July 22 AKC Senior hunt test in Wisconsin - West Allis Training Kennel Club, Big Bend, WI
                             note: fifth pass KwickLabs Fountain of Youth SH

July 15 group training sessions at the Harrison DTA with pro Corry Zandonai.....the setup was a triple with two blinds. Picked up the triple showing good memory then ran into trouble when the trainer forgot his whistle for the blind. Got out of that OK. Then she did the 2nd blind and a good honor. Decided to come back later "without the collar" and "see"  where we were with control at the line by running a "poison bird blind". That did not go very well....very "dancy" and "loose" (very). Finally, she ran the long blind and then picked up the mark (in spite of the extended distraction). Got the answer. The difference between OK and perfect was clarified by pushing the routine.  She is running on a narrow edge of control at the line. Her lack of focus and weakly conditioned response of a "poison bird blind" were too much. When arriving home, a quick review of the expectation "in the yard" without wearing the collar was totally well done (but not nearly at the same level of excitement). There might be two group sessions next week.
                       note: do not need "poison bird" standard for Senior test
July 16 trained at Thorson Pond......short drive did not want to spend all day training & driving,
Setup all six remotes in a pod for water marks and had a land pile of bumpers 50 yards away to do the  line routine for poison bird blinds. Simplified the verbal que to one word....."dead "and used only a small physical movement to adjust position (direction). Simplifying was simpler and she caught on very quickly. A quiet, verbal "dead" while physically pivoting was all she needed. Pounce is already "tuned" into moving backwards slightly (when I do) at the line and an OB pivot was easy to induce. The marks were all high, "in her face",  big splash, primer report events. This helped to maximize the level of excitement. The session went well.
                 note: the line was in the shade on the other side of the pond
                 note: Afterwards, Daisy got in some good swimming exercise.

                 note: On the path to the east (property exit), a blind suddenly seemed like a good
                            idea. It isn't often the wind is out of the east "at the right time". The van was
                            parked and walked back to plant a water blind with a challenging water exit
                            and return (moved up as she ran to maximize "influence").


July 3 trained early at the Harrison DTA and finished in time to avoid/miss the rain from a small thunderstorm. Today's setup was a continuation of yesterday. The focus is on expectations at the line (specifically, no unacceptable motion). Five remote launchers were set up in pods of "3 & 2"
and loaded with fresh mallards. After the first set of five, the two pods' launcher directions were altered a bit to make a different looking setup so as to run from another line. Altogether, there were ten "reps" at the line in "practice" mode. The standard at the line is no unacceptable motion. Each single is watched  to the ground on a no motion sit. As the handle takes one step back, Pounce moves, smoothly backward in the heeling position in "concert" while continuing to be locked on the fall (no pivot). There is a silent count to ten before Pounce is then released. She did ten "reps" of those in a row....perfectly ...."real slick". The three week plan is have "150 reps" from repeatedly doing this drill (in different settings) plus the additional "reps" completed in regular setups (training alone or in group sessions). 

right click on icons for larger photos

right click on icons for larger photos

July 1 simulated test/training day put on by the Madison Retriever Club with  Pro Corry Zandonai at the Gallagher Property (weather was outstanding)

Pounce ran a walk-up poison bird (short blind) setup first......then a land/water double with a flyer and an honor. The memory was water. There were two holding blinds and a rough estimate of 40 plus dogs ran. Well done Corry Z!        

July 5 day off - "kind-of " did "weed whack" a section of the shoreline at Thorson Pond DTA and made some "adjustments" in the new winger (two arm bolts too tight & receiver screw/bolt holes too small and out of alignment). In addition, Pounce and Daisy "tested" the cleared bank of Thorson Pond with Pounce honoring "two dog, water fun bumpers".....it was in the low 80's

right click on icons for larger photos

note: The one step back concept is right out of Hillmann's Advanced Training. His  
           application was for a dog that has a penchant to creep. This seemed to be  a
           possible solution for "busy feet" (creeping in one place).
           Fortunately, Pounce's backward heeling skills were taught in early OB making
           it an easy do "physically/mentally". Apparently, this quickly became a smooth,
           acceptable replacement for the busy feet "issue". In addition, it indicates
           more engagement in terms of another layer of responsiveness.  Finally, one
           might surmise that the "step back" is a form of energy "capping". 
note: One thing was very clear - her intense focus on the fall did not waver.  

July 12 day off
July 13 trained early at Four Lakes DTA - grass was border-line high with heavy dew, cool,
good breeze and cloud cover.....very comfortable. Set up two wingers to run a flip-flop set of doubles with blinds using the new field size Gunner UP wingers loaded with mallards and the blind was also a duck. Pounce is small and at times the cover prevented seeing her. Marks were done very well, but on the first blind she was "out of sight". It was lucky to
have a picnic table to climb up on to "finish" that blind. On the second double the blind was kept "shorter". When finished, Daisy and Pounce did a bunch of "together fun bumpers" in the pond. Decided to drive over the Harrison DTA and setup a "point blind" using the three mallards. After picking the longest "point" available, she "smoked" it. 

July 11 trained at the Stoughton Property - early fog was gone by time the first setup was ready. Ran a "flip-flop" set of two wingers with land to the south on the east mound. Moved wingers slightly to run two singles and a blind from the mound behind the south-east pond.
Early on the pesky, little black gnats were out in full force. Heavy dew on the tall grass made for wet legs above the knee high boots. However, the temperature remained comfortable.
                    note: used mallards for the marks and blinds
                    note: the new field sized Gunners Up wingers provide much longer throws
                             and provide better visibility on marks (compared to the shorter version)

YouTube videos

July 4 trained early at the MRC Gallagher Property in Wisconsin. We were there 2nd at the gate to enter. The other group was going to train in an area that would not make any difference in the plans for Pounce. Setup a "Point Blind" for its initial run and that went well. Second setup was the two pods, launcher drill with mallards and ran it twice providing ten "reps" of the "step back at heel" (before being sent for a retrieve). After picking all the wingers up, a quick, short move to the big mound to the southwest had Pounce running a long water blind. It was a good 4th of July.
                   note: time to stop re-enforcing Pounce on sit with verbal "sits"

Copyright © kwickLabsii. All rights reserved

July 30 day off (Sunday)
July 31 train - plan was to continue with the Hip-Pocket" concept & work the Gallagher "point blind". Change in plans...Gallagher was "occupied"....went to Stoughton and "good to go". Decided to setup a 2nd Point Blind so as to be able to eventually run from several long distances..then do a 2nd marking "lesson" on the "Hip Pocket" concept. After a quick survey the newest point blind seemed rather obvious. The next step was to teach it.
                     note: It was from the machine shed to the big mound near the swim-by pond. 
                              When home later, a Google map search "said" the distance = 238 yards
                              and the possible "other lines" were photographed 
drove back up toward the shed with a plan to "ladder it" in increasing distances. Pounce began at about 150 yards and the first "go" took one whistle and a cast. Moving back in four more increments, the last line "send" was right in front of the "dog van" by the shed. She lined it each time on the last four "goes".....no whistles...no casts...flat out fast.   
                     note: AAhh..."purty dang" cool
ran "hip pocket" double with mallards & repeated it and did much better than the other day


right click on icon for larger photo

right click on icon for larger photo

right click on icons for larger photos

July 18 trained early at Thorson Pond - Pounce ran two long blinds (one land other water). Next up was at the Harrison DTA and Pounce ran the point blind (three different lines). Soon after a small group including pro Corry Z filtered in. Pounce ran a short land double with two blinds and Daisy was exercised. Left before everyone was finished.....eye doctor appointment.
                   note: very nice, cool July Tuesday morning.
July 19 was going to take a day off....since thunderstorms and warm weather are coming the next few days will not be as good. Trained early at the Harrison DTA - Pounce ran Hillmann's "Pin-Point Marking Drill" at about 100 yards...angle-in, flat and angle-back on one side and then the same on the other using a primer pistol, orange bumper in the "Stand Alone/Send Back" mode. Pounce was sharp on these. Then repeated the three bumper "Point Blind" (see July 13 journal photos). Drove a short distance to the Four Rivers DTA" where Pounce ran two channel blinds and then played with Daisy alternating water "fun bumpers and honoring". When home, it was getting warm, but the yard needed mowing and weeds required some "whacking".
                    note: I was "out of gas" by 11 am. The temperature/humidity said "Air-conditioner!"
July 20 severe storms last night.....trained at Thorson Pond DTA in the morning.....set up two "Senior" doubles with mallards, "Flip-Flop" land/water with a water blind. Water had a long, 
"cheaty" entry/exit and used a holding blind, "fake", wooden AKC gun and ran "sans" e-collar
                    note: pond was almost a foot higher and brown from fresh flood waters
                    note: Pounce did everything really well
                    note: Today is Thursday's afternoon group training session. After cleaning out the
                              "dog van" around 1 pm, a heat index in the 90's put that possibility to rest.

July 21 July 21 it is 7:30 am, Lylah is still sleeping and my wife is headed out to teach Vacation Bible School. Tomorrow is Pounce’s AKC Senior test in West Bend, WI. The temperature was already in the upper 70’s with the humidity at 81% (muggy...not exactly comfortable). The intentions of the morning's “work” were to have a bit of fun and at the same time provide productive, appropriate exercise/training. We were finished quickly and scurried back into the air-conditioned house…just in time to wake up our eight year old autistic granddaughter.  
      The “exercise” focused on the following:
           1. retrieving on the “back” and Pounce commands.
           2. “reps” of the “intention cues” at the line on both sides
                (lining “expectations”- push/pull, two sided)
           3. retrieving and delivery mechanics (both sides)
           4. emphasizing responsiveness (work with me)
           5. keeping it upbeat and exciting
           6. not wearing an e-collar (she won’t be tomorrow)
           7. The flow of the exercise was governed by keeping it "interesting" and somewhat
               unpredictable. Pounce did not ALWAYS know exactly what would be next (ahead of
               time). Doing so promotes "OK, What's Next? responsiveness" requiring focus and
               control. Anticipation is cool.                      

Pounce is faster than Daisy only because of ten fewer years. I did not know whether the heat of the day or the rule of two tanks of gas for the "weed whacker" would determine the work time. It was a draw. The air conditioning in the van during the drive home was awesome. 

right click icons for larger photos

YouTube Video

July 23 Pounce spent the morning participating in a very special session working with Jim Wegner and Bill Hillmann. What a great day this was for Pounce (and both of us).
July 24
day off - focused on ideas for altering Pounce's responsiveness training
                  note: after a very significant session yesterday dealing with specific ideas
                            related to modifying Pounce's training and skill sets (mine, too)...the next
                            several months will focus on putting those "adjustments" in place
                  note: no more testing this year, but training will continue
                  note: the plans for her future have become clearly identified and there will be
                            plenty of time to deal with other "stuff" summarized below
                      note: build a new boat blind, concentrate decoy inventory, trips to Mississippi
                            River (scouting and fishing).......long list of  "to do's"
July 25 trained in the yard this morning - the focus was on improving Pounce's "Hillmann Game".....minor changes altered her focus for the better.  In addition, we began working more precisely on Hillmann's "approach" to heeling.  Later, using two holding blinds and a remote launcher, Pounce learned doing "things" in a responsive sequence is rewarding.
She is a "quick" study and learns almost effortlessly (refer to last comment) . Therefore, two things are required 1) show me "how" and 2) repeat it often enough to become automatic. What "often enough" is will have to be determined as we work through this. However, it is somewhat amazing how fast she demonstrates, "OK, I get this." On the other hand......not doing something right is learned just as quickly. Being precise is significant and many, many correct "reps" are required. Then there is maintenance. 
                 note: Pounce was taken to the Tuesday training group run by pro Corey Z. After
                           today.....there will be somewhat of a "slow down" in her training with an
                           increased focus working on things not related to dog work.
                 note: Pounce and Daisy's nails were Dremeled

July 26 day off
July 27 Pounce trained in the yard - repeated the July 25 session/game.......The Cap "E"  Drill...essentially, "capping" excitement, heeling perfectly and maintaining responsiveness
                  note: later, Daisy was taken to the Vet's for her routine shots update
                  note: Pounce is in "semi-slacker" mode and will not be attending the Thursday
                             training group session
July 28 day off (Friday)
July 29 trained in the afternoon at Harrison.....Pounce had an intro to the "Hip-Pocket" double - ran it once and repeated.....very good beginning
                  note: Daisy was given a few short retrieves for exercise

July 2 trained at the Thorson Pond DTA land/water area - set up all five launchers to do a "Line Drill" that would be a ten "reps" practice of line standards. Primer loads, beeper, duck calling close-by made it very exciting. The last one in each set was into the pond (to cool off some).
                    note: the focus was on the repetition of expectations at the line - positioning (both
                              sides), the "step back" before being sent, a count of ten before releasing and
                              a responsive delivery in the correct position ready for whatever is next 
                    note: this went extremely well and did not take very long

Harrison DTA "Point Blind" (1st time)

Four Rivers DTA Training Photos

Daisy is twelve years old....and still "wants to".

right click on icon for larger photo

Pounce had a busy day. After the morning session, there was a relaxing five hour break (at
home) before heading back out for the Thursday late afternoon training group session....she ran three, mallard singles and two blinds plus doing an off lead honor.
                  note: Right eye issue with cataracts is beginning to "complicate" longer blinds. I                               need to begin using the golf range finder on a regular basis (practice).
July 14  I was going to train at RockCut State Park DTA, but the area had not been mowed and weeds were chest high. The cool weather made "whacking" the shoreline of a pond a good alternative.  Afterwards, Pounce got wet with an upbeat "water barrage" of retrieves. 

right click on icons for larger photos

                                   Flexible Training Plan Projections
                        focus = precise practice & work slowly
                                   ("descriptive inventory")
July 1 simulated hunt test/training day - Madison
                     Retriever Club  - pro trainer Core Zandonai
July 2 ten "reps" Line Drill - Thorson Pond/Land DTA
July 3 ten "reps" Line Drill - Harrison DTA
          July 4 set up "single point blind", did another ten "reps"
                     of the Line Drill + a long water blind (at Gallagher)
          √July 5 day off ....except for a brief swim

          July 6 set of five land singles (ABCDE in-lines) + water
                    double with a blind
           July 7 yard-work "reps" on the "step back" expectation            July 8 push/pull yard-work, three repeats of a four 
                     launcher "Line-Drill"....water
          July 9 five "down the shore" blinds
           July 10 Iverson Drill (more complex) 
           July 11 double + blind (land), 2 singles + blind (water)
           √July 12 day off
July 13 two mallard doubles with blinds, new  "point
                       blind" plus a group training session
July 14 easy, fun water barrage- exercise
July 15 group training session
           July 16 worked on "poison bird" expectations (water)
           July 17 ran expanded point blind, did two flyer doubles
           July 16 two blinds at Thorson Pond DTA, ran the point
                       blinds, group double + two blinds (Harrison DTA)

           July 17 ran Gallagher point blind plus 4 more lines,                                two doubles with flyers and blinds
          July 18 two blinds at Thorson DTA, point blind at
                       Harrison DTA, group training double with blind
           July 19 Harrison DTA – Hillmann's "Pin-Point" marking
                       drill (6 singles), ran 3 lines to a "point blind", did
                       two channel blinds at Four Rivers DTA
           July 20 “Flip-Flop" doubles (land & water) with mallards
                       plus water blind

           July 21 brief, fun and high energy yard drill

           July 22 AKC hunt test - 5th pass & Senior title
           July 23 very special day for Pounce (both of us)
           √July 24 day off
July 25 did a Cap-E session plus a group training
           √July 26 day off
July 27 Cap-E yard-work session
           √July 28 day off
July 29 intro to "Hip Pocket" double
√July 30 day off
July 31new "point blind" & hip pocket double lesson

right click on icons for larger photos

right click icon for larger photo

      August & September training focus
1) maximize the use of two “point blinds”
2) systematically introduce concept marks
3) continue regular line expectation “reps”
4) regularly do “pin point” marking drills
5) maintenance on water "cheating” tendencies
6) regularly run sets of three cold blinds

YouTube Video (link)

July 10 trained at Thorson Pond DTA and did a more complex presentation of the "Iverson Drill". This was done in two phases beginning with "the van to the line" routine. The first setup was using the launchers as five individual "walk-ups". The launchers were reloaded and the second setup was first a double and then a triple (with no walk-ups). A great deal of time was spent "working" the two holding blinds where the focus was mostly about seeking and enhancing responsiveness. Over the last few weeks, the "repetition" has begun to produce more consistency and today's two videos provided more useful feedback.

Pounce's Water Tail "Figure Eight"

July 7 trained early morning - yard-work, fun retrieves working on the "step back" expectation
July 8 trained early -  yard-work using two piles for the "split lining drill" working on "push/pull" standards and precise delivery "foot work"....many repetitions (practice) 
trained again mid-day at Thorson Pond - ran the "Line Drill" with four remote launchers and repeated the set three times (providing twelve "reps" from three different lines). Worked through two holding blinds for each set. The last was behind a four foot "wall of weeds. She could see  the marks high in the air and "flew" through the "wall". This suggests the shoreline weed height in the July 6th setup blocked her view and the marks were much farther away. She went as sent then....but could not see the marks and had very little confidence (not a big deal..now).  
                      note: Afterwards, the remaining tall weeds on the south shoreline were "whacked".
                      note: two weeks - AKC Senior test at West Bend
July 9 trained mid-day at Thorson Pond DTA and used the newly trimmed shoreline to run a set of five "Down the Shore" blinds........Pounce handles extremely well which makes running blinds relatively easy and fun. After Pounce finished, Daisy walked with me to pick up the orange blind stakes and also did several water retrieves for exercise and fun.

July 6 trained early (90°F for the high)......arrived at W-Property and It was already "occupied".
Drove to the Stoughton Property and surprise....no one there. Set up a set of five ABCDE singles and then a water double plus a blind. Land was challenging and done very well. Water was not done very well. The only difference compared to recent other water setups was the very short distance to the entry. Initial momentum was poor...later realized the grass at the line was about hip high with three yards to the water. Pounce is small. Maybe not seeing the action very
well would explain this "out of character" behavior. Otherwise....heat? bumpers not ducks?
                     note: today's Thursday afternoon training group will not be a "go" (way too warm)

right click icons for larger photos

July 17 trained at the Gallagher property....but first went to the clubhouse to pickup a couple of mallard flyers. The pen was empty and not locked. As I turned to leave, a quiet "quack" revealed that two mallards were hidden from view. After a short drive to the training grounds, the gate was already open.....someone was training in an area that was not close to where I had planned work.  First setup was to run the "point blind" plus four new lines.  Pounce knows the destination and quickly "breezed" four more new lines (longer, more challenging). Her "long look" vision is excellent and located the mound quickly from each new line.
                 note: Pounce simply looks long naturally
Next up was a double (including a flyer station) plus a blind in the north-east corner.  Pounce ran it twice (two flyers total, 2nd blind in a different spot). The Zinger Uplander was every effective for loading and shooting alone. The first flyer dropped quickly, but it was not a clean kill which turned into a good training session. The noisy hen had Pounce "buffaloed" at first. She has not had a cripple for awhile and that reaction wasn't what I would have expected. She got "over it" quickly. The second flyer was clean.

                note: The weather was surprisingly cool and comfortable (for the middle of July).