillie" Shrubs were a success

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(Bill Hillmann)

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Feb 23 very good day for February 42°F with 4 mph wind (unusual)...coat too warm, "hoody"
about right...first at the Roscoe Retention Pond DTA used a sloped terrain to setup a specific looking Semi-Two Tiered Wagon Wheel lining drill.....big white bumpers to see and "camo" bumpers up on the slope visible to me (taller) and not visible for Pounce unless we moved forward....rationale - great vision, learns "the game" fast, but trusts her eyes above most
anything else.,,,,,,by using "no heel" when going for the white and moving up once in awhile
to reveal the second tier she began to trust where I was asking the to go...after three times
across the set she began to realize she did not have to see it to know it was there.....began to
trust the line and not her eyes.....once she realized this, fogging between and up the rise was 
immediately rewarded by seeing what didn't see from the line....mission accomplished...trust me, not your eyes like when you hear the "dead" cue (note: this drill was expanded 5/14/16)
                         note: anyone that does not know that saying "no", "here", "heel" is a lot of
                                   pressure didn't see Pounce work through this...moving up and "showing"

                                   her was an effective way to tame that issue and work through it
picked up and drove to the Winnebago Co. Forest Preserve DTA (20 minutes) and setup the beginning of working Pounce regularly.....in the "Go Long and Prosper" phase, we took our sweet time preparing for this and she was more than ready to begin adding distance to her skills - two remote winger singles of 209 and 225 yards.....and she was all over'em
                           note: it is good she is young with great vision and excellent hearing because 
                                    I could not hear the  winger beeper or duck call plus locating the bumper
                                     in the air provided only a hint of motion as the primer sound arrived
                           note: kind of got goose bumps when she fogged both of them  and the drive
                                     home was very "cool" for a warm day in February
photo for 5/14/16

Feb 14 Valentines Day - snow started min-morning and will be over early tonight 3-4 inches
(not a big deal) with warmer weather in the forecast.....Pounce won't miss any training
               note: indoor, "fun" OB sessions early morning and late evening

Feb 24 cold & windy February morning with cloudy skies and a strong wind out of the NNE,
38°F and 25+ mph......the wind direction was perfect for re-visiting the blind Pounce had
issues with on Feb. 21......trained at the Winnebago Co. Forest Preserve DTA & setup the
problem blind first......the wind was strong out of the NNE and prefect for what we needed ,
started at 50 yards and moved back twice more to the final line......each time she lined the 
"blind" (so now it is not a cold blind).....however, all the factors were combined to make her
go off line to the left.....she didn't went straight each time with no whistles...fast. I did not count
the bumpers retrieved correctly and she was very animated when finding nothing, blew the
whistle for sit and quickly tossed a single to the south.....she forgave me
                    note: a small powerful frame and a great deal of momentum revealed wind is not
                              much of a factor.....the photos reveal that
                     note: put her up for a break and ran Daisy and Kooly in tandem on seven "stand
                               alone/send back" singles which they never seem to become bored with
Pounce then came out and ran three longer cold blinds and her lining has improved greatly,
straight as an arrow on the first two (no whistles) and two whistled the third (168, 173, 124 yds)