Flexible Training Plan Projections
                                         key focus = work slowly
                                         ("descriptive inventory")  

       April 18 ran the "Four-Peat" blinds and the Five Bumper Water
                     Lining Drill (first time)

       April 19rain was "later", ran the "HRC Line Drill" twice and did
                       nine walking singles (with two "themes")        
April 20 ran the "HRC Line Drill" with complications (challenged)
Did not attend Thursday, late afternoon training group.
                     Lyah's first grade class had a musical program.
April 21 ran "longish" KRD, walking singles & water lining drill 
April 22 ran the "HRC Line Drill" - 3 walk-ups & singles, triple and
                     diversion......went to water and did seven walking singles
April 23 Did a set of several walk around, send over, down the
                     shore, really "soggy", sinking mallard singles....sunny, 70°F 
This is the "S mallard drill". (drill means not just done once)
April 24 morning....ran "HRC Line Drill" (singles then triple) plus
                     water blind
                            Monday - late afternoon training group (double + blind)
        April 25 "AKC line drill" - close, mallard multiples - "reps" + blind
        √April 26 day off...rain, picked up two flyer mallards then drove to
                     Janesville, Wi and bought season window sticker from DNR
                     (required to train and test at Bong Rec. Area)
        April 27 Y-Property - shot two mallard "flyers" and ran three blinds
        April 28 Y-Property - Flip-Flop 4 doubles "2 sets of 2" and 2 blinds
        April 29 AKC line drill with two triples each with a "walkup"
        April 30 two hour break in the rain - Pounce did eight 8 walking
                    singles and 8 blinds...plus, there was time to exercise Daisy. 
                                 22 days training and 8 days off (still in heat)

April 29 With heavy rain moving in around 1 pm linked with a normal Saturday schedule, there would be no training, However, a time slot opened up. After a five minute drive to the Square Pond "grassy area", three wingers and a Zinger "Uplander" provided "line time" practice. Pounce did a "walk-up" followed by a triple. Then repeated that theme throwing the marks in a reversed order (after a walk-up). The focus was on "expectations at the lines". 
                     note: this did not take much time..."good thing"...rain began right after "pickup"
                     note: rationales for running this practice routine
                               1) Pounce will be "running" doubles in her next six hunt tests (last two
                                   AKC Senior tests and four HRC Seasoned tests) and  doing walk-ups.
                               2) Running easy triples, make doubles simpler.
                               3) Running many triples before actually having to run them in tests
                                   provides plenty of "reps" & practice before HRC Finished tests begin.
                     note: singles are thrown often to maintain balance and work on concepts
April 30 radar revealed a window of no rain mid-afternoon. Pounce did eight walking singles along with eight cold blinds (100-125 yards) at the "New Place" (18" of lush, tall grass cover)
                     note: this month was a good "prep" for the upcoming test season

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April 10 trained in the morning at the Winnebago Co. DTA....1st did the "Markless HRC Lining" drill with mallards and "camo bumpers at each "station". "Shot" two triples each with a diversion. As predicted Pounce picked up the mallards on the first "go". Both runs were very good with expectations at the line excellent..."calm, cool and collected" while
exploding off the line when sent....very good session. Next up was a review of lining and  casting in water with a "structure" patterned after a big swim-by vs. T design. 
          1st - lined each pile (west and east) from the peninsula   2nd - ran each pile from  
          each side full width  3rd - sent from the south out on to the peninsula and did two
          full length "swim-by" off the peninsula to a pile and then back across the 
          peninsula to the other side (strong and "into it" the entire time)
Finished by tossing the ducks into the water to retrieve - they were special....old (very) and saved from last year. Soggy, sinking and "smelly" mallards were retrieved without any refusals or of even a hint of "dislike". A good day in the field!
       note: If the rain forecast is accurate, our first spring training group will be at 4 pm.

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right click on icon for larger photo

right click on icon for larger photo

April 19 Pounce trained in the morning at the "New Place" after radar indicate rain later. Set up the four remote wingers in a "pod" for the "HRC Line Drill", did "van to line" OB routine twice (includes a holding blind, HRC bucket, duck call and primer shotgun)
              note: first run - all singles, second run - two doubles...each with a diversion
                        the marks were two 3" camo bumpers and two 3" black/white DTs rubber
                        bumpers with black & white flagging (major contrast)
              note: Pounce finally has the HRC line "routine/expectation" in place.....she is
                        in the precise repetitions stage...."practice"
The rain began as a sprinkle...just as the wingers were being put away.....got wet (not bad). When all loaded, the rain slowed down some. Therefore, decided to finish the lesson plan which was to do nine walking singles (after exercising Daisy). Not having boots was only a minor "thing".

The grass has "jumped out of the ground" and is "calf-high". The theme of the singles was two-fold. First, the grass is lush and easily swallows a 2" back/white flagged bumper. Secondly, the well spaced trees on the property are just beginning to "leaf out" so that a bumper thrown in back of them will still have visible flashes of the "arc behind a tree" mark. Nine walking singles (ranging from 75-150) yards were thrown with the same theme - arc behind a tree into lush, deep, bumper hiding grass (on the other side). Apparently, they were too easy.   

April 21 trained at The Square Pond DTA using the "HRC Line Drill" format. Three wingers in a "loose" pod threw mallards left/right and one in the middle at 50 yards. in addition, a 
pile of bumpers off to the right served as poison blinds.  The "sequence" is described "on" the photo. Pounce is learning to "walk and chew gum" at the same time. This session requires responsiveness and focus in the face of high energy. The first poison had her a bit flustered. However, she righted her composure by quietly and calmly persisting. The body language was finessed into a "OK, I get this" understanding.

The second "go" was a single first, then a double with the "poison" to be picked up first.
She was much quicker (in the mind) to the "poison" this time. The third "go" was efficiently done with a good understanding of paying attention to the verbal "instructions". She is a quick study and has a great memory. After smoothly sliding to the other side heel, she picked of the blind and then stepped on the three short mallard marks. The best thing about the session is that her composure and focus at the line with duck calling, ducks in the air and gunfire is becoming just a normal part of the games. The "game" is not as fast.
            note: The three mallards were left at the line. After picking everything up, Pounce
                      was brought out to bring back the ducks. She left all three bumpers for
                      Daisy's exercise.  

April 1 early afternoon....Pounce trained at the "Y Property" did two "In Line" doubles with a blind using remote wingers and in the "Flip-Flop" mode. The long marks were produced by flipping the long mark winger 180°. Used flagged black and white 3" bumpers for the marks and a "camo" bumper for the blinds.
          note: Continued the verbal cues of "easy" and "way out" along with soft  vs. louder
                    "sends". There is no hesitation or confusion. She has nailed this concept from
                    the very beginning and continues to learn new "stuff" quickly. Her excellent
                    memory and vision are huge pluses. Consistent "reps" are enhancing
                    confidence (for both of us.)
          note: The 233 yard blind in the second set was under two arcs and past two winger
                    stations with three whistle/handles and "hitting" both sides of the line.
          note: Daisy "helped" pickup equipment....then she and Pounce hit some lunging
                    water in the north end of the pond....each with their own "fun bumpers". The
                    wet dog smell on the way home was strong.

April 22 gorgeous day in the field...1st up...a full "HRC Line Drill" - three mallard walk-ups, three singles and a triple with diversion....HRC holding blind, bucket, duck calling, "popper shot gun" and winger thrown mallards. Picked up and moved to the small technical pond in the Winn. Co. DTA. Pounce ran seven walking singles working around the pond doing multiple angle entries and exits. Daisy got wet afterwards (for exercise). 

April 24 Pounce  trained at Thorson Pond DTA and ran the "HRC Line Drill" singles then as
a triple. Picked up and  Pounce did a long swim, water blind with a 14 mph SSE crosswind.
                  note: sunny, 72°F........Daisy had the day off
                  note: Pounce is still in heat....but appears to be near the end....went late to the
                           Monday afternoon group training session and ran last (double with blind)
April 25 another warm day, other things to & not much time to train......trained at the Square Pond DTA (5 minute drive) - four close, wide remote wingers with mallards - 1st set quad right to left, 2nd set quad left to right, 3rd set two doubles 1 & 3 the 2 & 4. Focus was on the standards in a 5 foot circle at the line........practice!
                  note: Since it was another warm day (just like yesterday) decided to cool off a bit,
                            Pounce did a "repeat" of yesterday's cold blind (an easy, 95 yard swim).

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Pounce's terrain bumper drill  (above right YouTube) began as a Hillmann Seven Bumper Lining Drill in the yard (above left YouTube). The "intro" is best done by using very visible white bumpers. Pounce saw orange very well (no issues).  
        note: intro stages - fewer bumpers, larger spacing and not small, "tight" angles
        note: It is easy to fall into the misleading expectation of learning a routine/pattern
                  as opposed to actually taking a line.
The "pattern" in this case could be "run
                  to the farthest/last bumper". To proof this skill, advance the level to "picking"
                  every other bumper (initially, when the angle/spacing is not a test). 
        note: Pounce's Seven Bumper Drill began well after the Wagon Wheels "intro".    

right click on icon for larger photo

right click on icon for larger photo

April 23 Pounce did a set of several walk around, send over and stand alone singles with an old freezer mallard.......sunny, 70°F at the Square Pond DTA. Today's Sunday session was special in that it was a repetitive "practice" (and review) of the standards when delivering a "sinking", soft, "smelly" and soggy tossed mallard...several times. The standard is sit,  hold "quietly" and deliver on command........THEN SHAKE. This "special" mallard shall be  sensibly retrieved several times (and saved). This is the "S mallard drill". (drill means not just done once). There are several pluses for using this pond. First it is a 5 minute drive. Secondly, it is a pond that Pounce is quite familiar with making it the ideal water to introduce new concepts and/or review standards. Pounce is very well conditioned to be sent anywhere across the pond. Which means I am not walking around all the time because she can swim to any place on the pond when given the line. Pounce goes because she knows something good will be happening...especially when ducks are "Up". 
                    note: The last time we were "on" this pond was last year during goose season.
                    note: Today's session (working on the expectation of "hold and deliver" before
                               shaking) was very good. In addition, hunt tests are coming up fast and
                               early spring water work is critical.
                     note: Pounce was "on her toes" so well in this session that taking photos
                               was very easy. The one and only good thing about the mallard was that
                               it was not "rank". The very first time it "hit the water", the duck was in
                               stealth mode....hardly anything was sticking out of the water.


April 7 again trained at the Winnebago Co. DTA.....first repeated yesterday's walking singles work - more cover ("conditioning") in a different  "pattern" than yesterday. Then repeated the "Markless HRC Line Drill" in a different "space". The approach of not having any "ducks in the air out there" has focused her expectations at the line.

This approach develops line standards first........then gradually increases "distractions".
        note: distractions to manipulate - distance (spacing), terrain, scent, bumpers,
                  dead ducks vs. flyers, the number of marks and decoys plus (eventually)
                  another dog and "hunter" in Finished HRC tests
        note: first spring group training sessions begin next Monday
April 8 Saturday early afternoon trained at the Winnebago Co. DTA again. Setup two
wingers for a "Flip Flop" session of an HRC Seasoned test. Two doubles with a blind and
a diversion.  Did land first and then water along with the "van to the line" routine twice. Also, used the popper gun, duck call and mallards while working "slowly'. 
           note: Pounce's land and water were solid. With the first HRC tests beginning
                    eight weeks away, this is all good. 
          note: weather- 69°F no wind chill  (sunshine "cancelled" 21 mph south wind)

April 14 day off.....tonight checked Pounce again.  The frequent peeing and actively marking was an early sign...She is definitely in heat, but just a slight trace of blood. 
                   note: April 9th
journal entry - Pounce's March heat cycle never "showed",
                             but she has been actively "marking" for 3+ weeks.
April 15,16 two more days off - trainer sick days 
April 17 ran one set of four "walk-ups" with a popper shotgun followed by an "HRC Line" set of four singles (using mallards) with one diversion at the "New Place" DTA.

                   note: the focus was precision - no motion, marking off the gun, responsive
                             interaction and teamwork with consistent duck handling/delivery,
                             consistent "reps", no distractions, not rushed and embracing the
                             moment......multiple repetitions equals practice

Drove a few of miles to the Winn. Co. DTA and ran a picturesque water lining concept (a repeat) right past two "not very happy" geese. This did not take long and she was very good with it (much accomplished). There is more water in the pond after the recent, significant rainfall.
                   note: the brief water "practice" was excellent (straight & confident)            
                   note: Afterwards, Daisy was well exercised.
                   note: checked Pounce last evening (heavy flow now), it will be close for the
                             May 7th Senior test - 23 days
                   note: skipped Monday night training group - trainer still "battling" a cold

pictorial description - the impact of terrain on "lining" (photo is from a different journal)

To this day, Pounce's training program remains consistent with Hillmann's philosophy....with a slight modification. The "participants'" activities are best described by very short, exciting "races" and a famous Aesop's fable - The Tortoise and the Hare. Every once in while (not nearly as much), things get too "Hare'y".

   The above YouTube Video (on the right} was made about a year ago
   when  Pounce was first introduced to the same "hill terrain" factor.

April 21 trained mid-day at the Winnebago Co. DTA, upper 50's and windy....Pounce ran a solid KRD using the Zinger "Uplander" - "wide of the fall', "through the old fall", "under the arc" and "behind the gun". Next up was nine, long walking singles with a black & white flagged two inch bumper and primer pistol. Last was running a short, five bumper, water lining drill...picking up the far right, the far left and finished with the middle (she was not sent for the other two.....got very good "answers"). Water was 61°F and air was 58°F. Three were just right....needed no more.

April 5 rain (day off)
April 6 trained at the "Drainage Ditch" and Winnebago Co. DTA's

         1st ran "The Hill Drill" reviewing the straight line (angle up and down)
       expectation on a hill. Ran to the "change" first then out into the flat on the
       first go...then extended the line out into the flat on the second go"...perfectly
       straight on all sixteen "sends & returns"
         2nd at the county DTA  nine walking singles were run in the high cover off to

       the west. This was necessary because Pounce's first spring test will be in
       an area noted for early spring tall cover. She was straight, fast and accurate. 
         3rd A new drill called the "Markless HRC Line Drill" was run to focus (even
       more) on the HRC line "busy level" by removing a moving part....the "marks
       in the air"... with that she was introduced to the "go as sent" expectation.
       Used three "marked by orange stakes" piles with a gun "swing" of 120° and
       everything the same as in the original HRC Line Drill except nothing in the air.
                note: The first time were "pile singles" - right to left and worked slowly.

Predictably there was some initial confusion, but teaching and learning did take place. The second "go" was left to right shooting three times (a triple) followed by retrieving a bumper from each stake. This time (2nd run), the "go as sent" process was much more readily followed (smoother). The third run was very good with a body language from Pounce stating , "OK, I get this!". Then we finished with our usual Hillmann "game". This was all "supported" by Pounce's high level of responsiveness and being a "kwick study".         

April 18 early afternoon - trained at the "New Place" and ran the "Four-Peat" blinds with mallards (refer to the March 7th training journal entry for info on these blind). Drove a few miles to the County DTA (small technical pond) where Pounce ran the "Five Bumper Water Lining Drill" for the first time - no problem & sharp. The mental "picture" is not unlike the land Seven Bumper Lining Drill......with the temptation to make it go "faster" by cheating
                   note: five good lines and responsive (much better than expected)

April 11, 12 two days off - rest
April 13 trained at Rockcut State Park DTA - Pounce ran the the HRC "Markless Line Drill" with mallards.....1st "singles", 2nd left to right "triple" and 3rd right to left "triple"

                      note: easy to setup, does not take long, specific focus and effective
Daisy was exercised (giving Pounce a short "breather") and finished with running an easy KRD in the "stand/alone walk back" mode. Blinds were "behind the gun", "under the arc" and "wide of the fall".                       
                      note: late afternoon.....first Thursday "training group" session
Pounce ran the "setup" splitting it into two "compartments" - first ran a double with a blind under the arc. Did this with an "HRC Line". The wind was angling in and Pounce "caught" scent of the duck in the "other" winger at the station and ended up "hunting" short/handling. With realizing that too slowly....it wasn't "pretty". Then she lined the blind. Same "issue" as with the other, similar mark and wind. Too much airborne scent blowing in with another hunt/handling (not as bad as the first). Had planned to run a "poison" blind on the second "segment", but decided to not do that. Then she lined that blind. The blinds were very easy because the flags were fairly obvious (for Pounce). Long ago, it was realized that blind "locations" (for her) must be very subtle.  
                      note: Progress in keeping her focused at the line is showing "improvement".
                                It is not "there"......yet........for an HRC test.....AKC is much easier. 

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right click on icon for larger photo

Pounce trained in the late afternoon with a group at the Winnebago Co. DTA. Rain and hail on the drive down, but it was over quickly. Ran easy, short "Mama-Papa" singles with a
blind off an HRC popper gun line. Honored and watched afterwards plus did a session of heeling/OB through the gallery area.......good "atmosphere" exposure.....time well spent.

note: The "walking" singles were done in the tall grassy area beyond 

          the large tree in the middle of the above photo.

April 26 the beginning of several days off/maybe....rain.....squeeze "stuff" in watching radar
                  note: picking up a few live mallards in the morning = "live flyers" for Pounce
April 27 With a "radar window" of no more rain about noon, Pounce was presented with two mallard flyers at the Y-Property .........1) gunner walks out with Pounce on a remote sit, 2) duck thrown angle away with a stiff, west wind and shot, 3) Pounce remains on sit and after a ten count pause 4) Pounce is released for the retrieve. The first fell on the other side of the lake outlet (small stream) and the second was farther south across 15 yards of grassy, shallow water. That was the plan and exactly how it went down...."easy-peasy".  After the flyers, the fresh mallards were used to run three blinds. She wanted more.
                        note: On the way up, stopped at Gander Mountain to buy shells (steel #6).
                        note: no Thursday afternoon group training....wet, cool and windy
April 28 using a "radar window" squeezed in a quick trip to the Y-Property and parked on the gravel....too wet to drive anywhere. Carried four launchers in and set up a "Flip-Flop" set of two doubles plus a longer blind from each "line". Used Dokken for the blind. Ran to the west first and then to the east. Daisy was exercised afterwards.....just as the "sprinkles" began anew.  Most of the next several days look about the same....rainy and cool.

April 2 trained in the afternoon with a high of 58°F - ran four 120° "gun swing" HRC "Line Drill" triples (50-60 yards, 1st left to right...then reversed direction on the second). Worked the same setup doing triples with a "fake" AKC wooden gun and then with an HRC primer loaded shotgun.......practice and "reps"

April 9 trained at the "New Place" first and did two KRD (key relationship drills). Both included running a wide of the fall "poison bird blind" first. The other blinds were "through the AOF", "under the arc" and "behind the gun". These were two different area setups. Then drove to the Winnebago Co. DTA and ran a short, three pile water lining "refresher". 
                   note: both sessions were well done
                   note: 70°F, sunny with a lot of frogs "croaking" (T-Shirt & sun lotion weather)

                   note: Pounce's March heat cycle never "showed", but she has been actively
                             "marking" for over 3+ weeks.  This is not normal for her. 

right click on icon for larger photo

right click on icon for larger photo

right click on icon for larger photo

right click on icon for larger photo

right click on icon for larger photo

April "Powers"

April 3 rain - day off
April 4 Pounce ran a "Flip-Flop" set of ABC singles with mallards at the Y-Property.
The first set was run east to west and went well (three singles and a good blind). The second set was west to east. The first single was the shortest. She was "right on it". The next two were longer and it appeared that she saw them. However, she was way off line almost immediately to the left. I was somewhat baffled until on the ride home and recalled the fact we were running off a large mound. The line to each mark was at an angle down the side. Then when entering the flat made a slight left turn on both singles which magnified the distance from the AOF. Once placing this info into an analysis plus being a retired physics teacher, the issue was identified. She was "falling off" the terrain (going down the mound).
                  note: "Flip-Flop" means the wingers are not moved...just  the line.

The "Hill Drill" Photos