June 6 morning off with afternoon training group at Four Rivers DTA - mallard double with two blinds. I was given a "heads up" that the honor dog might break (good to know). Since Pounce has run marks "taking turns" with Daisy, I was certain Pounce would be good to remain on a sit.  The honor dog broke and "laser'ed" off the line. Pounce never twitched but did watch intently. I said a re-enforcing, verbal "sit/good". The breaking honor dog in training is a gift.

                                       Flexible Training Plan Projections
                              focus = precise practice & work slowly
                                         ("descriptive inventory")
         
June 20 reviewed "cheaty" standards morning, group training 
                        afternoon - poison single plus short double with blind
          
√June 21 day off
          
June 22 "hidden" winger "walk-ups" with "poison" blinds
          
June 23 two long doubles (one with blind), long water single and
                     a new set of long "three peat" blinds
          
June 24 repeated yesterday's (the three blinds) in combination with
                     singles in a small "group effort" (very "neat" session)
          
√June 25 day off
          
June 26 focused on in-lines & did two sets plus a water double

           June 27 "in-lines" set of three after an "under", a channel blind
                      revisit and a set of four, "initial line" water blinds
          
√June 28 day off rain
          
June 29 two sets of 4 & 3 mallard in-lines plus one blind with water
          
June 30 day off

June 4 heat moving into the upper 80's. Decided to reverse "engineer" yesterday's four blinds in Thorson Pond.....then drove to the Four Rivers DTA technical pond to do alternating, fun water retrieves with Pounce and Daisy. Daisy will be 12 years old in a week and slowing down quite  a bit. ......later, mowed part of the lawn before heading for the air-conditioner
                 note: fun water bumpers with two dogs is a variation of the "Water Barrage" drill

June 10 day off way too warm plus good timing (weekend)
Holy Heat Wave, Batman! The next six days' forecast highs are 91, 93, 94, 91, 90 & 92°F
June 11 trained early (91°F for a high)......Pounce did a solid "yard-work" line drill using four 
remote wingers (three sets of four retrieves practicing a precise, no movement expectation).
                 note: Purchased Dennis Voigts' Series on "Marking" and will be systematically
                           improving Pounce's skills in the field (beginning with "Ten Favorite Setups" and
                           "ABCD's That Progress Your Dog"  
                 note: Complementing that will be Hillmann's new Advanced Retriever Training videos
June 12 trained at the Harrison DTA early and finished by 7:30 with the temperature already in the upper 70's (forecast high....low 90's) Pounce ran an "All-In-One Triple" (from Voigt's Ten Favorite Setups) and finished that with an "under the arc" blind . It was one of the those "Let's Quit Now (because that was very good) Sessions" Since it was warming up rapidly, after a short drive to the Four Rivers "DTA", Pounce cooled off with three "down the shore" water blinds.
                 note: Daisy got some "wet exercise" in, and then it was home to the air conditioning.

June 1 month's focus - continue with line "practice", more marking concepts with a gradual increase in distance....goals - finish Senior & run a Master (or two) before duck season opens
                  note: day off - relative's medical emergency (and did not attend group training)
June 2 Friday trained in the morning (done before heat moved in) first ran a set of six singles "a la" Hillmann's "Pin-Point Marking Drill" in a Y-Drill like pattern (two angle backs, two angle "ins" and two flat). Pounce had a short break while a remote wingers, schooled triple was setup. (see "diagrammed" photo). Finished with a walk/toss-out blind to the pond peninsula "to cool off".
  

Flip-Flop Second Set

June 8 van remained at mechanics overnight, completed repair this afternoon. Pounce did a repeat of the "Yard Drill" with four remote launchers.....same concepts with a different "look". Main focus was extended, responsive focus  = more practice. Went to the afternoon group session and no one showed up. Drove over to the technical pond and Pounce worked seven
"Stand Alone/Send Back" water singles from the peninsula.....very good session.

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June 18 planned to train at the Stoughton Property and luck was good.....no one there. First up, Pounce ran the 375 yard blind from the mound to the eastern border. She ran this last year and had no issues today (stiff "tail wind" out of the west). Next up was four "down the shore" singles on the southwest technical pond. These were run as "stand alone/send backs". She was good with these. It was fortunate that I took photos "after the fact" because I did not realize the shore weed line was "very wide". The "walls of weeds" drills done earlier this spring made this much easier for her (not at all phased).  The four singles went extremely well.  Last up was to run a longer multiple entry/exit water blind and repeat it. The water blind had a strong cross-wind out of the west (no issues).  Pounce is sleeping well tonight.

                                Training Areas inventory -  I hour or less
   Madison FT Club properties (4 land/water)          Bong Recreation Area, Wi (land/water)
   Sand Ponds (water)                                                Thorson Pond (water/land)
   Riverside Park (water/land)                                    RockCut State Park DTA (land)
   Rockton Road (land)                                               Roscoe Retention Pond (water/land)
   Harrison DTA (land)                                                Four Rivers DTA (land/water)

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right click on icons for larger photos

June 14, 15  two days off - too hot, no air-conditioning and not in a hurry
June 16 rain last night hosted a wonderful, cool morning with cloud cover and a breeze. Pounce trained at the Y-Property (hour drive). She  ran two longer doubles with blinds off the big mound in the south east corner (wind was perfect). Left two wingers in place to run a couple of water singles using the "Flip-Flop" strategy. Set up a water blind, too.....and then forgot exactly where it was placed. That did not go well. Duh! Everything else before that was "slick". Since Pounce started working triples, doubles are a "piece of cake". She has a very good memory. Distance is increasing in very small increments and Master level (distances) are "not an issue". She is a keeper!

                   note: 55th wedding anniversary is today.....she's a keeper....too! Our anniversary
                             "present" is the air conditioner. A repairman is presently fixing it (almost).

June 24 trained in the afternoon at the W-Property (small group). Pounce ran the three blinds from "yesterday" each preceded by a mallard single (mark followed by blind). In addition, each mark/blind "combo" had a second retriever moving along a path leading to where their next "combo" was to be run.  They alternated running (taking turns). This had a "built in honor" situation. One dog was "watching" the other run their "single and a blind". 

June 20 morning worked in Thorson Pond on a lengthy "cheaty" review - upbeat session
In the afternoon, went to training group session at Four Rivers DTA. First ran a short walk-up single poison bird blind.....then a double with a 130 yard blind. 
               note: The walk-up was very close and loud.....it showed. Ha! Do close more often.
                      The "Yard Drills" have been done without a primer report.  Therefore, it 

                      needs to be moved to training areas.                     
June 21 day off
June 22 hot today, high 89°F.....trained in the morning, nearby at the Thorson Pond DTA.
Pounce worked on close, hidden winger walk-ups with a loud primer report. Each time the walk-up direction/position was different. Did three regulars plus three more in a poison bird blind combination where the blinds were "cheaty" water. This went well and the "surprised" factor in the June 20th session was taken in stride (not a big deal anymore). 
June 23 trained at the Y-Property - ran two doubles with remote wingers and mallards (one with a blind)...then a long water single - sending Pounce to a remote line on the other side of the pond. Picked up the wingers and did a new, long "three-peat blinds" setup.

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                    note: The height of marks thrown by the Gunner's Up SOG's is not high (or long

                           enough) for 150+ yard mallard marks. The 3" black and white flagged
                           bumpers are good....not so much for heavier mallards.  Ordered one larger,
                           field winger to see how that woks out.....if satisfied....order a second.

June 3 eight days no rain, "temp" highs in the 70-80's (land mornings and water afternoons)
                 note: yard "drill" early & Thorson Pond - 2 parallel & 2 diagonal blinds afternoon
"yard drill" consists of a "Hillmann warm-up" first...."got amped" then did a split pile, lining drill practicing "push pull" and delivery precision. Next up was a variation of the "Iverson Drill". It is never the same, but always upbeat and exciting......more practice.
                 note: refer to May 18th journal for the YouTube link to Pounce's first "go" on the
                           "Iverson Drill". The rationale is consistent......precise practice. 
Late afternoon - great-grandchildren went home & Pounce was off to Thorson Pond soon after.
The five minute drive continues to be a reminder about how fortunate it is to have this place to train. Pounce's blind work in water continues to improve. As her comfort being in the water increases, the penchant to cheat has decreased greatly.

June 19 trained at the Y-Property - cool with cloud cover, light breeze....set up four remote launchers to run a north/south "flip/flop" setup with four singles first to the south plus a blind. Reloaded, moved winger "holding, hiding"  blinds and ran four singles to the north. Reset three wingers and moved winger blinds so as to run a water set of three singles and a blind to the east (third flip/flop). These setups began the work on extending Pounce's distance skills while introducing advanced marking concepts. Daisy was exercised while picking up the last setup.

June 27 cool day and off to slow start - air conditioner repairman did not show up. Trained later, but could not make the group training session. Setup an in-line (three wingers) plus an "under" concept mark. Pounce did a very good job on the recent, challenging  "in-lines" and has seen a
simple "under" concept awhile back. In addition, a blind was added to the mix. Everything went well except for the longest single where she back-sided "the gun" before sorting it out. This was the first time she has ever done that. Went to the Four Rivers DTA where the group training session was to be held. Since we were two hours early, Pounce did two channel swims and we headed for home. On the way, we stopped at the Thorson Pond DTA and did a quick session of
four water blinds focusing on longer water entries. Rain tomorrow may make it an easy day.

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right click on icons for larger photos

right click on icons for larger photos

right click on icons for larger photos

right click on icons for larger photos

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June 25 high of 69°F......day off begin planning ABCD marking setups phase

June 9 after today, brutal high temperatures for the next six days....train very early.....if at all

                   note: van air-conditioner worked well today (after recent repair)
Pounce ran two sets of four remote launcher, in-line singles at the Riverside Park DTA (short drive). After the first set, we took a close walk to the river and cooled Pounce off. On the way back, Pounce was left in the shade of a large tree on a down command and remained there
until the launchers were "loaded and aimed differently" for the second set (which was a "check down"). Picked up everything and drove along the access road to a place where "fun bumpers" can be thrown out into the cool, Rock River current. 

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June 7 Pounce trained early doing a "yard-work" practice session using four launchers and
a holding blind.....OB as in....heeling position (both sides, 180's), sitting (including remote), walk-ups, stationary singles and multiples "in her face" (close) three sets (of four).....does not take a lot of time, has a very specific focus in a situation where many precise, consistent  and exciting "reps" are possible - the motionless and intense expectation is being embraced
                    note: If allowed (given) enough time to gaze at a fall, retrievers will exhibit physical

                              symptoms not unlike those of a pointer holding and intense point - a focused
                              stare, a deep, slower breathing pattern with possible salivation....trance like.
                              It would seem logical that releasing a young retriever consistently too soon
                              avoids ever discovering and maximizing the value of this euphoria. In a more
                              simplistic metaphor - "Slow down and Enjoy the View."
(June 8th entry)
                    note: first time doing the "Dozen Drill"......more "at the line" practice
                    note: van air-conditioner is not working...in for repairs and with highs in the upper
                              80's, we won't be going very far to train (definitely not in the afternoon)
June 8 van to mechanic's (air-conditioner repair) Pounce did a solid session of the "Dozen Drill"
and extended the time for each release......intense sit focus nurturing

                                   Reflections On  "Enjoying the View" (June 7th entry)
When training a retriever there are four basic instincts of interest – searching, stalking, chasing and capture of birds. With retrievers the first two are rarely part of a sequential training program that focuses on testing and/or competition. The chasing and capture traits are meshed with specific control skills and responsiveness enhances teamwork.

However, the searching and stalking instincts become essentially dormant. In a test, there is no searching or stalking. The prey location is contrived for uniformity and fits patterns that are presented in training. The chase is greatly confined by control and requires specific skills.  

The fact remains that whatever skills are required to be competitive can be traced back to  harnessing instincts. There are a few ways to tap into the two instincts that are essentially ignored. One of which may aid in developing a steadier dog at the line…..
if the instincts are
given time to engage.  It could be referred to as the “sit on a rewarding, stationary stalk”.

The next phase is finding the most effective way to become "engaged".

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                              The Two-Three Week Focus - ABCD Marking Setups
      1st theme - in-line singles - then multiples (short to long, different DTAs - 4-5 sessions)
      2nd phase - in-line singles - then multiples (check downs), different DTA's - 4-5 sessions
                           note: out of Hillmann's new Advanced Training videos

June 26 Pounce trained at the W-Property - mid-day, sunny, breezy, cool (around 70°F)....set up four launchers in a planned "Flip-Flop" - with four in-lines to the north and then to he south
                           note: the first set was run off a mound....second from up on higher ground
                           note: the 1st set of four was 127-228 yards, 2nd 83-182 yards
Pounce was up to this workout and was sharp to the finish. Picked up two wingers and left two so as to run a water double from the west......what one might call a "triangular" Flip-Flop. 
                           note: water is high in the pond from recent a storm and looks great 

slide show photos of the 2nd set of "Flip-Flop" singles plus a blind

June 13 up early with another hot day......dodged a thunderstorm that left behind a cloud cover and cooling breeze. Set up two water doubles each with a blind . Finished a very good, "doubly" cool session without any heat issues. Daisy was exercised by keeping me company while hauling wingers and "holding/hiding" blinds back to the van. When home the air-conditioning  "quit" and repairs won't be done for two days.....not good.

June 5 low 70's for the high......trained at the Harrison Road DTA (formerly "New Place")
Pounce did another "Schooled Triple" with a blind. Drove to the Four Lakes DTA where she
ran six "stand alone/send back" water singles. Home before noon to mow more of the lawn. Two Endless Breeze fans and a 12v deep cycle battery are now "training equipment".
                      note: "Schooled Triple" = run three singles first....then "do them" as a triple

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Pounce "into" June

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June 30 day off....car shopping
July 1 simulated test/training day put on by the Madison Retriever Club with  Pro Corry Zandonai at the Gallagher Property (weather looks outstanding)

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right click on icons for larger photos

June 28 day off rain
June 29 Slow out of the blocks this morning, but arrived at the very "soggy" Gallagher Property mid-morning. A small group of two had just finished which meant Pounce had the pick of "anywhere". The plan was to continue with the "in-Line" theme and use a road to setup another "Flip-Flop". The swim-by pond was almost over its bank and very visible (normally it is not). Therefore, the wingers were setup to do "in-lines" with the idea of working on water cheating. A gradual exposure with each single plus moving up on the very last one (first set) and repeating that mark/throw produced very good results (some handling and using exciting mallards on the marks).

In addition, this was the first day of using a full sized Gunners Up winger. This was placed at the long station in each set with four singles in the first and three in the second. After the first three marks were thrown from the smaller Gunners-Up wingers, the" big one" was launched. WOW.....that was far (and I did say that out-loud). And immediately, said to myself, "Order another one!....and put new bands on the other three, smaller wingers." Taking photos has become an "easy do" (almost a non-issue). In part, this is because Pounce is easy to run (predictable) and becoming more and more automatic.
                      note: the main focus was to start out at least getting wet and then show more
                                zeal and comfort with the water section of each line. A little handling

                                with finesse goes a long way toward embracing the line. 
                      note: there did seem to be some effect on Pounce's first mark when it landed
                                "near" the hay bale.....need to run a few more of those
                      note: did not attend evening training group...it rained plus wife had a minor

                               "fender bender" incident

June 17 it has been a "different week" - very warm and no air-conditioner...finally, fixed today.
Training early worked this week.....no other choice. Saturday is great-grandchildren day which means doing the "Yard Work Drill" in the morning. This consists of a holding blind, 3-4 remote launchers, a fake AKC wooden gun and flagged bumper plus a Dokkan. All the skills required "at the line" are repeated often with the emphasis on precision, practice and responsiveness. Automatic, correct responses require maintenance and repetition is much cooler (early in the morning).  Specifics - off lead OB, no motion on launches requiring, "delayed watching" and focused control with "stuff in your face". This is labeled entrenching conditioned responses. 
           note: today's session was 4 repeats (different views) from the three winger pod   
           note: for "delayed watching" insight refer to June 7th journal entry "Enjoying the View"
          
note: winger electronics sounds (beeper and duck call) create excitement, primer
                     reports "would not compute" with the neighbors

The concept called "delayed watching" is being changed to "focused watching" (as it is the retrieve that  is delayed). There are no corrections (e-collar and/or heeling stick) and proper behavior may be subtly re-enforced with the e-collar or verbally "marked".  In essence, anxiety inhibits the perfect, instinctive focus as opposed to waiting for skills to surface. Self control is more effective than external control. However, most trainers are in a rush to speed up the process and by always being the one in control (early on) and the dog's potential to do so
is diminished. Playing with instincts is not simple.