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right click on icon for larger photo

Jan 21 Friday - cold again, -2°F early morning...Gigi will have her second treatment of Panacur....both dogs are on 30/20 ProPlan Beef & Rice. Their training routines are based on improving the balance of retrieving, "birdiness", focus, control and responsiveness. Gigi and Pounce have very different personalities and Pounce is five years older than Gigi. Their training sessions are not exactly the same.  
Jan 22-23 Saturday-Sunday - 2+ inches of snow...Another week and it will be February...."home stretch" and
March can be interesting.    note: Getting Gigi's HRC registration for hunt tests has proven to be somewhat
exasperating. Direct phone call attempts are greeted with "You are caller number 200+ in the queue"
                       note: day off for Gigi and Pounce....finished Gigi's Panacur treatment. 

Jan 1-2 Saturday/Sunday....This was supposed to be the beginning of the winter field training process with Gigi and Pounce. However, by the time late Saturday evening arrives we will be well on our way to six inches of snow. The metal goose blind frame is now stored in the shed waiting until next season.  Much of this month's HRC field focused setups will be determined by the weather. Monday/Tuesday (next week) will be very cold with deep, drifting snow. The "iffy" bad weather days will be OB training done indoors on the pool deck. It will be 65°F all winter long with no wind. The three OB links from last month that were extracted from Northern Flight Website (archived - "WayBack Machine") will be the foundation for the next three months of regular OB training.            

"Handy" indoor training equipment - 12 gauge single shot, 
      Dokken, primer loads, duck call, whistle & no e-collar

Jan 3-4 Monday..cold blowing snow -2°F early morning...Tuesday..19°F high....clear, windy & sunny day
Jan 5 Wednesday -7°F early, blowing snow and 25 mph wind (advisory)...Pounce and Gigi worked on their skill sets from the links described in the orange/blue link buttons above (Butch Goodwin). The training area is on the deck surrounding our indoor swimming pool (middle sixties and comfortable). In addition, they did a brief introduction to a skill set explained in Bill Hillmann's newest YouTube - "Getting To The Line Correctly". Both  picked it up very quickly. The skill of having a dog "look out" and advantageously aimed into a wide field setup will prove useful (especially so in the HRC setups Pounce and Gigi will be running later this year).

Jan 24 Monday - temperatures in the 20's, snowed again (2-3") with wind advisory - did not train..no rush
                                             note: next two nights' lows will be -4°F & -14°F

Jan 12 Thursday.....it is still winter...Gigi & Pounce worked indoors again.....responsiveness, control and focus were expected. At this point in time the "where" is rather sterile. Eventually, when warm weather arrives, the distraction phase becomes more significant ("what & where"). The plan includes one group training per week.

Jan 16 Monday - another indoor session for Gigi and Pounce working on balancing the five factors. Pounce has a very good grasp on what comes next. However, we need to slow down the anticipation. Gigi has become much more pliable now that her responsiveness has been strengthened. "Birdiness" has been and will probably continue to be the main issue. We are getting closer to a quiet mouth with canvass bumpers. The goal is May......with three months of iteration.  
                          note: searched foreasy drive HRC hunt test dates starting in May (about a dozen possibles)
                                    Started and Seasoned for Gigi and Finished for Pounce
                          note: It has become more obvious that health issues have had an ongoing impact on Gigi's
                                    training progress. No heat cycles, loss of hair, weight loss and probably a whip worm
                                    intestinal irritation have been the underlying factors in her high anxiety.  She has
                                    become noticeably more relaxed, is sleeping better and very responsive when training. 
Jan 17-20 Tuesday-Thursday...continued winter training working on all skills indoors with an up close focus

Jan 6 Thursday - high 14°F, low 4°F (single digit lows - next five days)..Gigi and Pounce will repeat yesterday's indoor OB practice & exercise...did one indoor training session...precise practice and many "reps".   

       note: A training forum post touched on an issue with society in general. It led me to the following link.

YouTube Link:

Jan 25 Tuesday - bitter cold....Pounce & Gigi trained indoors this afternoon.....very good sessions
                    note: At 10 am it was -7°F and the low after midnight was -17°F.

Jan 26 Wednesday - After midnight, the temperatures went from -17°F  up to 30°F by the afternoon. Gigi and Pounce had late afternoon training sessions (indoors).

 Jan 27-29 Thursday/Friday/Saturday - weather not an issue...indoors training routines are effective
                    note: Gigi and Pounce continue to work on their up-close skill sets
Jan 30-31 Sunday/Monday - basically the same for Gigi and Pounce....practice
        note: This spring will include a few days of turkey hunting. Thorson Pond is kind of a location

                  that funnels turkeys. They may travel in from five different directions and each trail
                  passes in gun range of one blind site. The branches of a tree are low to the ground and 
                  provide a perfect frame for a circular blind.

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Jan 13-14 Friday/Saturday - cold with more snow...all water is iced over except the Rock River several miles to the west. However, the large lake nearby (in a subdivision) has placed several aerators which provide open water, rest areas for quite a few geese. There are several corn fields nearby and this makes it easier for them to "weather" the winter. It has become physically more obvious that being 81+ years old is a daily test. In addition, our house has four different levels and walking up and down stairs (a lot) is a daily routine.  With four generations of family members, our routines are congested. Add two retrievers that require some time and the days are full. It is 2:30 PM on Saturday afternoon with snow on the ground. Three generations just left to take a long walk. The fourth (now a 102 years old) is confined to her restricted, downstairs area. I will be taking Gigi and Pounce out into the heated indoor area for a training session...this afternoon. It is good to be retired. The real challenge begins this spring. Can I physically run Gigi and Pounce in HRC hunt tests? 

Jan 9 Monday - high of 10°F....Gigi and Pounce did one indoor training session (around noon)
Jan 10 Tuesday....early - 2°F & +10°F in the afternoon...repeated yesterday's work indoors. This has been an ideal time to practice using the new Dogtra E-collars when going to and from the airing yard. Trying to keep it simple has proven not so easy.
Jan 11 Wednesday....high of 29°F...Gigi & Pounce continued practicing with more complex, responsive games
while I have been working on my teaching skills (especially timing/pace).

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Jan 15 Sunday - high of 24°F......The weather indoors is easy to deal with. Gigi and Pounce practiced. The primary focus of the training sessions has been to create balance in the Five Factor method - retrieving, "birdiness", focus, control and responsiveness. Today's session involved teaching by iterating responses.
          "Iteration" is the repetition of a process in order to generate an unbounded, better sequence of
          outcomes. Each slight change during the repetitions represent a single iteration and the outcome
          of each iteration becomes a starting point for the next. As sessions progress, a skill is enhanced.
          As In mathematics and computer science, iteration along with the related technique of recursion is
          a standard element of algorithms.
                            note: Synonyms for iteration are duplication, redo, reduplication, reiteration,
                                      renewal, repeat, repetition, replay

                            note: A learning algorithm is a set of instructions used in teaching that allows a
                                      training program to create/imitate the way a retriever improves skill sets
          To repeat, a retriever training program is simply a set of instructions based on iterated responses
          which result in better training (in theory). "Not perfect initially, but gradually to much better" is a
          description of the process of iteration. Understanding "The Learning Process" enhances training.
          Divide and conquer serves as a top-down approach to problem solving where problems are
          reduced by solving smaller and smaller imperfections.

Hot summer days are cool...."inside".

Cold winter days are warm...."inside"

Jan 7 Friday - at noon...-3°F with 5 inches of snow....Gigi and Pounce each did an indoor OB session - heeling at different speeds (on lead, forward and backward), Hillmann's new "approach to the line", a five minute remote down, whistle sit/cast retrieves, front sit delivery (occasionally), remote drop and use of a placeboard. A great deal of eye contact was sought during the session (balancing responsiveness, focus and control).
                  note: spent some time re-organizing and charging all the electronics...e-collars (Two Dog Dogtra
                           1902S and Two Dog TriTronics Sport UpLand G3) plus six Dogtra Remote Winger electronics

Jan 8 Saturday/Sunday - two cold winter days.....more indoors work (afternoon sessions)

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notes: Dremel Pounce and Gigi's nails (soon) & repeat Gigi's Panacur treatment Jan 21st

                                                                 Journal Entry - April 2013 (edited)
My Master's Thesis title was "Memorize and Perish". There is evidence that adrenaline

            deepens memories both good and bad. For a retriever, it would be a plus to use birds 
            often when marking (i.e. more exciting & more adrenaline). On the flip side, negative 
            training issues (with adrenaline) tends tend to promote counter-productive behaviors
            that would "get in the way" (i.e. bad habits/memories vs. avoid mistakes)

            Another factor that inhibits memories are distractions. They cause a lack of focus
often impacts control. The idea of forcing a dog to become more focused vs.
            creating situations that provide/allow focus to develop in context requires balance.
            The right right combination depends a lot of the dog's potential (innate abilities). It
            is better to have a dog want to do something vs. "forced to".

            In terms of marking and remembering multiples, the routine at the line must be clean,
            clear and seamless. The handler cannot be "in the way" or on the other end of the
            spectrum a "potted plant". How about being inconspicuously in total control?

            I can enforce "here", "sit" and "heel", but there are no commands for "pay attention",
            "listen to me" or "focus on what we are doing". Essentially, routines must be
            automatic to maintain balance with respect to responsiveness, focus and control.
            The old "This is what I do because it is all I know." is the best vehicle for maximizing
            memory and performance.

            Responsiveness, focus and control are tested continuously when combined with
            birds and retrieving. (The five factors of a balanced retriever)