The functions of this drill are to produce
 responsive/quick sits, precise handling
           and enhance focus/control.

Mar 24 Wednesday - cloudy, 55°F, windy..trained at Riverside Park..Gigi & Pounce did a setup that
fit right into several things they already know. The focus was on faster and more precise sits om the
whistle. There were two key components to this drill. The first was an emphasis on creating more eye contact (slowing down and asking for it) which in turn enhanced responsiveness. Gigi went first and continued to give good effort. However, her drive sometimes got in the way.....so the session was slowed down.....as much as possible. It was not just the dog that needed to change things up. 
                                                note: view brief YouTube link below
Gigi was put up and Pounce was next. The contrast was useful. Pounce did things better mostly because she is not quite as fast as Gigi. After quickly seeing the difference, "training a fast dog slower" was added to Gigi's second session which made a huge difference. Extended eye contact
is cool. Today was our "lets see where we are at" sessions. Precise practice is next. By avoiding a quick pivot and probable loop for now, casting skills are easier to teach. The Kwick setup was modified by having the dog sent to a placeboard (previous skill set) and run from there vs. being placed at the full distance and having the handler walk back to the running line (as in the YouTube).

 Dokken Mallard with Kwick "Easy Throw" Ball

Mar 23 Tuesday - rain....look for "radar window".....Therefore, Pounce and Gigi trained before a late breakfast. It was "hoody" cool and Gigi ran the second session of Hillmann's Star Drill. Gigi has a lot more work to make this a done deal. Today, there was just enough time to do a second  setup. Being pressed, the usual "stand alone/send back" singles sessions for each dog was soon modified to do a "Two Dog Stand Alone/Send Back" singles session. Neither had done anything like this before. It was kind of a test to observe just how solid their sit standards were. Twelve singles were picked up fast with each acting like it was just another fun day in the park.

YouTube Link:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAfzotBQbMY 

Mar 14 Sunday - high 48°F....cool wind....decided to just work on the handling drill (first time, for

Gigi - see diagram)...Pounce was sharp and Gigi was not ready for this. The piles were too close

and she had difficulty keeping a singular focus.  Gigi needs to go back and review whistle sit (with respect to tempting distractions).

Mar 31 Wednesday - wind chill 30°F...just did not feel like going "out there"

Mar 1 Monday high of 33°F - cold for two more days..the melting snow (40's/50's).. Gigi continued
to work on her up close OB and retrieving skills plus the daily remote drop session. In addition, an HRC double line with primer loads is done often... Lylah worked with Pounce in the evening.       
          note: all Dokkens have a wooden ball on the throw/carry rope..bought wooden balls from a
                     hobby shop with smaller, pre-drilled holes, drillled larger one 2/3's to contain knot

Mar 2 Tuesday high in the 20's - Gigi repeated yesterday's OB session, remote drop work and the HRC line practice (primer loads, double with a "push and pull" shotgun)...Pounce had the day off
Mar 3 Wednesday - forecast high of 46°F and the beginning of two mud weeks...Gigi and Pounce
repeated their regular indoor sessions.
Mar 4 Thursday - Gigi had an excellent session....OB was solid and the remote drop continues to progress. She did another HRC line practice. Pounce worked for Lylah doing OB (late evening).
Mar 5 Friday high 43°F - day off for Pounce & Gigi.....Ford Transit van in for a recall "fix"

Mar 6 Saturday high 43°F - Gigi trained in the afternoon....This winter of training indoors and working on up responsiveness and retrieving/delivery skills has been a huge plus with Gigi. Three more days
of much warmer weather should clear most of the snow. Then another week or so to get through the frost/mud issues. The Transit Van is useless in ANY kind of mud. Fortunately, the UTV will avoid going to the "Bridge Too Far".
Mar 7 Sunday - Gigi trained in the afternoon & Pounce trained in the evening (OB practice)
Mar 8 Monday high of 60°F - Gigi & Pounce repeated yesterday
Mar 9 Tuesday Gigi trained indoors & Pounce had the day off - snow disappearing quickly
Mar 10 Wednesday day off - snow gone = clean airing yard...Thorson Pond needs shore whacked
Mar 11 Thursday - day off - finished airing yard and cleaned out van - ready for training
       note: Spent most of the day struggling with hunt test conflicts and whether to do HRC
                 and/or AKC. AKC entries are uniform (no hassles). HRC is all over the map. Plus there
                 are fewer to choose from. In addition, I do not have to handle the shotgun as in HRC.
                 With two bad shoulders, that complicates things even more. Plus, I can focus more on
                 the dogs. Therefore, Pounce will run AKC Master and Gigi will work toward a Senior.
Mar 12 Friday- Gigi and Pounce trained at the Kelly Meyer Field DTA. The first setup was a two pile
lining and handling drill using a place-board which was lined to and sat on with a whistle sit. Wow, she was sharp. Pounce was up next and did well, too. The second session was a set of six "stand alone/send back" singles. Something new was added to my training alone sessions. Instead of walking out to do some setups, a dog will come with me and do OB (heeling, remote sits and long downs). This will enhance the responsiveness factor. Today was a cross roads. We will continue to train for and run AKC hunt tests the rest of this year. Pounce will run Master and Gigi will work on  earning an AKC Senior title. I had some encouragement from a friend about this choice.


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Mar 30 Tuesday - high of 45°F.....Gigi did Hillmann's three point Star Drill. Due to a distraction and a brief time frame...Pounce did not train. Just as the setup was in place, a family strolled in from the west. It seems they had spotted a kite in the trees....just in line with Gigi's first pile (of three). The father continued to throw branches at it as each of the family refreshed his ammunition. Gigi and I watched for at least fifteen minutes until they finally gave up. Gigi ran quite a few lines and handled often. She has no off button when it comes to retrieving.  Today's plans included fixing one of the remote wingers. A "Son of a Gun" winger needed either the electronic wiring harness replaced or a rheostat. Therefore, I ordered both. It did not look complicated.......but it was.

         

Mar 25 Thursday - Gigi and Pounce repeated the setup that was done yesterday. The focus was creating a new set of conditioned response. The primary take on the posted video was that having
the sit when coming toward the trainer is the game changer. Not mush else in the YouTube was used. Today's session only took about and hour (door to door). An updated and more accurate description was written to clarify a few steps and the rationales.

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right click on icons for larger photos

right click on icons for larger photos

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Mar 28 Sunday - cloudy, high of 45°F with 25+ mph winds...trained six days in row...not today
Mar 29 Monday - in the 60's and very windy (seven more days with no rain)..Trained at the Roscoe Riverside Park DTA (not much time). The focus was excitement and exercise. Pounce and Gigi ran

a set of ten singles in the two dog "stand alone/send back" mode (there/home in about an hour).


I did not subscribe to much of what was in the video. Basically, what I envisioned was that with some modifications, I could actually do single T skills in somewhat of a reverse process without initially being concerned about the speed enhanced pivot (because there is no pivot).

Hillmann's technique of teaching sit is to use the Traffic Cop concept. Dog is coming toward the trainer and no pivot is required (dog is sitting facing you and intensely focused on what's next). That did not happen. Therefore, all I did was reverse the direction of the single T configuration. Initially, the dog is sitting facing me and intensely focused on what's next.

To begin, the dog is sent to the back position which in this setup is a placeboard. My dogs run to a placeboard because good things begin there. On "here!" Gigi moves quickly toward the handler, soon realizes there is a whistle sit with an immediate reward (tossed bumper) when she begins to sit (timing is important). They do not retrieve until there is an intense "OK, what's next?" stare. I provide a verbal, re-enforcing "Good!" followed by a cast to the reward bumper (which is an over). After doing this three days in a row, Gigi is sitting squarely, immediately leaning forward and intensely waiting for a cast.

To repeat, the video cited is not very similar to my single T intro. The only thing that is basically different for this single T is that "here" is given as much value as "back". And I have no issues with dynamic "backs" when the placeboard is replaced with a back pile. During the sessions, when the dog is sent back to the placeboard the "pivot" motor reflexes are being developed at the placeboard with enhanced excitement from anticipation while slowing down.
Mar 26 - cloudy and a bit warmer than yesterday...Gigi was up first with a change of pace lining drill. Hillmann's Seven Bumper LIning drill was taken to the field and run as a Three Bumper Lining drill into light cover.  Three white stakes were used which is similar to the white stakes used in his Star Drill setups. The drill begins with going to the farthest bumper first (past the shorter ones). This drill was simplified to a three bumper lining drill into one with more distance.

After the lining drill, Pounce and Gigi were taken to another field and ran the new "whistle sit drill".
Both picked up right where we left yesterday and were running it really well.

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Mar 15 Monday high 34°F wind, snow, sleet & nasty weather (almost) a day off, but the snow delayed until about 1 pm. Just before that, Gigi did some work in the front yard. The loop in her sit response needed to be cleaned up. With a long rope that reached across the front yard in the green grass, she began to immediately sit on the whistle..no choice There will be many reps on this. In addition, her tendency to be a bit manic at shopping was noted. This will be isolated in an up close manner (two or three bumpers to start with).
                    note: Just as Gigi finished the front yard "yard work" it began to snow.

YouTube Link:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GM4HkQtLbKA


Mar 27 - about the same weather as yesterday - ideal...Gigi ran another three bumper lining drill
(north to south today) and was more with it today...Gigi and Pounce ran the mini-T drill as per
yesterday.....exercise for Pounce and more conditioning the proper responses with Gigi. Gigi did
an unusual choice during the whistle sits before two overs. One pivot was clockwise and the other was counter-clockwise. All of my other retrievers pivoted only one way (clockwise). There were two visible Dokkens at each of the over piles. Was she counting and sequencing the retrieves that were left or was it a coincidence? Pivoting using different rotations was unique.....ambidextrous? The last part of the session Gigi revisited the use of a thrown bumper to the over positions (review).

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Mar 13 Saturday - Pounce and Gigi repeated the handling drill practiced yesterday and worked on OB in the field. It was much warmer and sunny today....decided to just do the one setup

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Mar 17 Wednesday - cold, rain, 40's snow melted, mostly mud...Gigi repeated work on the indoor, four bumper pile routine (mini-"Helter-Skelter" drill), demonstrated that she can do a remote drop
in different places (finally generalized).....and we did a lengthy, on lead OB session...upbeat fun. The singular focus in all sessions is to maximize responsiveness (the "us" factor).
Lylah did her usual session of on lead OB with Pounce. 
Mar 18 Thursday - high of 50°F and very windy...NE 25-35 mph with gust of 45-50 mph expected
                              note: second Co-Vid shot early afternoon - update...no side effects
Late afternoon, Gigi repeated the session we did Wednesday and extended the distance of her remote drop to about ten feet. The challenge seems to be generalizing it to different locations.
i.e. distance erodes control, focus and responsiveness.....complex progression (incremental)
with no immediate rush (eventually is good)
Mar 19 Friday - high of 49°F, sunny with 11 mph east wind at the Riverside Park DTA - Pounce and Gigi ran a two pile combination Renegade/Lining Drill. The second setup was to deal with a set of additive lining factors (push, falling off and suction). Gigi needed this more than Pounce. In addition, they both acquired some extra physical conditioning....me, too.   
       note: The recent, brief review of no shopping the pile with Gigi seemed to carrier over. 

Mar 21 Sunday high of 62°F - day off for everyone
Mar 22 Monday high of 62°F Gigi & Pounce ran a set of "Stand Alone/Send Back" singles (both did well). Gigi's singles were more challenging than Pounce's and she was fast & accurate (wow - two days in a row)...Gigi ran Hillmann's Star Drill Progression and did more lining/handling than planned on (really well...for first time).

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Mar 20 Saturday high of 55°F - Gigi and Pounce ran a basic KRD at Riverside Park DTA. Pounce
was sharp....Gigi was not...decided to change the next setup and each ran six longer singles
               note: need to work on Gigi's handling skills up closer - more yards = less control
               note: Pounce was accurate and thorough with her marks (150-175 yards in cover).
               note: Gigi was much faster and knew right! where! they! were! before she got there.


Mar 16 Tuesday...cold, high of 45°F with sunshine at 3 pm..in to 60's next week...Gigi did a close,
four bumper pile session indoors on a carpeted area of the pool deck (mini-"Helter/Skelter" drill)
                    note: simplified to push/pull, "no shopping" and precise deliveries review