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Aug 30 cool, cloudy morning with a good breeze.....Needing more mallards for the freezer meant a trip to Rice Family Farms was necessary. They are very close to Bong Recreational Area (in Wisconsin)
where we can train. The first setup was two remote wingers to "practice" HRC walk-ups. Pounce did three sets of two.  After the equipment was loaded in the van, a short drive to the farm resulted in ten live mallards "on board". Then it was back to Bong for more training. We "lucked out". No one was using the technical pond. The setup was two remote wingers for an HRC, "kind of inline" double plus a diversion followed by a blind. Pounce's engagement has improved rapidly. The shotgun in an HRC bucket format and being able to talk to Pounce at the line has been a team "game changer". 
                   note: Having two different size wingers provides a greater variety of presentations.              

Aug 16 Thursday...up early to "beat the heat"...Pounce trained again at the RockCut DTA. Set up wingers
in a similar format to yesterday except running from the opposite direction. Two pheasants were thrown from one pod (of two wingers) and two mallards from the other. The wingers were reloaded and four more singles were thrown in the reverse order. After reloading for the third time, the line was moved about thirty yards and four more singles were run. The total number of HRC "line reps" (expectations) were twelve......consistent practice was the focus. 
Aug 17 Friday.....HRC "bucket" singles from water with "soggy, sinking" mallards......and "distraction practice". The setup was four wingers in a pod loaded three times (12 very short singles). The Four Lakes DTA, small technical pond is a 30 minute drive and was ideal for this session. With cloud cover and cool temps (for August), it was not only the weather that was excellent. The pond was especially picturesque. Fortunately, the issue of forgetting my Canon camera was reduced by using an I-Phone.
                      note: Pounce repeatedly practiced the line standards and had an excellent review of dealing
                               with not very nice mallards (old, soft, smelly, soggy, sinking mallards) saved only for a
                               session like this.
                     note: 78 years old today....time flies when you are having fun!    


Aug 31..something fun, easy...a day off for Pounce. Used two tanks of gas to "weed whack" the eastern shoreline of Thorson Pond. Geese "like" safe looking, short cover on banks of ponds. 

 memory, diversion and blind section
        (photo from recent session)


With fog in the morning, the test began late.....and on water.  This made land in the afternoon not ideal. Pounce was the last dog to run and it was 92°F. She came out of the air conditioned van to
run and was back in it with a high volume Endless Breeze fan on immediately afterwards.

YouTube Video

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Aug 12 Sunday....trained in the morning at the Harrison Road DTA.......three remote winger singles with pheasants through goose decoys using the HRC Startedformat. After reloading the wingers, Pounce then ran three, individual walk-ups with a primer/shotgun ala HRC. In addition, the "Kwick Reverse Lead" is proving to be very effective. 
Aug 13 Monday....trained in the early morning at the Harrison Road DTA (in a different area) and did four remote winger singles with mallards followed by four HRC "walk-ups". This was a repeat of the skill sets "practiced" yesterday (home by 8 am). 
Aug 14 Tuesday...trained at the Harrison Road DTA early...(again home by 8 am).  Set up three remote wingers with mallards. Pounce ran nine singles (in three sets). The first and second sets were done in the HRC Started format (no gun at the line). The last "run" was three singles with the HRC shotgun at the "bucket" line. Pounce's HRC "reps" are gradually being enhanced with more "distractions".
                          note: It was a pleasant surprise to find out that the RockCut State Park had mowed                                           the "Sport Dog" training area and it looks better than ever before. The last two
                                    years, budget cuts in the DNR halted all mowing (no money) and it became
                                    "useless" (too tall). Primer "shooting" is permitted with a free "permit" and an
                                    Illinois FOID card.
Aug 15 Wednesday.......trained early at the RockCut State Park DTA. The setup was two "pods" of two remote wingers. Each one had a "Son-of-gun" and "The Original" (short & long throws). Pounce did four singles, four HRC primer/shot gun "walk-ups" and four more singles plus two blinds. There was a lot of walking by the trainer (setting up and reloading). The cloudy cover and cool "temps" made it easier. After forgetting to put the four, thawed mallards in the van (before leaving home), the setups were done with two Dokkens and two 3" inch orange bumpers.


Aug 23 Thursday....copied Tuesday's HRC Seasoned Test "practice" with ducks reversing directions.
After picking up, a short drive to the Harrison Road DTA had Pounce running four cold with mallards  (home by 11am on a cool, August morning).



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Aug 10 Friday.....day off (eight days until the next test provides more distraction exposure/practice)
Aug 11 Saturday - up early, trained at the W-Property (about an hour drive).....ready to run at 7:30 am. Setup four remote wingers and ran four mallard singles (water) plus a blind. The four wingers were  reloaded and the line was moved to do a second set. Pounce ran a total of eight singles and two blinds. All eight singles were run via the "Started" format of HRC which is "working" (improved expectations.....consistent "reps").  The "off the van to a holding blind" was practiced twice.
                  note: By using the two different sizes of Gunners Up wingers (Original and "Son-of-
                            a-Gun"), two different looking marks can be thrown from the same station. 

Aug 24, 25 Saturday & Sunday....two WISILL HRC tests in Wisconsin
                   note: It has been four full weeks that  Pounce has not had an e-collar on. The 
                             change has proven interesting. Training without an e-collar and totally
                             transitioning to the HRC "rules of engagement" at the line, Pounce has
                             become more responsive and more importantly so has her trainer. It was

                             put to the test rather quickly and the results have been very promising.
                             Fortunately, the conditioning of a "gun at the line" was already in place.
                             Saturday's test was the first "go" with shooting a gun at the line in an HRC

                             Started test. Today, Pounce's first Seasoned Test was a solid pass. She was
                             a much improved dog at the line compared to four weeks ago. There will be
                             four more weeks of practice until the next HRC tests. The "Walk-up" is simply 

                             an issue in the face of a huge distraction.  "Gotta" find a way to make them
note: It is important to point out that Pounce had a significant amount of previous
                              training with the HRC "gun at the line".

Aug 18 Key City HRC test near Maquoketa, Iowa.......little less than a three hour drive.....if it had not been "foggy"......could have been worse. With a detailed list of turns "involving detours", the fog made it difficult to read the road signs. However, the fog became less of an issue after sunrise. The return trip was more challenging after realizing reversing written directions off a sequence of directions at 55+ mph proved to be very "unreliable". There were extra miles put of the van during the return trip. 

Today was Pounce's 2nd HRC Started test. The basic premise of this approach ("back to square one") was to transform "our" faulty responsiveness issues at the line in real test day "electricity". In the last test our skill level was clearly "identified". Training sessions were then focused on altering the "line" sequence. In the first series, Pounce drifted in and out of her anxiety issues (me too). There were momentary glimpses of being engaged. Again, this format makes engagement simpler.....leashed with collar and talking to the dog is "normal". This provides "mental space" for a trainer to focus on what is required. In turn, knowing that being in charge is much more likely reduces anxiety and nervousness. The "weak knee" syndrome decreases. Being aware increases confidence. This requires consciously thinking about seeking this behavior in the moment. There was less of that for Pounce to "feed off of". Today's second series was greatly enhanced by the "changes" that began in the first.
              note: Generally, what's "out there" is very easy for Pounce. Today,  the line was "fun".
Aug 19 Keeping in tune with the sentiment expressed in the Aug 1st journal entry....."No rest for the wicked!", Pounce and I did an ambitious training session this morning. Our next tests are Aug 25 & 26th.
In addition, there are two days this week that have forecasts of rain. Pounce will need some review of the use of a shotgun in the HRC format for a Seasoned test on the 26th.  We trained at the Harrison Road DTA. Two remote wingers were setup to run a wide double with a blind down the middle. The bucket HRC line was approached from a holding blind. The double was "shot" and retrieved followed by "shooting" and running the blind. The wingers were then reloaded and the line was moved horizontally to present a new look. A blind was planted. This went well, also. The wingers were then reloaded for the third time and the line was moved again to present a "flip-flop" version. There was no blind for the third "go". Pounce was very good with the entire process of off the van, airing , to the holding blind and then running the setups. Three very good "reps" on the first day of review were more than "pleasant".
Aug 20 Monday...rain coming late morning....Trained early at the Harrison Road DTA with Dokkens....two different HRC doubles each with a walk-up and blind. Both setups were "presented" as an HRC Seasoned Test (three parts....using a shotgun with primers and bucket at the line). The first "part" was a walk-up, second a double and the last a "shot" blind.  This did not take much time. Therefore, a quick drive by Thorson Pond discovered the brisk, southeast wind had pushed all the duckweed to the northwest leaving three-fourths of the pond surface "clear". Pounce ran three water blinds "up the north" shoreline.
                      note: This was an effective morning of training preparation for the two weekend tests.

Aug 21 Tuesday.....weather forecast was no rain after 6 am.....that was a bit deceiving. Left at 6:30 and there was a light mist which did not let up until we were half-way through the second setup. Cool mist with cloud cover is better than hot and sunny.  I decided early on the only place that would "work" was the Four Lakes DTA. First was an HRC Seasoned Land "Test". It began with a long "walk-up followed by a double and blind. A primer shotgun was used as would be in a test. The water "session" (with mallards again), included a double and diversion plus a blind....excellent practice with challenging "distractions". The rationale of using the HRC format was to enhance engagement. It is working.

                    note: the following setup diagram is drawn on a Google Snap-Shot taken when the pond's
                             weed growth was not developed. A set of very recent photos in the recent Aug 17th  
                             journal entry (a few days ago) reveals a rather large "weedy difference".......which was
                            actually more challenging.  

Type your paragraph here.


Aug 22 Wednesday was HRC shotgun, bucket, two piles (at about sixty yards), 120° swing drill (gun), "push/pull," doubles line practice. The first "run" was two singles (with Dogtra remotes noise). The next eight were doubles" with no noise from the remotes and alternating "go birds" (left/right). After the third and sixth runs Pounce returned to the holding blind.
                     note: The standard was to "be aware" of the gun and move only her head (with the gun). 
                     note: Marks were NOT thrown. Two piles of bumpers and Dokkens were "marked" with
                              black stakes at a wide angle "topped" with Dogtra Remotes (for initial sound aided
                              location). There were five large goose decoy shells en route.
                    note: The driving logic of this "practice" is that nothing happens without doing the right
                              thing. Doing the "right" thing" is rewarding and precise repetition results in the
                              desired conditioned responses.

Aug 27 almost a day off...Pounce did an extended walk in the yard at heel while I was carrying a gun.
Aug 28 trained early.....cool with cloud cover, slight breeze in the middle 70's at the Four Lakes DTA.  Pounce did a precise practice session of six remote winger, HRC walk-ups using Dokkens.
                   note: ran four and reloaded to run two more (six different "approaches")

Aug 29 trained right after the rain "left" the Four Lakes DTA - ran two HRC doubles each with a blind
and diversion (90° "flip-flop" kept set-up equipment out of the deep, wet grass)......cool in the upper 60's with a nice breeze and cloudy

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                       note: "feed the beast"......."channel the energy"
                       note: scout for geese and "do/whack" more weeds around Thorson Pond


Aug 24 Friday......rain beginning at 7:30 am. Pounce trained at the Thorson Pond DTA....early.  Using    four remote wingers (two pods of two) with Dokkens and an HRC line (holding blind, bucket, shotgun and primmer shells). Working the holding blind, Pounce went from there (off lead, no collar) to the line, sat and waited for the shotgun to be loaded to do a walk-up. After the first walk-up, the same sequence was followed for a second walk-up. The next step was the first double. Afterwards, Pounce was watered and "put up". The four wingers were then reloaded and the setup was run reversing the order of walk-ups and then launching the first double session's "go" as the "memory".
                note: The "stuff out there" was NOT the focus of this session. It was all about engagement
                          and precise practice at the line. Correct "reps" yield desirable conditioned responses.
                note: Just beat the rain.

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Aug 2 Pounce was trained early and repeated the setup done yesterday (in a different area) - "four singles were then reloaded for "to the line" routines running two doubles (more practice). This session went very well. Then in the evening group session she followed a dog being run HRC style with shooting (on a triple) at the line. The holding blind was tucked up close to the line. Pounce became totally "unglued" and was taken back to the van. She came back shortly and ran again wearing the e-collar. There were no real issues except she was "wired".  In the evening, I spent a long time thinking about scratching her from
tomorrow's Master test. 
Aug 3 She was good while airing.  In the first holding blind, she was a bit antsy.....not much.  In the holding blind close to the line....I knew what was coming. "Off lead".. she beat me to the gun. The walk-up "flyer" was "predictable"......two whistles and she stopped. For some reason the judge did not stop us and Pounce proceeded to pick up each mark in the "flyer" triple and did the blinds......easily. We  We

then honored on lead.        I could have (or should have) picked her up before running anything. However, this is not going to be an easy fix with a single denial.  In a way, scratching her would have only delayed dealing with the obvious. Stark reality tends to focus Issues.
Aug 4 Thinking about this today suggested that maybe running her in Junior tests where the control at the line was/is more specific might have been a wiser approach. However, hindsight is kind of useless unless a compensation is possible. It was not long after this realization that Pounce was entered in a Muddy Waters HRC Started test Aug 5th.  I have an up-to-date HRC membership and Pounce is already in the HRC registry.  The test entry form is readily available on line and was filled out ahead of time.
Aug 5 Late entries are possible "at the door". It was a long drive up into Wisconsin. As the day progressed, she got better......more engaged, focused and responsive because there were no free, available alternatives. The plan is to run two more "Started" tests and focus on the "physical" control 
during distractions in this format. In addition, there will be no "stand alone", remote line training.
                note: Pounce has had many training sessions where the HRC gun use (in the advanced HRC
                         tests) has been established. Therefore, the ongoing plan will tend to lean toward "doing"
                         HRC Seasoned tests next (after the Started).....then Finished next year.  AKC "action at the
                         line" is very different compared to the HRC and with Pounce, "out there" is not an issue.
 Aug 6 Monday....day off.......Pounce's next test is in the Key City HRC test August 18th (Saturday).  

Aug 7 Training at the Four Lakes DTA, Pounce ran two, short "flip-flop" sets of three mallard singles (land and then water). Today provided the "data" for the next stages in the process of  "getting a grip" on Pounce's "walk-about" issues at the line. After this session, the decision to use the shotgun at the line was "ditched" and will move on to the KISS protocol......strictly Started HRC rules (for awhile).     

Aug 8 trained at Harrison Road DTA.......two wingers with Dokkens "Flip-Flop" and Lylah (my 9 year old, non-verbal, autistic granddaughter came along....first time to help). This session with Pounce was perfect. The distractions were very manageable and responsiveness was greatly enhanced. Pounce had a very obvious improvement in focus.......because there is no leeway for alternative actions. I am sitting close to her on the HRC bucket and holding the flat, snug collar plus I can talk to her. The relationship between the dog and trainer is simply more intimate at the line (without the gun for now). We seriously needed this "change of pace" influence. Another bonus was that Lylah did much better than I had expected.
Aug 9 We took Pounce to the Four Lakes DTA and used Dokkens with three remote wingers (running from two different lines and reloading). Pounce ran a total of six singles (in the HRC Started format). When running, Lylah watched the action from a folding chair and actually learned very quickly how to place new primers in each winger. She has a "job" and likes it.

Stoughton DTA Session

August 1 In the morning...Pounce trained at the Harrison Road DTA. Two pods of two wingers threw singles first. There were several mallard and goose decoys in the AOFs. This session focused on "walk-ups" and four "off the van, to the holding blind, to the line" routines. The "no collar to the line" was again practiced (six times). The first "go" were four singles. After reloading, the "to the line" routines were "practiced" while running two doubles. The following YouTube video is of the "doubles run" (forgot to take the lens cap off for the "singles run"). This was a productive session. 
             note: Today was a continuation of the training philosophy adopted in the July 25th journal entry. 
                       "No rest for the wicked."