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April 8 trained in the afternoon at the Harrison Road DTA, high in the 70's....shot at an HRC line with the "new" used Winchester pump shotgun (a bit "sticky" at first, but "warmed" out of it). Pounce "worked" the line with a holding blind, blank gunfire and double Dokkens at two stakes in the field (practice). Two other "members" arrived to train. When Pounce was finished with her setup, Gigi was taken to the far corner of the property for a good walk through some light cover and treeline. Neither dog had any issues with the sudden warm temperatures...but both are sleeping soundly fours later.
April 9 trained again...Harrison Road DTA, high in the upper 60's with a pleasant breeze...Pounce repeated yesterday's set with three longer/wider "double piles" in a different area. The new, "used" shotgun was given a good cleaning last night and performed much better. Gigi again was watching from the "gallery" (right out of the sliding van door). Afterwards, we went on a very long walk. She was much more focused on keeping track of me (many long casts followed by regular "check back ins"). This aspect of our engagement was simply not possible before (deep snow, thick ice and cold). It did not take long for it to "kick in". At one time, a robin flushed from below a large scrub pine and Gigi chased it. Flying low and slow, she had a long, exciting free run. When it finally disappeared, she came running right back to me ready for "What's next?" Today's trip "cemented the deal", riding in the van is cool.
April 10 rain and a high of 37°F...radar window this morning (about an hour) After a five minute drive to the Thorson DTA and a few minute to setup, Pounce had an excellent session. We did a repeat of the "Gun Line Drill" (3rd time). Afterwards, Gigi came out and did a "run around free while I pick Pounce's setup" session. This spontaneous effort was almost magical.
Right away she snatched up one of the Dokken mallards from the line and took off. A quick loop back resulted in a "Here....take this and toss it for me!" Very quickly this became a game. After each toss, fetch and return, her grip on the Dokken became more centered. The "returns" were greatly impacted by the fact that she was wearing a long rope. The idea of bringing something back to me was enhanced. Our brief "stake pickup session" accomplished several things 1) the two field stakes were "in hand", 2) Gigi was exercised, 3) Gigi's retrieves now involve a more obvious reason to return, 4) picking up big, fat objects was exciting and became easier, 5) there was a noticeable increase in her engagement and 6) we beat the rain. The only negative for the morning was I forgot to bring any gloves.
On the way home we swung by Farm & Fleet to purchase some gun scrubber and oil. This "big box" store allows leashed dogs. Gigi and I did a long stroll through the aisles and worked on our heeling. Since some of the "steam" had been released in her Dokken session....she was absolutely wonderful.
I did leave the "gun stuff" on a counter and took her to the van first. Standing in line at the cash register (without her) was much simpler. This was a very cool day for two dogs and an old man.
note: It is now about 1:30 in the afternoon. Two dogs are "sawing wood".
Then we had about 15 minutes of heavy snowfall.....which melted quickly.
April 11 not going anywhere.....windy with showers and thunderstorms likely. High 52°F. Winds E at 25 to 35 mph. Chance of rain 100%. Winds could occasionally gust over 40 mph Went shopping
for adult crates for Gigi and of all places located just what was needed at Menards (local "box" lumber yard). I bought a larger one for the day area and a slightly smaller one for the bedroom.
April 12 cloudy, 37°F and windy...Pounce did the "line drill" practice with three stations simulating a triple.....incremental distraction practice. The focus of this type of session is practicing the HRC line/gun/field teamwork (retriever and handler). The first "go" was shooing three times "left to right" with three mallard Dokkens to be retrieved. The full "off van, airing, to the blind and finally to the line" routine was practiced. Pounce was "put up" in the van and Gigi came out to do her run around fun "stuff" with a mallard Dokken. Pounce then came back out to repeat the previous routine except the three shots (Dokkens) were done right to left. She was put up and soon came back out to repeat and practice the same routine for the third time. This final sequence was shots left, right and middle. Lastly, Gigi came back out (second time) for a much longer romp with a Dokken while I picked up the black stakes in the field. Gigi did several short Hillmann sit, Dokken retrieves. The Dokken was bloody. When she woke up from her nap, I did a teething vs. tongue check.....no signs of teething.
note: The shooting at the line practice is for BOTH of us!!!
note: The weather for the next twenty days is not going to be all that wonderful
(especially for water setups)...mostly in the 50's with five days in the 60's
note: to some extent that will not be an issue and makes it much easier to focus
on "HRC distraction proofing" with Pounce & fundamentals with Gigi
note: "a tired puppy is a good puppy"
note: found tick in beard....shaved it all off....both dogs are on Frontline Plus
April 13 trained at noon...43°F with 15 mph winds...repeat of yesterday (same DTA, different location)
After Pounce's first run, Gigi was brought out mostly to stretch her legs and air (just a good walk for me). After Pounce's 2nd run, the entire setup was again run (3rd time) "from off the van to the line" (more practice). After picking everything up, the three black stakes in the field were retrieved as
Gigi practiced her free run "routine" 1) a long walk/run, 2) several sits before retrieves, 3) checked out the backwater area, 4) "kind of" stayed in touch by working a bit on the natural "here" when she was far away, and 5) before the run watched up close when Pounce did the setups with primer loads.
note: 6:00 pm....both girls are "sawing wood" in the living room
right click on icons for larger photos
right click on icons for larger photos
right click on icons for larger photos
Retriever training is a relative new adventure compared to almost forty years ago. I left my "day job" and began training, breeding and racing harness horses. It was a seven day work week with many long days spent driving to and from the popular parimutuel race tracks in the Chicago area (Hawthorne, Sportsman's Park, Maywood Park and Balmoral). This was a ten year adventure and an emotional roller coaster. If I had it to do all over again.......
April 29 Monday - light rain this morning with a high of 49°F and cloudy - At noon, Gigi practiced her indoor OB session continuing the close interactions with Pounce and a human. Her first session of the Introduction to AKC Obedience (Beg I) class is a week from today. At 4:30 PM it was cloudy and cool. Gigi went for a brief romp plus a few sit/retrieves at the Thorson Pond DTA in the "grassy area".
April 30 trained indoors - cold rain all day...morning - Gigi went through the entire "on lead" OB skill set. Did heeling (forward and backwards with varying speeds), front sits with returns to heel on both sides, extended time on end of lead remote sit and down and 90° & 180° turns (left and right) on a loose lead.
afternoon...Gigi did her 2nd session of hold - "tough cookie" and had her nails trimmed - not willingly".
note: At least these were better than last time.
evening - do another session of hold
note: I AM GLAD THIS MONTH IS OVER!!!! (worst winter and spring)
April 1 Today's entry involves the use of a humorous and cryptic phrase describing Gigi's training "issue". The phrase "can't walk and chew gum at the same time" is often used to describe an inability for multitasking. Gigi will need a specific/patient approach to learn how to "heel & carry a bumper at the same time". Combining Instincts and excitement with skills requires patience.....especially with a young, driven pup. It is somewhat like combining oil and vinegar with an emulsifier.....then regularly mixing. The goal is to have that skill in place by the end of this month (done gradually/seamlessly).
note: It is very fitting that on April 1st the house water system needed a huge repair. All the
above ground "well system" controls and holding tank had to be replaced $$$.
At 2 pm it is cold and windy...both dogs are looking at me with a Well? look. It is not amusing!
Piled "higher and deeper", I finished our income tax yesterday.....not good news....tax reduction my Donkey! Soooo....I really do not feel like training this afternoon......maybe later?
note: late evening Gigi dd some easy heeling around the indoor, pool deck
April 2 worked on income tax trying to reduce it....no luck....Pounce and Gigi had the day off.
April 3 spent the morning cleaning the garage of winter equipment and loading training gear into the van (wingers, blind stakes, holding blinds). In the afternoon, Pounce ran an HRC double with a blind
and a single with a blind....Gigi did another long walk to the pond and brief session of Hillmann's Traffic Cop. The last month has provided a very good "view" of Gigi's talent, traits, behavior, etc. "Sizing Gigi up" was done in a summary late last month (see the following "copy")
the four month old analysis/inventory of Gigi
strengths - very intelligent (quick study), physically - agile, very fast, drive - extremely high
(at times), has an on/off switch (at times), affectionate, very high potential weaknesses - somewhat soft when "pushed", timid/immature (at times)....inconsistent (fairly
normal for a four month old pup) extremely aggressive on retrieves (possessive,
head shaking)....this is "The Issue".....work toward willing "hold and drop"
including remote "drop"
This is not near the norm for any four month old pup I've ever had before (10).
note: overall plan - Proceed carefully (slow down), be consistent, incrementally
teach. Most of all, keep it fun and strive for a "want to", engaged mode
Late this evening, a review of an RTF thread discussing "What are Grady pup's like?" was revisited.
The rationale was motivated by one "trait" in the above review. There were several different Grady pup trainers using the phrase "slow to mature". This provided a much needed explanation for much of what I see in Gigi. She has all this (it shows) intelligence, speed, drive and instincts but "holding it all together" indicates making sure this is followed "Train a fast, driven, talented and immature pup slowly." I should mention that every outdoor walk or airing session consists of regularly checking the smell, texture and taste of "everything" on the ground small enough to get in her mouth. Awhile back, I sent a photo of her to the breeder. His reply was "She looks like trouble!" If she looks like that in a photo...you can imagine what she's like "up close and personal". O
A precocious pup is often looked up as being advanced, old beyond one's years, forward, ahead of one's peers, mature and prematurely developed. A young, precocious pup (Gigi is only four months old) needs to be taught more slowly. This approach will be a better fit with the maturity "issue".
April 4 Pounce & Gigi did not do any training session as such. However, just the daily routine in the house continues to be training.
April 5 spring cleaning in garage...Remington shotgun to gunsmith (minor repair) and bought a used Winchester 12 gauge pump shotgun since the HRC tests most often use a Winchester. In the late afternoon, Pounce and Gigi trained at Four Lakes DTA. Gigi went on a fun walk around the technical pond. Two nesting geese kept a close eye on us. After the "walk" with a few retrieves, she was placed back in her side of the Ainley "two dog" crate. The van was moved so that Gigi would have a clear, ringside view of Pounce running several, short "stand alone/send back" singles (for exercise).
note: At home, Pounce and Gigi spend quite a bit of time next to each other in their crates.
This has made her transition to the van "two dog" on training days almost seamless.
April 6 Saturday - 65°F for the high...trained in the afternoon...the short term goal for Pounce is running HRC Finished tests......River Valley HRC 2019 Hunt Test June 1, 2019 (entered) (1hr 30 min) Mazomanie , WI Entry Express Pounce - one test
Horicon Marsh HRC 2019 Hunt Test - June 22, 2019 (entered) (1hr 36 min)
Horicon , WI Entry Express Pounce - one test
WISILL/Badger State HRC June 29 & 30 2019 (1 hr)
Kansasville, Wisconsin Hunt Secretary Pounce - two tests?
(there are two more in August)
Pounce and Gigi trained in the late afternoon at the Four Lakes DTA again. Gigi did a repeat of the double walk around the technical pond with more retrieves. She got a bit more wet today. The combined water and air temperatures were 122F° (the minimum for training is 120F°). Pounce had two retrieves from the water as Gigi "observed". Pounce then did several short singles with the van positioned for Gigi to watch from her crate. Then we went on a short trip to the Harrison Road DTA where Pounce did two "stand alone/send back" Y-Drills with a primer pistol. Again the van was positioned so that Gigi had a good view of the setup. After Pounce was "put up", Gigi came out and did three short singles from her Hillmann "Traffic Cop" sits on the "placeboard". The long rope was held about five yards from Gigi with several "tug/sit" reinforcements before releasing her.
note: transitioning Gigi's feeding to twice a day eliminated her diarrhea (no pun intended)
note: Gigi has improved dramatically now that the weather has made it easier to provide
more space and exercise outdoors.
Gigi's training is progressing quite well. She is young, very smart and a quick study. Hillmann's program has been exciting every day...for both of us. She is 4+ months old, very precocious and ready for the next skill to be developed....the trained retrieve. The following Bill Hillmann YouTube provides the perfect approach for Gigi (teach and practice).
point blind location
edited "snap shot"
(work in progress)
April 18 trained...cooler, cloudy & upper 40's this morning...The ejector spring part for my "new" used Winchester pump shotgun arrived yesterday. After finding an excellent YouTube, the "fix" was easy.
note: In two more weeks Gigi will be five months old and collar conditioning "ala"
Hillmann wiil begin. The regular efforts with a leash/tether to and from
everywhere a few weeks after she came has effectively become a smooth
routine. She heels "loose lead" (both sides), sits when asked and just recently,
she has begun to simply sit when I stop (no verbal), enters and exist crates
in the house and van with no "fuss". However, she is not a "calm" puppy.
"Capping" energy is an interesting process. Distraction proofing has not come
note: This morning Gigi was standing in her crate next to Pounce when I noticed that
she is almost as tall. The "long and lanky" look has not changed much.....just
more of it.
note: Here is an interesting fact. Gigi has eaten about 65 pounds of dog food since
she came home at eight weeks of age (a little over two 30 pound bags). She is
four and a half months old and weighs 33.7 pounds (vet scale).
Pounce's HRC "Practice/Distraction Setup" was enhanced "a bit" in this next phase with Dogtra Remotes (sound) at each station. This was done to focus Pounce's attention toward the direction of the "marks" by being aware of each gun "motion" at the line. There are no shots or sounds in the field during most Finished tests, but establishing conditioned responses for "marking off the gun" is the rationale. Wingers with Dokkens will be the next distraction phase and lastly real mallards. Also, her schedule will include weekly/evening group training sessions starting next Tuesday and Thursday. Pounce's first Finished HRC test is in early June.
Gigi came out for a "free" walk as I picked up the setup stakes. The is a part of the training day where Gigi works on the "here" command (with no bumper). Afterwards, she was given water and a short rest while I "picked up" the HRC line equipment. Gigi then came back out for her "training session". The walk before......does "blow off a bit of steam". Also, the idea of working on "a trade" with Gigi to develop bringing a bumper back was scrapped...made it simpler...something we can actually deal with. The idea of producing a conditioned response seems more doable when it is not complicated.
Since engagement is an issue, she/we did short, two yard retrieves in a semi-confined space wearing a rope (van parked parallel to a dense hedgerow). Using "Traffic Cop" and the short rope, she was given two yard tosses off a "Hillmann sit". This was an "easy do" because her sits are very good (intensely focused). However, after a release, visualize a black, four-legged, 34 pound butterfly with sharp teeth on a short lead. The positives were glimpses of "thinking going on" (with Gigi) and I can physically manage this situation. However, getting old is becoming a "pain in the donkey".
April 19 Friday...upper 50's & no school for Lylah...We took both dogs to the vet clinic (puppy shots for Gigi and "wellness exam" for Pounce). After dropping Lylah off at the house, a trip to the Harrison Road DTA had both dogs "busy". Pounce's 60 yard "HRC, three station distraction drill" was setup with the third run to include a diversion bird and "shot" blind. Pounce was sharp and engaged. The best clue that this approach is working is that her feet have not moved at all.
After preparing for Pounce's session, Gigi was brought to take a long, free walk. There was no training except a few well timed "here" interludes. The primary focus was to "take the edge off" before her "real" training session (after Pounce's). Hillmann's program is all about maintaining balance. That earlier "run" with Gigi is to bring her down from "wild and crazy" to a more focused, excited puppy. There is "excited" and then again there is "just too excited". Gigi's training session was much better today. The focus was on distance vs. balance and no retrieves were longer than a few yards. The farther away Gigi is....the less we are engaged.
April 20 much warmer..train mid-day...repeat/practice yesterday's session in a different area Also, Gigi will have an extra session called - "Off the Van to the Line" (which will be practiced regularly), This consists of 1) sitting in her van crate with the door open for one minute, 2) exiting crate and having a collar/lead put on her, 3) sitting outside of crate (in van) with lead on for one minute, 4) sitting outside of the van for one minute, 5) heeling to an airing area, 6) airing (on long lead), 7) heeling to holding blind, 8) sitting in holding blind (with time gradually increased) plus being in the "down" position, 9) exiting holding blind and heeling to the line and 10) sitting next to me on an HRC bucket. During this routine there will be moments of Hillmann's "Game" (working the "on/off" switch). This will be practiced every training day "until the cows come home" (regular maintenance).
The importance of this is significant. Gigi has no idea of what is "out there" in terms of a shotgun, birds in the air and exciting retrieves. She has watched Pounce work. However, her initial experience with distractions will be limited to the "line". This area will become familiar territory (with repetitive practice) before actually seeing wingers/gunners and ducks (full setups). The often overwhelming anticipation of "everything" initially will be altered and practiced in a gradual, seamless process. note: Gigi did her first, full "Off the Van To the Line" session. (see the above description)
note: Gigi will be only five months old in two weeks and shows no signs of teething (yet).
For now, most everything will be fun introductions in a specific context.
Pounce's Two Point Blinds
Thorson Pond DTA
link to YouTube
April 14 rain/snow..high 39F° - low 26°F..winds NNE 17 mph = day off for everyone (excellent timing)
April 27 cold with rain/snow...3-5 inches equals day off outside....Gigi did a full workout/practice indoor review of OB leash skills this morning - heeling left/right sides, remote/extended sit & down (on a 6 ft lead), left and right 90° and 180° turns, backward heeling, "one step, heel forward sits" and "one step, heel backward sits". This afternoon, Gigi did her 3rd session of hold...the eventual, short term goal is heeling while holding. This evening, Gigi did another session of OB similar to this morning's except
Pounce was tethered in a corner where Gigi either passed by or did turns, downs or sits (near her). Every time she made eye contact with Pounce and remained stationary on the sit, this behavior was reinforced with a verbal good and a treat. Gigi was relaxed and engaged. This was not unlike the interactions she will have in the upcoming AKC Puppy OB class.
note: got some Internet advice dealing with this issue & was able to adjust it some to fit...Thanks, DG
She was quick to make these initial adjustments. I was not surprised she reacted in this manner. Gigi is a quick "study" (sometimes). I am beginning to understand her tendencies which aids in planning the strategy and focus of each session.
note: Gigi's AKC Puppy OB Class Monday the 6th of May....(six Monday sessions)
note: Gigi's did her 3rd session of hold...the eventual goal is "heeling while holding".
note: all the snow had melted by 7:30 PM this evening - another very unusual April day
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During this "phase" of Gigi's training (called "OB to the line"...not in the field), Gigi will be wearing a 2.25 mm, prong collar. It should be noted the prong collar is NOT a Hillmann "tool". However, it does fall into the "fair and much safer" category (if used properly) in comparison to the effects of a 6 mm rope on the trachea of an aggressive/dynamic young pup.
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April 21 Easter Sunday - relatives visiting and most likely no training.
April 22 trained mid-day at the Four Lakes DTA...78°F, Pounce did the HRC "line practice" in the technical pond running two full sets (two simulated triples with a diversion on the second). Gigi then came out to work her "van to the line routine". We then did two trips around the pond with a few Dokkens tossed in the shallow water. All this went well, until I decided to let Gigi and Pounce out together. That was just simply not a good idea. Pounce was too polite and Gigi went immediately into totally nasty attack mode. She was on a long lead which was about the only thing I did right. If Pounce could have talked, she would have asked, "What were you thinking?" and finished up with....."Wait!!....I guess you weren't!!!"
note: This evening, Gigi was enrolled in an AKC Puppy OB Class starting May 6th.
April 23 Tuesday - trained Gigi indoors around 9am focusing on OB.....heeling both sides (fast & slow), worked on 180° turns, backwards heeling, down and whoa (standing). The sits are reinforced with slight tugs on the lead. Also, she worked remaining on a remote "sit" at the full length of her lead (Hillmann). Her "whoa" is improving (that's "stand" in an OB AKC class). She is relaxed (with no distractions) and it is fun. So as to fit in better with the OB class in another week....we did a review of treat training.
note: Gigi is much farther along on with her OB skills than any pup I've had before. It will be
interesting to see how this translates to a class with a dozen young pups (next week).
The concern stems from her aggressive behavior with Pounce yesterday. Then again
she won't be loose and I will not be quite as naive.
The rest of today's training was around noon at the Harrison Road DTA. The setup was a "flip-flop" KRD
using an HRC line (one winger and four concept blinds). Everything necessary for the first "go" was unloaded. Then Gigi was taken for her routine. long free run. This was a three three pronged session with some focus on the "here" command and simply being engaged fun. Again the van was positioned so that Gigi could observe from her crate. The first KRD was to the east - one single and four concept blinds. After the initial KRD the van was moved to run a setup in the opposite direction (flip/flop). However, before Pounce ran it, Gigi was brought off the van to "practice" the full "van to her line routine (refer to April 20th entry in blue). Then Pounce came out to do the second KRD of the "flip flop" with a diversion.
April 24 early afternoon, 59°F, sunny, not windy and rain "on the way" - Pounce ran a new land point blind at the Harrison Road DTA and Gigi had a good long free run.....with a few "here" commands when off a ways. This went well and we moved quickly to the Four Lakes DTA (less than ten minutes away). Pounce ran new water point blind working on "cheating lines". This went much better than I expected.
note: Gigi did a morning OB practice session working on the skills required in her her Puppy
AKC OB class beginning May 6th (Monday evening) plus her first hold session.
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April 15 Initially, the plan was totrain indoors. However, the following reversed that initial idea.
April 7 We trained at the Four Lakes DTA again using weather radar for a window in the rain to train. Gigi did the twice around the pond walk (repeat of yesterday) and she got a bit wetter today (but not much). During the "free run' she "discovered" the limestone rocks on the path near the pond. After "blowing off some steam" (evidently not nearly enough), Gigi did some up close Hillmann "Traffic Cop" work and a session of on lead heeling. The main focus of today's session was to start working on her "close fetch and return" skills. She was way more than a "handful". A few segments of Gigi's efforts were made into a YouTube video. Pounce then ran six "stand alone/send back" singles with 209 primer shots. A Dokken was thrown at 100 yards with "angle in, flat and back" singles (three on both sides). She was fast and precise.
Gigi's YouTube Video
note: Gigi did her second hold session
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When the snow vanished rapidly, a quick training trip to the Four Lakes DTA made for a good day of practice. Pounce ran two Y-Drills (angle in, angle back and flat throws) plus a few extra singles with a primer pistol and Dokken. The stand alone/send back approach made this an "easy do". Gigi again had a "front row seat" watching Pounce retrieve. Then it was Gigi's turn for her long walk with a few retrieves. The regular field area was cut short. However, "The walk" took her into some challenging cover. We went into short, stick remains of mowed shrubs that were....well, simply "sticky" like. They did not phase her at all. Every once in awhile, I would stand on the long rope (up close) and steady her for a short, Dokken single. This routine has improve quite a bit in the last few outings (actually, there have not been that many). We were about finished and still fifty yards from the van, when she took off (looking for water) and turned to look back at me when there wasn't any at the van. I could not resist the temptation and "sailed" a Dokken back to the north. Gigi "lasered" it. The walk back to the van was all smiles and "good girl"!
note: Gigi continues to wear her small e-collar when training, but it is not turned on....yet...two
more weeks and the Hillmann approach to collar conditioning will begin (a very low level
of reinforcing....when doing the right thing - "sit"). She will be five months old.
April 16 upper 50's. trained late morning...again at Four Lakes DTA...Pounce ran seven singles in a "pin point" marking drill using the "stand alone/send back" technique. The marks were angle in, flat, angle back and one long right behind the gunner (Dokken and primer pistol). Gigi then came out and had a run with a few retrieves. Then she became distracted by the wrong scent....everywhere. One of the issues with a public dog training area is some people use it as a pit stop for their pets. Therefore, we switched gears and did an extended session of heeling using the "issue" as a distraction.
April 17 upper 50's late morning with rain in the afternoon...trained at Harrison Road DTA....One more day without a shotgun (ejector spring part arrives today)....Pounce ran two point blinds (setup and ran last year "repeats". She remembered them like we ran it yesterday. Gigi went for a long walk with a Dokken and did a few retrieves......but she was more interested in exploring. She finished with a brief session of heeling. Gigi is trying to do too many things at once and her high energy and scent surges are simply not "organized". Her "train of thought" jumped the track several times.
note: It is time for simplification. A few hours later, "The Game" was modified to
include another bumper. "The Trade" is not a new idea, but in the Hillmann
mode.....why not? Went outside in the yard and experimented. It was very
effective for a first attempt. The "On/Off" switch was kind of working. The only
issue is a leaping, teeth flashing wild pup. However, the "trade deal" was
beginning to sink in and so were her sharp, puppy teeth. Gigi was not
wearing an e-collar, but I got "nicked" a few times. Leather gloves?
April 25 low sixties with very little wind...This morning provided an opportunity to "kill two birds with one stone". My pup, "Gigi" needs to have a negative stool sample for next weeks AKC OB class. All her shots are "up to date". The Vet's office is 15 minutes from the W-Property (Madison Retrieve Club), therefore,
Pounce ran a water "point blind" (first time) and Gigi came out afterwards to romp in the shallow water.
The surprise was received after visiting Google Map. Last year, the pond was "remodeled" and a new Google Map showed up. The camera photograph is "modified". Most camera shots of training setups are difficult to visualize because the horizontal view provides poor depth perception. However, the vertical can be stretched "a bit" to provide a better perception. It is somewhat like a "tree top" view.