May 24 today is Tuesday (a significant day).....the appointment with an eye specialist for
retinal bleeding.        The info.....Vision is affected when the swelling of retinal blood vessels involves the central vision area (and mine were "right there"). Laser surgery can seal the leaks and "zap" the enlarged blood vessels, thereby preventing further vision loss. There were a few enlarged blood vessels and one "leaker". Decided to do surgery immediately. It was a very "quick do"  and another evaluation was scheduled in six weeks. If that checks out positively then the next issue is cataracts. 

Pounce trained this morning at the Rockton Road DTA and did three remote winger singles. Picked up and drove to the Thorson Pond DTA. Pounce did  another long parallel
swim. Afterwards, the first phase of her "Show Me Drill" was completed. It was a good day.

May 15 not able to train today - emergency issues
May 16 Pounce's morning intro to the "new" slot lining drill in "the yard" turned out to be too easy....afternoon trained at Winnebago Co. DTA and changed the session to doing two remote winger, mallard doubles (across "the road")....the cover is getting close to being too tall
                  note: doubles went well and got in some much needed "line time".......after the
                            second, the wingers were packed and Pounce ran a double entry/exit "walk
                            around blind"
across the technical pond peninsula......solid effort with no
                            handles....then drove up to the parking lot and Pounce ran two blinds to the
                            south, one diagonally across the pond road and another into the pond out on
                            the point of the peninsula.....she always seems to know "what's up"
                  note: Daisy and Kooly ran six singles each........alternating turns 

HRC singles

May 28 trained "in the yard" early before Lylah woke up - Pounce worked on lining five bumpers in a random order with scattered spacing. A recent Internet thread provided
much needed "adjustments in perspective" closely related to recent journal entries.

April 21 "excerpt"trained at noon - "yardwork", split lining drill focusing on precision at the line - getting into correct position in one motion ("nose and toes" with spine in line), taking time (not rushing), watching eyes while having her deal with the visual and scent duck diversion.
May 22”excerpt”Using consistent, correct repetitions is usually a very effective process for teaching skills. However, if the teaching process employs a very predictable pattern, make sure there is a skill being developed and not just "doing" the static repetition of a pattern.

For example, Pounce can do the seven bumper lining drill in what appears to be an almost effortless demonstration of excellent lining skills. I will see how difficult it will be for her to learn how to pick up the "seven bumpers" in a random fashion.  Given the above rationale, the assumption of beginning with much larger gaps in the bumpers (and fewer to begin with) plus a steeper running angle is rather obvious.

                                 note: refer back to the May 22 for context
Given the above information and perspective from the Internet thread, the "Ditch Drill" should not have been called a lining drill. A better ID would have been the "Hill Drill" for teaching a dog how to take a good line and for maintaining the same angle (line) in relationship to the  structure of the terrain. The natural tendency is to square. The taught standard  was to "not square". In essence, it seemed  reasonable to use the structure/sequence of the seven bumper lining drill to learn how to deal with "squaring". On the other hand, it will be an excellent manner with which to enhance lining skills by randomly selecting "which" bumper to line.

However, in fairness to Pounce, attempting to teach two things at once was not a wise choice. Therefore, once Pounce has learned to deal with the "angled hill" factor with a structured bumper pattern, the "ante" on lining skills can be "upped" by randomly selecting bumper order. 

Late morning Pounce, Daisy and Kooly were taken to Thorson Pond to get good & wet,
first up...Pounce ran the "cheaty" corner drill with longer entries (four different angles), then moved to the "other side/end" and ran two of the "lines" with longer entry/exists & in reverse......put Pounce up (with the fan crate on her), then ran Kooly and Daisy in a few tandem water singles........that went smoothly, but it was uncomfortable watching Kooly swim....his age is beginning to show....much slower. Brought  Pounce back out and did five "punch through" the shoulder high cover "barriers" on the north shore
                   note: she barreled right through into the pond and came straight back,
                             photos of the tall grass "barriers" are in the May 23rd journal entry
Pounce finished her morning off with six walking singles at the Rockton Road DTA
                   note: good morning......"Ditch Drill", blinds & winger doubles tomorrow

May 29 up early before Lylah wakes up, temperature in the middle 70's...we (Pounce & I) worked in the "yard" on lining skills (both sides heeling position) using randomly placed and selected white rubber and dark green "camo" canvas bumpers
                   note: focus was on "spine in line", "toes and nose" with intensity
later today.........big "Ditch Drill" variation similar to May 17th session, then do two sets of winger doubles with blinds 
Ditch Drill Variation was excellent and the modifications were the result of an Internet thread on RTF, info learned at a recent Bill Hillmann Seminar and subsequent analysis/decisions.

I took a few days to think about the RTF thread’s input…..then recalled a journal entry from May 22. That entry was initiated by a comment Bill Hillmann made about the Seven Bumper Lining Drill. “Just because a retriever picks all the bumpers up in the correct order does not mean that it is lining correctly." It took a few days for that to sink in because Pounce did exactly that in the seminar.

For example, Pounce can do the seven bumper lining drill in what appears to be an almost effortless demonstration of excellent lining skills. I will see how difficult it will be for her to learn how to pick up the "seven bumpers" in a random fashion.  Working on that in “the yard” recently provided a strong verification. Given the above rationale, the assumption of beginning with much larger gaps in the bumpers proved necessary.
The conclusion was Pounce learns “routines” very quickly… wary of this “skill”. Using consistent, correct repetitions is usually a very effective process for teaching.  However, if the teaching process employs a very predictable pattern, make sure there is a skill being developed and not just "doing" the static repetition of a pattern. 

Therefore, the seven bumper pattern was removed from the terrain process by having bumpers in the same “spot”. This morning we re-visited with a different Hill/Ditch session to focus on terrain changes. In addition, it was much easier to pay attention to spine alignment, her eye focus and “nose n toes”.  The singular nature of the target isolated the terrain factor.

After the "terrain session", we drove to the Rockton Road DTA where pounce did a remote winger double with two blinds. The double went well. Her blinds revealed "rust" and a training imbalance plus the traffic noise in area is loud. Finished with four longer entry/exit "lines" in the corner cheat drill at Thorson Pond with a very solid, positive effort.  Pounce, "The Cheater", is beginning to fade away because of using consistently presented fair and fun sessions.
                   note: the two old dogs (Daisy and Kooly) had a bunch of easy water singles
                             for "joint jarring"

Pounce - almost two years old

link to YouTube

YouTube Video

click on icons for larger photos

link to YouTube

May 21 just needed a day off.......actually, too warm in the afternoon and no urge
May 22 even warmer today - decide to do some early "yardwork" and realized that learning a routine may mask the fact that a concept has actually NOT been taught.
I wanted to work on three skills things - repetition of deliveries, lining positions and introducing the "easy" cue. The drill design was two tossed bumpers in a line - one long the other half-way (in short grass, visible). The closer bumper was retrieved on a "soft" back and the long on a louder "BACK!"

Apparently, she knew exactly what this meant after just a few reps.  I was impressed and yet not convinced. Therefore, changing the consistent routine of the bumper distances  revealed that the "soft vs. loud cues" meant nothing. She had learned the sequence was long/short then long/short again.  Using consistent, correct repetitions is usually a very effective process for teaching skills. However, if the teaching process employs a very predictable pattern, make sure there is a skill being developed and not just "doing" the static repetition of a pattern. 

For example, Pounce can do the seven bumper lining drill in what appears to be an almost effortless demonstration of excellent lining skills. I will see how difficult it will be for her to learn how to pick up the "seven bumpers" in a random fashion.  Given the above rationale, the assumption of beginning with much larger gaps in the bumpers (and fewer to begin with) plus a steeper running angle is rather obvious.

An important ramification of the above is that routines are a significant part of creating a skilled retriever. It would seem rather obvious that "routines" should be precise, effective and predictable. With a poorly "patterned" handler, the retriever is confronted with inconsistency and doubt.  In most cases......"It is not the dog."
                 note: This journal entry is focused solely at the author.
This afternoon it was 83°F & sunny - after a short drive to the Square Pond DTA, Pounce did eight "walk-around/send back, cheating" singles......noticeable improvement!              
                  note: shoreline grass is over knee high & lush, time for "weed whacking"
                  note: "send backs" were from each "gunner/handler" position back to a

                            "placeboard" located beside a white bucket on a stake

Copyright © kwickLabsii. All rights reserved

click icon for larger photo

May 23 rapid rise in "temps" today (into the 80's) trained the two old dogs Daisy & Kooly in the yard early.....then drove Pounce to the Rockton Road DTA and ran three sets of three remote winger singles....not quite as long as the last time and farther north than in the April 20th session, picked wingers up and went a few miles east to Thorson Pond and Pounce did two parallel swims of about 50 and 75 yards close along the north shore of the pond. She did well and the cool water was a good way to end today's training Took her home (five minutes away) and came back to the pond with a "weed whacker" to "manicure" the shoreline for specific training sessions. Made several "slots" and "barriers" plus shaped the south east corner to create a clear picture of "not cheating" a corner....there will be more trimming in this "corner" approach                              
                               note: two tanks of gas later, the heat said "enough"  

May 5 beautiful day for "yardwork" and the "weed-eater" was busy - dogs had a day off
May 6 Grandparents day at school = change in training plans........morning yard session working on precision deliveries, heeling (both sides), whistle sits off fast motion and handling (up close) plus the two older dogs got a "workout" the low 80's this afternoon and went to Thorson Pond.....did a few, short cheating singles plus several parallel swims (much closer to the shoreline and more challenging) in an upbeat "Hillmann" fun approach while systematically working on repetitions of a front sit first before shaking standard 
                        note: last fall's theme of making water fun supported by "The Game" is
                                  proving to be very effective 

May 7 usual weekend morning "duties" (not dog related).....however, out very early in the yard with Pounce and did an extended session of OB, focused on several skills...two-sided heeling, lining, "push/pull" with precision plus some memory work all while laced with "up-beat", exciting fun........highly animated while responsive and focused
early afternoon - short drive to the Rockton Road DTA and ran the  "Modified 3-Cold Blinds
Come In Drill"  note: click link for 2 pictorials of the drill 

quick pickup of setup and short drive to Lowes (heeling & OB dealing with new distractions)
and two employees came up to greet and play with Pounce - much more relaxed (2nd time) very calm & cool about her "walk in the big box" 

last stop was Thorson Pond for more water "stuff".....did two parallel swims and three, short cheating singles (different angles and directions) while continuing to get more "reps" on the
the "delivery...then shake" routine and will now "shake" on command (at any time)
                  note: remained "upbeat" and in "the game" the entire session
May 8 decided to take the day off - other more important "stuff" to do
May 9 mowed "airing" yard plus out front then Pounce did an extended, upbeat and fun session of yard work focusing on "push/pull" lining precision/repetitions
                  note: cleaned out van for seminar & Dremel'd all three dogs' nails            
May 10  rain all day....but not until after an early morning "fun" session in the yard
                  note: mostly teaching Pounce to fetch either an orange or white bumper
                            by "description" choice......just for the fun of it
                  note: drove to DMV for license plate sticker renewals on two boat trailers
May 11 up early and left for Bill Hillmann Seminar at 5:45 am at Bong Recreational Area near Burlington, Wi  (update later)
                  note: biggest need for Pounce - new environments...people & on
                            focused "one on one" engagement when in the midst of distractions
May 12 (next morning) - early session discussing and demonstrating (with several dogs) many of the aspects of "The Game", next session up was "Swim-By" using the same runway pond Pounce worked in on April 25th (see April journal link below)......however, my van would not start.......Pounce hitched a ride over to the pond (from "The Bowl" area) in Hillmann's truck... soon decided a delay in fixing the "Kwick" van would not be a good idea and a tow truck quickly arrived (with no tools) - loose "exciter" wire on the starter was "cobbled up" to work with no guarantee that it would avoid any further complications, left van running, loaded up and came started again in the driveway, hopefully, again in the morning.....all three dogs are to the car mechanic tomorrow
                  note: in spite of the van issue....still got a lot of useful info out of this seminar
May 13 van - 10 am appointment...loose wire fixed...all three dogs have a day off
May 14 my morning to take care of Lylah.....train this afternoon - cloudy with 20 mph NW winds and a high of 49° is the perfect situation/timing to stretch and run free.....set of
six "Ya Ha" singles out to two hundred yds (see May 1st link) at Rockton Road DTA
                  note: grassy cover is now almost knee high, dense and lush, scenting conditions
                            were excellent and Pounce had to be right on  top of the black and white
                            bumper to see it and did this session extremely well
                  note: Kooly and Daisy did individual marking setups (mostly because I wanted to 
                            be on top of Kooly's strong penchant to eat grass)
by the time Kooly and Daisy had run their setups, Pounce was relaxed and ready for a second setup.....ran a short six singles "pin point marking drill" in the deep grass and she "nailed" each for a mowed, grassy hill to work on a new lining drill related to the two "old" marking photos below......want to develop an advanced variation of the seven bumper lining drill adding a terrain factor and reducing visibility....this will build on a very successful, previous experimental lining drill "demonstrated" in the third photo
                  note: more details are in the  journal link

right click on icon for larger photos

Rockton Road DTA

May 3 morning - "yardwork", blinds (Rockton Road DTA) plus short visit to Thorson Pond 
"yardwork" was first - continued with Hillmann's Game as the foundation and focused on responsiveness with respect to the recent "change over" to how heeling is being re-taught
                             note: big difference = better timing, consistent "reps" and seamless with
                                       Pounce in a very comfortable "zone"
after a short drive to the Rockton Road DTA - Pounce ran five 5 blinds in a fan configuration to the far treeline (downwind) - blind running routines are becoming more consistent = better
whistle sits, better casts and focused, still wants to switch into hunt mode when close (less than 10-15 yards)......decided to do some short blinds and work on that (being closer to her)

moved a few miles to the east and did some short "fun stuff" in and around Thorson Pond
                             note: a couple of "in and out....get wet" tosses working on delivery and 
                                       shake (in that order), three, short, cheating a few really
                                       long, tossed "with the wind" land marks to shake off excess water
                             note: fun, quick and exciting morning with no long drives
                             note: plenty of time to do more "yardwork" when home = mowed lawn
                             note: longest trip to train today =  5-6 minutes

May 4 Pounce firsts did session of "yardwork" focusing on "heeling" positions on both sides, then we drove to Lowe's for an "in house" heeling session with "distractions" (she did well), next up was a short trip to the RockCut State Park DTA for what will now be a weekly "thing" doing Hillmann's "Pin-Point" Marking Drill - used "stand alone/send backs", downwind, green "camo", canvas bumper in calf-high cover with a challenging background
                            note: cloudy, cooler (in the middle 50's) with a strong north wind
                            note: applying "S. Curry" dogma - "practice, practice and more practice"

the process will teach slot drills in a sequence using changing terrain features (side hills,
row cover, slots (land & water), angle entry/exits and "fighting" wind with the rationale of
using correct "reps" to create a consistently high lining standard
                 note: initially, slot "boundaries" will be white bumpers, later natural features

note: Pounce seemed to flare far right on a couple of the longer singles to the right in the "Ya-Ha" singles, this again tends to confirm the fact that
prior marks or blinds run previously (weeks before) are "burned" into her memory "pictures", too much similarity

click on icon for larger photo

link to YouTube

May 26 trained after the thunderstorms cleared out early - repeated the "Ditch Drill" early and changed to seven white bumpers plus ran longest to shortest (reversed from first presentation), doing the steepest first promotes squaring initially (not a good idea), drove to the Winnebago Co. DTA and grass on the west side is too tall but, the east side was "burned" early this spring and shorter (not much)...Pounce did an eight bumper version of Hillmann's "Pin Point Marking Drill"...then finished at the technical pond with a parallel swim along the north channel.....the last, brief session was back near home.....Pounce "repeated" the "Show Me" drill on Thorson Pond, used four white bumpers and longer entry/exit lines.........late afternoon.......HRC group training.......finally decided after the eye doctor "thing" yesterday, missing a hot afternoon in the sun might be a better choice

May 25 trained Daisy and Kooly early in the yard...Pounce was taken to the Rockton Road DTA to run three remote winger mallard singles, 2nd session was two miles away where she ran a deep ditch lining drill.....then drove a few more miles and repeated the pond corner lining drill plus two longer "repeats" - good morning
                         note: Pounce is much more responsive and focused in "cheaty"
                                   water..."sitting/waiting" with good eye contact for "directions"
                         side note: A small flock of geese were on the pond......for awhile.

days # 1,2                    day # 3

link to YouTube

view in high definition (HD)

click icon on for larger photo

link to YouTube

May 27 school is out, this means no training Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings
                         note: highs in the low 80's for all three days
however, this morning was different....did not need to stay home to watch Lylah\
                         note: got out early to beat the heat
trained first in the "ditch" and continued work on the "Ditch Drill" white bumpers were again placed about 8 yards apart near the top of the hill, but this time we ran from a left side heel position with the bumpers picked up progressing east to west (the opposite of yesterday for muscle memory balance) with the line further out into the wide flat area to more clearly define the start of the incline.....the setup was nearly a mirror image of yesterday's....this presentation balanced the fact that her right side was now on the "upside" (reversing muscle memory)......her eyes were clearly locked on each target and again revealed a knack for being a "quick study" as all seven bumpers were lined and straight (totally better than yesterday)......hiked back to the van and headed for Thorson Pond for a quick repeat of the four bumper corner cheat drill....."way better"with her responsiveness/comfort in water & finished with four short "walk around the pond" singles
                         note: next step, alter the sequence (order of picking up five bumpers)
                         note: Pounce will begin late July and running AKC Senior
                                   (probably, maybe and if)

May 20 terrific weather day - cloudy, good breeze and right around 70°F - Kooly and Daisy got in a little exercise in the yard....then Pounce was taken to the Rockton Road DTA for a marking session....last time we were there (on May 17th) the grass was almost too tall and it was not mowed all last the fall the weeds were "head high" with a lot very thick "stalky stuff", the county mowers spent almost two weeks trying to level it, their mowers got "bogged down" and it appears two or three quick, easy mows will be a wiser approach.........therefore, today was a great day for setting up a "Flip/Flop" session.....three single marks using remote wingers from the north, reloaded wingers in the same position with three more marks from a southern line.....Pounce was in good form today and started to "push" a bit on distance 
                         note: 1st setup concept = "check down"
                         note: 2nd setup concept = through/past "old fall"

May 18 day off from training to let Pounce's ear infection settle down plus new lawn mower to set up, mow lawn (again), delivery of new sofa and a new bed for Lylah and a "honey do" list
May 19 thawed out three mallards early...actually they could have used another three hours (kind of hard) - trained about noon running remote winger marks  at the Square Pond DTA with an HRC line = bucket, duck call, shot gun with primer loads and mallards.....late afternoon doive to Harrison Road for a first time HRC training group (just Pounce) - ran three singles and two blinds..........not easy, tall cover and very different atmosphere.....was pleased with her initial focus and responsiveness
                note: the long range plan for Pounce is taking shape - based on finances, the
                          time needed for taking care of Lylah, "doing" every duck hunting season, 

                          accepting the lack of really good training weather each winter and my
                          age......the plan is to do HRC hunt tests first, move on to AKC hunt tests
                          second and eventually reach a level of being able to compete in Q's (when
                          she is five years old)....that would make me 79 years old
note: late afternoon 4:30-7:30 pm, Pounce ran three singles and two blinds
                          with an HRC/AKC training group and we signed on as weekly members 

The final phase of Pounce's "Show Me Drill" will involve trimming "all the grass"
around this corner of Thorson Pond.

view in high definition (HD)

May 1 afternoon....high of 56°F, NE wind in low teens and very good weather all week..trained at the Madison Retriever Club's Y Property - setup an ABC marking drill with wingers & mallards, the setup was downwind, moved to a different line, did a "Flip Flop" setup with wingers & AOFs in the same position with a crosswind
                 note: Daisy and Kooly ran several short singles in tandem for exercise and to give
                           Pounce a breather between the two sets of singles, after running the marks
                           everything was placed in the van and Pounce ran three blinds
                 note: all went well except on the last single....went into hunt mode because of wind
                           blown scent from earlier falls to the east = experience
                 note: from now on land  marking setups will begin increasing by an incremental      
                           distance of about 10-15 yards per week (roughly) plus a weekly set of six
                          "Ya-Ha" singles (initial max distance 200 yards + 25 each week)

Pounce's "Show Me" Drill

May 2 cool morning - perfect for training....up early and Pounce did an extended, upbeat OB session in the front yard with the focus on heeling positioning  (using a technique that worked well with another pup several years ago). It fits right in with the simple "tug" technique used in Hillmann's program to re-enforce
the "sit expectation. Had not thought about this until recently and it seems to "fit seamlessly".
                            note: excellent session
about 11 am all three dogs went to the Winnebago County Forest Preserve DTA. Pounce ran (for the first time this year) a set of six "Ya-Ha" Singles (75-200 yards) stakes marked the distances for each of six singles alternating sides and Pounce worked in the "stand alone/send back" mode
                           note: a stiff northeast breeze added a bit of a wrinkle to the setup, the last single
                                     blew back almost to the gunner (me) about a third of the distance intended
                           note: the drill went well considering we have not done it since last spring, she is
                          note: the two older dogs got in a little exercise and after viewing the video their
                                    age issues were more obvious than I thought...Daisy's hearing is dropping
                                    off and Kooly's penchant for eating grass is creating a "mess" in his van
                                    box on the way home......and today was no exception
                          note: it is 5 pm and all three are "sawing wood" in the lining room 

May 17 trained at the Rockton Road DTA (5 minutes away)...setup a factor conditioning drill
using the hill of an elevated highway....steep slope and difficult to walk up to plant bumpers,
ran six increasingly more difficult lines from the north and repeated the south "mirror"....... Pounce did well on this and held good lines.....had thawed out mallards ready to run three cold blinds (downwind) and the cover here is getting "up there"....the best part about this training's very close....Pounce's initial lines and whistle sits are much improved.
WE are working together.
               note: second day of noticing a left "ear issue" with Pounce...been doing a lot of
                         water, not a surprise.....on top of it with Tresaderm & the "Purple Solution"

link to YouTube

click on icons for larger photos

HRC triple

click for larger photos

May 30 trained early = Pounce did Hillmann's "Pin-Point" marking drill in the "stand alone/send back" mode (sharp session)....picked up, which was a very easy "do" and drove a few miles to Thorson Pond where Pounce did two water singles with angle entry/exits in the "stand alone/send back" mode (very nicely done!) AFTER Daisy and Kooly were given several "in tandem" water singles for exercise.....van fans on after and everyone was almost dry when back home.........."yardwork" was next up for me and mowed the entire lawn.....while the "three" had a good afternoon nap in the cool house......around 7 pm Pounce will run a "fan" set of three, wide cold blinds (one left, the second right with the last up the middle)
May 31 could not train early....then rain arrived.....found a window in the radar and trained this afternoon.....Pounce ran three blinds first, setup "Flip/Flop" Doubles using "stickmen" and did it in the "Stand Alone/Walk Back" mode....very good memory and sharp, then let the two "old ones" (Kooly and Daisy) do two singles in tandem using the same stickmen (Kooly was noticeably slower than usual..age is suddenly an issue)

                note: Pounce had a very good month....on to June!

click on icon for larger photo

click on icon for larger photo

click on icon for larger photo

link to YouTube