Sept 22 worked Pounce early in the yard and focused on the skill sets in Hillmann's "Heeling" Video # I (see link below for the sequence completion & checklist data) at noon it is 90°F.
                    note: trimmed boat blind "netting" then measured, cut and placed Cordura
                              windbreak underneath....need to think about a dog ramp/entry opening
                    note: the design of this blind makes "up and down" about a five minute process
                              for one person
Sept 23 another HOT day....Pounce did her morning session of "heeling" ala Hillmann's #1
                     note: excellent session.....warm & sunny, no breeze & 77°F at 8:30 am...headed
                               for a sunny high of "92°F.....feeling like 95°F"
                     note: worked on the boat blind "wind/water proof" liner (for awhile) 

"short drive....mini session"

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Well, it was intended for this to be a day off for Pounce, however, this evening she did another session of the 2nd step in Hillmann's heeling process.
Sept 28 cool weather, worked quite a bit on the boat blind & Pounce was given the day off.
              note: Spent some time working to increase the efficiency of installing raffia.
                         a. a "bag clip" controlled the scattering of the raffia "cuts"

                         b. the thick "hank wrap" was not unraveled which eliminated "issues" in
                              removing individual smaller sections
                         c. Loose unraveled sections were gathered up regularly and worked into
                             each small hank for mounting. (much less "floor waste" today)
                         d. Lastly, keeping several zip-ties between lips (mouth) eliminated going
                             back and forth to get a few at a time. ("duh" moment)
                         e. backside was "practice"...front side will be "easier, better and faster"  
                 The result was much more finished in less time today.  
                            

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Sept 19  late morning - Pounce did a yard session of heeling and remained mostly in the first phase (focusing on the "one step" heel). Mixed in a few multiple steps plus worked on both sides. To keep things upbeat and exciting there was a Dogtra remote with occasional quacks and beeps plus three, on the ground objects - Dokken goose and redhead plus a 3" orange bumper. Given a choice, the order was goose, "red head" then orange bumper last. The "on off" switch is cool.
Sept 20 Pounce did another session of  "yard work" early and retreated to the air conditioning
                                 note: After today, there will be four more very HOT days - 90's
Sept 21 Trained early in the yard because it was going to be HOT quickly. Today was more exciting than previous sessions because there were more distractions....including a real mallard and a big Dokken goose. It was fairly clear which "thing" she was going to pick up first. 

The following video is a reference point for Pounce's present heeling skills/standards. After reviewing the new Hillmann DVD on "Heeling", the plan is to work through every step and then compare today's effort with a new video of a similar session (before & after).   

Sept 26 It was a bit cooler this morning, Therefore, a quick trip to the Harrison Property had Pounce doing seven "Stand Alone/Send Back" singles past five white "stick-men". For some reason the primer pistol quit working before we finished. Just as Daisy and I picked up the five "stick-men", the cloud cover disappeared and the heat began anew. It was good to get home to a cool house.                  

Sept 17 Pounce worked a very solid session on Hillmann's approach to heeling from his DVD. The first phase has been practiced quite a  bit in the last month mostly because of a YouTube video he posted awhile back. Keeping the excitement and fun part of these sessions is important because
Pounce responds extremely well to "the game component" of establishing condition responses.  


Finished the main frame of the semi-portable goose blind for Thorson Pond except for the "pivot-out" panel on the front to "open" the shooting "hole". Needed to cut down the width so as to  be able to fit it into the van for transport. Doing so made it much easier to carry. The front will be set on metal 3/4" EMT posts pushed into the ground that fit into inverted post supports on the front, bottom 2X4. Next up is to make an easy on/off, wrap around  "camo jacket" to fit the frame. The Quack Grass and plastic snow fence "jacket" will have an under layer of Cordura (wind blocker).
                      note: The  blind is portable enough to transport (folded up) on my mud boat and may
                                be used as a "back water" Mississippi River shore blind.

Sept 2 day off spent most of the day continuing to work on coating the driveway...use to be able to do it all in one day....not anymore. The good news was that all the wet, dyed raffia hanks were "fluffy" dry this morning. Lastly, the "dog van" was "emptied" of training equipment  in preparation for working all day tomorrow at the Madison Retriever Club's AKC Hunt Test.....Master A at Gallagher.
Sept 3rd arrived at the test grounds...first to the gate. Had time to run Daisy and Pounce
some alternating "fun" retrieves. Then ran the "short gun station" for the last fourteen dogs from the second series. Pro trainer Corey Zandonnai's son helped with the winger to finish off that series. Worked the third series alone and the shoulder issues seem to pass the test. The third series was over at about 4 pm.  Decided to give Pounce and Daisy some additional exercise. Pounce did five long singles using "solo send aways" which she easily grasped.  Cast ("go away") until I say you've gone far enough......then sit for a mark. Pounce was very "upbeat" with this impromptu session. Daisy came out next and was satisfied with her usual five or six short fun bumpers. It was a long day for me. 
                   note: The important plus for this day was observing many retrievers "at the
                             line" and "in the field" for some useful data and perspective with respect
                             to Pounce running Master tests next year. It was a valuable day. 
Sept 4 day off Pounce and Daisy relaxed while trainer did another section of the driveway

                   note: finished designing the small goose blind for Thorson Pond.....the sixty

                             acres of corn will mean a better year than when with beans

Sept 5 Pounce ran three short singles before a trip to the Vet (Lyme Vac & heart worm test)
late afternoon group training session at the Harrison property - Pounce ran two mallard singles and two cold blinds........mostly for the "group" atmosphere
                   note: tonight's low will be 45
°F
Sept 6 day off temps in the low  60's...It is presently early goose season. This morning was
the first day any showed up on Thorson Pond. The "Season" ends the 15th. Pounce will have a few "opportunities". Then it will be about a month until regular waterfowl season.
                   note: need east wind  to clear duckweed from an area near the blind location
Sept 7th  day off from training and a wind out of the east "magically" arrived
Sept 8 trained in the yard to take the "edge off" and worked on two blinds (duck boat and a goose blind for Thorson Pond)
                   note: Two days of wind out of the east has cleared that part of the pond of

                             duck weed and the geese have moved to that end.....Pounce and I will be
                             there to "greet them" in the morning. The tall standing, green corn field 
                             right next to the pond will make a easy, excellent blind. In addition, the
                             geese will fly in from the west with the sun in their eyes and decoys that

                             will be saying "We got here first!"  Another good thing is they are not all
                             arriving at the same time. At least....that is the plan.
Sept. 9 Pounce had her first early season goose hunt on Thorson Pond. Scouted yesterday and decided to go early. However, nothing showed until after 9 pm. There were several bunches that seemed spooked. One small flock came in hot and heavy without circling. They were strung out a bit which made it easy to string three shots. First one fell up on the land. The second right at the water's edge and the third back behind the goose floaters. The last one down was not clean and I quickly loaded another shell to "sluice" it. All of a sudden the first goose down (up on land) jumped up and flew away. With no shell in my gun....it was gone. Dang it! I thought for sure it was a "three-fer". Anyway, Pounce had two exciting retrieves. I decided we were finished for the morning (even though the limit is five for early geese). This hunt provided everything we needed. Decoys and gear were quickly picked up and we "Got out of Dodge" fast so as to not educate anymore.  Mission accomplished!

YouTube Video

                  note: The green, plastic snow fence was installed on the boat blind frame before it
                         became way too warm to continue working. The "Where to trim the bottom?"
                         decision is next. I am assuming it will stretch. Advice from the Refuge Forum
                         was to trim it "three spaces below the white Phowler Boat decal" (which
                         appears to be just above the water line).   

Sept 14 another warm, sunny day - Pounce went back to Thorson Pond to continue working on the standards in Hillmann's "Down the Shore" concepts drill. However, before starting the session, shoreline weeds needed to be trimmed to make it more challenging (no "wall of weeds" to block the temptation cheating/exiting early). The only "hang-up" Pounce has is making the   square entry back into the water after a retrieve.  Better today....but not enough. 
                   note: need to get the AOF closer to the shoreline

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"Pounce being Pounce"

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note: Important entry - After purchasing Hillmann's "new" video on heeling, the process is now
in motion to continue a regular, consistent effort over the next seven months. The "watch words" are precise, consistent practice with many, many correct repetitions. Pounce's two weaknesses are cheating and heeling.  We've made a lot of progress on both in the last month. They won't be "issues" in the spring when she begins running Master tests.   

Sept 15 another warm day.....waited until the sun was low on the horizon for another repeat work on Hillmann's "Down the Shore" concepts. This was the fourth day. Pounce is beginning to put it all together. This evening her "out to the mark and right back into the water" was "snappy".
The "heeling" program/process will be ten minutes of "yard work" twice a day plus field setups.
                  note: the next two weeks will continue to be mild - training focus will on 1) the new,
                            long term heeling agenda, 2) doing as much water work as possible and 3) taking
                            a few days to condition Pounce to a dog ramp on the duck boat. In addition,
                            two blinds will be installed....one on Thorson Pond and the other for the boat.
Sept 16  Finished cutting down the tall weeds/grass on the south shore of Thorson Pond. This will make the "down the shore" work/drills Pounce is presently working on more challenging (easier to get out........more tempting). The other good reason is that geese are often not too keen on landing in a pond when they can't see what is hiding in the tall weeds. No tall growth is more reassuring.
Came back later to work one more day on the "Down the Shore" concepts (Hillman's approach).
                note: Pounce worked on the 1st phase of Hillmann's heeling DVD (two sessions). She
                          has been doing this for quite some time, but will refer to this date as "The Start".

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Sept 24 HOT....trained in the yard early with a repeat of yesterday's work - very good, precise practice with many "reps" of the concept in lesson #1 in Hillmann's heeling video. Since she has been doing this for quite awhile (weeks), we will move on to the 2nd lesson  tomorrow.

                      note: did a lot of work on the boat blind "zip tying" the green plastic fencing to the
                                fabric "wind/rain" barrier    \ 
Sept 25 Pounce began  Lesson  #2 in Hillmann's heeling DVD with no issues.....very nice and highly animated with "our game"......hot in the afternoon....again
                      note: worked on the boat blind...the front, "pivoting", shooting side is installed

                    note: I began "experimenting" with the raffia installation of the boat blind. After
                             awhile it became rather obvious that being anal with boring repetition is
                             required. Do NOT step back to see how much more there is to do.
Sept 27 much cooler day - most of today's focus was on "real" yard work (mowing) and to work on
the boat blind installing raffia. There are several distinct issues that need to be dealt with.
              1. It is going to take a lot of time to finish the blind. 
              2. Separating, cutting and sizing each small raffia "hank" and zip tying it to takes time. 
              3. It is much easier to stick to a "fastening" session if one is somewhat "anal".  
              4. Make sure you buy the bag with a thousand 4" zip ties.
              5. This blind is much easier to justify if one is retired and your wife has given up trying
                  to  modify any of your hunting obsessions. 
              6. In the beginning, never step back to admire your work because the rest of the "empty
                  netting"  will become immediately imposing.
              7. Do not expect anyone to volunteer to help .....including any close relative that may
                  eventually be hunting out of your boat.
             9. No one else could do it the way I want it done.....anyway.
             9. When finished expect two kinds of comments 1) That's nice. or 2) I would have done
                 it differently.....both of which mean the same thing. 
           10. Don't worrying about the fire hazard....air dry and roll it up when not in use.
           11. It will be a huge relief when this one is finished.....except there is the goose blind for

                Thorson Pond which needs to be "covered".
           12. Take very good care of the blind. Thinking about making another will insure that happens.
           13. Hunting is a "dirty job"...but with a good dog, a few ducks and a warm shower "So what?"

           14. There are less than three weeks to go.
              

Sept 29 Pounce ran the old "point blind" at the Roscoe Riverside Park DTA. She breezed all five lines just for the exercise. That was followed by a few swimming singles in the Rock River plus several short, fun doubles in tall grass (she wanted more).
                   note: Much cooler today and "leaves season" has begun.....However, spent
                             most of the day working on the boat blind (about half finished).
Sept 30 The high today was around 70°F, sunny with a good breeze out of the east. This cleared the east end of Thorson pond of duckweed which made it possible to re-visit the

"Down the Shore" concept as designed by Hillmann. The "presentation" was modified so that instead of using singles, it was done with a pile. The standard is "swim parallel to the shoreline...exit the water at the position of the bumper...re-enter the water and return". Pounce still has some "angle action" right at the end, but she is in the water and parallel most of the distance. She is no longer obsessed with "seeking the shoreline" and much more at ease with staying in the water. This has been a slower paced training month for Pounce (compared to the previous hunt test focused training).......more relaxed. Illinois Waterfowl season begins October 21st.  

Sept 18 cool morning with a high in the upper 70's......early morning "heeling session....up beat with a Nylabone or bumper as a "distraction/exciter/reward" (using Dokken as a fun alternative) - working on the one step heel/sit re-enforcement/standard (indoors, the yard and in the field)
                   note: Pounce is now at the level of an automatic precise/reflex level (heeling two
                             sides) in this stage of the process....the new focus is many precise reps until 
                             the end of September.....then move on the next phase

                   note: Pounce had been working on this standard since before her last AKC Senior

                             pass. Therefore, when Hillmann's heeling video was purchased she, was already
                             well into the first "one step" phase. As Pounce progresses, maintenance will
                             continue to be part of a "precise practice" routine.                                  
A little later we went to the Harrison DTA and Pounce  did eight "Stand/Alone Send/Back" singles.  Used a 3" black/white bumper with flags because the background would be all dark "treelines". Also, used a primer pistol. Pounce was very energetic and "right on" each mark.
                   note: Daisy was "exercised" (short singles" as I walked out to get the "stickman".
                   note: finished adding the "pivot out" shooting panel frame of the goose blind.
Finished the frame for the portable goose blind. Then a section of "QuackGrass"was simply attached using a few 6" bungee cords just see how it looks. The design is perfect for setting up to do a for "Kwick" a hunt.    note: The next step is to complete the "camo" cover,

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Sept 1 With a steady breeze out of the east, the duckweed which has covered all of Thorson Pond was pushed to the west. This was ideal to do a simple review of the "down the shore" expectations. Used the '"stand alone/walk back" routine to throw/run marks. 
                         note: Daisy was exercised
                         note: Spent the rest of the day correcting the boat blind bulk raffia colors
                                   with  RIT dye and hot water. After using the dye to "kind of" correct the
                                    color of ten "hanks" of raffia, the cool weather at night was not going
                                    to allow them to dry. So....they were moved into the swimming pool
                                    area (which is covered when not in use) and hung in front of the huge,
                                    industrial dehumidifier overnight.       

Pounce's You Tube Video (before)

Sept 10 day off
Sept 11 Pounce repeated Hillmann's three pile "push-pull" lining drill (practice)
Sept 12 Pounce began working on Hillmann's "Down the Shore" concept in Thorson Pond
                      note: practiced swimming parallel to the shore to where the singles would
                                be landing.......did a pile on the first day

Sept 13 The steady east winds have kept the duckweed "out of the way" and made it much

easier to continue working on the "down the shore" concept. Today much progress was
made using the "stand alone/walk back" approach in throwing the required singles. She was much more confident in this session. With daily temperatures in the 70's this will be "nailed down" before cold weather sets in.
                      note: need to make sure the AOF is closer to the shore and "weed whack"

                                the shoreline shorter to reduce "hiding" the AOF
                      note: today added another Hillmann video to the library - "Heeling"

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