"Pounce"- ten months old

                                                           Pounce Training Journals Archive (link)
                                                               (July - December 2014, January - April 2015)
  April 1 morning worked the same OB drill "with bumper in mouth" again
         emphasis on position precision, used excitement bumper regularly,
         began working on remote moving whistle sits (first really warm day) 
                note: worked on getting winger issues cleaned up, made flags
                         (black & white nylon ribbon) for three black & white 3" DT
                         over-sized bumpers (use on wingers)
HeartGard Plus to all four dogs
April 2
morning repeated yesterday's yard work = more "reps"
 late afternoon - trained at the Square Pond DTA in the "grassy area",
           Pounce ran three remote winger singles with the focus on "hearing"
           the beeper, locating the source, seeing stickmen and retrieving
           marks...she did really well.....saw the flight of all three & made
           the retrieves.....bumper streamers need to be shorter 
                 note: for the first time setup using the three Gunner's Up
                          "Son-of-a-Gun" wingers.....it went well (ran the two older
                          dogs first).....big. long throws
                 note: continue to do the "van-to-the-line" routine
      (left click on thumbnails)  
                "single #1"
           "single #2"
      "single #3"
   "ready signal"

April 3 morning Pounce finished listening to the last segment of the gun
        conditioning CD - "The Master's Voice". she would often lay down and
        go to sleep to the "tune" of multiple, loud gunshots....the next step is
        primers in a remote winger with a duck
9 pm yard work - with the bulk of the "reps" on remote sits while in
         motion.....plus retrieving, deliveries of the flagged 3" bumper, the
         flags have been trimmed a bit shorter (made a difference), worked on
         contrast of force "en route" to a bumper vs. whistle sitting and turning
         to look at me......a few "reps" and she is getting it
                   note: not a easy concept, but the "exciting bumper" aspect kept
                            her at it and she finished strong
                   note: excellent session in that she was demonstrating good
                            effort while learning
                   note: while working on this new concept her skill expectations
                            of slowing down and pivoting to the heeling positions (right
                            and left sides) begin to deteriorate....just moved the line to
                            the side of the van......no more issues with that                  
 note: precision with speed is just more difficult to mesh
                   note: with yesterday's marking, her deliveries were tight, need
                            to take note of how "new" things impact standards and
                            react carefully in the moment.....or maybe attempt to be a
                            bit more seamless
 afternoon - three 50-75 yard Y-Drills with wingers at Roscoe Riverside
         Park DTA - setup wingers in the same spot and run from three different
         lines 120
apart (marks each time were angle back, flat and angle in)
note: focus on being close to gunning station and learning the
                            routines for winger singles - once this "intro to wingers"
                            is completed the Y-Drill will transition to orange bumpers
                            (it is a "marking drill") and distance will
slowly increase to
                            125 yards (wingers, bird boy or stand alone/send backs)
                   note: reset winger positions/directions for each setup
                   note: "angle in" is NOT in line with the "angle back"
                   note: wingers & controls worked great & established a routine
                            with a specific order for reloading 
                   note: by the time the last one was run Pounce knew where to
                            look, what to listen for,  what to see, when to "go" and
                            what to do
  note: Pounce was "Strikingly Steady!"
  for all three setups.
                   note: after the last run Pounce walked calmly at heel, off lead
                            all the way back to the van....evidently when tired OB is

 Y-Drill (bookmark link)
         (left click on thumbnails)  
                  "close up"
          "winger pod"
       Pounce's 1st
     Wingers Y-Drill

April 4 morning 9;30 am cool 39F yard work - heeling loose lead (all skills)
           with some low level collar re-enforcing, both sides, backwards and 
           pivoting backwards, 90 & 180 turns, remote sit (six foot lead) and
           heeling to both sides (delivery motion) worked in the grass, up and
           down the drive-way and out in the road.....work was "laced" with
           excitement bumpers, did a short segment of basic angle back casts,
           finished with a few hand thrown bumpers with deliveries (both sides
           up against the van) still working on the speedy "run by".....many,
           many whistle sits during the 30 minute session
                  note: focused, good attitude and having fun
                  note: going to need a rope on the remote sit for tossed angle
                           back bumpers......Pounce wants a straight shot view even
                           after placed in the proper sit position......not stable to not
                           seeing the action of bumper tossed behind her = more
                           "yard work"  
afternoon Pounce ran Y-Drill with wingers at the Square Pond DTA,
                   note: she understands the winger routine and did super
                   note: by far this was the best she has done at the line with
                            right and left side deliveries.......it is almost like she
                            suddenly realizes a quicker, proper positioned sit and
                            delivery means sooner to another mark to pick up

                  "next task to tackle"
                           Pounce's drive to the bumper is "over the top" intense
                           which explains why stopping via a whistle sit en-route to
                           a pile (or anything) is going to be a challenge....the plan is
                           a long rope, gloves and a gentle approach...drive genetics
                           are trumping the presently taught standards.....whistle
                           sit is a key component of what is next
April 5
morning yard work - session of OB with the focus on heeling on the
           right side (issues recently with that side - backwards) "next skill up" is
           "tight whistle sits on the go".....needed for long pile sends, in addition
           Pounce can be placed on a remote sit, but tossing a bumper over her
           head for an angle back has two things happening...she's turning off
           the sit to watch the bumper......remedy teach close with a short rope
problem solved - repeat to get enough "reps" so as to
                              make it an expectation (without the rope)
                     note: finished by tossing long bumpers for practice doing right
                              and left side deliveries
                     note: productive teaching session with excitement
late afternoon  trained at the Square Pond DTA.....thought quite a bit
                  about this session.....Jim Wegner provided some interesting
                  training insight months ago (which I filed away) that revolve
                  around carefully planning ahead and anticipating responses.
                  Think about what you are going to do.... ahead of time.

                       This session was about "stopping" en route to the pile
                       (turning, facing with a square sit).

                      note: a couple days ago tried to stop her on drives to the pile
                               and the whistle or "sit" had no response....her drive was in
                               control and I did not want to use the collar to stop her, the
                               collar was used to re-enforce "go" = mixed message = not
 tools and skills in place:
                            1, dragged a long rope regularly as a younger pup
                            2. "sit" has been practiced and re-enforced many,
                                many times with a
tug on the collar, low level
                                collar "stim"
, the verbal command and a whistle
                            3. she has already run & worked several piles well
                            4. she's fast, loves to train (compulsive & driven) and
                                everything is fun
the plan:
                            1. fifty foot, 3/8" soft, nylon rope
                            2. a dozen bumpers at a 40 yard pile
identified the pile, not visible because of gravel drive
sent few times for "just going"
                            5. then whistle in mouth, gloved hand on rope
                                other hand down...with her in the "nose and
                                toes" stance sent her..............at 35 feet and
                                pre-planned in quick succession short "whistle,
                                verbal "sit", a squeeze hard on rope
                                (release the rope)....this "momentary squeeze" is
                                intended to be simulate a "tug" on her collar and
                                NOT to create a sudden jerk or stop
                                     note: good timing was critical and practiced
                                              it a few times before doing

                                mental notes: Pounce rotates to her right.

 UPDATE: decided to teach remote sits in motion
                                outside of pile work, timing too easy to mess up
                                and teaching two things at once is not a good idea

                                will use the upland method I've used for years, free
                                walks. bumper in air, whistle sit a la Butch Goodwin
                                used it with all my other dogs and it is fun....should
                                be seamless with Hillmann's philosophy 

Pounce & "Steadiness" (link)

weigh & take growth photo

April 6
morning in the 60's - worked with a frozen duck doing OB "stuff"
           plus "leave it" and short "fetch" to deliver routines - did well and
           was especially pleased with "out", drove to Square Pond DTA and
           Pounce worked the pile need to put out fewer bumpers so as to cut
           down on compulsive shopping                         
afternoon marking - extended "send backs" with solo marking setup
           Pounce had six singles 50-80 yards and the send backs were good
           from about 30 yards or less (cooled off and cloudy with a good
                             note: weakest area is "run by" on delivery - improving
                                      slowly and of course not issue up against the shed,
                                      van or long holding blind.....plenty of time to get
                                      this slowly reeled in
                             note: two more OB skills to work on are "down" which
                                      has started and "whoa" after "down"
                             note: once "down" is solid, condition her to the Avery
                                      Ultra Low dog hide which she has already been in
                                      (see live quail intro at 8 weeks old - Aug 5th)
Pounce's August Journal (link)  
April 7
morning change of pace - started teaching the whoa expectation
           (which is standing in place and not moving) using a "whoa"
           rope....Pounce was a bit squirrelly at first, but then  settled in to just
           being annoyed 
....first phase accomplished, then we quickly
           moved on to re-imprinting the Avery Ultra-low Dog Hide - not a big
           deal...just asked to "wedge" in and retrieve a bumper
afternoon quick trip to the Square Pond DTA and ran a set of two,
           longer angle back piles - four bumpers each (plus identified)
           it was cold 
45F felt like 36F and didn't dress warm enough 
                            note: left angle back was closer (throwing into the wind),
                                     probably should have walked out & placed bumpers,
                                     but then identifying would have been tough (wind)
                                     received and sent Pounce from a large mat,
                                     walked away to make casts.................she lied to
once, then I was more observant of her body
                                     language and intentions (the closer, left pile was
                                     beckoning) all things considered she was good
                                     (and ready for this teaching sequence)

       needed to revisit Hillmann's Land Fundamentals....watched again

April 8
morning first thing up was placing a small handful of Eagle Pack 
           kibble in the back of the dog hide, then as we left to train, she was
           allowed to "investigate" the hide.....right in and was rewarded
           drove to the Square Pond DTA and set-up for some pile work
                             note: repeated set of two angle back piles (4 bumpers
                                      at each) then ran a four bumper, longer pile up
                                      the middle working right and left pivots.......took
                                      every cast correctly (tight turns) and was firing on
                                      every "back" = another "big smile" training session
afternoon Pounce did a Y-Drill with (wingers), decided to use black
           and white bumpers one more time - sharp session, "laser like" with
           no "run-by" issues at the line (because the large holding blind was
           just behind the line".....works good. no pressure and will eventually
           make it a non-issue without using any pressure (my knees are no
           longer in danger

   weather forecast for the next two days sounds "iffy" to could be very bad
                              update: it was really dangerous, large tornado just to
                                           south of us and a nasty storm (high winds/hail
                                           just to the north)

April 9 window of no rain this
morning - did a brief OB lesson in the yard
           and went to the Square Pond DTA (five minutes away) - worked on
           a marking session with the focus on "send backs" using a "visible"
           line and walking away to throw marks 10-15 yards and throwing
           long angle backs with
orange bumpers - send back beyond 15 yards
           just weren't working.....need to do a
lot more in close to establish a
           solid expectation.....in addition walking away backwards for more
           distance for the "thrower" is effective, however, turning my back is
           NOT = more work and reps needed...extended distance too quickly 
                  note: the one thing that was different this morning was using the
                           rubber mat at the line.....in all previous marking sessions
                           she ran off a place board....will see next time if that was
                           the variable that changed her expectations
                           basically: not enough repetitions UP CLOSE
                  note: orange bumpers are not an issue (short grass), Pounce's
                           vision and focus are excellent
                  note: placed kibbles in Pounce's dog hide before taking her
                           out and she was in it in a flash, after scarfing them down
                           she turned around and was lying down looking out the
                           front...for a moment
       (left click on thumbnails)  
              "eight singles"
         "reverse view"
"stand alone line"

      need to do at least three more sessions of Y-Drill (wingers) and expand
      the "send back" distance to stretch "solo" marking drills
before starting
      "Ya-Ha" singles (will this drill one day per week)
                             note: switch to orange bumpers on Y-Drills
                             note: continue the morning, "bumper in mouth" OB
                                      drill every other day

"Ya-Ha" Singles Drill (bookmark link)

      "Ya-Ha" singles, very gradually stretch marking distances to 125-150 yds.
      at the Riverside Park DTA..........begin introducing basic marking setups
      when 150 yards is an easy do in the "Ya-Ha" setup, then vary marks
      in check-down modes up to the max distance for a month (or or two)
      that should get us through T-work and into swim-by....start water work at
      the end of April (if there is a heat wave.....sooner)
                note: got through one of the worst weather situations in several
                         years unscathed - tornado went just south of duck camp
                         trailer on the Mississippi River and a couple tornadoes
                         went just north and south of "home camp", the one to
                         south was huge - injuries, death and much destruction
April 10
morning did yard work - session of "casting" to elevated placeboard
                note: work on this twice a day for awhile - chain "back/place"

passed on marks - winds 28 mph with gusts to 39 mph
                             (and it is not very warm)
 evening repeat morning session - continue chaining "back/place"
             command and re-enforce with low level collar, verbal "good" and
             the next "reward" bumper.....eventually add "whistle sit" 
                    note: bumper is tossed back over my head and Pounce runs
                             past me for the retrieve, delivery is taken several yards
                             from platform/placeboard (reps on delivery a bonus) and
                             cast from there.....not moving back more than 5-10 yards
                             for awhile (very gradually increase distance) and use the
                             "solid" yard distance in the field on "solo" training per
                             where she is at in the yard (while this is being taught)
                             no hurry = need this to be a solid skill (not "kind of"), she's
                             young, no rush and don't make this into a big deal (even
                             though it is)
        (left click on thumbnails)  
    "yard work"
   "send back line"

                note: my 4 previous Labs were taught "send back" expectations
                         AFTER they were well into transition...my "cavalier" attempt
                         to use "send backs" with Pounce before transition was
                         flawed...a "Duh" moment
, therefore, the yard work sessions
- teach not expect

note: it would be more accurate to describe this session as "yard
                         fun" rather than work...upbeat, fast, animated and exciting

 note: stay at this distance in the yard (and in the field) for ten
                         sessions (each location) before very gradually increasing
                         the distance (repetitions & no testing) - this must be solid
                note: many, many consistent, fun "reps" create an expectation
                         that is actually an automatic reflex (action)
             evening repeated morning session, continued chaining "back/place"
             command and re-enforced with low level collar, verbal "good" and
             the next "reward" bumper - 1st run after a "drive engagement",
             Pounce runs straight to the elevated placeboard, wheels around and
             sits....looks straight at me and said,
"I got this now. You showed me
             it this morning."
She "wheeled off" eight straight sends from fifteen
             yards with really nice wheel and sit deliveries.....session over .

                 note: another one of those, "That went well sessions!"   

                 note: In a recent conversation with a trainer well versed in
                          Hillmann's program, part of the discussion about training
                          dealt with the difference in learning when a dog is in prey
                          drive vs. defense mode......prey drive training promotes
                          being responsive and being able to think when excited.

                          This morning Pounce was responsive and wanted to learn.
                          She was more receptive and learned quickly  because
                          it was fun and rewarding. She tries and works with me.
                          The contrast between the "I love to work...what's next?"
                          pup and one that wonders "What are you going to make
                          me do next?" is striking.

                          The above is a summary of what was discussed in terms
                          of training philosophies. Essentially, the key contrast was
                          teaching, learning and functioning in "prey drive" vs.
                          "defense mode".

April 11
morning repeated yesterday's "send back" lesson and extended the
             distance a few yards, good session with bonus distractions = barking
             "yap" dog across the road and a dog walker down the road next
             to where we were working - this session plus  all the "heel/delivery
             reps" are beginning to produce a quality expectation AND she is
             having fun

                note: each time any drill is "worked", the skills taught prior to
                         teaching something new are repeated (over and over)
                         and even more automatic - skill development is an steady
                         process which builds a strong foundation
                         key concept - teach new "stuff" only when the required
                         old" skills necessary to "pull it off" are in place
                         key question before starting - What does my pup need to
                         do well before we begin working/teaching this new skill?

afternoon Pounce ran two Y-drills - orange bumpers Roscoe
             Riverside Park DTA, the first was at 55 yards...then moved wingers
             diagonally and slightly longer to 65 yards from the line (range finder)
                 note: Pounce jumped on each single - no issues
                 note: did the "van to the line" routine both times
                 note: had a few distractions (hikers with dogs....which was good)    
                 note: used large holding blind at the line
started tablespoon of canned pumpkin with Eagle Pack

April 12
morning repeated "send back" session with Pounce retrieving
             bumpers thrown behind me after each send back, dropped the
             chained "back"  command and now just using "place" - she gets it
             (pretty rapid leaning and very cool)....then finished the drill by
             throwing two left and two right angle backs.....she is a "quick study"
             and did super with those......deliveries are getting closer and closer
             to a consistent right or left side heel with no "run byes"
                 note: another "big smile" training session
                 note: it was the peak of this morning.....then went in air the
                          other three dogs and discovered a nasty looking cancer??
                          literally exploding out of Taffey's lower lip (going on 15)
                          with aging becoming a chore...something like this was not
                          out of the question and to be expected....."crap"
                          "from the peak to the pits morning"

afternoon rain possible decided to do a "send back" intro to "Ya-Ha"
             singles at the Square Pond DTA in the bean field erosion strip
                  note: worked from about 15, 20 & 25 yards with the longest mark
                           around 50 yards (all angle backs) - focus on send backs and
                           the routine....she did well even though her nose wanted to
                           do other things - deer "stuff" here and there (got over it)
                           did six singles
                  note: took photos during the session......including banner, this
                           was a fun, exciting session for Pounce = cloud nine puppy,
                           more & more work under control in a state of very high
                           excitement and dealt with it....wow!
      (left click on thumbnails)  
     "Pounce off!"
      "air borne"
       "the prize"
   "ready, steady"
    "Crank right!"
       "Dive to!"
      "Carry on!"

April 13 morning Pounce did a very sharp and fun "yard" session of "send
             backs", bumpers were thrown mostly in between us, a few back
             over my head plus four angle backs.....the continuing "reps" of
             heel and delivery are producing a tighter standard at the line

             10:30 am
appointment at Vet's with Taffey = negative on any cancer,
             diagnosis hot infection....very treatable......dodged the "big C"
late afternoon Pounce ran two Y-drills with wingers (first at 60 yds
             and the 2nd moved west and back to 75 yds. Kooly & Daisy trained
             in between giving Pounce a breather....there is a small stream
             near the Kelly-Myer DTA and Pounce aggressively got very wet
                    note: fun day for her
                    note: using a range finder to "measure" distance to wingers
       (left click on thumbnails)     
     60 yd. Y-Drill
    75 yd. Y-Drill
    training "stuff"
   "Water ahead!"

    "Well,..can I?"
    "The Plunge" 

    "This is cool!"


       "Stick It!"

 April 14 early morning yard work - send backs, holding blind "rules" plus OB
              including "leave it" and especially right side heeling backwards
afternoon 3 pm six "Ya-Ha" singles with "send backs" in the field
                    note: started at 25 yards (two singles) then 30 yards and finally
                             at 35 yards, ran in an area where the marks were slightly
                             uphill (more challenging)....all send backs were done
                             very well "back/place" command with just "place" on the
                             last two, whistle sits when turning around and sitting on
                             the elevated placeboard....Pounce charged up the grade
                             and was driving on all six singles.....however, her "run
                             by" deliveries were annoying = more yard work 
                    note: she was very "amped" about retrieving a Can Dokken and
                             had a very nice hold plus using "out" command once she
                             settled into the sits....alternated sides on deliveries and
                             "send-back'" with the exception of the excited run-by
                             issue, this was a good session.....yesterday's blind behind
                             the line allowed no "run bys"....didn't carry over

April 15 early morning was going to start up again with teaching "whistle
              sit" "en route" to the pile and decided the rope idea requires too
              many potential complications.....mostly teaching two contradictory
              actions at the same time = maintaining momentum and stopping
              decided to use the upland idea of bumper in the air to simulate a
              flushed bird which is a Butch Goodwin approach = "sit to flush",
              worked well with all my other dogs, it's low pressure and fun which
              is the key to Hillmann's philosophy....exciting bird or bumper in air
              means sit....chained with the whistle turns into whistle sit and the
              bird in the air with a shot can mean "sit" too, AND this would be an
              isolated, fun and exciting teaching session
                     note: updated this change back in the April 5th journal entry
              Pounce worked two forty yard piles with six bumpers in each with
              about a 30
separation (right & left side sends and deliveries) took
              a brief walk-about and then did a walkout bumper placement at the
              base of a large oak tree 100 yards away....right up the middle of
              where the two piles were, Pounce came back to the line, jumped
              on the mat and she physically cued "Ready. Are-you..ready?" with
              my hand down, her body language was clearly , "Yes!" and she
              fogged it on "back"  ......now it was a white bumper....maybe she
              could see it ?...but even so....she got a few more gushy "Good Girl"
              shouts than usual
then we took a long, free run in the bean
              field for some "bumper in the air" whistle sits....that went well, too.

late afternoon 70
F with a lot of wind.....seemed a lot colder
              three stickmen in the field, walked out to throw and returned to
              the line to send.....three "solo", singles with a frozen duck
                 note: Pounce was good at the line if I walked out backwards,
                          if I turned around (no eye contact) she would follow, this
                          is a new setup and the wind was blowing the Tyvac suits
                          on a stick a lot.......so for today....I just walked backwards,
                          Pounce was steady on three marks and was very
                          "amped" with the duck.....delivery at the line was very
                          good on "out"
              then we went on a walk to work out the "whistle sit on the move"
              issue, sit to flush was OK, but left a lot to be desired for a full blown
              blast away from the line for a retrieve......as we walked around,
              eventually the idea of having her sit, walk 30 yards away and throw 
              a bumper directly in line behind me, I could release her for the
              retrieve and be in a position to do a "Traffic Cop" whistle sit as
              she ran toward me.....that worked really well and should eventually
              translate to not having to be in front of her as in pile work......
              a lot of "reps" on this whistle sit action
and it will be simple to use
              this as consistent drill and establish the skill.....we will see....going
              away will not have me blocking the path or having eye contact
                  note: will probably be seeking some advice on this issue
Frontline Plus for everyone
                 1) start throwing ducks and/or pheasants at least once a week   
                 2) start single T when whistle "sit on the move" is a clearly an
                    established expectation (in a separate sequence of sessions),
                    it must be a well established skill before starting T-work
April 16
morning Pounce trained at Roscoe Riverside Park DTA worked
             two piles of six bumpers each out about 40 yards and a 30 angle
             practicing right and left push/pull lining, heeling to and sending
             on the "back" command (still a bit "shoppy", but getting better)
                  note: full speed out and back - loves the action
             put her up and Daisy & Kooly trained.......afterwards Pounce came
             back out to work on the whistle sit en route skill, sent back to the line
             from 30 yards out (check), bumper tossed almost directly behind
             me (check), Pounce released on the "fetch" command (check),
             taking the Traffic Cop stance, arm extended, "whistle" followed by
             verbal "sit".....Pounce was brought to a sit....and then released to
             retrieve.......did this five times and she stopped every time = good
                    note: in the next sessions, I will NOT release her to pick up the
                             single....but instead toss a reward bumper which also
                             changes the direction of her initial line......that's what
                             the whistle sit "en route" is......stop and "look for further
                             information and/or direction"  
                    note: her "send backs" to the line are getting better every day
                             and seem to be much more consistent with the elevated
evening separate and easy, fun sessions start teaching "down" and
             "whoa" commands (inside).....make it exciting and incorporate the
             dog hide
April 17
morning Pounce did a session to build on whistle sit work from
             yesterday - threw five bumpers let her retrieve two and did whistle
             sit....stop on three....ran through a couple when I waited to long,
             need to get the line closer to coming at me so that "Traffic Cop" is
             more visible......did take the cast to the bumper alternative and
             away from the initial line......not perfect, but she will get plenty of
             "reps" in the next week to make it a clear concept....skill
                     note: got warm quickly and she was a bit hot.....it is only five
                              minutes to the Roscoe Retention Pond = water to
                              get in to for the first time since last fall....with an area
                              of lunging water she got wet an excited...then turned
                              around and began tossing bumpers into "big water"
                              no issues and swam out father each time = did take
                              an old bumper to start with
  first time off into deeper
                              water and she leveled right out and snatched it up, she
                              got  few more tosses and then two fairly aggressive
                              geese came swimming over....time to call it a morning
                     note: big water = looking out is a challenge & no cheating
                     note: made new middle section for the PVC/camo obstacle and
                              it's ready for Pounce's go straight/jumping fun
                     note: high of 75
F and sunny - dog's not use to this
             late afternoon intro jump with a yard work "a few tosses" & delivery
             session.......this went well and actually was almost made too easy
                     note: however, we weren't looking for a test
                                               (left click on thumbnail)
       "big water"

                     note: finished with a brief "down" command session
April 18
morning Pounce did another session in the "obstacle course"
                 note: set out tem bumpers and did NOT identify the pile, sent
                          on "back" from side, took first delivery and then moved
                          to a remote sit facing the line (away from the jump
                          and pile) the next nine bumpers were "worked" using
                          right & left pivot back casts moving from a slight angle
                          helping hint to the straight on position....took every
                          cast correctly with a nice, tight pivot......jump make it
                          more fun plus initially she can't see the bumpers
                 note: "shopping" is decreasing dramatically (only a couple of
                          times today)....a sign of less anxiety 

                 note: deliveries were alternated left & right side on a mat and
                          the large holding blind directly behind the line is intended
                          to eliminate the "run by" issue....continuous correct "reps"
                          are altering her line responsiveness for the better...attrition
                          without pressure is cool
       (left click on thumbnail)  
          "yard work"

             afternoon established back pile for single T, pile was identified
             from forty yards, heeled back to about 50 yards and sent eight
             times from a remote sit (handler position at about 70 yards) and
             Pounce did the retrieves alternating right and left turns...steady,
             focused, good eye contact waited until the cast was given after
             extended eye contact and fogged all eight bumpers (a bit of
             shopping only when there were two bumpers left
                    note: she's a keeper
             went on a fun walk up the erosion strip after a good drink and
             tossed a few random singles when she was on the move with a
             sit whistle blown before retrieving
                    note: she's definitely a keeper

April 19 Pounce is getting a day off - rain in the forecast plus a day off when
             a pup doesn't need one even better than one when they do

                    note: the above entry was written last night...I was tired, long
                             day and rationalized the "day off" to suit my mood
                    note: woke up refreshed at 6:30 am and decided it is a cool
                             morning, no rain until this afternoon and Pounce was
                             asking "What are we going to do this morning?"
             morning - decided to work on Pounce's weakest skills - not
                              shopping a pile, tight deliveries and whistle sit
                              set up a 25 yard pile of ten bumpers, holding blind and
                              a wide, rubber line mat
          1st Pounce was "amped up" (the Hillmann" protocol for any training)
               and worked a brief loose lead OB exercise including the holding
               blind "rules"
          2nd she was lined to the pile ten times alternating right & left sends
                 and deliveries "back", "good" (quick pick up reward), "here",
                 "heel" to physically cued side, "sit" and "out" were consistently
                 NOT making her not shop.......just making sure a well timed
                 "here" interrupts the thought of doing so, more correct reps
                 erodes the penchant to shop and causes the formation of he
                 desired habit (which it wasn't to start with)
                     note: identifying negative tendencies immediately makes it
                              much easier to teach and establish a correct behavior
          3rd Pounce was taken out to the pile area and then asked to do
                several remote whistle sits with Hillmann's the "Traffic Cop"
                routine en route back to line (three times) - this went very well
                      note; this "yard work" session was exciting and fun for
                               Pounce, she insisted on carrying a bumper back into
                               the house afterwards on a perfect loose lead heel,
                               she's (no we've) come a long way in the last several
                               months, nothing to fix only things to perfect
                      note: this session focused on tight deliveries, not shopping,
                               whistle sits and fun....not necessarily in that order             
                      note: Pounce was not asked or forced to not shop, but was
                               given a precisely timed command of "here" & verbal
                               "good" reward upon snatching up that first bumper, big 
                               improvement (only shopped once in ten retrieves)
                      note: repeatedly going over the jump yesterday also altered
                               her focus on other bumpers (every little bit helps)
                      note: the "reps" were consistent and the session was very
                               productive in that it met the pre-determined rationale
                      note: Yard work is fun!
every training session should have a rationale that fits
                               seamlessly into the bigger picture 
evening work on extending distance from Pounce (off lead) on a
             "down" and re-enforcing with low level e-collar "stim"....using an
             open palm down low hand signal
                      note: she is relaxed with the down command and position,
                               there is no anxiety to pounce back up (pun intended)
April 20
morning rain finished about 9 pm, windy and in the upper forties,
             Pounce ran the back pile of the single T (2nd time) eight bumpers
             from a remote sit where the T would be established, "fogged" them
             so I went ahead and identified both side piles, from a remote sit
             she was focused, sat like a statue and correctly took every "over"
             cast (five rights and five lefts) & crushed those ten bumpers, she
             was still "amped" when we finished = not tired which had me
             confused - this is not normal (well......maybe it is for her) decided
             to slightly move the lines for the single T, same back pile area
late afternoon - Pounce ran four "send back" singles and added
             factors to the mix....worked up a wide erosion strip at increasing
             distances and angles with the elevated placeboard on one side
             and each mark landing on the other side, falls could not be seen
             once into the erosion strip, but she kept taking good lines each
             time and nailing the marks, send backs started at about 30 yards
             and stretched to 75 yards for the last, plus as she went back to the
             line I could walk out and add more distance to the next mark
                      note: wind was howling out of the southwest making each
                               single downwind and I could throw the bumpers 40+
                               yards easy.....on the last single I pushed the envelop
                               and when she nailed it....I said out loud, "No way!
                               Good girl!"
                      note: Pounce's send back standard is well established,
                               "she understands" and is exceptionally steady

                     note; delivery on marking setups is improving, when we do
                              lining drills......not so much....still a work in process
     (left click on thumbnail)  
                                                Pounce singles
                                                (70 - 122 yards)

April 21 morning Pounce worked a 30 yard 12 bumper pile to deal with
             slowing down approaching the line plus performing a proper
             heel and delivery...with only physical cues (still a weak area),
             she must slow down in this drill because there is a speed barrier 
             back of the line, Daisy & Kooly ran a set of 6 stand alone, send back
             singles which gave Pounce a breather before running her five stand
             alone/send back singles (in a different area than the 2 older dogs)
                    note: wind was
blowing 30 mph with much higher gusts,
                             there is a wind advisory for today...gusts 40-50 mph
                             bumpers flew "really well" WITH the wind
                    note: Pounce is a flat out fast marking machine  
          note: the send back skill is progressing rapidly, the only issue
                             is her nose tends to occasionally "short circuit" the drive
                             back to the line (especially with deer "stuff)

The distance and degree of difficulty on these singles is not
              all that impressive for a talented, young Lab, but doing these off
              several "stand alone", stable sits with "send backs" is exciting.
              (range finder used to identify distances) 

note: wind & cold plus an excellent training session this
                             morning translates to......we're finished for the day
      (left click on thumbnail)  
                               "speed barrier"
     Pounce singles
     (80 - 113 yards)

April 22 it is 10:30 am 36F feels like 30F (cold & windy) = DAY OFF!!!
                     note: first day off this month....."slacker"
April 23
morning frost and cold = not very nice
             afternoon in the fifties with sun and a good breeze = perfect
             Pounce ran the back pile of her single T about 2/3's the distance
             from a remote front sit with right & left back casts and finished
             with two sends from a right & left heel position = very sharp
             and the speed barrier out in the open away from the shed was
             very effective = she is finally digging in her paws to slow down,
             physical leg and arm cues are being greatly exaggerated,
             picked up and drove to the Roscoe Riverside Park DTA and she
             ran her 1st ABC marking drill using "stand alone" send backs (with
             stickmen) - the setup was first run by the older dogs to allow
             Pounce a little more time to recover from her single T work
                      note: Pounce lined and stepped on all six singles, the "send
                               backs" were the longest we've attempted, she was a
                               bit distracted by the other stickmen in terms of where
                               the line was, in general her focus was good
Pounce & "Steadiness" (link)

April 24
afternoon Pounce ran the Single-T back pile with eight bumpers,
             alternated delivery sides and did five remote sit sends, then the
             last three were sends from the line (at the Square Pond DTA)
                      note: the line will eventually be moved back to add another
                               twenty yards to the back pile distance
                      note: set a camera up to make a YouTube video
                      note: started to sprinkle a bit toward the finish, then let up

                     Pounce's Early Single T Session (YouTube link)
        (left click on thumbnail)  
    "single T snapshot"

             drove home to pick-up a goose call, trained at Roscoe Riverside
             Park DTA, Pounce got a second look at an ABC marking drill (did it
             "solo" with "send backs") - she's getting better at the "send backs"
                      note: this is the first video of Pounce doing marks
                      note: Pounce "lines and spot marks" extremely well
                      note: just got this session in before more rain started
late night - working on in and out of the dog hide plus the "whoa"
             and "down" commands

                Pounce's 1st ABC Marking Session (YouTube link)
      "ABC snapshot"

April 25 weather forecast predicted a day off, but the mass of rain moved
             slow enough to allow a bit of "yard work", Pounce ran her first
             "Zig-Zag" drill (mini-version 10-15 yards) with 5 bumpers, worked
             lining off both sides, "nose & toes", "noing" off, pushing & pulling,
             however, she locked on how she was aimed so well there were
             only a few times "adjustments" were required & she took to those
             very quickly 
                         note: "amped up" with the snatching bumper out of the
                                  air routine
                         note: ran it twice which means the lining drill expectations
                                  are off to an excellent start, in addition, the line and
                                  retrieving "routines" gained ten more solid "reps"
                         note: Pounce has "learned how to learn" and has become
                                  a quick study (no pun intended)
                         note: teaching a responsive, focused, smart and driven
                                  pup is rewardingly simpler when there is no heavy
                                  pressure "lurking in the wings" to make corrections
late night - continued working with the dog hide plus the "whoa"
             and "down" commands

 Zig-Zag Drill (bookmark link)

Zig-Zag Drill  - YouTube (Link)

April 26 Sunday high around sixty - decided to give "us" a day off
late night - continued working with the dog hide
April 27
morning - ran back pile of single T & then introduced the side piles,
             that went well....mixing casts did not,,...,,,need to simplify as the
             casting skill learned inside didn't carry over.....no big deal, but
             will adjust and make this a more seamless process, drove to the
             Roscoe Retention Pond DTA and Pounce did four singles across
             the shallow, muddy backwater slough then did 3 "far as I could
             throw" deep water singles.....mostly to clean off the mud, looking
             for more she got another four singles in the cover area to shake
             off the water and dry a little before the drive home.......there's no
             quit in her at any time.....anywhere
late afternoon - went to the Square Pond DTA and did a quick
             review of 3HC....she was good with that (after this re-teaching
             session)....will repeat for practice and consistency.....not finished
             yet....drove to the Roscoe Riverside DTA and set of three wingers
             in a fire drill configuration.....each winger can toss a bumper to
             the same fall.......moved south to make the sun a non-issue and
             as far as possible (ran out of room) to have Pounce run a "stretch"
             single....the plan was to fire off the second winger to keep her at
             it and a third if necessary....at least that was the plan.....first one
             goes off and I can't hear the duck call or beeper, but Pounce's
             ears perked up so I fire off #1 = nice high arc and very visible,
             she fires and takes off, half-way there, I figured don't take any
             chances and number two drops two feet in front of the winger,
             forgot to stretch the bands.......Pounce doesn't see that and is
             still rolling, I hastily switch the dial to winger number three and
             push the button......nothing.....I push it again = nothing, but
             pounce is on the way back with the only bumper launched...I
             glance at the Dogtra transmitter and see that in my haste the
             dial was turned past number three to number four.....the only
             thing left to do was say "Good girl....Pounce" and pickup the
             wingers, range finder registered 171 yards, short grass & a
             15 mph cross-wind....Pounce has been stretched a little bit
                     note: physical and mentally challenging day for Pounce
                     note: repeat the "stretch mark drill" twice a week
late night - continued working with the dog hide, Pounce goes
             in, lays down and stays there.....if a bumper is involved, she
             likes it and will check it out often when getting ready to "air"
April 28
morning - repeated yesterday's two bumper casting drill & ran the
             single T back pile twice plus ran two simple doubles, drove to
             Riverside Park and did "fire drill stretch single" with two ducks &
             wingers , then finished the morning off with a "visit" to the Roscoe
             Retention Pond
(link below is all about this morning)
                     note: cleaned out freezer & did inventory on training ducks
                     note: checked on source for fresh training ducks 

"Just Another Day" (link)

             late evening the last three weeks after the last airing of the day
             Pounce has been "playing around" with the three commands,
             "down", "whoa" plus "kennel" for the Avery Ultra Low Dog hide
                      note: it all came together this evening - Pounce was in the
                               hide on "kennel" and "down", a bumper was tossed
                               and she remained in the hide, "here"/"heel' brought
                               her out to "sit", she was released on "Pounce" & quickly
                               retrieved the bumper........she's ready for hunting
                               (well....not really, but this is a key component)
                      note: it started with treats, progressed to commands and
                               was never learned by applying any pressure....just
                               kept each session "up beat", exciting and fun
                      note: there were many days that I would just plant a treat
                               for her to discover, every day she would run to the
                               hide to search......it became an obsession which
                               gradually transformed into an expectation

April 29 morning - Pounce worked at a close-in, two bumper/overs & backs
             drill.....she has already worked on this and is doing the over piles
             identified in her single T field
                      note: Hillmann's program stresses several general concepts
                               1) work/teach while excited, 2) continue to practice,
                               3) strive for consistency and 4) establish automatic
                               responses .......these happen with many "reps"
                      note: a philosophical statement struck home - a pro basketball
                               player that is noted for his three point shot does not quit
                               practicing once he becomes good at it....the skill must be
                               maintained....this thought altered the Kwick way of
                               doing things - practice the basics, continue to do "reps"
                      note: this is why Ponce is revisiting 3HC, not because she
                               didn't understand it....but to keep the skill sharp as we
                               progress into transition
                      note: maintenance becomes a way of life  
               after the 3HC session, Pounce took a break while the two older
               dogs ran a set of three long cold blinds
later Pounce worked a seven bumper Zig-Zag drill - focus on lining
               up properly at the line (straight, square sit, "nose & toes, looking
               out for the next retrieve
                      note: working on consistent deliveries & sends, alternating
                                sides & willing "outs"
                      note: focus on reps and responsiveness
                      note: before, during and after...the excitement routine comes
                               into play (no pun intended)
                      note: this not a Hillmann drill - somewhat like the lining drill
                               in his Land Fundamentals
                                       Zig-Zag Drill (bookmark link)

around noon Pounce went out to air. when returning she visited
               her dog hide (conveniently left in sight), soon she was inside and
               laying down "giving me the eye" to toss a short bumper. when it
               landed she stared at it without moving, "here/heel" quickly had
               her up, out and into the ready position, steady & stable......a very
               cool sequence for this duck hunter

               afternoon  set up a three winger Y-drill with two stickmen (range
               finder wingers to the line 112 yards, used 3" orange bumpers and
               with a high tree line they were not all that easy to see, evidently
               Pounce's eyes are better than mine = no issues and decided one
               setup was plenty.....angle back single the longest = 125 yards
                       note: training in a public park is "interesting" at times, all
                                setup and ready to run when a couple came walking by
                                with a large, WHITE "labradoodle"......a one lane road
                                goes all the way around the area we were training in, 
                                so we waited...they were in no hurry...finally, they were
                                out of the picture when suddenly a scrawny kid in a
                                black sweat suit & "hoodie" shows up, he immediately
                                starts high stepping it up and down the nearby, steep 45
                                hill with steps carved in it, checks his pulse, runs down
                                (the park is know for its junior football team) and up
                                again...well, he finally ran out of steam and the place
                                was ours......for the moment
                       note: the distance was no issue & Pounce did just fine, she
                                knows what to listen for & where to look.....and best of
                                all...she is focused, intense and steady
April 30
morning first up was a fun session of whistle sits when in motion,
             the lesson moved along in an incremental process using motion
             and bumpers in the air.......gradually transforming to whistle sits
             on the way to retrieving an exciting mark - this went really well
next up was a drive to the Roscoe Riverside Park DTA for Pounce's
             introduction to a few marking concepts - inline, through the old
             fall and past the gunner singles........three winger stations were set
             up at 53, 91 and 125 yards with a stiff wind blowing right to left,
             3" black & white DT's were launched one at a time and landed in
             ankle deep grass - the sit command was re-enforced verbally
             and with low collar "stim" (often).....she is steady & her delivery
             skills are improving....."lotsa" go and marks well  
                       note: the new wingers are making a huge difference
                       note: the long, low holding blind/speed barrier is "golden"   

Pounce - Marking Concepts (YouTube - link)
          (left click on thumbnail)  
                  "first mark"
          "ready for last"
     "arc of the last"
                  "back side"
             "side side"
        "front side"

               rest of the day off....except a few "games" with the dog hide

                                                           "Useful Links"

  Bill Hillmann (

                          "What & Where" - Training Strategies by Darrin Greene

Pounce's Hunting Lab Pedigree (link)

                   Web Crawler (
link)      KwickLabs Website - 10 Years Ago (link)
                                            Amite River HRC Library (

            HeartGard Plus (1st of month) & Frontline Plus (middle of the month)