April 26 Pounce has trained eight straight days. Did not train this morning and there is a group session this evening. She is in heat.....day off.....no sense in ruining a training day for for someone else.

April 27 Pounce trained at the Four Lakes DTA. Two mallards were thawed out overnight and used to run four different remote winger doubles. The "field" had several magnum sized goose shells influencing the marks. The doubles were not long because the focus was on precise expectations "from the van to the holding blind", "from the blind  to the line" and once at the line....."precise practice on the correct expectations" required for making retrieves. "The Guns" were easy to locate (open terrain with flat, calf-high, grassy cover). Magnum goose, sleeper decoys were spread out near the two falls. Each winger and "camo" blind remained in relatively the same position, but the line for each double was different. This session was all about working on "precise expectations from the van to the line and at the line". It is called Hillmann's......distraction practice.
                note: today's session marks another noticeable improvement
The afternoon temperatures pushed the water/air total to over 120 degrees. Therefore, we stopped at Thorson Pond on the way home to do two parallel to the shore swimming retrieves.....animated, excited fun.
 April 28 This month is "flying by" and training has been productive. Today's plan is to do two KRD's (singles with concept blinds). The rationale can be summed up in one word - "balance".          note: not as warm today = no water

April 3 AKC OB class 10:30 am - rain (all day) and the long range forecast = cool April
                 note: evening......trained in the indoor, heated area.....OB "reps"
April 4 so far this month has not been pleasant....2" of snow last night....morning temps are in the 20's. This afternoon at 1PM, 35°F....group training session at Four Lakes DTA

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April 24 forecast high of upper 60's...morning did not begin well...dash board tire pressure sensor lit up. The tire shop dealer was next. Nail in sidewall was $209, but got in immediately. Decided to train close....the Rockton Road DTA had not been used once this spring. Set out five stickmen....two at 60 yards, another two about 90 yards and "one up the middle" at about 125 yards. Using a 3" orange bumper, singles were thrown 1,2,3 to the right (longer on each one and then 4,5,6 check downs on the left....breeze was "down wind"). The cover was somewhat heavier than what she has seen this spring, but there were no issues. Pounce was "firing on all  cylinders" and marked well. 

April 19 Thursday afternoon group training...Not sure about going. Rain, followed by sleet and snow yesterday/last night has mostly melted this morning, but the "Kwick Van" is mostly "helpless" in wet, soft grass/mud........which is unavoidable at the Harrison Road DTA. Then there is Pounce in heat which re-enforces the obvious. "Why bother?" wins.  Checking the nearby Thorson Pond "Grassy Area" DTA, the gravel road in was only a little "mushy". Decided to repeat yesterdays' practice in a different part of the training area. Pounce was "good" with her "push/pull" reps. With today's "reps" (after several days off), it is time to take advantage of the next several days of excellent weather.......not real warm, but dry.
April 20 Pounce trained at Four Lakes DTA around noon with sunshine pushing "temps" into the low 50's (balmy). Set up three wingers with mallards and ran a Flip-Flop, two sets of three singles (one set from the north and the other from the south). Four Kwick "faux" shrubs were used to add more "interest" to the featureless terrain (refer to the April 13th entry). The plan is to run several "schooled" triples over the next few weeks (singles first then repeat them as a triple). This is not the only thing Pounce will be doing......balance.
                  note: Two Gunners Up "Son of a Guns" remained stationary (same place) while the

                            longest singles of each set were thrown from a larger (longer throw) Gunners
                            Up "Original" moved from one end of the "flip-flop, winger line to the other.
                  note: The "Ghillie Shrubs" made the terrain more "interesting" by enhancing depth

Pounce ran two ABCD marking drills (singles) at the Gallagher FT property (late morning) using four wingers with mallards and primer loads. Each "station" was identified with a white stickman. The line for the first setup was on a small mound. The second setup was run off a larger mound to the north. Both were a ninety degree "Flip-Flop" (wingers were adjusted for directions, but remain in the same spot). The temperature was in the upper 50's with a good breeze out of the northeast.  Daisy was exercised during the final "equipment pickup". With water and air temperatures adding up to 120 degrees, the initial line of the larger water area was run by Pounce. The northeast wind had some impact on line, but is seemed like fun to her. On the way home, after seeing that Stoughton was now empty of anyone training, Pounce did a quick run
on three lines of the long, east point blind (land).  

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With no ATV, there is quite a bit of "walking around" to get a setup ready to train. The van is limited on where it can be driven in most training areas. Therefore, being efficient requires ingenuity. Using a sled, decoys are easier to deal with plus a winger and holding blind can be taken into the field (with the sled in tow) all in one trip. The next steps are planting blinds and pin pointing where the line and holding blind will be positioned.   Thinking ahead of time provides for having the van in the right place to minimize trips into the field. Today's training was to be two different KRD's......each having a single with four concept blinds. Training alone is much more gratifying when the work is done efficiently.
It simply has to be so when one is a few months away from being 78 years old.


April 4th "Out the Front Door"

April 15 Sunday - wind, cold and snow.......Pounce has finished the heat cycle "clue state" where she tends to "mark a lot" (very frequent peeing") and is now visibly demonstrating proestrus. Last year, this stage was noted on April 14th (significantly precise). Tuesday is the CGC test for the OB class we have been attending. To be fair to the male dogs, we will not attend. The primary rationale for the class was "distraction practice".
                   note: The early flowers are even more unhappy.

April 22 Pounce trained at the Harrison Road DTA..beautiful day and almost 60 degrees. The setup was another "schooled", inline triple thrown left to right and in the same sequence as yesterday's.
                  note: Daisy was exercise while picking up the wingers (bunch of fun bumpers).  

April 13 I did not expect to train today with rain almost a sure thing. However, it stayed to the north and the "Ghillie Shrubs" were given a maiden voyage at the Four Lakes DTA. They were setup to form a "No-No" barrier (don't got around....go through). Four blinds were run "up close" (easier). Then the running line was moved farther back to challenge. Depending on how this progressed (in the first "run") would determine how far to move back in the second. There were no real issues and moved back quite a bit. However, I first had to walk down toward the four orange poles (each with two bumpers) because I could not see them even from the initial, closer line. I need to start regular practice with the golf range finder because my right eye is pretty much useless which means depth perception "sucks". 
          note: The orange blind poles were "found" by using a Paint Editor and drawing
                    orange lines before shrinking photos for WEB use.
          note: Pounce has done several training sessions dealing with the No-No concept so
                   this was not that big of a deal (simply more practice with a different "picture").
          note: Daisy was exercised while I setup the "terrain".

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April 10 at 9 pm Pounce repeated the "Distraction Focus Drill" in a different section of the Thorson "Grassy Area" DTA. Pounce was very good at the line (focused, no motion and responsive).  The rationale was two-fold. The first was for "practice" and the second to see if this fast paced workout would take the "edge off" her 10:30 am OB class. It didn't. Got a "ping" message that there will be a group training session at the Harrison Road DTA about 4:30 pm. Upper 30's....not comfortable!  Pounce ran three singles and two blinds.  
                 note: There will be a big "warmup" soon.
April 11
Pounce has trained eight out of the last ten days....but it will be in the upper 50's. After a five minute drive to the Thorson Pond DTA, it was not long before three remote wingers were setup to do the "van to line distraction practice" (duck calling from the line, "beeps and quacks" from the Dogtra electronics, close marks with bouncing Dokkens plus doing the "van to a holding blind, to the line" routine four times. Two sets of three singles and two sets of triples were run from four different positions. Precise repetition (practice) is the key to Pounce's progress.
April 12  At 4:30 pm, Pounce trained in the Thursday, first spring group (dues, etc.) training session (Harrison Road DTA). With three marks and two blinds possible, Pounce ran a double with a blind and then a poison brid blind off the short walk-up (mallards for the marks and bumpers for the blinds. The scent from the long mallard in the double as being blown in and to the left of the fall. Pounce went "with the scent cone" and veered way off line (to the left). She soon realized that was a mistake and recovered to swooped back in toward the AOF and "snatch up" the mallard.
                 note: high was in the upper 60's and comfortable.....rain in the forecast and not sure about tomorrow. In the morning, four "Ghillie Shrubs" were made using raffia and black electric fence posts. There are some training areas that have very few cover factors. The description and history of "faux terrain" goes back several years.

April 23 run/practice basic ABCD marking drill (four singles) and eventually the W marking drill

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April 1 Easter Sunday...relatives visiting this afternoon and a high 38°F yields a day off
April 2 Pounce ran three different remote winger Y-Drills with Dokken ducks at the Four Lakes DTA. She was good and fast. It was breezy and cool, but the walking and moving wingers made it seem warmer. Pounce did a late night review of the OB standards for tomorrow morning's AKC OB class.         note: Daisy had the day off.

Gallagher "Point Blind" - refer to

In Hillmann's Advanced Program, he discuses the development/enhancement of memory. The
proven fundamental is that practice and steadily challenging boundaries is effective. If a retriever is comfortable at remembering many, many marks, three or four in tests/competitions will be
less intimidating. Pounce has shown signs of having an excellent memory. It will be interesting
to find out how good it really is.
April 21 Pounce trained late morning at the Gallagher FT property in Wisconsin. It was 50°F, cloudy and there was not enough wind to make any difference (compared to recent training days). The setup was three remote wingers with mallards to do a schooled triple (throw as singles first and redo as a triple). As per Hillmann's program, the memory was exciting by making sure the arc was high, long and easy to see. Refer to the April 20th journal entry about Hillmann's input on memory. The two setups (singles then a triple) went well and decided to end on a very good "note" even though there was time for something else. It was a 90 mile round trip, but time flies when things go well.          note: The "van to the line" skill set was practiced twice.

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"Tilted" Google Map

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right  click on icons for larger photos

link to video:     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upSrRIUvGGc

April 25 at 10:30 am....sunny, 53°F, 14 mph wind out of the NE....Pounce ran a W marking drill with an orange bumper in the "stand alone/send back" mode. The first five singles were flat to the east. The second five singles were long angle backs to the west (wind aided). The grassy cover varied with none of it short and some of it taller than Pounce. She was strong to the end and marked well. It is somewhat interesting to observe her routine when nearing the AOF.  Her eyes begin searching and her nose come into play. There's an obvious, distinct difference in which came first. Her lining, sense of smell and sight characteristics seem well coordinated and this leads to a high level of confidence when marking. Her high drive seems to be matched well with these traits and makes it all work. Hillmann's philosophy emphasizes the importance of precise repetition. This was another very good "practice" session with a high "wow" factor.  This was fun!

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April 7 late morning with a temperate of 32°F and winds out of the NE at 15 mph.....Pounce trained in the Thorson Pond DTA's "grassy" area. First up was the three pile lining, casting drill (see diagram below).  Then Pounce did a "refresher" of the "No-No" concept with a "make-shift" obstacle made out of a blind used once on the bow of a Four Rivers Migrator marsh boat.  Before we left, Daisy ran several, short, hand thrown Dokkens for exercise and fun. Forty-five minutes later at the Harrison Road DTA, Pounce ran nine singles using the "stand alone/send back" mode (Dokken and primer pistol).

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April 14 no field training...today...8°F with 25 mph winds plus rain...then colder and snow tomorrow.  However, Pounce will work on some fun, indoor OB both days and I will finish off the state income tax forms. My crocuses and daffodils are not happy!

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After picking up the five stickmen, it was about ten minutes to Thorson Pond. Pounce got wet first and then ran a "cheaty" corner pile of three bumpers. The finish was an 80 yard parallel to the shore swim.

ABCD Drill               W Drill

"Calm After the Storm"

link to YouTube:

April 5 trained at the Four Lakes DTA and set up three remote wingers with mallards and

primer shots working on line expectations...short, "in your face", single retrieves with precise deliveries (nine)....more repetitions of exciting distraction practice. The wingers were reloaded to provide three sets of singles from three different lines (north, south and east). The east "launch line" (last set) had mallards coming from behind the line.  Each retrieve was after beeps and duck calling from the Dogtra remotes plus a primer report.  The standard is no movement at the line and a slow count to ten before each release. In addition, the "van to the line" (with airing and a holding blind) was "repeated/practiced" three times. 

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note: Today's sessions fell into the category of "more fun and practice".
          Both KRD sessions began and ended with real mallards. 

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Two wingers were setup to throw singles off the bluff. These were a "trial run" to judge what would be best with a double (schooled more for the trainer than Pounce). With a southwest wind of 18 mph, it was not a good idea to guess. After finding no surprises, the double was thrown and Pounce did well. The primary purpose was to have a kind of "out to sea" distance. The wind accomplished that goal as the marks were pushed farther north in the pool. This was kind of a test for Pounce to see how well her water attitude has progressed. This went even better than I had thought it would. Afterwards, Daisy was given some exercise while the setup for the first land Y-Drill was put out. Pounce ran two Y-Drills in the oak trees and literally stepped on all six singles...full of energy and looking for more. The sixty mile drive home flew by quickly and the issue of being old never seemed to be a factor. However, I will pay for it in the morning. 

April 6 trained at the Harrison Road DTA with a small group and pro Corey Zandonai. The setup
was three marks and two blinds. Pounce ran the marks right to left, followed by the long blind down the middle and the shorter blind to the left. Later, Pounce ran the long blind down the middle of the setup as a poison bird with the middle mark. This was run from a line farther to the right so as to provide more separation between the AOF and line to the blind. It was not enough as she got to the PB. On a sit after walking closer with a begging, "leave it" command, she turned and ran the blind. Tough blind "test" and questions answered.

This afternoon, it was warm and sunny. Therefore, a quick visit to Thorson Pond was "on tap". Water plus air temperatures fit slightly above the 120 total degrees rule. Pounce"hit the water" working on a variation of Hillmann's "don't cheat" drill. Instead of using well placed singles down the shore, Pounce works a "not visible, but known pile" down the shore. The process is "back" (leaving from the bank) and a parallel swim down the shore must be maintained until a left turn over says "You may now get out". Once a bumper is picked up, Pounce must re-enter the water perpendicularly, turn right and swim a parallel path back to the line. Her innate belief that running the bank is much more efficient requires a great deal of patient persistence. Refer to the "slide show" in the April 24th journal entry for the same shoreline. I have come to the conclusion that maintenance will eventually be kind of a common "thing". The main "plan" is to use a steady diet of water "point blinds". "I kind of know where I am going. Help me get there.....(show me the best way....handle).....according to you."  

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April 29 day off for all
April 30 first warm day of this spring......into the 70's....finally......The plan was to do two Y-Drills and some solid water work. After driving 40+ mile into Wisconsin to the field trial property, Stoughton and Gallagher were occupied with "big" field trial setups....."no room at the inn". The plans were altered after realizing the Hook Lake property (farther north) would be a good place to train because the lily pads had not take over....yet. Pounce and I had a wonderful day working on just what was in the original plan. The bonus was a great view of Hook Lake from up on a bluff just behind the club house.

Trained at the Harrison Road DTA in a group with a pro. Pounce ran the triple with two blinds. This was a test to measure her present skill levels towards running Master tests
in a few more months. She will always be a "live wire" and harnessing that energy has made huge progress. This was measured by today's feeling that I was more relaxed and composed. What a difference and certainly measurably better in terms of Pounce's more
obvious responsiveness. Now all that is required is warmer weather and water training. 
                    note: It was almost too cold to train (for me).
                    note: Pounce did early morning and late evening indoor OB sessions. 

YouTube Video

April 16 Woke up to two more inches of snow on top of what we had...this is not good. The plan was to begin serious water work before May.  The extended weather forecast reveals zero days being in the 70's for April...this is not good, except for no need to mow the lawn.
April 17 cold, windy, snow on the ground and took another day off from training 
April 18 cold early, wind, rain, sleet and then snow beginning around noon.....32°F at 9 pm and decided Pounce and Daisy simply needed some exercise. The "Grassy Area" at Thorson Pond DTA is five minutes away. Pounce did a practice session of "push/pull" expectations similar to what she did on April 9th and 10th (of this month). Afterwards, Daisy retrieved several fun bumpers as Pounce's training equipment was picked up. This was a quick, effective session.

The "look" is cued with sound (Dogtra electronics) reducing body movement to simply the head/eyes. Without a launched retrieve, there is less of a "distraction" resulting in no "busy feet" anxiety/anticipation. In this phase, many "reps" of not moving feet are more likely than when the action of launches are included. The distinction is somewhat like "modeling" a clay statue by shifting/adding layers one at a time from the inside out.....instead of chopping away with a hammer and sharp, cold chisel on a rigid block.

April 8 Sunday trained with large group around noon - forecast 37°F....dressing warm it seemed tolerable. Pounce ran three singles and two blinds. The focus was on the line. The first single was a walk-up and the first blind was not long, but it was quickly obvious that my depth vision has "tanked" because of macular degeneration in my right  eye and cataracts. The need to begin using my golf range finder (one eye) is becoming rather obvious. The second longer blind was very good because of the trees and slot like terrain. With many trainers/observers walking around, Pounce spent an extended amount of time walking and dealing with the diverse distractions.  About three hours later, the group was finished. Pounce was still "fresh as a daisy". Ten minutes away is the Four Lakes DTA.  Pounce ran a "pin-point" marking drill with a Dokken and primer pistol. When "out there throwing" it is interesting to observe how much she uses her nose and eyes when nearing the AOF. (snow tonight - 1")
April 9 with 40°F for a high and an AKC OB class tomorrow morning - decided to work on a more specific training situation to sequence a way to use well measured, incremental distractions dealing with multiple gun stations. The idea was to reduce the impact of the "out there action" and adjust the action at the line by creating "smaller" skill steps. This first session went as planned (incrementally effective) and appears to be seamless.  Pounce essentially said, "I get this because it is not nearly as over the top like in a full setup (with marks)". (more analysis and perspective in the next session)