Archive: The Kwick "Four" Training Journal - April/May, 2012
MPR UH HRCH Kwick Taffey of Joemac's MH -"Taffey"
                                                                                  Kwick Kooly Dew It Allstar SH - "Kooly"
                                                                             HR Kwick Daisy's Spirit Keeper SH - "Daisy"
                                                                                   HR Kwick Draw McGraw SH - "Gunny"
                                                               Kwick Training Archives + Hunting Results (Link) 

                     April 1st - everyone is getting the day off.......then is April 1st
                     April 2nd  trained at RockCut State Park DTA - conditioning is still a main concern, decided
                                     to run four sets of check-down "inline" singles, remote radio line with a large
                                     black & white canvas bumper (three black & white flags attached) upper 50's,
                                     sunny, stiff breeze out of the southeast                                      
                                       note: experience was obvious Taffey & Kooly were checking down nicely,
                                                Daisy was OK, but blew by the last check down. Gunny ran very good
                                                lines but showed no clue of how to check down = more exposure....lots
                                                of it
                                       note: had an "almost" issue with a guy walking his tiny black & white" fluffy
                                                dog, I saw him coming & waited until he was past my van (out of the way)
                                                then I released Gunny for his mark, it was the longer one & he was lining
                                                it when the "little" black & white dog came running back to investigate
                                                my other three dogs in the van, Gunny looked up and saw "something"
                                                black & white and swerved toward it........shudder....shudder, I got in a
                                                quick "here/nick/here" just in time
    plus a verbal complaint to
                                                the clueless owner...Gunny can be "not so nice"
                                       note: Interceptor for all (last of supply)
   need to decide alternative SOON
new Preventic collar for Kooly
"Check Down Singles" Bookmark (link)  (click and scroll down to the drill

                                                                                                         (left click on thumbnails)

                                                                                   drill diagram
                                      "remote radio line"
             "first set"
         "second set"

                     April 3rd (dusk) trained at Rockton Road DTA where crown vetch is growing rapidly
                                    Taffey, Daisy & Kooly had the day off, Gunny ran 7 sets of check down singles
                                    (one set = long & short marks) walking "around" a remote line, used a Dokken
                                    with three black and white flags, it bounces which enhances marking, huge
                                    improvement over yesterday (used the train a slow reacting dog fast axiom
                                    with a lot of animation on my  part = good session (cool & cloudy)
                                          note: Taffey needed the day off because of some soreness
                                          note: other two had the day off because of too much other "stuff" to do
                     April 4th day off for all
                     April 5th (late afternoon) trained at RockCut State Park DTA - walking singles with the
                                   triple flagged Dokken, duck call and blank pistol (all angle back throws)
                                          note: Daisy ran first broke twice off the remote line & didn't get either
                                                   retrieve - then seven in a row were nice (long & heavy cover)
                                          note: Gunny was next - ran nine singles really well & the longest
                                          note: ran Kooly & Taffey "in tandem" alternating - Kooly ran five and
                                                   Taffey ran four
                                          note: excellent, physically challenging session
                     April 6th (late afternoon) - Taffey & Kooly given day off, Daisy & Gunny did a review
                                   of push/pull expectations in the front yard, took videos to provide accurate
                                   feedback, since we have not formally done any push/pull since last September
                                   with duck/goose season in full swing and then the cold winter set it was
                                   something we needed to revisit - Daisy was OK and again provided good hints
                                   that we need to slow down, wait and continue to monitor mouth habits plus
                                   de-escalate feeding her anxiety tendencies, she needs to have her "clicks"
                                   fine tuned more
                                   Gunny was a somewhat of a disappointment, he has regressed back to square
                                   one, not focused with very little intensity, it's good to be "laid back"......but not
                                   that much - he's out of balance in two factors (mostly focus & lacking intensity
                                   in retrieving, his session was bad enough to decide on ending it with "anything"
                                   positive in the "fun zone" to minimize any negative memories 
                                           note: strategies - train Daisy slower, wait much longer for each release and
                                                    use the "Kwick Bumpers" to indirectly modify her "mouthy" issues
                                           note: strategies - train Gunny in a more isolated area (fewer distractions)
                                                    and use "bouncing" Dokkens to increase retrieving intensity which
                                                    will impact his focus (in theory), need to find a way to increase his
                                                    responsiveness, but will wait to see if it "follows" the other two
 Daisy's "Push/Pull" Review (YouTube link)
Gunny's "Push/Pull" Review (YouTube link)
                     April 7th (late afternoon) - trained at RockCut State Park DTA, partly cloudy, middle 50's
                                   ran walking singles with all four, triple flagged Dokken, primer pistol, remote line
                                            note: Daisy was first, ran nine singles and was very, very sharp
                                            note: Gunny went second, ran nine shorter marks than Daisy, it is difficult to
                                                     look good running after Daisy, but he did well on eight of the nine
                                                     singles, ran over the longest and needed help, can't help but wonder
                                                     how he would do if his hips were normal
                                            note: Kooly & Taffey ran in tandem again five for Kooly & four for Taffey,
                                                     they really have this routine down "pat" and being excellent markers,
                                                     it's fun to watch
                                            note: twenty-seven solid singles in very little time
                     April 8th - Easter Sunday - day off for all
                     April 9th trained at Rockton Road DTA (originally planned to do long wait drill, but winger
                                       charger wasn't working, since the wind was 25 mph gusting to 40 mph decided to
                                       run a set of four gradient cold blinds with ducks where the wind factor gradually
                                       increased from the first to last, the ran a long blind with the wind perpendicular
                                       to the line (again using mallards)

  note: gradient blinds were about 60 yards to 125 yards
                                             note: the single cross-wind blind was about 175 yards
                                             note: Daisy was sharp on the four gradient blinds and one whistled 175 yard
                                             note: Gunny was OK and the gradients and totally seemed to not hear any
                                                      of the four whistle sits, he straight, but off line by about 20 yards, the
                                                      wind was howling, the highway sounds from the north-west and near
                                                      "may' have been an excuse....except Daisy & Taffey heard the whistle,
                                                       his blind running attitude leaves a lot to be desired, I'm concerned
                                                       about his whether or not his hips are impacting training, the focus is
                                                       just not there
= train every other day and more water soon when it
                                                       warms up ???
                                              note: Taffey ran the first and third blind in the gradient & four whistled the
                                                       long blind for repeated scalloping   
                                              note: Kooly ran the second and fourth of the gradient then lined the 175 yd

                                                                                                             (left click on thumbnail)

                                                                               "four gradient blinds"
                     April 10th - too windy, too cold & too old = day off for all
                                              note: winger issue solved = battery in transmitter was weak & forgot the
                                                       2nd transmitter had been reprogrammed for the "big/new" winger
                     April 11th (late afternoon) cool & sunny, trained at the Sq. Pond "grassy area" & ran
                                     just Daisy & Gunny - reviewed "off the van to the line" standards first, then did
                                     two hand thrown "in your face" Dokken singles followed by a "double", used
                                     popper gun, duck call and Dokkens plus the Avery Ultra Low Hide, the "RULE"
                                     is "mark from inside the hide and don't move", all shells are "shucked" and
                                     spent hulls are picked up before being called to heel, retrieves happened only
                                     after an extended "lock, stare and wait"
                                               note: DANG! both Daisy and Gunny were perfect
 and Gunny's
                                                        focus (which I had been questioning the last few sessions) was
                                                        completely different = excellent........"popper gun" magic
                                                        or the previous day off
                                               note: can't ever remember saying "perfect" session before (from the
                                                        house and back)
                                               note: this served to suggest the "Long Wait Drill" expectations from last
                                                        year's training have been retained and won't need to do anything
                                                        more than regular maintenance setups
                     April 12th (afternoon) did push/pull drill with Gunny at the Square Pond "grassy area"
                                               note: big difference from the April 6th review, no barking neighbor dog,
                                                        not enclosed, tight garden distractions, he was focused & responded
                                                        to step back (pull) or step forward (push), now it will just be a case
                                                        gradually making them more subtle
                                  (late afternoon) nine waking singles with a remote line at Rock Cut State Park DTA,
                                  use mallard and primer pistol ("a la" April 7th in a different area), run Kooly and
                                  Taffey together, run set of four cold blinds with ducks with Daisy & Gunny
                                               note: Daisy was sharp & fast, the four blinds went really well, lined two
                                               note: Gunny's marked well, but he'll never match Daisy speed, his blinds
                                                        revealed why it is a good idea to run sets, each blind was better than
                                                        the previous, there is a noticeable improvement in his initial lines
                                               note: Kooly & Taffey ran in "tandem" with Kooly doing five & Taffey four
                                               note: Dremel dogs' nails
                                               note: ordered Heart Guard Plus as substitute for Interceptor 
                                               note: ordered Glucosamine MSM Complex for Gunny & Taffey
                     April 13th (dusk) Gunny ran push/pull drill repeat (April 12th), worked right and left sides
                                               note: good session & hips continue to be a non-issue, every send is after
                                                        a wait of ten seconds or more "after hand placement" which is
                                                        increasing his focus (look) 
                                               note: day off for Kooly, Taffey & Daisy
                     April 14th (late afternoon) remote line "Ya-Ha" Dokken singles 50, 100, 150, 200 yds at the
                                    Rockton Sport Complex  70F with 15 mph down wind breeze
                                               note: Daisy ran two singles at each of the three longest flags (6 marks),
                                                        very fast and the temperature seemed to "gas her" more than the
                                                        other three & didn't run the short station
                                               note: Gunny ran two singles at all four distances - kept at it, good "mo"
                                               note: ran Kooly & Taffey in tandem, Taffey was not asked to do the longest
                                                        distance, Kooly ran every distance twice except the last at 50 yards
                                               note: all four are "zonked" at 9 pm                            
                     April 15th weather forecast = thunderstorms predicted for all will be "iffy"
                                     (afternoon) ran Gunny on brief push/pull drill at the Square Pond grassy area
                                     (afternoon) trained Gunny & Daisy at Rockton Road DTA  set of four cold blinds with
                                     ducks.......Kooly & Taffey given the day off 
                                               note: Daisy ran four nice blinds white trash bag in the distance was a slight
                                                        distraction (picked it up before Gunny's session
                                               note: Gunny was asked to start getting a better look = time to forget about
                                                        just kicking him off = "upped the ante" and got more "picky", this
                                                        went well as he didn't get worse, focus was better and he was trying,
                                                        ran four "good" blinds responding to each whistle and cast
                                               note: today's "good" meant meeting the session's focus - decent initial lines

                                                                                                               (left click on thumbnail)
                                                                                                                 four cold blinds

                     April 16th cold, very windy and damp = prefect combination for an old man's day off
                     April 17th (late afternoon) Square Pond - 4 remote winger singles/ doubles on land using
                                     a popper gun, duck call, ducks Avery Ultra Low plus two holding blinds..HRC style
                                     Daisy ran two doubles with duck calling before and in between launches, steady
                                     in hide before called to the line
                                            note: Daisy & Gunny did the complete "van to the line routine" - both were
                                                     sharply responsive to the routine (it's been several months since we've
                                                     worked on any of this), their "performance" tells me we are "ahead of
                                                     the curve in preparation for running HRC Finished tests (at the line
                                                     "stuff" is difficult in that venue)
                                            note: winger #2 didn't "fire" on cue in Daisy's run, but finally it went off, it
                                                     didn't work at all in Gunny's run, threw duck from the line, later at
                                                     home discovered the antenna wire was broken, soldered it - good to go
                                            note: in the middle of Daisy's run, the neighbor to the north returned from
                                                     hauling a load of leaves & drove right through the session between
                                                     doubles - no harm, useful distraction and a good laugh

Gunny's "Kwick Hide Steady" Drill (YouTube link)
                                                                  Daisy's "Kwick Hide Steady" Session (YouTube link)
                                                                         (note: these are not brief videos)
                                        note: to see similar examples and on the following    
                                         "The Long Wait Drill" Bookmark (link)  (click and scroll down to this drill) 

                                                                 "Kwick Hide Steady" drill overview

The "Kwick Hide Steady" drill is designed to stress high retrieving standards for hunt tests and hunting. I learned quite some time ago at a Julie Knutson dog training seminar that the performance of a retriever is greatly impacted by balance in five factors - retrieving, "birdiness", focus, responsiveness and control. I realized that often in training the greatest portion of time was spent on the first two. Doing so tends to create an "out of balance" retriever.

The drill was designed to focus on re-establishing effective responsiveness, focus and/or control. The "hide steady" starts with a very precise "off the van/truck to the line routine" which is slow, calm and predictable. It is important to note that ingraining "different" expectations may take a great deal of time. This drill (and variations) teaches a retriever to be patient while establishing a productive mindset of "I am available when you need me."

A huge benefit of this drill is "anxiety becomes a non-issue" by allowing a
dog the time to learn how to deal with adrenalin. Patience is a learned skill. Teaching is required.

note: The one thing I notice (every time) when watching these videos is
         the feeling of "Let's get on with this!" and/or "Where's some action?"
         The singular mindset of going slowly with what may seem to be a
         "plodding" pace is difficult to reconcile even when "pace" is the
         specific focus of the drill.
         The most significant aspect of watching is "the dog gets it".


                                                                                                      (left click on thumbnail)
                                                                "winger roundup"
               "line stuff"

                     April 18-19th two days off for all = too many "other things" going rain                 
                     April 20th at 11 pm with the temperature at 40 and winds gusting to 30 mph......pass
                     April 21st forecast = 57 & sunny, ran remote line "check down" singles at RockCut
                                 used primer and a flagged Dokken
                                          note: Daisy went first ran four sets over-ran the first "check down" rest
                                                   good, eight singles total, another "clueless" owner let his mixed breed
                                                   dog barrel right out into the set-up while Daisy was making a retrieve,
                                                   lucky it wasn't Gunny or there would have been an "incident"
                                          note: Kooly & Taffey ran tandem with Kooly picking up five singles vs. four
                                                   for Taffey
                                          note: Gunny ran the same singles Daisy did and should less than stellar
                                                   intensity.....I'm beginning to see a trend = on flat, level cut grassy
                                                   areas he runs cover with uneven ground he looks "piggy"
                                                   this might be a sign that his bad hips are bothering him some
                                          note: Daisy will be ready to run HRC Finished this summer, but Gunny
                                                   remains questionable 
                     April 22nd (late afternoon) eight "Ya-Ha" Dokken singles at Rockton Sport Complex
                                          note: Daisy was sharp and Gunny was "hesitant" on the release (very
                                                   windy) = not all that intense or focused, released him when the
                                                   last five Dokkens were in the air which kind of supported the "not
                                                   very "intense/focused" issue
                                          note: so now I have a dog that can easily "go over the top" in any
                                                   moment and another that is "too laid back"
                                          note: Kooly & Taffey had the day off
                     April 23rd "slacker day"......things to do
                                           note: Taffey, Gunny & Daisy received Frontline Plus 
                     April 24th (late afternoon) trained at RockCut State Park DTA setup two stickmen,
                                      remote wingers with ducks, HRC popper gun of the bucket, two holding
                                      blinds for Daisy & Gunny then all four dogs ran a long cold blind  

note: Daisy & Gunny ran their marks well, Gunny was fired up with the
                                                    smell of ducks and the excitement of the popper gun
                                           note: Gunny ran the best blind of all four....this is a 1st
                                           note: time to rewire all four wingers
                     April 25th rain at the wrong time
                     April 26th the urgency to train has been replace with exercise, the issue becomes only
                                     in preventing "rust" - with the exception of Daisy the other three are not going
                                     to run anymore hunt tests = hunting season is "only" four months away
                                           note: started improving the old wiring on the wingers
                     April 27th (late afternoon) cold, sunny with a strong wind out of the east, trained at Rockton
                                     Road DTA - ran four cold blinds - 175-225 yards with orange bumpers
                                           note: Daisy went first - sharp, but lost her at the end of one with my lack of
                                                    depth perception
                                           note: Gunny went second. lost him deep on two (same depth perception
                                                    issue), good initial lines after everyone was finished took Gunny off
                                                    the van and he was lame in the left hind leg - hip issues continue to
                                                    be a concern (next morning no sign of soreness
                                           note: Kooly was sharp and fast
                                           note: Taffey seemed to have a problem seeing me right at the end of each
                                                    blind (not sure why - eyes and getting old?), late evening she had her
                                                    second hint of incontinence, I'm trying not to think of the obvious
       note: spent most of the day "cleaning up" winger issues - broken antenna
                                                     wire, worn out battery and loose connections = working OK now,
                                                     plan to spray rubber bands with Aerospace Protectant 303 (reduces UV
                                                     degradation) in the next couple days & need to change bands in the
                                                     near future, ordered six new batteries
                     April 28th cold & breezy with rain plus four NBA playoff games (GO Bulls!) = day off
                                            note: D Rose.....What a bummer!
                     April 29th yard work = mowed lawn, not "up" for training with other priorities  
                     April 30th (afternoon) 4 winger walkups drill, popper gun & ducks (Square Pond) all four dogs
                                            note: in the three YouTube videos that weren't Taffey's you could hear
                                                     her quiet whimpers from the nearby van every once in awhile,
                                                     12 years old and she still wants to be in on all the action
 Daisy's April 30th Training (YouTube video)
Gunny's April 30th Training (YouTube video)
Taffey's April 30th Training (YouTube video)
                                                   Kooly's April 30th Training (YouTube video)

May 1st (afternoon) train at Rockton Road DTA Gunny & Daisy - six cold blinds, orange
                                      2" bumpers at the first five and Dokkens at the last (125-150 yards)
                                           note: Daisy went first, good initial lines, but it looked like she could see a
                                                    couple of the flapping orange surveyor flags, took too many
                                                    "big" angle backs (needed less = got more).....which suggests
                                                    some walking baseball "refining" and/or the Renegade drill
                                           note: today was the first time Gunny seemed to really show me that he
                                                    was getting the "hang of it", he worked with me on getting good
                                                    "looks, his initial lines were predictable and very good, the result
                                                    was consistently good blinds, whistle sits were crisp and his casts
                                                    were accurate....excellent session and he was obviously having fun
                                                    because I was in full blown "pom-pom" mode
                                           note: day off for Taffey & Kooly
                                     Tri-Heart Plus
for all four dogs                                                                             
                     May 2nd -May 9th  laid low by the flu bug with complications.......worst ever 
                                          note: spent eight hours in the emergency room, not any better today
                     May 14th home from Hospital
May 15th-21st really slow recovery
May 17th did a little work mounting Phowler's custom dog ramp on the mud rig
 note: the "attachment" locks into the Phowler gunnel T-channel and is
                                             tethered to the boat......the T-channel attachment allows for a free,
                                             floating pivot of the ramp (up & down) depending on water depth,
                                             the "lower level" platform folds up to make it almost flat and takes
                                             up very little space in the boat, I added Hydro-Turf to the surfaces
                                             (all welded aluminum, sturdy, very dog "friendly" and not cheap)
                                                          "all aluminum"
          "gunnel mount"

                     May 22nd trained all four dogs this morning (its been three weeks of doing nothing)
                                          note: Frontline Plus for Taffey, Gunny & Daisy, new Preventic collar for Kooly
                                          note: ran four, short, cold blinds.....exercise for four dogs.....test for me 
                                          note: came home and mowed part of lawn (exhausted)                             
May 23rd trained at the Square Pond - Gunny ran the Zig-Zag drill - need to push his level
                                      taking "clicks" on the line, he's not progressing..therefore, I've decided to push
                                      the issue,,,,,,the idea that he will get worse before improving may be the only
                                      solution and he was, however when we did four cold blinds later he was better
note: all four dogs ran four cold blinds
note: still short on energy, impacting ability to setup much of a session, but
                                                   the dogs have been doing so little lately (off for 18 days) they need
                                                   conditioning more than anything else, lost 18 pounds in 13 days
                     May 24th (afternoon) trained at the Square Pond - ran three stand alone water singles,
                                     initially cast to remote line...the older dogs did better, first water this year (really
                                     behind schedule as illness has been a serious setback), no hunt tests this year
                                     may be the final result
May 25th  trained at the Square Pond DTA - The breeze was up and so was the temperature.
                                     Today, I had decided to run each dog on a poison bird blind and repeat the theme
                                     on water. After a short run back home (forgot the dogs' water), the land setup was
                                     soon complete (blinds planted, primer gun/stand in place and a holding blind was
                                     set up for the usual "van to the line routine".

                                     Daisy was up first. Since the "push" version of the PBB was selected and the dogs
                                     were setup on my left, this made it fairly simple to throw and shoot their "in your
                                     face" mark, fire a second shot for the long blind, say "no bird", push left and say
                                     "dead". Dang, It went so smoothly with each dog I decided to just forget the water
                                     and go home.

                                     So as I was slowly picking up the gear, I started talking to my dogs (it's a habit).
                                     Everything was in the van and it was time to take off when it happen. I ended the
                                     conversation by saying in kind of a quiet, syrupy smooth voice..."Happy! Happy
                                     Happy! I must be watching too much TV. "Duck Dynasty" regards, Jim

                     May 26th trained at Rockton Road DTA - wind out of the northeast, sunny, with upper 70's
ran 3 stand alone singles, remote line with a Dokken at 125 yards in heavy cover,
                                     Y-Drill configuration
                                                     "Y-Drill Singles" Bookmark (link)  (click and scroll down to the drill)
                                            note: all four did well, Gunny did not see one of the thrown marks...too low,
                                                     with difficult background (just picked it up and re-threw it)
                                            note: good work-out, they all "fired" back to the line with no issues
note: strength much better & knees really notice carrying 18 pounds less  
May 27th day off for all

                     May 28th trained at Rockton road DTA 1st (5:30 am) did W-Marking drill with Daisy, Gunny,
                                   Kooly & Taffey used ducks.....stand alone singles with remote line and a mallard
                                   cool breeze right around 65 F headed for 95 F, drove to Rockcut State Park DTA
                                   set up an HRC line with a stickmen triple - focus on HRC line routine, duck call,
                                   bucket, popper gun & mallards, used a holding blind for "van to the line routine"
                                           note: finished at 9 am (in the upper 70's ), but still a good breeze

note: all four dogs marked really well in the W- Drill, Kooly was sent back to
                                                    line twice for breaking on the fourth duck 
note: Daisy had busy feet initially at HRC line, then settled down (went very slow)
                                           note: Gunny was solid on the HRC line
note: mallards launched right to left (push) and picked up left to right to avoid
                                                    conflict with wind
                                           note: primary focus was on the line routine (regular exposure)
 (left click onthumbnail)
                                                                                                                                                W-Marking Drill   
HRC Stickmen Triple

                     May 29th dogs day off, trip to Mississippi duck/fish camp, repairs, clear-up and quiet
                                           note: wind out of the west at 30+ mph all day
                                           note: down in the 50's toward midnight
                     May 30th returned home this morning, stopped at the Winnebago Co. DTA and ran all four
                                    dogs on some walking singles in knee high cover, duck call, Dokken & remote line
                                           note: stiff breeze out of the west in the 60's
                                           note: Gunny ran seven singles successively longer & improved as he warmed up,
                                                     with a noticeable turn for finally learning how to establish a hunt

note: Daisy ran six very fast with tight hunts
                                           note: Taffey & Kooly ran five marks in "tandem" & we worked on waiting a good
                                                    amount of time before releasing, both dogs in the field did some retrieving
                                                    of marks a dog at the line was not allowed to pick up because they broke,
                                                    need to be a bit more random with the sends on the older dogs

note: excellent session for all

individual dog's needs
 Gunny  1) more focus/intensity, 2) improved marking skills, 3) better initial
                                                      lines on blinds
, 4) use the "pom-pom brigade" often
 Daisy   1) "train fast dog slowly", 2) inject calmness into expectations,
                                                      3) do not feed/promote anxiety, 4) stress responsiveness
Kooly  1) challenging "stuff", 2) long marks, 3) slow, calm expectations,
4) stress responsiveness, 5) train four days a week
Taffey  1) careful conditioning (remember age), 2) fun
                                                      (train lightly & make each day extra special) 

                                                                                               Daisy & Gunny HRC training
                                updated 03/23/14