Mar 1  "In Like a Lion"........forecast...........HEAVY WET SNOW
finally ended up with abut 3-4 inches and did the drive with the snow blower
(afternoon) - still plan to use this as a day off from training (only did one of the daily, indoor, "in drive" OB sessions)
                note: checked on Pounce's training this winter and then tabulated the
                          number of days doing outdoor training sessions/setups
                          December - 17 days, January- 20 days, February - 20 days
                          Considering we are in northern Illinois (minutes from Wisconsin),
                          winter was mild. However, the first two days of March were......  

Mar 29 left early morning to move fish/duck trailer from winter storage to the Mississippi River bank seasonal site.....stopped and trained at the Winnebago Co DTA on the way back
              note: forecast high in the middle 50's & sunny
Pounce ran another solid set of singles doing Hillmann's "Pin Point" marking drill using "stand alone/send backs", white coat, primer pistol and a "camo" canvas bumper (fun  to watch "out there" - sharp)
              note: Kooly & Daisy each ran five singles using a  red head Dokken
              note: Pounce is still in OB session late tonight

Mar 23 weather day off....heavy rainfall......33°F feels like 24°F with 13 mph winds gusting to 19 mph
Mar 24 more rain and wind plus snow - day off
Mar 25 2-3 inches of snow early melted away by afternoon...Pounce did a quick repeat, run through of the 7-Bumper Lining Drill to work on getting rid of rust....3" rubber bumpers were not as easy to deal with compared to the 3" canvas bumpers (or ducks) Pounce has worked with all winter - white bumpers next time
and work slower......focus on precision at the line               
                  note: heat cycle is in full bloom (first indications March 16th?)
                  note: late night did an "upbeat/fun" game session of OB indoors
                  note: The rationale of training journal videos is NOT to present a "this
                            is how to do stuff" format....Journal videos become a significant
                            tool for analyzing the process of training "in real time" (later)
                            because self-analysis "in the moment" is often not very precise. 

Mar 18 cold and windy plus feeling a bit soft = day off for all
                     note: suspicions were confirmed today - Pounce is in her second heat cycle,

                               timing is all good......not doing any water now, she'll be "good to go" at the 
                               Hillmann seminar May 11-12 and there will be no conflicts with any testing
                     note: I will plan around this a bit and cut her a little slack in training for awhile,
                               she is sensitive and there is no need to "push" at this time......KISS
Mar 19 cloudy & cold 42°F with 7 mpn NE winds...taking Saturday off
Mar 20
a bit warmer.....not much....another day off
Mar 21 trained at Stoughton FT property....tentative setup - 4 walking singles & 3 blinds
                      note: this session's focus was to work slowly and deal with the presentation's
                               "'moving parts" plus keeping in mind that Pounce is in heat
                      note: idea out of Dennis Voigt's "Training Retrievers Alone"
                      note: the plan is to run this setup once a week in different areas and very
                                gradually increase distances (hunt test yardage today)
after the combination marks and blinds setup, Pounce ran three blinds off the slightly sloped 
northwest corner of the property - plenty of natural "stuff" to indicate where the blinds were,

when finished a drive around the south side of the property revealed the ponds were more
full and there was a water filled drainage off the southwest pond.....not far across, shallow and with easy sloping shore lines (lunging water).....Pounce was quite animated with the fun while the camera was busy

left click slideshow or right click photo

Mar 9 HRC setup - holding blinds, line, shotgun with primer loads, gun stand, bucket, duck call, three cold blinds, three remote wingers and mallards at RockCut State Park DTA
Pounce worked through two holding blinds with five minutes spent in each one, from an HRC line (bucket, duck call and shotgun) she ran the setup as three singles....then back to the van while Kooly and Daisy did five singles apiece (different area).......then the three mallard cold blinds were placed in the setup......we walked off lead to the line and ran the
blinds....then back to the van.......went out and reloaded the three wingers and this time added the primer gun at the line = difference in "dog and handler" line time and ran the "schooled" triple...set off wingers left to right making the shortest mark on the right the "go bird" and far left longest mark being the "memory"......this was a really solid session all around....memory super, handled well on the blinds and got in some much needed "line time" (a huge change of pace from "stand alones" and "walking singles")
                  note: to "do" five minutes in each holding blind required using my phone alarm
                  note: When nearly finished I spotted a game warden's truck slowly cruise by, 
                            circle back and pull beside my van. While breaking down the last winger,                                I began slowly doing a mental inventory (drivers license, hunting license,
                            FOID card, site training permit on dash, Illinois Game Breeder/User permit
                            on hunting license, breeder clipped toes on all ducks and Wisconsin  pink
                            ID tags on one leg).........He stopped because he had never seen anyone
                            training there before and wanted to say "Hello"....

Mar 16 the "lion is back", sustained winds of around 40 mph with gusts to 60 mph = day off
Mar 17 high in the forties with 20 mph wind = train at Winnebago Co. DTA with group
Setup was to be a long double, high winds made hearing "noise" from the stations poor and the background made for a weak view of speedy wingers....setup shorter singles and ran one blind.....partner left to keep an appointment then and Pounce ran five "nice" cold blinds....with a strong crosswind out of the west
                      note: marking setups far from ideal, but Pounce's five long, cold mallard blinds
                                finished the morning in a good, responsive and "playing together"mode
                      note: Daisy and Kooly did five singles (in tandem, "stand alone/send backs"),
                                it's a good thing they never tire of this....easy and effective exercise
                      note: this was the day that all cold blinds (at least when training alone) will
                                be set out using natural and/or "blendy stuff" for indicating locations
note: the frequent "peeing" today was a sign of her second heat cycle

YouTube Video

Pounce - nineteen months

right/left click - photo or slideshow

Mar 28 trained middle of the day first at the Roscoe Riverside Park DTA doing a four pile lining and handling drill with a few "come in/then cast" actions - super sharp right to the finish with a lot of focus at the line on "nose & toes", sitting squarely for the next "go" and responsiveness - consciously not rushing, drove the short distance to the Roscoe Retention Pond and did two long "walk out & back" blinds without letting her see the "dropped" camo bumper -  sharp again,
but definitely "marking the ground" frequently.....not out of heat cycle yet and interestingly no apparent hormonal "ditz" mode
                     note: did the normal, upbeat, fun indoor OB sessions early morning

                               and late evening (after midnight airing)

"lunging water fun"

Mar 30 day off from field work - did early morning OB off lead with focus on heeling position, precise with no wasted motion pivots to the proper sit positions (both sides) with quiet verbal and whistle sit commands.....bumper in mouth often and focused plus "catching excitement" regularly  (late evening repeat)

Mar 31 trained at Roscoe Riverside Park DTA - Pounce ran (for the second time) the lining/casting drill noted in the March 29th journal entry - sharp....after a short 
break provided by exercising Kooly & Daisy, Pounce did a "stand alone/walk back" triple with Hillmann's approach - "make the memory memorable, special",
walking back essentially gave Pounce a "three retired gunners triple"....she was totally locked on each mark and stepped on each one...ah...kind of unreal? However, she has always seemed to "know".  Good way to finish off March (and still in heat).

click photo for larger views.

Mar 6 afternoon - trained Pounce at the Square Pond DTA in the "grassy" area and ran the 4th (and last) spring revisit of Singe-T......then gave Kooly & Daisy a quick workout for exercise.....drove Pounce to RockCut State Park DTA and ran the "Pin Point" marking drill (Hillmann)
                      note: did the early morning OB session (skipped evening)
                      note: Single-T was "fast to the last" and accurate
                      note: the "Pin-Point" marking drill was run downwind with a canvas
                                bumper that was "stuffed" in between the three mallards from
                                yesterday, this gave it more than just a bumper scent and with
                                the marks thrown downwind (16 mph) she was using her nose
                                to avoid over- running by much, the nine singles were flat wide,
                                angled in & back with the first five all on one side and the last
                                four on the other....nine shot primer pistol
                      note: when finished, I headed back to the van with Pounce zipping
                                around like an "energizer bunny", then she noticed the pond was
                                about half thawed out and flew up and down the nearest shoreline
                                in lunging water........I don't remember her ever being tired
Mar 7 Pounce did late morning, indoor OB session with a mallard....whistle sits, the "leave it" command, "Pounce" (fetch command) plus extended heeling and sits while carrying and holding (with a quiet mouth)...laced with remote sits, handling (casting)
"around" pool deck = excellent session (excitement with focused responsiveness)
and the "big" CR....correct repetitions  (photography lighting/exposure not so good)

Mar 8 Pounce did her morning, "fun routine" OB session with the "in mouth mode",
another very warm day for March - high forecast is 68°F with the wind at 19 mph SSW
afternoon - did two sets of three cold blinds in the Roscoe Retention Pond DTA land area
                  note: sensational weather for training in 15 days 50's & 60's 
                            leading to earlier than normal warmer water for April
                  note: her initial line skill showed a great deal of improvement, instead of 
                            looking at or for something.......she is just looking straight out
                  note: Today was a long time coming......Pounce finally and clearly altered her 
                            definition of transition to "Us.....and not just Me!" It was a "smiley" face

Mar 26 today's weather would be good for training compared to other times this winter, but since Pounce is in heat we will train "every other day" for the next week...........depending on weather conditions (day off today) 
                 note: Pounce did an indoor game session of OB this, upbeat and exciting with an emphasis on the proper heeling position (both sides) and the "nose toes" standard when sitting...."bumper in mouth" for brief intervals
Mar 27 with rain forecast late morning, so had some time to squeeze in a training session at the Winnebgo Co. DTA - Pounce ran a quick "Pin-Point" Marking drill and was all over every mark - best she's done (lots of regular practice).....Kooly & Daisy ran six "stand alone/send back" singles in tandem (exercise for them and a brief break for Pounce).......finished with Pounce running three blinds
                  note: very productive morning.....home before the rain
                  note: small technical pond is warming up quickly
                  note: did quick indoor, fun OB session early this morning focusing on
                           precise heel & sit positions (left & right side)
                  note: last year the small technical pond in this training area had a very
                            low water level all summer, it appears that at least this spring we
                            will "get some mileage" out of it (especially the north channel)

left click slideshow or right click photo

first three photos - marks/blinds "combo"  & fourth is the three blinds setup
                                     (click on icons for larger photos)

March 22 trained at the Winnebago Co. DTA - Pounce did a Hillmann "Pin Point"
marking drill and then ran three cold blinds (first two were good.....last "not so much")
walking out help some...but she went into "ditz mode" and we muddled our way through it (did not make a big deal out of it, but we will see next time).....definitely well into her  heat cycle and definitely out of character
                     note: no markers for blinds and no problems on the first two, but I
                               was about 15 yards way too wide right on the third...duh!!!
                     note: afterwards did a quick, fun video to cool off some

click icons for larger photos

right click for larger image

right click slideshow or left click photo

scent discrimination setup (2nd part)

afternoon - Pounce "did" six walking, mallard singles at the Winnebago Co. DTA and with the temperature at 60°F the small technical pond was free of ice, walked around
and out on to the peninsula where Pounce watched me drop the mallard, then as we moved back around the Pond, she kept telling me "I know where it is!"....often, when
in position, she launched into the water and across the ten yard space in a flash.  Upon arriving back at the line I was sure she was thinking "Let's do that again!" "walked around" again, moved back about 30 yards and she was all over it..........A fun session in the field!

Mar 5 trained in the afternoon at the Winnebago Co. DTA leaving Daisy and Kooly
home (day off).....Pounce ran four "stand alone/send backs" in a modified intro to
Voight's "Valley Drill" - ran the four singles first, removed the "running line" and
then ran three cold blinds in the opposite direction leaving the two white chairs out
              note: very steady with delayed releases on all four singles, not distracted 
                        by the chairs and straight as an arrow to each fall, she had a short
                        break as the running line "stuff" (mat and white stickman) for the
                        marks was removed and the three blinds were planted
               note: running this setup was exciting because it went really well and
                         breaking the setup into marks then blinds was a more logical way to
                         prepare her for eventually running the full setup (more distance with
                         marks and blinds in all in one setup).......this drill can be "picked up"
                         and placed anywhere for exposure to various diversions/factors  
               note: needed to "walk through" several sketches prior to going into the  
                          field to become comfortable with the sequence and then modified
                          the presentations to fit the terrain and Pounce's skill level.....add to
                          that  Pounce's ability to work with "stand alones", it was fairly
                          easy the first time through (seamless).....Pounce  was prepared
                 note: used mallards in the setup with a primer pistol for the marks
                 note: her handling of ducks is solid and it has not been rushed
                 note: run 1XOB drill

Mar 2 cold = take another day off...except did 2XOB, good news - weather forecasts
for March and April are for much above temperatures which translates to earlier water training, HRC group begins the first week in April (the 7th?) plus if the early
warmer water situation "pans out" a derby (or two) still may be slightly possible
                note: May 11-12 attending a Bill Hillmann seminar at Bong Rec. in Wis.
                note: June 4th is "age out" date and the beginning of HRC Finished
Mar 3 1:30 pm vet appointment for Daisy & Kooly for routine heart worm test 
                note: both negative........Kooly weighs 57 lbs. & Daisy weighs 64 lbs.

                note: did 2XOB
Mar 4 Friday drove to Hanover, IL to pick up ten live, drake mallards and back in
time to train at the Winnebago Co. DTA in the afternoon using two "fresh" mallards",
setup two stickmen stations in a "stand alone/walk back" double for Pounce & that went well....then drove back to north parking area and planted two cold blinds in the setup (leaving the stickmen stations out) that went well and she was "on fire" with the scent of "new, warm ducks" snow on the ground in this area
                   note: Kooly and Daisy each ran six short "stand alone/send back"
                             singles in tandem (exercise)

                   note: only did the morning OB session

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Mar 23 temperatures in the upper thirties with stiff breeze and most of the huge storm front drifted north........back half will come in from the southwest  later....meanwhile Pounce literally did some "yard work" in the front yard
                      note: first a seven bumper lining drill was run on the north side of the front    

                                yard  with a left then a right side heel.....the starting line was a tight
                                angle in front of all the bumpers beyond 
                      note: next "run" was a repeat "mirror" of the first. on the south side of the lawn
                      note: finished with some "fun" push/pull and "noing off" of two hand thrown
                                orange bumpers to the east

right/left click - photo or slideshow

click on icon (photo or slideshow)

Mar 10 early morning OB session focused on "duck in mouth" mode.....mid-day trained at  RockCut State Park DTA....first setup was a short, remote winger Y-Drill with mallards in cover.......then moved the line and wingers for a second, longer Y-Drill again with mallards                         note: total of six singles...with focus on "line time"and marking....then moved 
                                  the three wingers again by spacing them along a border of taller cover
                                  so as to do three successive "walk ups"
                         note: this was a solid training sessionrevealing that the regular, daily OB
                                  sessions are developing automatic responses, the key aspect of this is
                                  making it seamless and gradual...and taking nothing out of her drive
Mar 11 
trained at the RockCut State Park DTA with a "group" of two......using three holding blinds two dogs (Pounce and Maggie) ended up at the running....the other honoring,
using mallards in a three remote winger Y-Drill marking setup plus a forth winger near the line fired off as a diversion on the running dog's last whistle sat upon the diversion launch. The honoring dog then picked up the diversion bird and then both dogs returned to their respective handlers.
                note: note both marked well and did the diversion "deal" nicely
                note: Pounce did really well and Maggie had some noise issues at the line (on
                          going issue)
next up was two cold blinds run past the three winger pod with one upwind the other down
                 note: Pounce did well on the blinds mostly because I followed her out
next up was all four wingers moved closer and father east in a "Pod" with the running dog being "Maggie".......specifically Pounce would retrieve any (or all)  marks where Maggie vocalized.......after Pounce picked up the first three, we changed tactics on worked and she was allowed to make the last retrieve......not a cure without repetition. the
last session was done on Anne's insistence, since Pounce has brought retrieves back to the gunner (me) in our training alone, she wanted throw the five mallards as somewhat of a test to see if she would out of habit return to the "gunner"........their was not a hint of doing that all five mallards came back and were again held in mouth looking out for the next mark....the
question was answered
               note: the weather for March was sensational....sunburned lips though
                note: the morning session was Pounce's first closeup, involved and "not solo",
                          she was totally "up" the entire morning........the recent "yard work" OB on
                          handling  ducks had her sitting at the line with a firm, quiet hold on
                          retrieved ducks and looking out intently for the next mark, that was
                          actually the coolest part of the morning session (for me)
                note: she was all over each single (they weren't very long).....then again today's
                          session was more about the line, another dog and people
                note: next "two" group session Thursday March 17
Mar 12  Saturday - day off (no training or OB sessions)       
Mar 13 
rain most of today.......ducks are thawed out & ready.....late afternoon rain & used
three ducks in a indoor training session working on OB while handling birds - good session
                 note: daylight (sunset) is one hour later starting today
Mar 14 (Monday) high of 60°F, cloudy & 4 mph wind.....the day went by with carpet installers not finished until late.....moved furniture back and just did get in some training as the sun went down.....Pounce did two "stand alone/walk back" doubles...pinned the "go birds", but had hunts on both memories, Kooly & Daisy then did four marks giving Pounce a breather and as the sun was about "done" Pounce came back out to run two, long cold blinds....lined the
1st (which was a pleasant marker) and four whistled the 2nd with good, solid sits
Mar 15 rain forecast for noon - trained at the Rockton Road DTA - Pounce lined a 125 yard
cold blind (use Mallard), put her up and scented the upwind side of the line with feathers in
two areas and a mallard in the last about 15-20 yards up wind of the line to the blind(s)....then sent her again (and she knew there was another mallard where the first one was)....scent never slowed her down and she lined the second one....finished with two "stickmen" stations and two sets of two singles doing through the "old falls" marks & scent (finished before rain)
                   note: the blind setup went really well........two mallards by a "ghillie shrub"
                             (which she has become very adept at seeing at a distance.....not ideal, but
                             good for this setup)......lined the blind in a streak and of course saw two
                             mallards...after delivery she was "put up" 7 feathers were strewn around in
                             two areas on the upwind side plus another mallard beyond the scented
                             areas.....she came back out and ignored the scent mostly because she
                             trusted her  eyes and memory more.However, she almost caved in to the
                             scent on the last single, but herr scent discrimination training is sinking in

                   note: Set  up the camera to make a YouTube Video (or two) and kept the marking
                             presentation "as is".....with no editing.......'cause it wasn't perfect.  

right/left click - photo or slideshow