Mar 3 Pounce trained again at the Harrison Road DTA.......Saturday, upper forties, stiff breeze and sunny. The setup was a "Flip-Flop" of three remote wingers to efficiently run two triples. It did not take very long and Pounce was sharp (as usual). All "indications" are that her April heat cycle is on the way (peeing frequently). Pounce's regular work on
Hillmann's "Heeling Program" since mid-September is revealing huge dividends.

In a recent conversation with someone else that uses Hillmann, there was a point made about using "The Game" before every session. In retrospect, there was no "game" intro in the above video. I am not sure why that escaped me. However, in thinking about this as it would relate to hunt tests and the "No training on the test grounds" rule, what if one were to do a short version of "The Game" before going to the first holding blind....just playing and having fun? The following video is a brief (44 seconds), "watered down" example of a simple "game". 

RE-edited version (shorter)

YouTube video link

Mar 27 Pounce attended her third AKC OB class and is demonstrating some anxiety related to her impending, regular April heat cycle. Last spring, Pounce began actively "marking" 3+ weeks before actually "showing" that she was in heat (April 14th).
Mar 28 taking the day off
Mar 29 "Master Plan" analysis - simplify a bit (Pounce's heat cycle is coming up) train using Y-Drills, KRDs, ABCD singles, simple doubles, daily "yard-work" and weekly OB classes. Pounce ran two different KRDs at the Harrison Road DTA and was sharp......made them look easy. The KRDs each consisted of a single with four concept blinds. 
Mar 30  Pounce trained in the afternoon at the Harrison Road DTA and ran two Y-Drills using three remote wingers (three singles - flat, angle in and angle back). Each set had a long blind after the singles. In the morning, "Grampa" was child sitting. Lylah was watching the Disney channel and this provided time to design some water point blinds on a Google master of the Stoughton FT property.  These point blinds will enable Pounce to get a better "grip" on her penchant to cheat. She knows which way seems quicker and handling on a lot of marks is counter-productive. She is an excellent marker and total team player on running binds. Therefore, conditioning her to "be straighter" will fit better. Handling on blinds is a good use of emphasizing the rationale for staying on line and not seeking to get there quicker. Five point blinds were drawn (ready for warmer water in mid-May).  There are other water "setups and drills" which will compliment the point blind conditioning.
                note: This is the only reason Pounce's first Master test will not be until late June.
                          Water needs to be "straightened out" a bit more. 

link to video:

Mar 25 variation on "poison birds" blinds with lines past two separate "piles of ducks"
weather will be.....high 44°F.....winds E at 15 to 25 mph
                      note: applied "proper" wind directions using burlap bags with ducks in
                                them and repeated it by having two wingers loaded.  She needed to
                                be handled off the burlap bagged mallards' scent on the first blind
                                and single. However, on the 2nd "practice run" she totally ignored
                                the duck scent temptations

                      note: concept....."go as sent.......not scent" 

After picking up the setup (including the two bags of ducks) Pounce ran four short Y-Drills with the main focus on practicing check downs "under" the angle backs.

Mar 31 afternoon..forecast 48°F west wind 24 mph...Pounce ran two doubles with longer blinds (using ducks) at the Harrison Road DTA. The focus was on precise repetitions at the line. Yesterday and today were excellent. The van to the holding blind to  the line (and back) routines were precise. There was an added bonus in terms of distractions. Two men drove into the area looking for a place to shoot trap. They walked up right to the line in the middle of Pounce's second double. Their close proximity was an unplanned, very good distraction and she responded well.
                 note: This was another effective session of responsive focus at the line. We are
                           definitely looking forward to the upcoming mid-April, group training days.

Mar 1 Pounce trained in the late afternoon. We finished just as the sun went down and the moon appeared. It was 37°F at the Thorson Pond DTA "Grassy Area". With  a remote winger mark plus a hand thrown, Pounce ran five short doubles. The line was moved four times. She was kept on a remote "down" between each set. Responsiveness and focus were excellent.
Mar 2 Friday....trained in the afternoon again.....Harrison Road DTA (different area)....similar setup (more "reps") and striving for perfect practice - used two remote wingers and a holding blind. The details are described "on" the following Google photo base. When finished with "line practice", Pounce did four long "stand alone/send back" singles. They were not easy through the close together, leave-less trees to the north. All four marks were "arrow like" and the drive home was "pleasant". This was one of the neatest sessions she has ever "thrown at me".

Mar 4 Sunday weather was pleasant with the two following days no training. Trained at Harrison Road DTA and Pounce ran a triple with two blinds ("pushed the envelope"".

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Mar 5 Monday....Pounce....trip to Vet  - second Canine Flu H3N2/H2N8 shot (day off).
                    note: middle 30's with winds 20+ mph and snow
Mar 6 Tuesday....Pounce had another day not good 5th or 6th (great timing)
                    note: cold and more snow
Mar 7 snow, ice and cold......decided to work indoors doing off lead & solid 
                    note: March 13th is the first day of seven weekly AKC OB Class sessions.
                             The next eight days' forecast is lows in the twenties every night.
Mar 8 at 11 am it is 29°F feels like 18°F with crusty, uneven snow....will check out two close areas to see just how bad surface conditions are....not much enthusiasm 
                   note: The Rock River has retreated to its banks. The Thorson Pond "Grassy
                             Area" Land DTA will be usable tomorrow
                   note: Pounce repeated yesterday's indoor OB session (practice precise reps)
Mar 9 trained at Thorson - "at the line" distraction work (ducks)...setup similar to Jan 19th

"too easy"

2016 (better perspective of the "ditch")

Mar 18 Sunday afternoon - 55°F, sunny and a slight breeze......"justa hoody" time.  What a

nice day! Trained at the Harrison Road DTA in the northeast corner. Pounce ran two "hip pocket" doubles. Yesterday, she repeated the same one for "practice". Today, the two "hip pocket" doubles were two different setups. Yesterday, she was slightly "flaring" the "go bird" station. Today, she was straight (no flaring).       The "van to line" via a holding blind and then back to the van was practiced twice.
Mar 19 50°F - plenty of sunshine..Pounce trained at the Harrison Road DTA. Setup a KRD with a "poison bird" and "under the arc" concepts. This went well and after picking up the winger, Pounce ran six "send back" singles. She has learned that "back" is for blinds and it can also mean "take a line to where I send you and then we will run a single". Then we simply rinse and repeat. It is kind of a "twist" on the walking singles concept and is much easy for an old man. I don't have to move much.....just look for different positions for "falls" and then "release" her from where she was sent. I keep moving in a different direction as she keeps moving to where I send her. Today was the first attempt at this

and it was a lot of "fun" for both of us (and efficient). The singles were not easy. 

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Copyright © kwickLabsii. All rights reserved

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Mar 16 Pounce trained mid-day with "temps" around forty at the Four Rivers DTA (first time this "spring" the gate was open). The setups were three different Y-Drills with three concepts - angle back, flat (other side of the gunner) and then a "check-down" on the angle back side. These were all fun "stand alone/send backs" with a Dokken and primer pistol. Pounce was "put up" and Daisy received several "exercise" bumpers while we set up a KRD for Pounce. Pounce was out soon and ran a "stand alone/walk back" single with three concept blinds. This was an effective session (simple equipment - "stickman", primer pistol and three bumpers plus a Dokken).
                   note: Training is driven by "balancing" the "Master Plan". See link below.
Mar 17 Saturday - upper forties and sunny.....Pounce trained at the Harrison Road DTA. The setup was a review/practice of the "hip pocket" marking concept. It was repeated (no issues/practice). The "go bird" winger on the double was moved slightly and a KRD setup (single with four concept blinds) was run in the opposite direction.

 The lighting was perfect for a photo shoot and Pounce "played well" for the camera.

She kept looking at a narrow slough to the east and this led to "get wet" and "dry off".

Mar 24 train - cold and windy....After purchasing a few burlap bags (see Mar 25th entry) at the Stoughton, WI Tractor Supply Store, Pounce and I stopped on the way home at the Stoughton FT property to train. Due to the "not so pleasant weather" it
had to be useful, quick and easy to setup. Two Y-Drills fit into the plan (6 singles). 
                       note: used a white "stickman" and "place board" at the line, ran them 
                                 as "send back/stand alones" with a pistol and mallard Dokken  

    copied from above link

Mar 11 around noon, 43°F and sunny...Pounce trained at the Drainage Ditch DTA and ran a "Point Blind" (using all of it).  Running five different lines, the rationale for a "point blind" is to focus
skills - good, long initial lines, sitting on the whistle and taking accurate casts. I did not blow the whistle very often and left for the Harrison Road DTA with a smile.  

Stoughton Field Trial DTA (Wisconsin)

In this session ("Distraction Practice"), real mallards were used and with two different lines. Also, Pounce "worked" two different holding blinds. The "bonus" was no snow cover.
                   note: Using two wingers, Pounce went through the "van to the line" routine" four
                             times and made eight, short mallard retrieves (four singles and two doubles).
                            The emphasis was on precise line practice "in the face" of high distractions.
Mar 10 Saturday - trained around noon - 44°F and sunny with a slight breeze...trained first at the Four Lakes DTA. The winter gate is closed, but walk-in was permitted. Traveled light and Pounce did a "stand alone/send back" pin-point marking drill (primer pistol, mallard Dokken and flagged stake for the line). Afterwards, a Dokken was placed (Pounce was not looking) and she ran a blind from a position back toward the parked van. It was a simple, effective session.

The first four "runs" were singles and Pounce is in the "distraction phase" of Hillmann's heeling program. Therefore, everything is focused on precise movement and sit. The session began with four remote winger singles (two in two sets) with Dogtra "quacks 'n beeps" plus the primer shot. The last four marks were thrown in two "pod set" doubles.
note: practice - "in your face", action distractions

(under construction)

link to video

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Mar 20 Pounce attended her second AKC Intermediate OB class. We are getting our
money's worth of "distractions" in highly energized sessions. On the first day, the "pace" had her "right on the edge" (and over once in awhile). "Things" slowed down quite a bit today. Pounce is definitely learning how to "hold it together" in this new
and charged atmosphere (time well spent). The rest of today will be  "down time". 
Mar 21 trained at the Harrison DTA - The "Master Plan" balance sheet indicated ducks and multiples. Pounce ran two inline, mallard triples. Using a "flip-flop" approach, the
amount of setup work was minimized. On the first triple Pounce "nailed it".  The second had her "doing" the go (closest mark) well and then she "fogged" right past the"middle" mallard to step on what was supposed to be the memory. The middle duck required a few handles. Daisy came out for some exercise while I picked up the wingers and holding blinds. It was sunny with a stiff, north breeze ("hoody" weather).

                   YouTube video
            (full version - too long)

Due too very little actual handling in the Ditch Point Blind, a trip to the Harrison Road DTA was next. With no one there, it was easy to pick the best setup place for an upbeat, fun drill which practices lining, whistle sits and handling/casting skills.   

(under construction)

Pounce's updated  "Hunting Lab Pedigree" page photo.

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YouTube video link

"just the action"

link to video "just the action"


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Mar 22 day off

Mar 23 trained at the Four Rivers DTA...rain in a few days equals more "days off". A "Master Plan" balance analysis/focus resulted in concept singles practice using a "solo/send back" ABCD marking drill and ran two sets. Spent some extra time on
making a "combo" photo as a 2D Google Closeup spliced with a camera, field "pic".  

Next up was a 2nd session at the Harrison Road DTA (nearby). After parking just inside the gate, the mental "picture" (terrain and wind) for a new "point blind" was in place. Three Dokkens and a "camo" canvass bumper were planted. Pounce was taken out of the van (parked by the gate) and we took a long, circuitous walk to the first blind's "go" position.
                  note: 1st blind - one handle, 2nd - two handles, 3rd & 4th - lined
                  note: I need to feature more terrain changes with fewer slots and make the
                            destination less of a target (superb memory with excellent long vision).
                           The purpose of point blinds is to deal with factors by handling. So far the
                            handling skills are not getting much "play" because she takes precise casts
                            and holds the line. The solution is to make the factors more challenging.
                           This is not easy to do when nothing is growing and water is too cold.
                            However, there are hills and mounds with one area close by. 

Mar 12 At noon, Pounce was "walking the aisles" in Lowe's Building Supply and dealing with many distractions (heeling practice). In the late evening, there was a review of OB standards in the heated, indoor training area. 

Mar 13 At 10:30 am Pounce will be attending the first session in an AKC Intermediate OB class (more distraction proofing). She was "amped" with all the great distractions and it was a very well spent hour. In the afternoon, the plan was to train. It was colder than expected, but finally decided to go (28°F). Drove into Wisconsin to do a "point blind" in the Gallagher FT property. Sporadic snow squalls on the way up did not look good. We were "in between" and finished with an excellent effort from Pounce. On the way back to Illinois we stopped in Janesville, WI at the DNR office to purchase an out-of-state park sticker for the van and renew the dog training permit. 
         note: A YouTube video was taken and not trimmed. Pertinent action can be found 
                   quickly by scrolling times at 5:00, 7:04, 8:35, 10:55 and 13:10. The first blind   |                  is run from the close, big mound to the right (move incrementally to the left).
                   Subsequent edits reduced the "action" to user friendly, less viewing times.

The YouTube video of yesterday's training session was completed after midnight.  Therefore, a link will be posted in the February and March journals. The focus of this video is not on field work. The "to the line and off" is not nearly as glamorous, but requires precise practice and a great deal of repetition. Regularly reviewing training films can prove to be a "game changer".

Thorson DTA - Late Winter Training - February 2018

Mar 14 Early afternoon...trained at the Harrison DTA. It was much warmer than yesterday with sunshine doing wonders (47°F). Pounce ran two challenging KRDs with four concept blinds - "wide of the fall", "under the arc", "tight behind the gun" and "wide behind the gun". On the first KRD, the "wide behind the gun" blind was run first as a "poison"....very
sharp........excellent "reps".  Daisy was exercised with several long bumper throws as the  equipment was picked up.
                     note: Pounce is into her "pre-heat" cycle routines. She does not loose much  
                               of her skill set memories or demonstrate any "ditzy" mind behaviors.
                               Everything is done at higher levels (including excitability). At Tuesday's
                               first OB class, her pressure cooker control "thingy" was at a "high
                               rate of jiggle". 
Mar 15 early afternoon - trained at the Harrison DTA...the setup was planned to "practice"  our "from the van to the line" routine twice. Four remote wingers with mallards and primer reports were reloaded a 2nd time and run from a different line (both close sets exciting). The last single in each set was run as a "poison bird" concept (differently placed blinds).
                   note: This fits well into the "distraction" phase of Hillmann's heeling program.

Mar 26 trained in the afternoon - cool and breezy (not as windy as yesterday) Pounce ran the "three pile, lining/handling, whistle sit drill" and afterwards spent some time heeling around the aisles at Lowe's Lumber yard (extra practice for tomorrow's AKC OB class)