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                      monthly hunting and training analysis through October 31st           
                                 trained - 24 days    hunting - 3x's    
                                 time off - 7 days     (out of heat the 8th)        
                  regular duck and goose season for northern Illinois began Oct 15

Oct 23 scouted early for geese, at least a hundred on the X and need to think about how to deal with that many.....go earlier tomorrow to "pattern at a distance", see if they come in smaller family groups earlier....moved to the grassy area farther south (out of sight from the pond) and Pounce ran a two tiered "wagon wheel" with orange bumpers in the outer circle and white up close (working on the "routine")....drove to Gander Mountain to purchase a Ghillie suit giving Pounce a rest and ended up running four blinds at the Roscoe Riverside Park DTA......good distances to "fight the wind"
                  note: blind one is a "pattern", the other three were 1st time blinds, but she did
                            see three other orange bumpers (in a pile) at the tree....easy.....for her
                  note: the lesson was "look far" and "fight the wind"

Oct 10 Pounce did an early morning yard work session with the primary focus on whistle sits....drove to the Thorson Pond "Grassy Area", did the "Modified Three-Peat" Come In Drill,  "reps" dealing with lining, handling and whistle sit standards....then later, after training Kooly & Daisy, Pounce reviewed similar standards again in water (same drill design) at Thorson Pond
                  note: below are two photo examples of the drill (from previous journal entries)
                  note: three "diversions" were thrown during the water drill = excitement, energy
                  note: Daisy did five water singles with long swims = exercise and Kooly did five
                           short singles, close and parallel to the shoreline with entries and exits right at
                           the shoreline = water exercise/therapy for weak, left hind leg "issue" (close, in
                           case he runs into trouble).....was willing and comfortable....getting in and out
                           of the van is much easier (and safer) with the ramp

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link to YouTube Video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUWJ1D3m1Sk

Oct 24 scouted for a geese "pattern" early in the morning......Pounce ran one KRD this afternoon at the Y-Property (planned on doing two)....however, the first went so well that was good for the day.....used two "stickmen", Zinger Uplander, black & white bumper with streamers and mallards for the three blinds....concepts "wide behind gunner", "wide of the AOF" and "under the arc"

Oct 5 afternoon - Pounce ran two KRD setups using the Zinger "Uplander" for the marks

                  note: one mark and four concept blinds in KRD #1, "one and five" in the second
                  note: KRD means "key relationship drill"
                
  note: moved Migrator from  "piggy back" position on the big rig to small trailer

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Oct 22 trained at the Y-Property in the afternoon and did three sets of three cold blinds     
                  note: used mallards....need to work on at the line setup and "carrying the line"

Oct 19 semi-annual doctor's appointment and did Pounce's morning "yard work" session

Oct 20 Today is D-Day......"dechasing" day......bought six chakars. Three were released in
the erosion strips near Thorson Pond. By the time the third one was encountered, Pounce
knew what she was looking for. Three more tomorrow!
                                                                "Dechasing"
Retriever training programs use the sit command as a foundation. Control, focus and responsiveness are factors that are enhanced by a solid sit expectation. However, there is always the instinct in a retriever to chase. The "sit" command is intended  to establish when. Most retriever  training focuses on waterfowl applications (land and water). When hunting waterfowl, the retriever does not generally do free search and flush prey. They watch and respond (under control). 

The "perspective" of freely being on the move (searching and flushing prey) is contrary to the control expected from a retriever being used in testing and waterfowl hunting. In essence, free chase is not emphasized and thus may inadvertently become an undeveloped expectation. 

The idea of using a retriever in the uplands requires adjusting expectations. Free search is a different skill with an emphasis on individual decisions, instinctive chasing and catching. Upland hunting skills are often in conflict with established retrieving skills.

In the uplands, most young dogs do not know where the free search of chasing ceases and retrieving "rules" begin. Chasing is addictive and instinctively exciting which can quickly
evolve into control problems. Or just the opposite may occur.......the dog's search drive is inhibited by the consistent, rigorous exercise of control during retriever training.  

"Dechasing" is taught by encouraging/allowing "chasing" and using the actions of upland birds to "teach the rules engagement". Essentially, it is the process of allowing a dog to discover he can't catch the bird as it flies away. It is extremely important to minimize trainer input during this initial phase......to "not chase" must become the dog's choice.

To summarize, a solid retriever program does not simply translate to all phases in the uplands. The chase instinct is powerful. It is not wise (nor as seamless) to "allow a dog to fully engage in upland hunting" before channeling the proper expectations. Allow chases, flushes and "fly- aways" to promote the "sit to flush" expectation with a minimum of input from the trainer.

The free search skills to find mesh perfectly with the reward of a solid sit to flush expectation.
With this approach, a "bird in the air" means sit to the dog because 1) chases have proven to be futile and 2) there are consistent rewards for not chasing (praise, shot birds and retrieves). 

Oct 21 trained at the Winnebago Co. DTA - used three Chukars (one at a time) and worked into the wind. Yesterday's erosion strips had Pounce moving from one side to the other in kind of a "beginner's" quartering mode. This area is a good sized, calf-high grassy upland. One Chukar was used in a Hillmann type excitement routine. The other two were "dizzied" and planted.
                   note: using the technique of "physical influence" Pounce was quickly into an
                             instinctive quartering mode.........and with each Chukar her focus and
                             awareness increased...."the game was on"  and it "came easy" for her
                  
note: maximize upland training effectiveness by using "compartmentalization"

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Oct 11 Pounce worked in the yard this morning - "up beat" excitement centered around hidden walk-ups using the remote Zinger "Uplander" - consistent  "reps" dealing with the correct heeling positions (both sides), whistle sit en route and recall, hold, drop/delivery,  remote sit & drop, leave it and down....doing this "skill practice" routine regularly enhances focus, control and responsiveness while entrenching skill standards into automatic responses........a critical component of each session is to perform in "drive" (keep it exciting & fun)
                   note: the primary "action center" for the next three months is hunting

                   note: Kooly's water therapy yesterday (easy swimming) resulted in 1) not eating
                              and 2) being lamer/sore...today did not do anything but "air" in the yard and
                              a very easy  walk/sit exercise in the living room
Oct 12 early morning to avoid the rain forecast .....Pounce worked a simulated hunt/training
 session in what is left of the technical pond in the Winnebago County DTA (low water)
                  note:  A video of the session was recorded for YouTube and to critique "skills in
                              need". The  following is  the intro/description "posted" in the video.

Waterfowl season begins Saturday and Pounce is ready to carry the load. The other two “kwicklabs” include Daisy (eleven years old) . Unfortunately, she  has lost a great deal of her hearing. Then there is  Kooly (at fourteen and presently not physically able to hunt).  

Pounce ran her most realistic hunt training “prep” this morning…..a simulated duck hunt. The “routine” was the new focus of “not much action” (slowing things down). There was a review of “place and down in the hide” which included “no paws sticking out”.

All retrieves are by invitation……..leave the dog hide only on the “heel” command (for now) because it is NOT a  ”launching pad”.  Later on, with a remote placement of the dog hide, she may be asked to go directly to the fall on a retrieve. Today was mostly about waiting....and waiting some more…..patience. Pounce has  had limited experience with the low key, down times of a real hunt. Also, it was noted that she is not use to such short marks and her ”drop/shake” sequence needed a quick review. 

northeast section of Riverside Park

You Tube Video (24+ minutes)

link to YouTubeVideo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4h4d4XSde2M

Oct 3 Pounce ran two sets of ABCD singles at Riverside Park DTA in the afternoon (different area than Sept 30th), plus an early morning "yardwork" session
                  note: three wingers + the "Uplander" (two shortest singles), "stickmen" & ducks
                  note: couple of "big" hunts, but pinned the last mark in each set (still in heat)
                  note: Kooly's left hind leg (limp) seems worse today

Oct 8 early morning "temp" 38°F.......when into the forties (later), Pounce did a "fast paced" yard work session focusing on the correct position for heel (both sides), all sessions are kept in drive which continues the expectation of being responsive when excited
                   note: Pounce's regular "yard work" sessions are moving toward maintenance
                            and precision with the rationale of "translating into the field" (testing/hunting)
Oct 9 morning - Pounce did an "up beat" yard work session with the focus on "whistle" sit reps
afternoon ran five "stand alone send back" singles at Thorson Pond  (stickmen and mallards)

Oct 26 hard rain all morning..."window" at 1:30 pm...Pounce did a "yardwork" session doing off lead heeling (both sides), review random whistle sits off a variety of motions using two bumpers.....last segment focused on her penchant to drop a diversion bumper on the way back from a land  retrieve...zero issues with this in water and now  none on land......just needed to "show her" what the expectation was..basically, "No...not that...this is what's expected."....using a quiet, calm verbal "No"' and easy "reps" up close. Finesse is cool!  
                 note: rain started back up again just as we finished
Oct 27, 28 two days off....issues with training van
Oct 29 scouted for geese......just not moving.....too warm & plenty of lush grass, Pounce did a "yardwork" session.......spent the rest of the day blowing leaves into piles (front yard)
Oct 30 morning - did "yard work" session early, later trained Pounce did a two tier wagon wheel in the Thorson Pond "Yard Work" area  & went across the road to do a set of "Ya-Ha" singles in the "Hay Field Area"....forgot her e-collar...noticed no difference.....high energy & responsive
                  note: next up work on boat, organize decoys, move leaves & mow front yard
                  note: Monday - train water....use ducks & wear vest for a couple of the marks,
                            inventory birds in freezer
                            training birds

"hunting begins - time to switch gears"

Oct 7 morning off...vet appointment for Kooly at 10:30 am....wanted diagnosis on left hind leg and with the "Vet" office close to the Stoughton field trial grounds........Pounce was trained running "flip flop" sets of four singles (eight marks in all).....left three remote wingers in the same place and moved the short mark (thrown from a Zinger "Uplander"), used mallards and white "stickmen" in the field plus the GunzUp "CD sounds" at the line
                  note: once locked, her focus to drive past "stuff" for longer marks is fun to watch
                  note: set #1 run from the north & set #2 from the south (cross wind for both)
                  note: nothing definitive on Kooly (many advanced age related guesses) will do only
                            swimming for awhile....loosing muscle mass in left hind leg, no running 
                            entries into the water with swims parallel to the shoreline (close)
                  note: Go Cubs!

Oct 25 set up goose hunt early on a chance a few mallards would show up at dawn,

nothing showed interest in the pond and soon noticed the edges had been mowed. The geese were spooked off by this once before....bad timing. However, Ponce spent four hours doing nothing but staying in the hide.....coping with boredom is a skill. 
                  note: a young dog can learn a lot by "doing nothing"
                  note: later Pounce did a fun "yardwork" session with whistle sit "reps'
                  note: trainer's eye doctor report....everything is "stable"

YouTube Video - Chukar Intro

Oct 6 reviewed "Line Time Drill" standards using a "dog hide" modification = simulated hunt,
three remote wingers plus "Uplander" all loaded with ducks....duck calling, falls in "gun range" (short), used  pump shotgun with primer loads as in an advanced simulated HRC test line (with
the exception of a "dog hide")

                    note: establishing "dog hide standards" for real hunting - totally inside including
                              front paws and coming to heel from the hide on command before releasing
                              to retrieve (not a "launching pad")
                    note: after the first four, moved hide closer so as "to make more clear" the rule
                              about "feet in the hide", not "pushing" much on this due to next entry
                    note: Pounce is still in heat (heavy bleeding today) 

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Oct 1 Pounce "worked" the "Line Time Drill" with mallards at Thorson Pond DTA in the east grassy area....HRC type line with three Gunners Up wingers and a new Zinger "Uplander", the  Gunz Up "CD sounds" are  played providing more hunt test realism and escalating excitement,  did eight singles & two "diversions" (in two sets) with an emphasis on "line standards"             
                  note: being focused and under control when excited becomes normal with practice
                  note: refer to the August 21st journal entry for more info on this drill
Had to build a ramp for Kooly to get into the van. Going up and down stairs at home is a big challenge. Novox appears to have no effect and he did not eat his food tonight. In November,  Kooly will be 13 years old. This part of the journey is not fun.   

Oct 2 did a set of six "Ya-Ha" singles at Roscoe Riverside Park DTA in the afternoon.....refer to the Sept 27 entry of Pounce's training journal.......plus a late morning "yardwork" session
                  note: ran in a completely different area
                  note: two singles at 100, 125 and 150 yards...downwind, "stand alone/send backs"
                            in calf-high cover (cloudy, in the 60's with a cool west breeze off the river)
                  note: marks done in this manner provide an excellent, high energy change of pace
                            because there is very little pressure......it is fun!.....thus, the drill's name
                   

Oct 31 Pounce trained a quick session at the "New Place" with not much time. Threw a short, "stand alone/walk back" single and ran four blinds.
                       note: She made it look too easy.....mostly interested in quick, square sits
                                 on the whistles and taking good casts.....and she was up to it,
                                 Good way to end October                  

Oct 4 morning - Pounce did anther session of "Yardwork" on lead and off....plus added in well spaced "flush" to "walkup" sits with the Zinger "Uplander", working in the yard in an excited state (repetition) is producing  a positive effect on her focus, control and responsiveness
                 note: this is the primary rationale for regular yardwork......practice how you play
                 note: morning  = van to the mechanics - electric door locks & air bag light issues
                          was not finished soon enough for additional training plans

Oct 13 took Daisy and Pounce to the Mississippi River to scout for opening day.....river is up more than usual for opening weekend.........found some ducks in a place we might be able to secure (if we arrive early enough).....the alternative is to drive a few miles Saturday morning and shoot a couple of geese........that would sure be simpler
                note: on the way Daisy and Pounce "blew off some steam" doing a bunch of
                          hand thrown singles "in tandem" in heavy cover at the Winnebago Co. DTA. 
                          When we quit, Daisy was "gassed" and Pounce wanted more.
                note: being out on the "big river" never ceases to be exhilarating....home at 5 pm

Oct 14 did not train this morning.....decided to take just Pounce to Pool 13 for her first opening day hunt......spent the day packing "stuff" needed for a higher than normal water level. Actually, the "conditions" will make getting "stuff" in easier. However, the boat launch can be a "zoo" even at 2:am. Going to bed early for a "power nap" with another snooze just off the main channel "somewhere in the backwaters" long before shooting time.
Oct 15 first hunt driving from home instead of out of the duck camp site...after a two hour drive arrived at the launch....about twenty trucks had already launched.......but no one was
there to interrupt the "put in", arrived at the "scouted spot" from Wednesday and water levels made it a "no go".....went to the second choice and the "cut" was blocked about an
hour later by a group setting up a lot closer than 200 yards.....they shot continuously for two hours......had two "woodies" buzz by and that was it.....only thing I got was tired and a "look" from Pounce that asked "What was this all about?"
Oct 16 day off....need a change in tactics. Do what a friend does.1) arrive later in the day during the middle of the week and 2) find some place where a few ducks want to be or 3) go back to the old hunting spots on the much closer Rock River (ten minute drive vs. two hours) or 4) spend some time working on upland skills for an HRC UH title in the spring.
                  note: took Kooly to the emergency vet Saturday afternoon after continuous
                            whining (which began right after leaving for the duck hunt Friday night).
                            My wife was NOT thrilled with that. His limp in the left hind leg is getting
                            worse. He is not eating (again) and "hacking up" bile at regular intervals.
                            $400 later, X-Rays revealed nothing. There was no definitive diagnosis of
                            the muscle mass loss. Hips are OK and whining was the result a flare-up
                            in his life-long skin allergy "issues". He's resting peacefully now, mostly
                            because Benadryl made his skin more tolerable and it is a sedative. The
                            cottage cheese and rice diet has quickly eliminated the "bile hacking".
                  note: Kooly was taken off the generic Rimydryl and will be put on Gabapentin.
                            In two weeks, Kooly can use Predisone (as needed) for his skin issues.
                  note: I hadn't finished recording this entry when "out of the blue" my eleven
                           Daisy had a first time, sudden seizure (not pleasant to watch).  There will
                           be no more water or duck hunting for her. 
The three of us are getting too old............all of a sudden.
Oct 17 day off - Scouted for geese...none where they were Friday. It appears that mowing around the pond must have "spooked them off" their routine....because they are back today
                  note: decided to begin work on Pounce's upland experience which is zero
                            right now and backwards from what was done with all my Labs before,
                            she does know what a "walk-up" means, but that is a mark......what is
                            new is the concept of being "dechased" meaning not running after a
                            bird flying away.....therefore, a few (or more) flushes will be shot at ,
                            "intentionally" missed and  "a chase" allowed with no corrections
                            other than realizing the futility of chasing.....the standard is whistle,
                            verbal, gunshot and/or bird in the air all mean the same thing........"sit"

                  note: drove to game farm in Wisconsin to check on upland hunting intro
                  note: went to the pond near dusk and built a shore blind (good breeze made   
                            for no mosquitoes......and it is shirt sleeve wather
Oct 18 at the blind just before sunrise....warm enough to wear a long sleeve shirt and setup quickly.....took a few photos to pass the time. About an hour later a large group of geese (40-50) "swooped" in without much caution and land in the pond......screwed.....too many to educate......flushed them off.......about an hour later a small group (eight) landed up in the bean field and began to "graze" while a large flock of turkeys moved in from the east to get some water..........no geese this morning.....but the photography was fun. Finally decided to "pack it in"....but before leaving, Pounce ran two blinds south across the pond.
                  note: then the Cubs got beat......again......all around, not nearly a perfect day