The following is an edited journal entry (green print). Pounce was given a duck at 7 months old
July 7 up early to beat the heat...Pounce ran an HRC line mallard triple with a blind. The middle (last mark down) was intended to be an "eraser". The marks were picked up cleanly. The blind was not that good. We simply need to run more blinds......practice. Gigi was then brought out for the "test". The question about her aggressive mouth needed to be answered. It was.....and we are in for a long challenge (not pretty). To check and provide more perspective, we went to the pond. A mallard was thrown and she did fine with the retrieve in the water.....and very steady. The following green print is added clarification (months later). The mallard was "nosed a bit" before she retrieved to the shoreline
with no apparent confusion. The bank and depth made it too difficult to get in and meet her. As soon as the duck touched the shore, Gigi began to shred it. Then I got wet.....but way, way too late.
Her prey drive
was totally wiping out any desire to complete the retrieve. Wrong time to do, "Let's put a duck out there and see what happens." DUH!!! Soooo, the "game" to excite and cap is not powerful enough to deal with her prey drive. Rip and shred is a very well conditioned response (now).....not too bad with a bumper, more so with a Dokken and off the chart with a real duck. It is a training issue and secondly, the "not too bad with a bumper" must  become "perfect with a bumper" before even thinking about ducks. Since, Gigi is not running any competitions until next year (2020) this provides about nine months to focus on one thing....taming the beast (train better)
                  *note: Just recently, I learned that prey drive and "mouthing" are not the same thing.

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Jan 25 Saturday more snow - vet appointment morning = Bordetella vaccine, stool samples and up to date vet records (on paper) for both dogs....trip south for two months on Monday the 27th
Jan 26 Sunday day off
Jan 27 Monday morning...I dropped Gigi and Pounce off at the Pro's for southern training trip. Not sure of what direction this journal will take for February and March. However, there was a huge plus in this trip. Corey focuses mostly on AKC Hunt Test training. However, this spring he has three young dogs that will be prepped for AKC derbies. Pounce makes it a foursome. 

 Basic "Mini-Star" Diagram      Pounce's Complex Mini-Star             Gigi's "Step #1

"Mini-Star" three point  (1st step)

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Jan 22 Wednesday, high 31°F thick layer of crusty ice...trained indoors. This morning, Gigi repeated the retrieving, OB and whistle sit practice. Eighteen more repetitions with the last set in a reverse direction. This afternoon, Pounce and Gigi trained in tandem (taking turns while the other observed). The first step was to individually introduce both dogs to an elevated platform two yards behind the running line. The second step was more difficult. "Gigi Here" vs. "Pounce Here" in addition to "Gigi Place" vs. "Pounce Place" were confusing at first.  In addition, saying "No" was obviously very confusing. The solution was to simply slow down....a lot and guide them into the proper actions. After three rounds of alternating turns, the routine smoothed out. Progress was made and no animals were harmed during this session.     
           note: Pounce understands honoring. Gigi has been very steady at the line. Honoring seemed easy
                     for Gigi because of her already in place steadiness. It seemed to simply fall into place. 
           note: Today, Gigi & Pounce began converting from Eagle Pack Lamb & Rice to ProPlan Pro 30/20
Jan 24 Friday..more snow.....Gigi/Pounce practiced the same setup as yesterday (honoring//taking turns)
           note: no confusion this morning - fast, smooth, relaxed  and fun (easy to pause and take photos)

"confining" return line & rewarded, no "loopy" left turn sit

December 27th Photo Scouting Data - Thorson Pond

&

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and Gigi will be with pro Cory Zandonai on his regular southern, winter training trip. This will deal with three issues. The first is good weather and water. The second is a much better trainer. And lastly, my right shoulder replacement surgery will NOT be complicated by taking care of two dogs.
Jan 2 Thursday - high of 41°F, sunny with snow disappearing rapidly...Gigi did a morning and the afternoon session of working with the new Iteration process.                                             We are modifying mouth habits in context.

Jan 3 Friday....Pounce had another day off. Gigi did two more sessions of close OB with fetch & hold practice...sessions described in the Iteration link (refer to yesterday's link).
Jan 4 cloudy, 2" of snow on the ground...high of 33°F...morning Gigi did one indoor session of the Iteration......not much progress....out of balance....need to throw some marks....more fun.
                      Gigi "Flash-Back"
5 months old "Reminder/Perspective" - May 13, 2019

Jan 1 Wednesday - high of 41°F with close to 3" of snow on the ground...Another mallard has been thawed out and ready for Gigi's next sit, fetch, hold and maybe heel session. Warmups will be done with a three inch bumper and Dokken.  A much better "picture" of what Gigi will be focusing on in the next three weeks is described in the following two links.  Around the 27th of January, Pounce 

Jan 21 Tuesday...cold, cloudy and windy with a hard crust of ice on top of 2-3" of snow. Pounce and Gigi staggered around in the airing yard and were quickly ready to come back inside. At 2 pm Gigi did more practice on the pool deck. This session was switched over to using Mallard Dokkens (eighteen retrieves).

Jan 19 Sunday at 8:30 am it is 5°F and a wind chill of -12°F with 4 inches of ice covered snow. Neither Gigi or Pounce wanted to keep all four feet on the crusty snow. The swimming pool room has an exit into the

airing yard. The pool area temperature is kept in the upper 70's when the water is covered. In the winter, working on retrieving skills doing retrieves and OB around the deck is a great "bonus". This morning, Gigi did five rounds of a four bumper pile working on precise retrieving skills and basic OB (very short, 15 yard retrieves). After her bumper work, a large goose wing was retrieved four times (no blood/feathers). Gigi's indoor work was not cool (pun intended).        Both dogs were aired at midnight. Gigi did an OB/retrieving  session similar to this morning's (precise practice, three rounds of five retrieves plus the goose wing). The evening session indoors was warm and the outdoors temperature was 8°F feels like -1°F.
           note: Gigi's situation with swallowing shredded vinyl flooring has passed (fortunately). 
Jan 20 Monday high of 25°F Gigi did three sessions of the same skill set as practiced yesterday with the addition of occasional whistle sits on the way to the pile (morning, afternoon and evening). The last two retrieves are made with a large, dry goose wing. This provides some extra excitement without any loose feathers and/or blood on the pool deck.
           note: five bumpers/pile...using Gunners Up Ergo Bumpers - hard, heavy and not easy to hold

In the afternoon, Gigi began her first day of single-T using a setup similar to the one in Hillmann's Retriever Training Fundamentals Land Part 1.
             note: The dimensions of Hillmann's single T intro are determined by being able to identify
                       all three piles.  Identify means throwing a bumper to the intended send.         
             note: Gigi's prep work transferred smoothly. Today's single-T was setup in the same place

                       as yesterday's Dokken ladder, "pile" drill. Skills set  commands - sit, here, heel, hold,
                       out, fetch, back, over, whistle sit (side at heel vs. turn to face en route) were done                         with a lot of fast "go" and enthusiasm  It all came together today. 
              note: Gigi's present experience - 3HC, wagon wheel, seven bumper lining drill, single-T, 
                        Y- Drill, "stand alone/send back" singles and marking multiples (13 months old)
Gigi's birthday is Dec 2nd. We have had two winters in northern Illinois during her first 12 months.

Gigi has been a quick study right from the start. However, this tends to create problems when what's done in the moment is not precisely correct.         Precise practice of the right actions is productive. 

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Jan 9 afternoon high 47°F, no snow on the ground, windy day, but the woods to the south provided shelter Gigi ran the single T (day two) and was very much at ease with all the moving parts. All the whistle sit reps we practiced indoors carried over. Even though she is very fast, Gigi stops and turns quickly to face me on a square sit (no loop).         All the early, indoor practice has paid off. Gigi seems to thrive on exciting "stuff" and for her that means most anything. It was very clear that Gigi was not quite ready to call it a day. The single-T structure was easily altered to look just like another handling and lining drill - The Modified Three-Peat "Come-In" Drill. This drill provides a seamless transition into Hillmann's Star Drill. The first step (in the 3-peat) is to establish three lines. The cones were moved (farther away than the Single-T) and to spice things up a bit Dokkens were placed out there (for more excitement). Gigi fogged this initial presentation (easily). She definitely is not normal.   
                  

Jan 8 high of 24°F, near dusk, single digit wind chill...Gigi did about ten heavy cover, walking singles at the

Rockton Road DTA. She was amped. I was cold. Got back to the van just in time to avoid frostbitten fingers.

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Jan 16 COLD...doctor's appointment...shoulder specialist....referred because of expertise in reverse shoulder
replacement. His opinion was "You are not ready to do this...now." What a huge relief that was! However, physical therapy will be necessary. Today was too cold to train and both dogs had the day off. 
Jan 17 cold & snow beginning around 11 am..Gigi repeated/practiced "Step #1" (see yesterday's diagram) The focus was on lining, retrieving and deliveries. There were four Dokkens placed in each of the piles providing twelve "reps". We finished just as the snow  began. At 11 PM this evening, there is almost four inches. 
         note: Around 2 pm, Gigi had managed to not be in her crate in the pool room. Someone didn't latch the
                  door. There was a small section of the vinyl flooring that had been ripped up and shredded. She
                  was NOT fed in the afternoon. Around 9 PM two small puddles of bile were gagged up and had

                   several dime sized pieces of vinyl.. The dog's were aired late. Then, Gigi and Pounce went to sleep
                  in their bedroom crates.
Jan 18 Early in the morning, Gigi released three more puddles of bile with no vinyl, but one was somewhat
pink with blood. She was aired and passed a small, normal bowel movement. At around noon, she was fed some cooked, white rice plus cottage cheese laced with mineral oil. She scarfed that down and seems totally fine. This afternoon, the pool cover will be rolled off so that human swimming and exercise can be done. Then the pool cover will be rolled back on. In the evening both dogs will train using the pool deck. Gigi and Pounce will do some "bumper in mouth OB" (inside and warm).

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fence line drill

Jan 5 Lylah is back in school = much more time in the morning for training (weather dependent) This morning was again a session of precise OB with the 2" white bumper, 3" white bumper. 3" heavy canvass bumper ending with leaping fetches followed by a return to heel, sit an out. The Dokken was done last and that went well. In the afternoon, Gigi "did" each of the four once and then did 15 yard retrieves of the Orange bumper and Dokken (no growling or shaking with a responsive delivery). 
Jan 6 Gigi trained in the afternoon....very pleasant for January  The first setup was a five Dokken ladder pile. The line was a placeboard up aganist the wall of small building at the Kelley Meyer DTA. Gigi lined each successive Dokken with the hand down, back sequence....very fast and returned to "heel", "sit", "hold" and "out" sequence. She has done this with bumpers and this was a step up. Afterward, we moved to a different spot in the same DTA and practiced Three Handed Casting (again).

Jan 7 Early this morning. Pounce and I went to Thorson Pond for a goose hunt. Yesterday, the pond was free of ice and loaded with geese (refer to scouting photo below). Upon our arrival (today), the pond was iced over. After only one high shot at a "fly over" of five geese, all we got was cold.

Jan 11 Saturday - an ice storm shut things down....made sure the airing yard was picked up....This January's
weather has been the most mild that I can remember. The next ten days appear to be more normal.
Jan 12 Sunday...two plus inches with snow and ice underneath...In about two weeks, Pounce and Gigi will be on a Pro's truck headed south for warmer weather (February and March).

Jan 13 Monday - cloudy, cold and dreary....trained at Kelly Meyer DA first....Gigi worked the single-T again She is doing a slight, loopy sit to the left (the slippery, snow footing had something to do with that). Focused on three times as many sit/backs as sit/overs and more than half the runs were re-enforced, straight backs. Afterwards, both dogs ran two long piles of Dokkens to orange cones at the Riverside Park DTA.

                    note: Recent shoulder issues were referred to a specialist by my regular doctor. The specialist

                              then referred me to a another specialist. The consensus is a reverse shoulder replacement.
                              I am not thrilled.

establishing three lines

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Jan 15 Wednesday - slight chance of rain/ice over by noon....There are twelve more days until Gigi and Pounce head south for two months. today = Gigi - practiced single T at the Kelly Myer DTA - worked on lining the back pile from a front sit and did only four overs (from a front sit)...drove to the Thorson Pond DTA and Gigi repeated the previous day's work on establishing three piles. Pounce then ran the three piles doing the full "Complex Mini-Star (three point) Come-In Drill".

"Combo Mini-Star (three point) Come-In Drill" - steps

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Jan 10 Friday high of 40°F followed by winter weather. It was fun while it lasted. Gigi worked on  Single T (day three). She ran several back piles first (fast with good deliveries). Next was working on overs (right and left) after each back. She did these well. However, it turned out to be a mistake. I should have done more "sits with backs" and fewer overs plus identified the desired back casts. The immediate adjustment was enhanced by removing any bumpers in the over cast position and doing several backs with well spaced sit/backs. Afterwards, we moved to he Riverside Park DTA where the eventual first leg of Hillmann's Star Drill was established. Pounced ran it three times for exercise and did require two handles. Gigi was next and it was run by "laddering" (one third of the distance, half the distance and then she lined it the full distance).

Jan 14 Tuesday - high of 40°F....worked on practicing a better whistle sit - no loop...using the "the fence line drill"......send dog, do whistle sit, toss reward (in front of dog, 'here/heel"...we then moved to the Thorson Pond DTA to establish the first step in the "Combo Mini-Star (three point) Come-In Drill"......three lines.