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July 28 trained at the Harrison Road DTA.....Pounce ran a four remote winger setup (her first "quad").
If mallards (instead of Dokkens) had been used the memory would not have required handling. The long blind needed only two handles. Drove to the Four Lakes DTA and ran a water double plus a blind off a dog stand "in the water". Pounce is very at ease with this type of presentation.  The next seven days will have high "temps" in the 70's.       
July 29 up early and trained at the W-Property......about an hour drive. The setup was ready to run at 7:30 am. Pounce did four singles with mallards running from the  north....then four more singles from the south. The remote wingers were "in the middle" and thrown as an efficient "Flip-Flop". The holding blinds were switched from on side to the other. Four cold  blinds were then setup and the first two went well. The next two were "messy". I was sure I could remember where they were planted.....did not use any markers....duh!! Picked everything up and took a short drive to the Gallagher Property. Pounce needed to run four more mallard blinds. I did not make the same mistake and those four were done well. A golf range finder was used to make sure of "seeing" where each duck was planted.

July 23 day off - van recall/fix and trainer dental "repairs"
July 24 went to the W-Property early.....Pounce ran two blinds first and then four singles.  The focus was on running marks off a "stand" in the water. I wore hip boots (and needed them). I forgot to bring along a ski pole for "water walking"....needed that, too. Pounce did not hesitate and had no issues jumping up on the new "stand" because of a great deal of "carry over/generalization" with the place command. It was given once along with a pat on the "location" and she was in place ready for action.  There are many "locations" that can easily become a "place" to be. An extension of the termgeneralization is "the action of responding to a situation similar to but distinct from a conditioned response". Daisy "helped" afterwards (exercise) and we were back home by 9 am. Next up today is a late afternoon training group.

June 6 Friday....trained early....cool breeze, in the shade and 68°F........modifying and practicing improvements in "the game". "The Object" used in the game was a small, hen pheasant... a different dog "showed up". Pounce was attacking and driving to get at the pheasant.....just out of her reach. In addition a remote winger was added to the setup.  There was a huge difference in this session as opposed to yesterday. The combination of a teaching/learning training session a few days ago with
pointed, precise advice, analyzing the video of yesterday's session, revisiting Hillmann's "The Game" videos (with Jim Wegner's dogs) and utilizing the structure of a Paradigm Shift resulted in very clear "transformative" progress. 
June 7 Saturday....not much time available today....therefore, we trained early and finished with the "temps" still in the 60's. Daisy had some fun bumpers for exercise. A quick setup was in the Thorson Pond "Grassy Area". Pounce did the "Mini" Handling Drill. This fun, fast paced setup provides very specific practice on lining, handling and whistle sit expectations. The Dokken "pile" seems to enhance the overall excitement level.
                note: The conditioning and exercise aspects of this fun drill are a bonus.   

July 13 Pounce worked in the yard again......early....another good session
July 14 took Pounce (late morning) to an AKC Master test at Bong Rec. Area in Wisconsin.....test
atmosphere...but no actual testing for Pounce. Spent about an hour just "hanging out" in the van, did a session of walking at heel (kind of)....then pushed the excitement level. Her heeling position is different at a test.  
July 15 began working on more precise heeling position "reps"....trained at Thorson Pond (east grassy area) and ran three remote winger, single walk-ups each out of a holding blind. The line was moved and ran a triple with a concept blind.  Marks were high, short, bouncing Dokkens. 
                  note: Pounce worked with re-enforcement done using a short lead
July 16 fast pace yard-work session out of a holding blind
July 17 morning - trained at the Harrison Road DTA..setup was a "semi-flip flop" of two triples and a blind working out of a holding blind (remote wingers, primers and Dokkens). When finished, we the short trip to run two water blinds at the small technical pond in the Four Lakes DTA.
                    

July 18 Wednesday - day off
July 19 Thursday trained at the  Gallagher FT property in Wisconsin (about an hour away) Pounce did a "Flip-Flop" set of three singles (land first & water second) using three remote wingers, mallards and primers...worked out of a holding blind...pin-point marking......home early

July 1 another very HOT day
July 2 set up two holding blinds with two wingers and Pounce did some more "yard work". 

July 3 Up early to attend a session with Jim Wegner at the Bong Recreational Area (dog training) to re-focus my Hillmann approach with Pounce. There were two other trainers working with their dogs and the time spent certainly provided a much clearer picture of what will be required.
July 4 the beginning of doing "The Game" correctly.....a paradigm shift is necessary...... "the issue" is loosing engagement (the main reason for most training problems). The manner with which to deal with it (in the Hillmann approach) is well defined. Executing it is the issue.  It's not the dog. 
                        a.
the first step was having Jim Wegner point out the engagement "issues" 
                        b. the second step is to study more closely "The Game"  (Hillmann's production
                            with Jim Wegner)
                        c. the third was to recall the tenents of a "paradigm shift"

When running the second setup of four blinds, Pounce was more engaged and focused. The first session (marks and blinds at the W-property) took a bit of "steam out of her boiler". Adrenalin is not always a good thing for engagement.    note: refer to last entry on July 25th
July 30 Monday - trained the last six days in a row...today will be a trip to Lowe's. The plan is to sit in the yard furniture display with Pounce in the down position and learn that no matter how much she tries to get a stranger's attention......it doesn't work. There were a lot of "customers" that wanted to reward her "needs"........and it took awhile for her to accept the fact that "attention posturing" was not going to work. Denial is not rewarding and rather abstract to a dog's way of thinking.   
July 31 Tuesday morning......trained early plus did the late afternoon training group

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July 22 day off for Pounce and trainer       note: day off was mostly for the trainer

July 8 Pounce did an early morning repeat of the July 6th setup...cool temps again...good "reps"
                     note: trainer did "yard work".....mowed lawn and cut down a "bunch" of weed trees
July 9 early trip to the Vet...Daisy had a Wellness Exam and her teeth cleaned. Trainer had his wallet "cleaned".         It is an hour drive. Pounce and Lylah went long for the ride. There will be a return/pickup trip around noon.
                    note: Training will be easier to arrange for the next four weeks. Lylah is going to
                              summer school and the "Grampa/trainer" will not have to stay home. 
on the return  trip to pickup Daisy from her vet visit, going early allowed for a quick visit to the W-Property where Pounce ran a new "point blind" (three lines) plus a shorter "cold" blind. It was warm, but the water made it doable.
July 10 day off, too hot....found a YouTube video {Leerburg) that explains "distraction proofing".
The basic focus is very gradually "generalizing" behaviors that become consistent (anywhere). There are differences between training 1) in the yard, 2) alone in familiar areas, 3) group training, 4) training with a Pro, 5) large, simulated hunt tests and 6) the huge "leap" at real tests. However, "distraction proofing" will not be effective if the necessary conditioned responses are not in place at each level. A recent link to a Hillmann video presented a consistent process leading to resolving issues.  Pounce began doing "stand-alone" singles too soon. Our engagement  at a distance became excellent and "close-up" needed to be "fixed". Hillmann's explanation revealed the solution....."repair/develop the up close foundation". The following links "described" this issue. However, the attempts to reach a resolution have not been effective.



June 11 This morning (before the heat set in), Pounce and I worked on engagement (up close).  It began with expecting "eye contact" engagement. Nothing happened until that was revealed and rewarded. A simple, quiet "good" was more than enough. For awhile, it was clearly the well conditioned response of "I don't need you." demonstrated by no eye contact. Fortunately, she is very adept at "sizing things up" and quickly realized/expressed "I guess I do and it is simple."
Smart dogs have a different set of issues in training....everything you do is "soaked up in the moment" and remembered.....the "good and the bad". Be careful about what you wish for vs. what is actually being taught. 

The rationale of using corrections has been summarily dismissed as illogical given that the standard was not clearly established. In addition, engagement is much more effective when it is sought and rewarded (rather than demanded).  If retriever training were somewhat like the "Game Show" of naming a song based on the number of notes played, I am fairly certain Pounce's "Song and Dance" could have been done in "fewer notes".
July 12 trained Pounce in the yard early......practicing "engagement".......took marsh boat to Thorson Pond and sprayed about one-third of the water surface with four gallons of  "Clipper" solution (treatment to kill weeds)...finished about noon and the heat/humidity was not fun......air conditioning is cool.

July 26 Pounce "did" the regular, Thursday evening training group at the Harrison Road DTA. The setup was run as a single walk-up and a double with two blinds. Actually, the blinds were "not blinds" in that the large orange stakes are very visible for Pounce.
July 27 up early for a vigorous, fun yard work session.....off lead and no collar.....very good "reps",  mid-afternoon the "temps" were in the 70's with a good breeze.....After a one hour drive to the Stoughton FT property, Pounce ran a "flip-flop" setup using four remote wingers resulting in eight singles. Also, Pounce ran one blind. The session continued the same "off lead and no collar" yard work expectations "practiced" earlier in the . The primary focus is maintaining "engagement".

July 5 early morning - not cool and "muggy" with many persistent mosquitoes. Pounce worked in the yard (with a holding blind) and the focus was improving/modifying our "Hillmann game". A video was made to provide initial feedback and perspective.  The plan was to do another session later today. It was simply too hot and muggy. With Pounce, heat is a huge inhibitor when seeking animated, high energy action.  The initial video provided a very good reference.
                   note: After viewing, two observations "jumped out". The first was that Pounce's
                            animated chase is not all that intense. The reason? She knows that eventually
                            the bumper will be thrown on the ground to fetch. THEN she is animated. That will
                            be changed. When the bumper is held stationary and chest high a very animated,
                            aggressive and excited leaping fetch is the result. The adjustment will be a much
                            more exciting "object"....not thrown on the ground.  
                  note: Daisy was exercised. The heat made for a very brief set of "fun bumpers".

YouTube Video (link)

In the late afternoon, Pounce trained at the Four Lakes DTA in the  group training session put on by Pro trainer Corry Zandonnai. The water setup was a short double with a blind and an honor. We were there for the "atmosphere"...people, dogs, holding blinds (extra one for Pounce) and the action.
July 25 We went to the monthly, late afternoon, "big group" training session at the Madison Retriever Club's W-Property (run by Corry Zandonnai). The setup was a triple (wingers with mallards) and three blinds (one water).  Ran the middle (longest) as the "memory" with the right as the "go". The focus was mostly on the holding blinds and at the line. Good session and finding out she is much better with a steady diet of challenging, exciting hard work......"no rest for the wicked".   

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July 20 day off - rain
July 21 Pounce trained at the W-Property in the morning (an hour drive up into Wisconsin). The setup was four singles and a blind across the NEW water to the west. The four singles were setup for two inline combinations and the blind was longer  "under an arc".  In addition, the water level was higher than normal providing a great deal of lunging water for two singles on the east side.  All singles were done well and the water blind required only two handles.
                               note: Daisy got her exercise while "helping" pick up the wingers.
 

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