note: referring back to the entry about Pounce doing just not very well on a simple blind and Gigi "not being ready", this evening I watched a brief training video done by a pro that trained there yesterday. They were running a few young dogs on duck retrieves right  in the middle of the line to our early morning blind. Pounce had trouble getting through the left over scent and Gigi never did. It is good to have an excuse. 

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Harrison Road DTA

Before leaving, there is an area in the park where marks can be thrown that disappear over a rise in the terrain. Gigi ran four different singles (stand alone/send backs)...three to her left and the forth to the right. Clearly, she was able to deal with this different look (fast and accurate). 

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July 5 the next fifteen days will be very warm. Thirteen days in the 90's with two days iin the upper 80's. Training very early will be mandatory. This morning was yard work. Pounce ran Hillman's Helter Skelter Drill with a Dokken distraction. The Dokken was launched in a close fall and seven, random bumpers were lined/picked up first. Gigi ran Hillmann's Seven Bumper Lining Drill with the Dokken distraction launched first and in plain sight. The distraction had the desired impact. Having worked on developing DL Walter's "no, not there"...."here" approach to lining had a positive impact on dealing with today's exciting, surprise Dokken distraction. When finished, it was a very short walk into the air-conditioned house. 

July 14 Tuesday - up fairly early to run Gigi on her first day of the de-cheating process. Before setting up, there were two bluewing teal loafing on the north east end of the pond that required some observation time. Gigi got wet and then the setup was put in place. Gigi sat solidly on her placeboard as I walked west
along the shoreline. Three 3" white bumpers were thrown one at a time and spaced in a line leading back toward Gigi. She did not move and waited patiently for me to return to the line. There was a slight breeze 
that moved them north a bit, but not enough to create an issue. Gigi picked up each bumper quickly as she is a strong. driven swimmer. Her session went smoothly with zero issues. Next up was Pounce and her setup was much tighter down the shoreline producing a good review of the expectations.

There is a five yard swath of tall grass nearing the shoreline exit point (left there by design). It provides an excellent, natural transition point for channeling a dog along the last bit of shoreline. Eventually, it will be cut...but not until it has provided that last bit of aid in working a shoreline. Pounce swam about 400 yards and Gigi did around 300 yards (good exercise for both). Afterwards, the plan was to look at two training places that have not been used lately. Both are short drives. The Rockton Road DTA looked excellent and a quick decision was made to  run each dog on some "stand alone/send back" singles. The cover was about calf high and recently mowed. The line to the gunner/thrower's position was 125 yards. Which means that Gigi and Pounce ran more than 6 X 125 yards....over 750 yards. On the way home a quick drive-by of the Roscoe Riverside Park revealed that a large section has been been mowed making it ideal to begin working Gigi on the full sized Hillmann Star Drill. At 1 pm, both are sound asleep in the air-conditioned living room.

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July 28, 29 two days off for Pounce and Gigi - field trial property is not available until Monday
AKC field trial)...both dogs are ready for hunt tests, but not doing any this year 

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July 9 Thursday - 87°F at 4 off from training - Weather forecasts have indicated the heat wave is not going to be quite as bad. However, training early will remain necessary. The plans for no hunt tests or group training this year remains in effect. 
July 10 Friday - Pounce and Gigi had their Lyme  & Lepto shots updated. Pounce's shots were moved up two months to synchronize with Gigi's. Pounce's stool sample was tested (negative) and needs to loose some weight. Also, heavy duty teeth cleaning appointment was training today.
July 11 Saturday - day off for both dogs - rain not the reason.....It was cool enough to do the third tank of gas with the weed whacker and managed to get to the east end of the pond. The west side will be difficult because is is twice as much grass in width and height with muddy ground from high water. 

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July 18 8:30 am Saturday....heat advisory, high in the 90's with humidity issues....trained hard the last two days and this is a perfect day for using the off switch. Gigi and Pounce are sound asleep in the living room. This morning will be spent reorganizing training equipment. Also, the passenger side, UTV head padding kit will be installed. Afternoon, check to see if the steep incline area has been mowed because it is time for Gigi to confront the "hill" factor. ​

July 23 day off for everyone

July 24 Friday - We trained early in the Harrison Road DTA (cool breeze, "dewy" grass
and parked in the shade). The first setup was thee singles off to the south west with a blind. Gigi marked better than Pounce. Pounce did OK on the blind and Gigi's blind reply was "I am not ready." The second set had much thicker and taller cover (knee high and wet). Pounce did not mark well and her blind was "choppy". So far this morning, there was nothing to be especially happy with. Gigi then practically stepped on all three of her singles.....steady, flashy and fast. That finish seemed to erase the tired feeling. Again, the UTV was the  reason today's session was not that physically difficult. The choice to go that route has been a huge morale boost. The other, very best thing about training alone is knowing "The Issue" will not get me.

Every so often, I will link up Entry Express to see what hunt test is close by and test the test entering temptation. Apparently, there is no urge big enough to tempt fate. 

July 15 Wednesday - radar suggested moving quickly this morning (rain) Therefore, we trained again at the Thorson Pond DTA to work on the water cheating again. Gigi repeated what was done yesterday. Pounce worked on a difficult set of lines.....practicing. Both did well. A quick drive to the Riverside Park DTA had Pounce and Gigi running to three piles at 100 yards (more than once). Pounce needs to loose some weight and Gigi needed to run through cover high enough to interrupt her view of where to go....needs work on this. Good news....the issue with the new UTV has been solved. 

July 16 Thursday trained at Roscoe Riverside Park first and worked on the "disappearing view". With a pile now on the other side of the far road (+125 yards), Gigi ran it six times from various angles and then Pounce did six plus one extra (needs to loose some weight). Both did well......and fast. 

July 4 up early and there was fog....arrived at the Harrison Road DTA and fog gone...the setup was three Y-Drills....marks - angle back, flat (other side) and angle in (check down from first single) Pounce was first and "ran right over" two of her marks. Gigi was up next and with scent from Pounce's (first run), Gigi marked lights. On the second set, Pounce was very steady and marked well. Gigi was a little loose on the second set. Both were good on the third set. Gigi will be much better with someone (me) right next to her at the line......tomorrow. Still bummed about the UTV. 

Today marks the beginning of a unique approach to retriever training. Lylah is our ten year old autistic granddaughter. My wife and I will be 78 and 80 years old in August. We are both retired teachers. My mother-in-law is living with us and she is 100 years old. The risk of having the Co-VID brought home from school is high. We are going to home school her. She is totally non-verbal and from what I have seen in her school much has been done that looks like fun. However, there has not been enough progress to warrant her attendance. Therefore, her mornings will be spent training dogs. We have a year around heated swimming pool which will provide additional physical education. The rest of her curriculum will be designed around her needs. The huge bonus to this will be avoiding catastrophic illness for three elderly people and having a family to take care of Lylah as she becomes an adult.
                       note: I will not be attending any hunt tests or field trials......this year. 
July 6 Monday - another hot day...This morning the van was taken in for a drive-train repair/recall. After that the new Stelth enclosed UTV trailer was taken to F&F Tire to re-torque the lug nuts on four tires.
An Anti-Rattle Hitch Stabilizer and a Spare Tire Carrier for E-Track was ordered for the trailer. Pounce and Gigi had the day off. 
July 7 Tuesday trained both dogs very early - water at the Four Lakes DTA....Gigi continues to practice on swim-by concepts - today was mostly lining with several over casts. Pounce ran two three bumper lining drills swimming past the nearest and retrieving the farthest (practice/maintenance). Afterwards, using one tank of gas in the weed-eater, a small section of the Thorson Pond  shoreline was whacked (much more to do and too warm to do much). 

link to YouTube​

July 26 Sunday hot and humid - day off for everyone
July 27 Monday - Pounce was dropped off at the vet's for a serious teeth cleaning session. Since 

she would be given an anesthesia, the visit would last until about 3:30 pm and pickup would be done then. The W-Property is 15 minutes from the vet office. Therefore, Gigi was taken along to do a training session. We arrived there about 8 am and no one was training. It was cloudy and cool. The pond was used to run three remote winger walk-ups first. Leaving the wingers in the same position, the line was moved and Gigi ran three, challenging inline singles. The first (and closest) was picked up cleanly. The second was does done perfectly. The longest was confusing
as she began to hunt short in the area of the second fall. Therefore, the second two singles were run again with an extra winger in position to throw the long single twice (fire drill presentation). That went well. There were two Dokkens left down off the shore from the long station. One she had mostly likely seen when running the repeat set. Therefore, sending her for that one went well. After all that, the very first longest Dokken mark had drifted back to the shoreline. She quickly took a line to the area (already picked up two bumpers there) and it was dealt with somewhat like a blind. After a few casts back toward the shoreline, she saw it up against the bank and we were finished. This turned out to be a very useful, responsive session (salvaged).  

Today's bonus was picking up my Kawasaki UTV from the dealer - fouled spark plug. 

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July 17 Friday - Roscoe Riverside Park...Pounce and Gigi ran a very rigorous lining and handling drill. Pounce does this in automatic mode. The purpose for today was mostly to burn off some the weight. Gigi is much younger than Pounce and has not done nearly as much lining. However, she is faster than Pounce, just as precise and exciting to run. After picking up equipment, it was a short drive to Thorson Pond. Gigi worked a challenging setup sans e-collar. The equipment was a placeboard, three Dokkens and a single shot, break action firing primer loads at the line. First were two sets of doubles where she was steady and focused. Then another Dokken was added. The Dokken tosses and primer shots were
not rapid and
 Gigi remained steady and intense during the slowed down routine of  loading, throwing, shooting, re-loading (repeatedly). She was very very responsive from the van through the entire session and back to the van. Her attack on the Dokkens was a dramatic contrast to the quiet sit/focus......good session. The finish for the day was Pounce and Gigi each doing a long swim to the other end of Thorson Pond to pick up a Dokken. They both slept well the rest of the day. 

July 2 Thursday - hot day..trained in the yard early....1st Pounce and Gigi did an on lead OB practice
Gigi ran two seven bumper lining drills (Hillmann) plus the beginning of wagon wheel casting (three bumpers). Pounce ran Hillmann's Helter Skelter drill twice (different area each time). Afterwards, they both did a two dog, heeling OB session. Then they were back into the cool, air-conditioned house. At 8 pm the trailer will be taken in to have the electronic break controller re-calibrated. 
July 3 Friday - not good news...the UTV is down for about four weeks. The dealer has it scheduled for repair in two weeks. That actually means another two weeks for parts and actual repair. The trailer is sitting in the driveway....empty.  The only consolation to all this is the next 8-10 days will be in the the 90's. Today will be spent in the air-conditioned house. The plan for the next three months will be well organized and efficient. Keeping track of everything will be simplified using a calendar/photo editor.
                   note: did not train this morning....sulking over UTV issue 

On the way home, we stopped off at Thorson Pond and Gigi saw a completely different view of water vs. shoreline factors. Gigi did two long swims tight along the north shoreline where the grass is dense and tall. Running the bank was clearly not as easy as swimming back in the water. Mental pictures are often better presented with a young retriever when the dog discovers that swimming straight is actually a normal thing to do. Balance is easier to attain when a retriever does what it is supposed to do. Correct repetitions don't just happen without sequentially planning and presenting a process. Make the "picture" obvious. 

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July 13 Monday - get ready to start Gigi on the concept of shoreline swimming beginning in the middle of the pond. The best look of the pond was to finish "whacking" the east end of the pond. Today I searched through my Website in an attempt to find the approach used with Pounce with no luck. Then into Google search I typed "KwickLabs middle of the pond" and the link magically appeared. ​The weeds were taken 
care of in the afternoon.                    


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July 30 trained at Thorson Pond....The first setup was a land HRC line double with mallards. The second setup was a water HRC line double with mallards.  Pounce was first with Gigi

watching from a tie-out stake. After the first setup, they switched places on the tie-out. The sessions went smoothly. The only issue was when Gigi cheated on the water return of her double. Afterwards, the weed eater was taken to the north side of the pond to chop the high cover. It was growing out of standing water. In previous years, I could drive my van along the north shore. It became obvious that the culverts in the dam have become jammed with debris. The water level is about two-three feet higher than it should be and is slowing killing the towering pines on the north shore. 

July 31 excellent weather...trained at Thorson Pond working on comfort in water near land with a lining drill. The setup was used three 2" white bumpers. Gigi ran her first one a good distance from the east end of the pond (no suction).. The second was closer so as to begin adding the suction influence of a shoreline. Pounce's set up was much more challenging. It was closer to the shore and required precise out of order lining. Both did extremely well. 
           note: van to mechanics - major brake overhaul....Ford's Transit Van brakes are
                     integrated meaning replacing worn parts is apparently a thing of the past.

Roscoe Riverside Park DTA

July 19 Sunday...oppressive early heat and humidity signaled a day off
July 20 Monday...The plan to leave early to train at the Gallagher property failed. By the time we arrived there were two groups setting up. A quick drive back to the Stoughton property revealed no one was there. The bonus to this was that the east side provided shade for the van (and dogs) all morning. Pounce and Gigi ran a setup that was designed to be a "schooled triple" with a blind. The blind was run as "poison" for Pounce's triple. The same blind was Gigi's first in a marking setup. There is no way that today's session could have been run without the UTV. Today "pretty much" clinched the obvious....the old man and his two dogs needed it. Working at a steady pace everything went well. Pounce and Gigi were fun to watch as they worked through the session. AND I was not out of gas when we finished. Being in the shade in regular doses made a huge difference.

July 12 Sunday - trained late morning (Pounce & Gigi)....Using the three Son of a Gun remote wingers with electronics, walk-up water singles were done on Thorson Pond. The concepts focused on were 1) walking at heel, 2) running an easy, cold blind to a distant tree (marking a pile of Dokkens). After the cold blind, a walk-up single was launched with a whistle sit. Using the "no not" sequence another blind was run before picking up the first water single. Then there was a second and third repeat of the same sequence (precise practice).
                note: Need to finish weed whacking the east end of Thorson Pond. The weeds on the north side
                          of the pond will be difficult. They are growing up out of deep mud in a much wider band.                      note: In a few days, repetitions of this use of walk-ups will be a weekly event (practice).
                note: The sequence will be gradually enhanced by adding a primer loaded shotgun and
                          eventually real ducks. Excitement and distractions will be incrementally added.       
                note: Installed a Liberrway Hitch Tightener on the Stealth Trailer (easy do and effective).  

Gigi's last retrieve of the day

July 25 Saturday trained at the Gallagher Field Trial DTA early....another, larger field trial group came a bit later and trained on the west side. Three singles and two blinds were set up on Walsh Pond. Pounce ran that setup and Gigi ran the singles. The morning went smoothly and we were home by 11:30 AM. Both dogs are sleeping soundly. The routine with the UTV is working out well for my old legs and slowly the rest of the exercise (with the equipment) seems to be helping my shoulders.      note: It is time for Gigi to do the "seven bumper lining drill" down the shore.  

July 1 Wednesday - the next several days in a row will have high's in the 90's. Yesterday, we were

very fortunate to have the air-conditioner repaired. Today is the beginning of a new phase for Gigi and Pounce - probably no testing, just training and hunting until next year. The UTV is in for some minor mechanical adjustments and the trailer was dropped off to adjust the wire springs on the large, drop-down rear door. In addition, the electric brakes need some adjusting. It just keeps adding up. Early this morning, Gigi was back at working swim-by at the Four Lakes DTA. Her lining and handling skills are increasing with all the practice we are putting in. She remains strong in the water and is becoming more responsive on the handles. Pounce ran several very tight angle lines very close to the shoreline. With persistent practice, she has become more "watery" and willing to carry a line (out and back). 

July 22 Wednesday - recall repair on the van today (like I had five hours to waste - one hour drive to the dealer, three hours to install, an hour drive back home). It had to be done. Time in
the waiting room was spent reviewing saved training articles. The best one was re-read
several times.

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July 21 The initial plan was to leave earlier......upper 60's, slight breeze out of the east. Arrived at the W Property about 7:30 am (no one there....yet). That meant parking in the shade with land and water setups run off the same mound. The first setup was a triple with a long blind for Pounce. Gigi ran the marks as singles (no blind). The third and last setup was a water double with a blind for Pounce. Being almost 80 is no longer an issue because the UTV is an efficient device for bringing everything right to where it is needed. Walking is reduced dramatically. The setups are efficiently quick to design and run. AND if I forget anything it is easy to retrieve. 

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July 8 high of 91°F....up early....trained at the Four Lakes DTA....Gigi continued her work on swim-by and Pounce ran an inline water quad (walking gunner....return to line handler). Pounce has a very good memory and was precise on running each mark. After re-gassing the weed-whacker, it was a short drive
to Thorson Pond where another section of the southern shore was whacked. The "one gas tank rule" is working well. However, my right shoulder is rule "every other day".