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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, a short trip to run two water blinds at the small technical pond in the Four Lakes DTA.
                    

July 1 another very HOT day
July 2 set 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 training 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"

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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....home late morning...good marking

YouTube Video (link)

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July 20 day off

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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 are 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) a 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 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".