June 1 Monday - radar suggested train soon in the morning....just did get everything done  Gigi was out first and worked two piles of Dokkens practicing DL Walters' "no" command. Pounce was next. She ran three "Stand Alone/Send Back" doubles with the final being the longest and into cover. Gigi then came back out to do her doubles (three...the third into cover). The last session was brief with Gigi working on her whistle sits returning from a remote position. It began raining just as we finished up (good timing). Today was practice focusing on precise repetitions. 
June 2 train....high 91°F - then seven days in a row with high's in the upper 80's....The UTV parts are in and it may be ready to use in training by the middle of next week.
 Pounce and Gigi trained again at the Riverside Park DTA. With a remote line in the shade, Gigi ran the same two pile drill as yesterday. She was noticeably more in tune with what was expected. Also, her deliveries are becoming more precise. Pounce did two "Stand Alone/Send Back" doubles and Gigi came back out to run the same set of doubles. It was warm and the air conditioner was on high to keep them from being too distressed during the short drive home. The last few days provided a huge contrast in temperatures.     note: The grassy area around Thorson Pond has been mowed. I will need to get the weed wacker out to clear the shoreline (one tank of gas at a time).
June 3 Wednesday - trained in the morning...cool and cloudy at the same place as yesterday...not in the same location. Gigi was first and practiced the lining skill we have done for two days. This time there were three piles instead of two. There were no problems and she was more precise. 

Pounce then ran two "stand alone/send back triples" with the "memory" thrown into cover. She was sharp. Pounce came back out to do her first "stand alone/send back triple" and her memory was into cover. There was no hesitation ("easy peasy" - confident)). At three in the afternoon, with the air conditioner working well, both are sawing wood in the living room.
June 4 Thursday - trained late morning - east side of Thorson Pond - warming up quickly so Gigi was given a few fun bumpers in the water...Then in the grassy area to the east, Gigi ran her first modified, come-in handling drill using visible, orange cones and Dokkens. She has been working on the lining routine (two & three piles) and the process has reached the conditioned response phase. Therefore, it is time to introduce the whistle sit skill. Dennis Voigt's approach to teach a come-in phase on the whistle sit creates the desirable square sit standard.  It should be noted that Gigi has done previous training on wagon wheel lining, three-handed-casting and single T. More recently, Gigi has practiced DL Walter's initial two pile lining introduction. The reason for 
inserting the above is that today's session went smoothly because of previously taught and  conditioned responses with precise practice (Hillmann's philosophy).

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June 20 Saturday - trained at the Winnebago Co DTA not much of a breeze - cool yet muggy...Gigi was up first to run a longer double with concepts similar to the previous two sessions. The cover was like the long singles she ran well before (in this DTA). This morning, she did not mark as well. The afternoon rain became intermittent and provided time to finish installing the other two D-rings in the Stealth utv trailer. Also, a set of four ratchet tie-downs arrived and were installed. The only thing left to do is build the winger carrier.   
June 21 Sunday - trained Pounce and Gigi in the yard - morning shade Pounce did Hillmann's "Helter Skelter" Lining Drill and Gigi did Hillmann's "Seven Bumper" Lining Drill - both did their session very well. DL Walter's approach to lining is simple, effective communication. It is the use of "no" (not there where you just went).....but "here" (push/pull)....."good".  

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June 12 Friday arrived at the Harrison Road DTA around 7:30 am. The first setup was a repeat of Gigi's point blind. This was the second day and she crushed it (no whistles....too easy). Pounce ran six stand alone/send back singles.....too easy.....good exercise. Then Gigi came back out to run her six "stand alone/send back" singles. The difference between white bumpers vs. Dokkens in cover was striking. Dokkens have quite a bit of scent while white bumpers have less. The short drive to the Winnbago Co. DTA had Gigi working on "back to place" with a double water entry. Today, it was finally finessed. The sticking point was loosing sight of the line after entering the water. Cutting the steps and then adding them back together provided the insight....pun intended. We were back home by 9 am.
June 13 I just noticed that we have not taken a day off from training in the previous fourteen days.
Today will be a day off for Pounce and Gigi. 

June 14 Trained at the Harrison Road DTA. Gigi did six stand alone/send back singles not very well. I planned on shooting primer shotgun shells with each single. I should have done them up closer. She was not very steady on any of them and her marking was poor. This was kind of a surprise that I had obviously not anticipated. She has not had a heat cycle yet and jumped to that conclusion. However, I decided to stop off at the Thorson Pond DTA and give her a difficult step up in her swim-by process - a long, disciplined cast to the over position followed by a half-way back swim and then an over and out. None of this was a big deal and she was very responsive. Therefore, the morning session was simply too much excitement and distance too soon. Also, throwing and shooting was a new presentation.

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June 22 Monday rain most of the day with a window before 08:30 am....Pounce and Gigi trained in the yard again this morning. Both repeated the lining drills they did yesterday. (Gigi - seven bumper
lining drill and Pounce - Helter Skelter lining drill). In addition, each did an OB session plus some whistle sit reps. Then a quick trip to the Winnebago count DTA had Gigi working on her swim-by concepts. She began with lining different three piles. After doing those well, a few overs were thrown in the mix. Lastly, we did some more lining and finished a good session. in the afternoon, my new Kawasaki UTV was unloaded from the Stealth trailer and driven into the garage. where the wingers transport platform will be added (room for six in flat, carpeted sleeves).  
June 23 Tuesday - day off from training. Today was for winger transport construction. The size and shape of the cargo box on a KAWASAKI MULE PRO-MX EPS FI is perfect. The first phase of the project was to construct a rigid base. Two pieces of foam pipe insulation were covered with black Gorilla Tape. This produced a more rugged surface and both were zip-tied to the square metal tubes on each side of the cargo box. Then two 1"X6" boards were multi-zipped tied to the left and right sides of the cargo box on top of the tube covered rails. The next step was to mount carpet runner sleeves (flat). Each winger was sandwiched in its own layer. Once all three wingers are placed on the platform, one tie down clamps them in placed on the rigid, tied down board. The wingers are not kept on the UTV. The trailer is too narrow to safely move up and down the ramp. So far, the setup is ready for three Gunners Up "Originals". After training a few times with three wingers (to observe how this design is working), the plan is to add three more levels for my "Son of A Gun" Wingers. The present structure appears to be more than adequate. 

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"Prep" Two Pile Lining & Handling Lining Drill - "Prep" fpr Hillmann's Star Drill

June 18 Thursday - trained early...first up was Gigi at the Harrison Road DTA. (Gigi's point blind work, second day so far). First, it was run from about two thirds of the final distance with a white stickman. The second day, it  was run the full distance and required only one handle (last one). This morning (third day), five Dokkens were placed in cover and a stickman was no longer in the picture (removed). Gigi ran five lines from the half-way distance and only needed one handle (on the 5th). When lining her up, it was quite obvious that she knew exactly where to go (no hesitation and laser fast off the line). It is a short drive to the Four Lakes DTA. Pounce ran two Y marking drills (singles - angle back, flat and angle in).
Both were run as "stand alone/send back" singles. Gigi did her two sets of Y drills in an area east of where Pounce ran (avoding old falls). After her six singles, another longer single was run. With "temps"
still in the mid-70's, a quick drive to the Thorson Pond DTA grassy area had Gigi working on the gunner in the field throwing. shooting sort singles (that we did yesterday). The difference was that Pounce did not honor/run while Pounce watched. The distance of four singles (again with shotgun primer reports) was doubled and the gunner/thrower walked back to the line, leaned the empty shotgun up against a
tree and then handled Gigi to each single (four). That went so well that Gigi was given two doubles which she dealt with perfectly (excellent session).  

        note: To some extent this last session went well because today she had already run two setups
                  (the point blind and Y-Drills). That work took off some of the edge. However, whatever it
                  takes to move more toward perfect practice is time well spent.
        note: At 12:30 PM (early afternoon) Pounce and Gigi are sound asleep in the cool living room.  The

                  high for this afternoon will be 88°F and 90°F for tomorrow. Training early is cool.  
June 19 Friday at 4 pm it is 88°F. However, we were finished training at 9 am when it was still in the low 70's and very comfortable. First up was Gigi running the Harrison Road DTA point blind. This was the third time running it and she lined all five last time. Today the white stickman located at the end of the point blind was removed. The plan was to handle her once on each of the five lines. She flew off the line knowing where she was going and stopped on the whistle. Alternating left backs with right backs from one line to the next, she did it perfectly. Her confidence is impressive. 

After a short drive to the Winnebago County DTA. Pounce and Gigi did three stand alone/send back
singles the full length of the cover north of the pond. The last/middle single was a splash into the pond with m
ore distance and to cool off.


The last stop was close to home in the Thorson Pond DTA. Gigi worked on her steady at the line skill
set by doing two "stand alone/walk back", shot gun primer load doubles. She was very solid at the line (patient/still) while I was shooting/throwing in the field and relaxed at the line when handling her. Then we simply turned around and did a few "overs" in the pond to continue her work on swim-by. Busy morning and home by 9 am.....cool.

​In the afternoon, two D-Rings were installed in the UTV trailer and the other two will be tomorrow. Tie down straps are to be delivered, too. Transporting six wingers will be easy using the cargo box platform. The trailer and UTV are almost ready for "bigger" training in the Madison Retriever Club plroperties.

June 25 too many other things to do - day off from training
June 26 rain most of the day with a few radar windows....managed to train at the swim pond again and Gigi did several more accurate lines and casts with a very good attitude (good momentum, hitting the water with energy and willingly taking casts when asked. The brief hint of thinking returning on land was circumvented with animation and praise. Responsiveness is cool! Her progress each day is excellent.
Pounce was wanting to do something, therefore, a quick send to the far end of the pond had her sitting 
patiently for a mark. With a double entry/exit on the send, the single had a return double entry/exit. She was content with that and we called it a quick session.
June 27 Saturday....left rather early to train at the Harrison Road DTA. For awhile it looked like a lost cause.....fog. However, about five miles from the DTA, the fog cleared out. With no one there, the pick of the land was to run three remote winger walk-ups with primer reports and a handler shooting a primer loaded shotgun beside the dogs. Pounce went first.....and was precise and steady. Gigi was up next and did just as well. The UTV makes setting up and quickly  running two dogs very efficient. Next up was to 
place a holding blind off to the east so that the wingers would be in the right positions to run marks.
Gigi ran three singles and Pounce a triple. And just like that we were finished. The UTV makes a huge difference for this old man.....I was not gassed.       Speaking of gas.....the dash warning signal said 24 miles to empty. It was going to be close. Decided that 1 mile to go required gassing up before we got home. Living on the edge is tricky.

June 8 Monday - morning to not repeat...got a late start and the decision to run a three point lining drill was unfortunate. The temperature quickly climbed into the upper 80's by the time Gigi's drill was setup. After lining two piles, a couple of loose dogs roamed into the park. Gigi was hustled back into the van (fortunately, it was parked in the shade). I should have pulled the plug on training right then....but I didn't. After a few not so good lining runs, Gigi was quickly back into the van for a short drive to the other side of park to cool off in the river. Evidently, while cooling off, Gigi gulped down too much water and when back in her crate "upchucked" a bunch of water and partially digested food. What a nice addition to this morning (not). This is the first year (in about twenty) that I switched from feeding once a day to twice. It is simply not going to work unless we train much earlier in the morning and feed after.  As hot as the weather seems to be trending, that may be a win, win proposition. After cleaning out Gigi's crate, we headed home. However, the idea of stopping first at Thorson Pond to do more work on Hillmann's power cast was the result. That went so well it took the bad edge off Gigi's earlier session. Daisy did not engage in any hot weather training and she (we) did not complain.
June 9 Tuesday trained much earlier - sunrise was 5:17 am finished at 7:30 am     This morning was
better than yesterday. Gigi ran her first point blind. It is the same one Pounce ran a few years ago. Each line was run well until the one that has a small rise half way. When she lost sight of where she was going, confusion set in. After moving closer, the "aha" light went on. Pounce ran the set to take off a bit of the body fat she has gained. After both had run the point blind, each came back out to do five "stand alone/send back" singles. The good breeze and temperature still in the 70's made things much easier this morning. Afterwards, it was a short drive to the Winnebago County DTA where we trained yesterday. Gigi did three "stand alone/send backs" in the pond. Her ability to take "send backs" to a line across water was much improved today. (yesterday teaching....today practice) 

June 15 worked on getting the Kawasaki UTV ready for training. First was positioning it in the 7X12 ft, enclosed Stealth trailer. Driving in was easy and a tight fit. It will need to be right of center so exiting via the driver's door will be possible. Loosing thirty pounds will probably be helpful. 
June 16 I am definitely not going to train today...58th wedding anniversary. In the next few days four D-Rings will be installed in the Stealth trailer. I need two more. The only place that has any in stock is an hour drive away. The six winger carrying setup on the Kawasaki UTV has been designed and it was inexpensive. The cargo bed provides a flat space to pile and bungee cord them to. Separation and protection will be done using spit pieces of foam pipe insulation. Total cost less than $20. 
June 17 Wednesday The drive to Madison, Wisconsin is a little over and hour. Two d-rings were bought.
On the way home, Gigi and Pounce stopped at Thorson Pond to train. This session was to correct the training mistake made two days ago with Gigi. She was doing 100+ yard "stand alone/send back" singles without any issues. The addition of gunfire plus the extra motion of shooting, throwing and sequencing the sit release did not result in the desired response. The expected did not happen because it had not been conditioned. The fundamental reason involves the fact that distance erodes control.

Therefore, this morning's session was somewhat different. First of all, Pounce on at the line with Gigi. Gigi was staked out and observed the gunner and thrower at fifteen yards away and fairly close to Pounce. Pounce sat and retrieved on command (while Gigi watched tethered to a stake out).  After two runs of watching Pounce (with me much closer than yesterday), Gigi was up next. She switched positions with Pounce. Gigi's setup was much closer than yesterday which translated into more control via physical distance. This immediately improved her focus. She was a different dog with results requiring no corrections. Effective teaching is often a function of seamlessly transitioning distance. 
                   note: spent some time figuring out how to make this more seamless  

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June 7 Sunday - got off to a challenging morning   First up was trimming Thorson Pond for the

beginning of swim-by with Gigi Hillmann's Power Cast. After driving to the north side of Thorson Pond, the van became stuck in the muddy grass. This is not the first time. However, the way to get unstuck has become a valuable skill. After some help from my son, the training plans for today were next. The tall grass around the pond is often manicured (weed whacked) to produce useful shore line cover. Swim-by is done on the east end of Thorson Pond. The following photos visually explain how Gigi will be doing swim-by.  Today was the "Power Cast" intro.  Afterwards, Pounce did five "stand alone/send back" water singles. All three of us will sleep well tonight. 

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After several days of mulling over pursuing hunt test titles, the COVID-19 Virus continues to create issues. There have been a few difficult adjustments. Pounce will not pursue her Master title this year and Gigi will not run any tests. In addition, we are considering home schooling our granddaughter. I will be 80 years old, my wife will be 78 and my 100 year old Mother-In-Law is living with us. Bringing home the virus from school (or a test) will most likely be catastrophic and very possible given past school transferred colds and minor flu "bugs". When the vaccine comes out and proves effective, we will consider more alternatives. Training alone a lot is more relaxing and safe.

June 28 Sunday - both dogs trained in the yard....Pounce ran Hillmann's Helter Skelter Drill and Gigi ran Hillmann's Severn Bumper lining drill.  
June 29 Monday - trained at the W-Property (field trial grounds)....one winger did not work and the UTV was surging badly. Gigi ran her first Farmer style blinds. She did quite well considering the lack of handling work we have done lately. She is not ready yet. Back is good......handling...not so much. 
June 30 Tuesday - UTV and the dealer service had a meeting....after reviewing the issues (some mine), it was left for some additional engine work. The next 9-10 days will all be in the 90's....training will be early and a long term plan will focus on four goals 1) advancing the skill sets of Gigi and Pounce, 2) learning to shoot left handed, 3) preparing a better blind for goose hunting on Thorson Pond, 4) developing a plan for Lylah's home schooling and 5) continuing to practice isolation.

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June 5 Friday, middle 80's for a high - trained at Thorson Pond first  Gigi ran/practiced the two pile lining handling drill (12 Dokken retrieves) and was very precise. Afterwards, we went to the Winnebago County "Four Lakes" DTA. Pounce was first and did seven "stand alone/send back" singles in the technical pond. Gigi then did her very first "SA/SB" singles. She had never done returns to the line in water which meant today was a teaching moment. The "place' command is a conditioned response on land with Gigi....not for water. Her compulsion to retrieve from water is strong. Therefore, the beginning of the session was all about teaching water "place". The initial sends to "place" are done without any water forcing. The plan was to have Gigi drawn to a "place board" across water because getting there would mean another fun retrieve. In addition, we have not done Hillmann's "Power Cast" yet. Therefore, Gigi was not impacted by the e-collar this morning. She was pulled to the "place board" across water because of her prior conditioning of "place" and strong desire to retrieve in water. When teaching is fun for the dog, it is more effective. During this session, Gigi did several returns to the "place" line. In addition, she did her first double entry single (in/out/back in) over a peninsula. At the end of this session, she was driving back into and across water to the placeboard......with confidence. 


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June 24 Wednesday - mid-70's, sunny, slight breeze Today was break-in day for the Kawasaki UTV.
The plan was to train at the Harrison Property and no one was there. Having the entire place was a good thing and decided to run three in-line singles. Today was mostly about driving the UTV in and out of the trailer, positioning UTV tie-downs for quick hook-up intervals (just searching for the right way to do things). The new routines went smoothly. Pounce ran the setup first and Gigi was running soon after. After packing up the equipment and putting the UTV back in the trailer, it was a short drive to the Winnebago Co. DTA where Gigi continued her work on swim-by. She alternately lined each of three piles and handled on about every fourth line. Her initial penchant to come back around the corner was treated with a walk back to the place and send on the correct line with a disciplined cast (bumper in mouth). Today it was more obvious that Gigi was paying attention and trying to do the right thing. Basically, she was beginning to show signs of understanding the correct responses. This willingness to accept "no not that...this" was a huge step.  Her water entry is eager and strong.

June 6 Saturday not quite as warm as yesterday....trained first at Riverside Park DTA and Gigi ran the two pile lining and handling drill. This time there was a bit more cover and she dealt with that without much trouble. After a quick drive back to the pond we trained in yesterday, the plan was to run another set of "stand alone/send back" singles. The line was in a more challenging spot. Two factors quickly surfaced. The first was identified when she was sent back to "place". Since it was not visible (like it was yesterday), that complexity has not been taught. In addition, yesterday's marks were almost square entries and exits. Today (not thinking about this ahead of time) cheating was consistent. After a few attempts to sort this out, we went home. It is time for swim-by. The first step will to introduce Hillmann's power cast. Pounce did seven walking singles in the short, upland cover north of the pond. 

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June 11 mid- morning - trained at the Riverside Park DTA...Gigi ran the same lining, handling same drill she did yesterday (precise practice)....put out six Dokkens at each point and picked up fifteen...fast. Next up was Gigi's second go on the new point blind at the Harrison Road DTA (much better today and fast. The Winnebago Co. DTA is ten minutes away. Gigi ran the same, three singles we did yesterday with the primary focus on returning the a 'place" with water involved. A quick move to the north gassy area had Pounce running seven "stand alone/send back" singles. The finishing setup was five singles
(land send backs) before loading up for the short trip home...both slept well the rest of the day. 

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note: The following link is to the related topic & skill sets.

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Pounce - Harrison Road DTA

June 10 Wednesday....up a bit later this morning....mostly because the gates the Riverside Rark DTA do not open until 6:30 am. The plan was to make a better setup of the "three pile, lining, handling drill.
Yesterday, indicated there was too much of an increase in difficulty. By spreading the three targets out wider and moving a bit closer, Gigi's performance could be titled. "OK, I understand this......now." Pounce came out and flew though the routine and got in some more much needed fat removal.

Since the temperature remained cool, twenty five minutes later, we were at the Winnebago County DTA where Gigi did a quick practice session of "send backs" to the "place board" line. The three singles were 1) on the peninsula, 2) an over the peninsula re-entry and 3) a land beyond the 2nd entry (with complete confidence). "Send backs" to land with water are now part of Gigi's skills set.

               note: In the afternoon, the enclosed UTV trailer floor was given its first coat of paint.