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June 1 Tuesday - yard work...lawn and weeds..The next steps with Gigi and Pounce are not clear. I am out of gas, feeling old and complicated family issues will require some serious thought. The initial plan includes taking a long break from any testing and deciding if field training regularly is reasonable.
June 2 Wednesday - heat wave over the next several days - Gigi and Pounce need exercise which will be divided between yard work and training in the nearby Sand Ponds DTA (cool, clean, deep water). Thorson Pond will soon be choked with a thick layer of Duckweed and milfoil. However, the wide, long and often mowed drainage/grass "paths" in the corn field may have both in "roading" harnesses beside the UTV.   note: worming and tick meds

However, today will not be a day for training. It is hot and both dogs were sleeping about mid-morning. 
Gigi has been enrolled in an AKC Intermediate OB class. Therefore, a bit of review was planned for today. One thing that always took time was to teach my dogs to "stand" for examination. The instructor would come up to your dog pet, stroke and walk around without exciting movement and have the dog remain still. That is not Gigi's strong suit. Therefore, I searched high and low for my "whoa" rope. That is something that pointing dog trainers use to solidify and shape a point.....do not move.        

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

          note: Gigi's natural tendency to "look long" and drive to a selected target was revealed (again) in this
                   first day of running the "terrain" drill. She was straight to the pile every time, but tended to "fall
                   off the hill" slightly on the returns.  I must not be as attractive

Some retrievers are "straighter" than others. Land and water have a different set of factors. Today was the first session of working on specific terrain influences with Gigi. My two retrievers are quit different in the manner in which they deal with retrieving on land. Gigi's focus is on the target and "stuff" encountered on the way does not have much influence on her line. Pounce, however, tends to "go with the flow" and often times
this throws her off line. The result is often more handling with her on land. Therefore, it becomes a necessity to learn how to deal with factors before negative conditioned responses are the result. Yesterday was Gigi's first introduction to a drill designed to maintaining a straight line when encountering terrain at an angle.
Five years ago, the "terrain hill" was used to work on Pounce's "go straight" tendencies. 


June 23 Wednesday - more practice at the HRC line singles & walk-ups...The evening OB session with Gigi
consisted of reviewing the three OB commands of stand, sit and down. There were no issues with mixing

in the "stand" command even though we have not used it for quit some time. 
                     note: good HRC sessions for both....Gigi is amped more than I would like. With her, focus and
                               control are more difficult to deal with when retrieving excitement is "over the top". Then
                               again that is why we are working on this specific issue. Heeling needs to be closer and in
                               the exact same position. Gigi's "surging and lagging" pattern is an issue. 
June 24 Thursday - cool day...In the morning (indoors), Pounce worked on heeling (on lead). Gigi worked on heeling and the "stand, sit and down" commands. In the afternoon, Gigi and Pounce each ran a set of six in-line, "stand alone/send back" singles (three going out longer and three checking down on the other side). Gigi did not mark well (ran too long on all of hers). Pounce was not as fast, but more accurate. Both did a session of heeling out into the field and then back when finished.  note: Used a Dokken in the heavy cover.

note: For the original goose blind construction, refer to an October 9th journal entry in  
          the following link.

June 25 Friday - twice today on lead heeling sessions with Gigi and decided that was enough. Sometimes the dogs are not a priority. Also, something new...no more reading or posting on the two dog training forums. A steady rain in the afternoon was a good excuse......for not training.....much. 
June 26 Saturday - some rain in the morning and decided a day off from training might be a good idea
June 27 Sunday - Gigi and Pounce did an HRC line push/pull exercise - wood gun and two piles of Dokkens
June 28 Monday - both repeated yesterday's yard drill...In the afternoon, Gigi will begin running a set of angled lining drills on uniformly steep terrain. The natural tendency is to square changes in terrain. This drill (and similar approaches) enhance muscle memory and creates a visual relationship which utilizes muscle memories in relationship to terrain effects. The following YouTube video is from drills Pounce ran on same terrain a few years ago. The hill was recently mowed and a lack of rainfall has left short, brown grass. That will make seeing the bumpers much easier. If you walk up a steep hill at an angle, the lower leg must travel farther in order to continue in a straight line. Muscle memory training tends to "remember" what is required. Done often enough, this becomes a set of useful conditioned response in undulating terrain or structure.
The trained muscle memory concept has a similar application to that of angles across cut/raked hay files. 

June 30 Wednesday...loose ends were cleared up and planned the next two months. Pounce is entered in two HRC Finished tests at the end of August and maybe two more in September. Gigi will do the AKC OB class starting next week and NOT run any more tests this year. 

June 22 - Tuesday low 70's in the afternoon...Gigi and Pounce repeated yesterday's sessions using Dokkens (two singles and two walk-ups with an HRC line). Gigi was left at the line (not tethered) as I walked out to the wingers to reload each one......She never moved! Both were easier to deal with today. After a few more days
of practicing the same thing, it will be mallard time.    note: evening OB session with Gigi
                 note: I-Phone measurement of exercise for today' field session was 3,522 steps/0.87 miles.
                           Unloading and loading wingers from the van plus stretching/un-stretching the bands has 
                           both bad shoulders complaining.      

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goose blind construction - last season

June 19 Saturday - Gigi and Pounce trained in the yard this morning....finished at 8:45 am. Their sessions were very good. It was 75°F when we began (with some shady areas to work out of).              
                note: My morning's exercise "measured" and the full day was 2,615 steps/0.67 miles.
June 20 Sunday - trained in the morning around 8 am...cloudy, in the low 70's with rain this afternoon..Gigi and Pounce did the same "stuff" (precise "reps")..morning I-Phone Activity APP was 1,549 steps/0.37 miles
June 21 Monday - cool day in the upper 60's...mid-afternoon, setup two remote wingers (with Dogtra quacks & beeps) plus 209 primers to practice HRC line, short singles followed by two walk-ups in the grassy area of the Thorson Pond DTA (used primer shells and single shot 12 gauge at the line) slow and deliberate as  the other dog watched (staked out). Pounce was cool (more experience) and Gigi wanted to "push it".

                note: I-Phone measurement of exercise for the entire day was 4,237 steps/ 1.0 mile.        

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a little ofThe rationale for using the above approaches is multifaceted.  Gigi and Pounce are not heeling very well. When doing "walk-ups", they are creeping. Corrections have not solved the issues. The main problem is corrections cannot be carried out in tests and are inconsistent in group training sessions. In addition, they both know the rules are not the same in a test. Therefore, by using distinctively different presentations, teaching new conditioned response will make it simpler. Basically, training will appear to be just like testing.
                   note: Both are adapting quickly with many correct repetitions (in just a few days). However,
                             plans for any testing will not be rushed.  Group training will not take place until late
                             August (or later).
June 14 - Monday...high - 82°F...Gigi and Pounce worked indoors on heeling and remote down (5 minutes with

no recall, walk back to dog)...after working both in the same OB exercise, it was obvious that each responded in a very different way. Gigi adjusted quickly and Pounce was very cautious.....to the end. They will not be
working together until there is a better balance. In a way, this is a good thing for the long haul. Do what each dog needs.

June 15 Tuesday...high - 83°F...Gigi and Pounce repeated yesterday's session in the yard. Both are continuing to respond differently....Pounce was cautious and somewhat visually inhibited with the heeling stick (for no reason)...Gigi simply did what was asked and remained upbeat.  
June 16 Wednesday - today is our 59th wedding anniversary - one easy session in the yard with both dogs doing the "Walk-up Drill" (individually). I need to do more walking. Being almost 81 years old is beginning to be more than a simple chore. There is an I-PHONE application that keeps track of how far you walk. It works.
June 17 Thursday...high - 91°F.....at 10 am it was in the 70's...couldn't get out until noon (near ninety) and only trained Gigi. Her heeling, sit and watch (steady) were done perfectly. However, the few retrieves she was asked to do given demonstrated the usual habit of shaking/growling on the grab/pick-up. This "behavior" is no longer tolerated as an immediate, meaningful corrections is being applied. The messages were clear. She stopped doing it (for today). However, this somewhat manic conditioned response will not go away in one session. Switching gears between Gigi and Pounce is proving to be a challenge. Each approach is different since their responses are not the same. The contrast tends to keep me more focused on each moment.     
June 18 Friday...high - 92°F....beat the heat by training in the morning....good sessions with Gigi and Pounce, Each is responding well to their specific sessions. They continue to require different presentations. However, the results are approaching the desired expectations. Today's training was mostly about being responsive in the moment. At noon, Gigi and Pounce were asleep in the air-conditioned living room.

In a different aspect of training, I used an I-Phone program to measure my exercise for the entire day (first time). Training was part of it. I took 1,576 steps/walked 0.42 miles during the training sessions. Both dogs probably doubled that. At noon, Gigi and Pounce were asleep in the air-conditioned living room. 
                note: Today's total exercise,"measured" on I-Phone Activity APP,) was 2,696 steps/0.67 miles.
                note: Drove to VET and dropped off a fecal sample for Gigi. A negative test is required for her
                          AKC OB class starting on July 6th.
                note: "Time flies!" Illinois early goose season is less than three months away.
                note: Eight new panels of "Fast Grass", goose blind cover arrived and a new, waterproof cover
                          for under the grass is presently being designed. 

right click on icon for larger photo

right click on icon for larger photo

However, after searching for quite awhile, the decision to simply make another one was easier. Once
made, Gigi soon had one placed on her. She was calm and relaxed. I was somewhat amazed. Saying
"whoa" while walking around received no re-action. I am thinking "What's with this? All my dogs in the
past were somewhat "squirrelly". Given her disposition, this was going to be a challenge. So I walked
around her again, pet her some and kind of jerked on the rope a bit. None of this elicited any reaction
except she kept looking at me. Then the epiphany struck. I had taught her the "stand for examination"
skill set in an AKC Puppy OB class about two years ago. Duh!!! Conditioned responses are cool.

Daisy - May 15, 2015

June 3 - Friday...next several days are going to be HOT...Gigi has a Vet appointment next Tuesday at 4:30 pm. She has never demonstrated any hint of a heat cycle and is thirty months old. Something is not right. However, there was never any intentions to breed her.  
June 4 - Saturday...another hot day off for everyone...The living room is a comfortable 74°F.
June 5-9 The heat wave is a good excuse for taking a week off.....Gigi had blood drawn to test/check on potential hormone issues. However, the indoor pool area is cooler. Therefore, we may simply work on the skill sets required in the AKC OB class.
June 10 - Thursday..high - 91°F headline -
Midwest Heat Wave...Early June Records Through Tuesday
Pounce and Gigi began working on their heeling skills using a totally different approach. Within a few minutes a difference was noted. Gigi has more issues than Pounce. The premise is to establish a new set of conditioned responses. Both were doing well at the end of their sessions (noticeable change). 
June 11 - Friday...high - 95°F.....train indoors.....the results of the blood werk tests done recently at the Vet
more less eliminated any issues along those lines. Therefore, back to the basics has been put in place. Gigi has been enrolled in an Intermediate AKC OB class starting in July. 
June 12 - Saturday...high of 88°F Pounce and Gigi have begun to revisit their OB skills using a different approach. Based on the concept that it must be considerably different is significant in that their present conditioned responses must be replaced. The logic is the less similarity to the present practice and skill sets the more effective it will be. It is not just the dog that needs fixing. Therefore, an e-collar, a pinch collar and the usual use of a heeling stick are eliminated. At first, I was a not really convinced. After a few days, that has changed...quite a bit. Gigi's OB class begins July 6th. That timeline provides three, full weeks of getting things into a new OB picture followed by six weeks of field training while attending Gigi's AKC OB class every Tuesday evening.     note: The present high temperatures and not much rain has most ponds in the area at very low levels and a great deal of more surface weed growth than normal.
June 13 - Sunday....high of 89°F.....for the next 8+ weeks Gigi and Pounce's training will focus on the concepts being taught in the following four YouTube presentations. Gigi's AKC OB class will be attended during this time frame and field work will be mostly practice/maintenance (marking and blinds)

June 28 Tuesday - hot "temps" and a sore knee....Pounce and Gigi did a fun session of HRC line "push/pull
with two piles of  Dokkens
June 29 Wednesday...high humidity..no training for me..killed some weeds in the back yard...knee is better
   note:
Pounce and Gigi will be doing quite a bit of HRC setups (multiple marks and blinds with walk-ups).   
  Therefore, since training is done alone....just me and two dogs, wingers and electronics must be working
   well. I just finished sorting and charging all the electronics. With so many in close proximity, identifying  
   which cord/plug went where proved to be "interesting". Also, with everything right in front of me, I had
   some difficulty in blocking out how much money I had spent to acquire these "things" that are necessary.

   Purchasing "man things" requires skills. If acquiring "stuff" is done in small quantities...regularly, my wife
   is less likely to notice. Things like a new enclosed trailer and UTV were a bit more difficult to conceal.
   The key is understanding that Begging is an art form. I finally got all the wires sorted out and identified  
   the devices to which they belonged. There were little red lights everywhere that eventually turned green
   (most of them). I decided to take a photo to identify my cache before dispersing everything.