Pounce at  5+ months old
                                                            "Pounce" The New Puppy - Initial Archive (link)
Archive: Training Journal - July 2014 (link)
                                                              Archive: Training Journal - August 2014 (link)
                                                          Archive: Training Journal - September - 2014 (link)
                                                            Archive: Training Journal - October - 2014 (link)
                                                          Archive: Training Journal - November - 2014 (link)
  Nov 30 early morning...right after airing - good session of 'heeling" followed with 
           three walk out & back to the line singles chaining "fetch" with "yes" for
           the release and finishing with the close, exciting, steady on "sit" then
           leaping into the air on verbal "fetch" drill (repeated for effect) 
               note: "heeling" segment was excellent after about 5 minute "warm-up"
afternoon - did a brief "outside" session at the Square Pond DTA
               note: mostly to compare "being outside" with present "inside" results
               note: temperature was 34ºF
               note; put the line (placeboard) up against the shop to create one "wall"
                        to help in the transition from inside to outdoors
               note: cold, windy and taking pictures while training is not ideal.......but,
                        after doing it often (with camera) it's not that difficult, the session
                        went well, next time will be easier.....no camera = more focus
               note: Pounce is one "very cool" pup, having fun and thriving
           (left click on thumbnails)  
          "sit again"
     "steady after fall"

Dec 1 - most of the day off with a brief "heeling" session in the afternoon
                   note: temperature at 2 pm
16°F feels like 5°F
Heart-Gard Plus 
Dec 2 Pounce worked inside this
morning - longer session than usual and
          covered a lot of ground - "heeling" (all phases - slow, fast, both sides,
          backwards, turning and "front sit - heel to each side - sit and moving to
          placeboard, turning around on, facing me and sitting from 10 feet away
          on command.....she is upbeat and eager all the time, walking on lead
          holding a bumper (squarely) plus a very stable sit as I leave her & walk
          around the pool deck for several minutes (remote sit is solid)                   
                    note: training has been more consistent recently because the duck
                             hunting process is "over"
                    note: well spaced in this activity is properly timed verbal praise
                             and plenty of bumper rewards including retrieves, timing and
                             repetition are two components of training that I am focusing
                             on....Taffey, Daisy, Kooly and Gunny are constant reminders
                             to "get my act together"
                    note: before and after any session Pounce "meditates" in her quiet
                             time crate
                    note: routines are carefully planned and followed....the individually
                             taught skills are now being combined and she is thriving
                    note: ordered Hillmann's FF video
5 pm Pounce went to the training "room" for some heeling exercises
          plus work on "hold" (while sitting and moving on heel)
                    note: used four commands - "hold", "fetch", "sit" and "heel"  
                    note: this is really an exciting time....in a way Pounce is kind of like
                             Taffey except she has someone that is doing a bit more than
                              just "winging it"  - Pounce has become kind of precociously

             ......dredging up a journal entry from a few months ago.....

                               Everyone Must Be Somewhere! (link)
                                               by Kwicklabs  Dec 2014

                                    D. Greene's RTF "Thought for the Day".

"I say to people (I talk to a lot of them about training) that sometimes
 patterns are great and other times, having the dog not know quite
 what to expect is an advantage. In this case, having the dog not know  
 whether the retrieve is coming from you or the pile pays dividends.

 When you see similar things keep the "pattern vs. no pattern" concept
 in mind. It will help you find solutions.

 Dogs are REALLY GOOD at determining and anticipating patterns.
 That's how we train them (for both good and bad behavior)."

  Dec. 3 early morning had Pounce on the nice warm pool deck working all her
           "heeling" skills and was doing a "bang-up" job, therefore...I opened
           the door to venture outside...it became apparent that my patio entrance
           had a "skill filter"....most everything she "knew" inside was "left" inside,
           Pounce was almost immediately aggressive about the pinch collar and
           we went back to square one, "walking on eggs" didn't seem to make
           any difference and the term "situational learning" surfaced, this had us
           go back inside to work out a transition......went through the door and all
           the "filtered stuff" magically reappeared and Pounce was immediately
           "back in stride"....worked awhile and she calmed down (me too).....then
           we went back to the "filter" and carefully entered the "twilight zone",
           there was a big improvement...back inside one more time and then back
           out once again put her on much more of an "even keel"
                    note: should have known better and been more prepared for the
change - "awareness" is better served before rather than
                             after the fact
                    note: don't take generalizations for granted
                    note: one of those "pattern" things.....not fully developed
                    note: however, I do know a bunch more about Pounce's "sharp"
                             side. A big, crippled goose will be a "piece of cake"

       BIG NOTE: It is ironic that just before the December 3rd training session
                        there were journal entries specific to what happened next.
late afternoon - Pounce had a brief session covering the routines done
            this morning.....transitioned to outside without even a slight hint of the
            problem she (ah - we....no....me) had this morning...heeling and hold
            was excellent
                     note: switched the approach in placing a collar on her at the
                              beginning of a session....better results
Dec 4
up early (as usual) putting any collar on Pounce is now much improved,
          got away from the crate (new place, fresh start, no familiar cues) used the
          "sit" command and it was different......in a good way
                    note: slight nerve "issues" in left hand are not helping matters
          Pounce aired - then did an indoor session covering "fetch", "heeling" with
          the command (both sides, backwards, turning, front sit to heel/sit, varying
          speeds and holding a bumper) = good at all of this and likes the fun,
          mixed in are retrieves, fetch "jumps' and she "counted to two" for the first
          time.....went outside for some work as a change of pace and she was good
          with that, finished with a short rest, feeding, weighing and taking her six
          months old growth photo
Pounce Growth Progression (link)
afternoon - trained at Roscoe Riverside Park - at first we worked on
          retrieving off a placeboard and did a very short, wide double, then some
          longer singles, stable sit remains a solid skill with Pounce - walking away,
          throwing a bumper is an easy do while "walk with me" was not all that
          good and need several sessions where that is the major focus - balance?
         (left click on thumbnails)  
                    "stable sit"
          "fetch intensity"
        "Got it."
                 "Now What!?"
         "six months old"

                    "brakes on"
             "Last one?"
      "What fun!"

Dec 5 Pounce trained early right after airing. did really well in all phases of
          the indoor skills & slept through most of the day....seemed more tired
          than usual, therefore, no training this afternoon. 6 months old today
Dec 6 trained inside early - Pounce
began wearing her e-collar this morning
          (not turned on), did the full "routine" - heeling (all phases both sides)
          including time "holding" a bumper (while moving) , did two "count to 2
          doubles" sent after walking back to the line and finished with a 5 minute
          remote sit which will eventually move to a ten minute "out of sight",
          remote sit (doing this at night, I can be out of sight and still see her
          using her reflection on a window,
the first few times a pup doesn't see
          me, probably will move and receives an immediate verbal "sit" which is
          extremely effective
, pups never seem to figure out how I can do that

          afternoon - trained at the Square Pond DTA in the mowed, grassy erosion
          strip the plan was to do mostly "
walk with me" when "really amped up"
                   note: Pounce will wear her turned off e-collar for three days and
                            that should be plenty because it just replaced the wide, flat
                            extra collar she had been wearing all the time (along with
                            the other "lead" collar) in other words she's been wearing
                            two collars for a long time
                   note: the session went almost as I expected - she knows how to
                            heel really well
in one place...inside....add a crisp, cool winter
                            day, grass, patches of snow, many (many) outdoor scents and
                            the "situational learning" concept surfaces - essentially back
                            to square one for today - she's a tough cookie and I was
                            calm, cool and collected (mostly) - I figure in three months
                            this will all be a fond memory
Dec 7 up
early, immediately went to the yard after airing - it was crisp and cool
21ºF, no snow on the ground - Pounce was easily put in to excite mode
          with the "fetch out of the air" routine & with one retrieve we moved right
          into "walk with me" to work on her outdoor heeling (which has been a big
          "issue") - she must have slept on yesterday's long session and figure it out
          because this morning was a breath of fresh air - 100% improvement! with
          a sigh of relief - she's much more in balance - persistence was the key
                   note: this was the 2nd day of wearing her "not turned on e-collar",
                            Dec 9 will mark the beginning of "sit" reinforcement with a
                            very low level "stimulation" and many "reps" to follow
Dec 8 freezing rain left a glaze of ice = decided to take a day off
Dec 9 indoors this
morning continuing with whistle sit, heeling & imprinting
          the "fetch" command. she's been wearing her e-collar and tomorrow will
          mark the start of layering the "soft collar"
nick "sit" with the slight lead's
tug "sit", the verbal "sit", the whistle sit
and the visual hand signal "sit"
                            that's five different ways to reinforce "sit"
                   note: there will be two more "sit" re-inforcers when Pounce learns
                            that a
gun shot and/or a bird in the air also mean "sit"
                   note: that is
seven different cues meaning sit with each one taught
                            in moments of great excitement
                   note: this photo reveals Pounce's stable sit at 6 months old and over
                            the next year "sit" will be reinforced thousands of times in
                            many different ways when she is excited........the ultimate goal
                            is to be focused, responsive and under control "in any storm"
"Pounce" - stable sit in the storm
a split second later - action in the storm

the situation with heeling must eventually transition to a reinforcement tactic congruent with sit......and I have not exactly decided how to accomplish that, presently the horizontal corrections are aversion (for reasons previously explained), in addition, the idea that avoidance pressure corrections tend to "take a dog down" or subtract may not be all that bad with a dog like Pounce that appears to be highly motivated and in drive most of the time....brain storming this aspect of Pounce's training may be the only way to come to grips with her.....not all dogs are the same and a few may need to be put in situations where they might react favorably if the expression "Thanks....I needed that" came into play

      note: right now the pinch collar is "outside the box"....the present plan is to
               teach her the skill of heeling in a manner for which the pinch was
               designed to operate.....once in place (taught) transition the manner in
               which it is reinforced from negative to positive....verbal "good" and low
               soft collar stimulations when she is doing things correctly and a simple
               "nope" when she isn't

                                     December 9th brainstorming "note" 

   objective: make it possible to use a soft collar application to reinforce heeling

                                      note; This is a work in progress. 

               l           The Tentative Plan with “Adjustments”

I just started the low level re-enforcement on sit with Pounce. She's "good to go" on a 7. No issues and progress is fine.

In the last couple of months Pounce's "walk with me" has been complicated by her "high energy". She slams to the end of the lead and neck issues are of concern. Tugging was becoming more than just inefficient nagging.

To some degree that was reduced by keeping her close, but I've come to the conclusion that was not going to cut it. In addition, I'm 74, it's icy out and at times safety is in question (for both of us).

I went to the pinch collar, finally got the correct fit and this has made a huge difference. However, it is not part of Hillmann's approach.

So I've been brainstorming the issue to try and create a "soft approach" to heeling that doesn't conflict with the "soft" e-collar 7 she's receiving on "sit" right now. In “sticking strictly to the program”, the concept of learning how to turn off pressure is foreign.

I'm using The Educator 400TS e-collar (formerly Einstein). Here's the initial plan. I'm going to use the "tap/vibrate" mode to reinforce correct heeling positions and the 7 level e-collar "stim" for the sit. Note: The Educator e-collar levels range from 0 to 100 and vibrate is totally different than “e-stimulus".

In other words, I will "tap" her in the correct heeling position (along with "yes/good" verbal rewards) and allow the pinch collar corrections (with no response from me).  I may use a negative, verbal re-inforcer - “nope!” when
she is not heeling correctly.

Sit and heel will be separate teaching sessions (at first). When we are "smooth" singularly, they will be integrated.

This approach will teach Pounce heeling and sitting in harmony via two, easy to distinguish low level stimuli.

The goal is to have "sit" and "heel" congruent.

This process will truly test my ability to "walk and chew gum while doing other things" at the same time.

Dec 9  afternoon trained at the Roscoe Riverside Park DTA and no snow on the
       ground is just "dandy" = good session, focused on Pounce's weak "walk
       with me" issue, at first the effort was going sideways, searching for any
       reason zeroed in on the pinch collar "fit", took one more link out and the
       transformation was dramatic
Dec 10 this morning was Pounce's intro to the e-collar and using new collar, it's
           The Educator 400TS and is smaller that my other collars, tested it on
           myself and the adjustments are from 0-100....tried 10 felt it and finally got
           down to 3 and wasn't too sure....started at 10 with Pounce - too much and
           finally decided a 3 on momentary indicated she was getting a sensation
           at 5 she physically flinched ....moved down to 3 and her eyes would dart
           just a little - I began reinforcing the verbal "sit" with a momentary 3 on
           the collar, afterwards I called technical support to see if this is normal...it
           was low, not "off the wall" unusual, the Leerburg video "demonstrator"
           did not register any feeling of stimulus until in the 20's, however, he was
           holding it to the palm of his hand while I was using two fingers - need to
           play around with this some more               
                  note: continued the initial collar condition session for a few minutes
                           and know she was feeling the reinforcement because when on
                           sit holding a bumper she dropped it immediately upon feeling
                           the stimulation - simple idea to check things out and I QUIT
                           DOING that immediately, but it did answer one question - she
                           is definitely feeling a 3 "nick" on a scale that goes up to 100
                           WITH THIS COLLAR which means I should further check this
                           out with my other dogs
                  update: moved to level 7 - Dec 11

note to self: make sure to LOCK in the level

note: Pounce has slept more than usual today and appears to be
                          into a growing spurt = rest of the day off
                 update: did a
brief e-collar sit session to figure out what level and
                              this time 10 seemed to be about right (not  sure why 3 was
                              "in the mix" this morning - will check before each session
                              for a few weeks -check later = going with 7
Dec 11 forecast high 31ºF with still no snow on the ground Pounce was up
           early for airing and we moved to the warm training room for more work
           on sit reinforcement with the e-collar, further adjustments on this resulted
           in settling on a 7 "stim" level with the range being 0-100.....I can't feel a 7,
           but Pounce will cock head to one side (once in awhile) or blink - so in a
           way I can see that she is receiving the correct soft collar reinforcement
note: the e-collar is locked into the 7 level for now
                   note: a tentative plan for how to integrate heeling and sit into the
                            training session is almost finished (no rush as "sit" will be
                            well engrained with the e-collar first) 
afternoon - trained at Roscoe Riverside Park DTA set out 2 placeboards
           about 50 yards apart - Pounce ran 2 singles off each to opposite sides &
           focused on a stable sit re-enforced with the low level e-collar "stim" and
           steady until released....did two shorter singles afterwards, "walk with me"
           was off lead and loose
                  note: "sit" steady "Pounce" retrieves & excitement vs. doing "fetch",
                           "hold" & "walk with me" heeling are now in separate sessions
                            for at least a week...then we will gradually integrating them
                  note: no snow has made this much simpler 
Dec 12
early morning was the first with "tap mode" reinforcement on heeling,
            she already has a good feel for the skills, it's time to transition from the
            pressure of the pinch collar to responding to low level "taps", "skating"
            into unknown territory with this....so in recording initial observations
            must beware/avoid bias - don't just look for what I want to see
                    note: combinations first, then isolate to transition
                    goal: low level, positively reinforced, conditioned responses to be
                             in the right position and move correctly without any need to
                             turn off pressure
                    note: indirectly Pounce will know how to turn off pressure
this morning's heeling session went OK, not too impressed with my
             timing, but the session showed promise
late afternoon Pounce trained outdoors at the Riverside Park DTA with
             exciting retrieves, crisp scent filled air, small pockets of snow every so
             often that tasted good.....distractions everywhere - she was better, but I
             really had to work at keeping her focused on heeling & it wasn't all that
             pretty, threw several singles for which she was steady and then took a
             long, heeling walk back to the van, got home & right after parking in
             the driveway, Pounce was taken for a heeling lesson on the road out
             front (zero traffic and isolated), she was almost flawless in her heeling,
             with good eye contact and responsiveness (both sides, slow & fast,
             backwards, turning, switching sides and almost always in the correct
             position...with mostly a loose lead, not sure what to think about this
             teaching in a sterile location when calm vs. teaching in a situation
             where there were many distractions plus excited???
                  note: There was too much of a difference in the two sessions. I'm sure
                           she wasn't better because the edge was taken off and/or tired.
                  note: Teach
all skills then add excitement and/or teach only specific
                           skills while excited? Need to let this "simmer" a bit.
Dec 13 up early and aired....then we went for a looooong walk around a large
           loop in the sub-division (about
¾ of a mile) with no traffic - Pounce went
           through all phases of heeling (both sides - forward fast/slow, backwards,
           turns left/right with varying angles up to 180
º, finished with remote sits on
           the end of her six foot OB lead working on "here", "heal", "sit" finishes
           on both sides
                 note: Wow! she was consistent and animated = having fun
                 note: this first time (on the road) was done without any added
                          excitement except the smells, breeze and new territory plus
                          I remained quiet and calm the entire session
                 note: used the e-collar level 7 "stim" on sits and the tap mode to
                          reinforce being in the correct positions when heeling plus
                          each time she "hit" the pinch collar that was "greeted" with
                          a "nope" verbal correction - this didn't happen very much as
                          Pounce was
loose leash and in position most of the time 
                 note: NEVER had a 6 month old pup come close to this competency
                          as quickly......she was alert, responsive and composed
                 note: repeat every day for a week and then every third day and see
                          how this carries over to "in the field" without marking, when
                          heeling becomes a solid expectation.... mix in with marking,
                          but for awhile excitement/retrieving with the stable sit will be
                          mostly separate = "divide and conquer" with no rush

               only trained once today   

Pounce's Retrieve Progression (link)  

Dec 14 took this
morning off and Pounce was a bit "antsy" for awhile
           afternoon - Pounce was doing her first skills drill in the yard and a
           YouTube recorded the entire session, this will provide a reference
           point to observe what needs the most work in the present, this "drill"
           will be repeated in about six weeks to visually aid in "measuring"
and progress plus what needs more attention

Pounce's Skills Drill #1 (YouTube)

                  things to work on and things that went well
                       1) pay more attention to which leg goes forward when
                          walking off on heel move    
                       2) the hand signal for sit was missing mostly because of being
                           too pre-occupied with the lead, whistle and e-collar.....would
                           be best to do it with the hand holding the lead
                       3) "hold" skill needs more attention
                       4) heeling - good for "starters",  will "tighten up" with more work
                       5) lead should have had more slack, but that too will come with
                           more practice
                       6) pace seemed good, just enough traffic for extra distractions
                                note: saved a few goose wings for situations like this
                       7) Pounce's tail pretty much said, "I'm happy!"
                       8) for the most part she was responsive and animated
                       9) each skill done by itself is better, when combined the level
                           drops off (see what happens in two weeks)
Dec 15 morning off, rain this afternoon 
Dec 16 more rain early, long walk on lead in the afternoon (see Dec 13 entry) 
                    note: reminded to work toward seamless progress
                    note: 2pm did brief "hold/sitting" in the living room (paint roller)
                    note: long walk, on lead about 3:30 pm (took bumper) 
                             overcast, no snow & windy -
36°F feels like 25°
Dec 17 busy day - Lylah's school Christmas party was this morning, had to do a
           quick airing session - turned interesting in the rush (click link below)          
 Three Weeks to an Epiphany (link)
           evening did a session of "hold" inside fetching off the floor and then
           heeling motivates her to hold, placing in her mouth "not so much" as
           she feels no compulsion or reason to hold it.....after a bit, well timed
           praise seemed to make some difference, but Pounce appears to act as
           if it is her prerogative to decide, hold needs to be rewarding....not so
           much with this session.....in contrast.....an exciting retrieve means
           more. so her focus on simple holding for the sake of holding is weak,
           taking off quickly on a quick heeling movement tends to take her mind
           off the bumper and she just carries it along..........stop the up tempo
           prompting of heeling while carrying and it slides and she soon drops it,
           lots of tongue action and rolling with a busy mouth.....indicates anxiety
                     note: need to keep the excitement up and turn the anxiety
                              energy into motivation to keep the bumper = not exactly
                              sure of where to go with this, but hold is a skill that requires
                              focus and she is not = use repetition/attrition and rewards

Dec 18 up late from the night before and it was around 1 am in the morning,
           after airing Pounce, I decided to work Pounce on another quick hold
           session with a total adjustment to the approach - the entry below was
           made much later in the day and related reply to a "hold" thread on RTF    
  Teach "hold" by itself. The key is to find a way to have the pup feel it is not something you are making her do. Remain quiet and calm (not easy). Try and keep the pup sitting and have very few distractions. The most difficult aspect of the initial "hold" sessions with Pounce was keeping calm. She's by nature a high energy dog....and hold needs to be physically quiet.

              update: alter the above thinking in that the need for
                    "physically quiet" is the ultimate goal, reviewing
                     a few of the Hillmann "hold" videos, "take what
                     you get at first" - build and re-enforce gradually,
                     and take advantage of fetch excitement & praise,
                     excitement for the bumper not a distraction and
                     tends focus the pup   

I'll admit our first official "hold" session was not pleasant for me. I could sense my irritation that she would not relax and keep her mouth quiet. Situations like that lead to built in anxiety.....and not just for the pup. My sweatshirt became too warm (which is a way of expressing "hot under the collar"). Fortunately I've trained enough dogs that I knew it would be wiser to just stop the session......and think this over some. If a pup causes you to begin taking things personally (like you don't know what you are doing) the game is over.

The next morning, I had an entirely different mindset. This session was going to be pleasant..... more hands on, talking softer and looking for "anything" to reward. It pays to be an experienced "con man". Within a few seconds, the busy tongue stopped, her head remained still and she was making good eye contact. It was like, "Hey, where did you come from?." Anxiety was exorcised before it became a manifestation.

              update: using  the "fetch" command and a short
                        retrieve helped to get the bumper "where
                        it belonged", then reinforcing "heel" and
                        subsequent motion indirectly enforces
                        "hold" - doing this on lead keeps it close
                        and provides for well timed reinforcement

It is fairly simple. We are asking a pup to learn how to be cool under fire.........so a trainer must express that trait, too. One can get only so much mileage out of
"Because I said so." Smart puppies pick up on that right away. You're lucky if they buy into it (heavy pressure) and not so much if they don't.

               update: ended up reducing the verbal involvement
                         to an occasional "good" when appropriate,
                         then when she began to become more at ease
                         a bit more "fun" animation was added

Dec 18 brief hold session this evening - better in context, fetch off ground and
            heeling, moving
not so much when just sitting and placing bumper in
            her mouth
                     note: need to cut back on food when feeding a bit = getting fat
Dec 19 late afternoon - fun fetch, hold heeling session - excited, but lots of
            "cigaring" and mouthing,
didn't care as long as she had it in her
            mouth.......afterwards, did a brief treat, reinforced down, she learned
            this in one lesson with zero leash pressure - just moving the treat down
            to the floor between her front legs (when on sit) and sliding it back
            under her chest with "palm up & open"...this is greatly enhanced while
            sitting up against a wall or sofa (no crawling)
                     note: when Pounce's
elbows hit the floor on the first lesson this
                              revealed how agile, smart and responsive she is, repetition
                              will increase coordination to become a smooth, graceful and
                              symmetrical motion
                     note: in addition, a brief "down" treat session is a good "finish" 
                              after a "difficult" situation (always end on a "good note")
Dec 20 weather turned not all that nice - trained in the pool room = plenty of
            room to work on "heeling", "here", "fetch", "hold" and "sit" plus
            a few short retrieves, used five different shapes and sizes of bumpers
            and the softer. lighter ones seemed to dealt with better which makes
            me wonder if her teeth are fully in, no bleeding or sign of changes,
            when fully engaged fewer issues 
                     note: finished a new link/essay dealing with "ideas"
                              With an in depth past in science, I have found the titles for
                              each episode of the TV sitcom "The Big Bang Theory"
                              hilarious......hence, the inspiration for the following
                              training essay title.
"The Subconscious Manipulation" (link)
Dec 21
up early - Pounce aired and went right into the warm training "area" to
           work on reinforcing "sit", "here", "hold", and "heel" with a few "Pounce"
           retrieves plus leaping "fetch" moments - she's become more focused and
           responsive in this "high drive" routine and one thing I've noticed is she
           appears to be poised & confident about what is going on...........she's
           young and as the repetition adds more "layers of re-enforcement" she
           is reacting in a very fluid manner, then we went inside for some water
           and a few relaxed "sit" and "down" reps for treats
                      note: later Pounce went out to air & she certainly wasn't tired,
                               her butt tucked romp around the airing yard was hilarious,
                               it revealed just how much "bottom" she's got (pun intended) 
                               aired last time
at 10:45 pm and did a short, fun session in the
                               pool room
                      note: started using the flat collar....phasing out the pinch collar
                               and she show no signs of the old habit of "bulling" into the
                               rope plus the hacking and coughing from a few weeks ago
                               has ceased                    
Dec 22 did two indoor sessions today (rain) -
early morning and late afternoon,
            the large area allows for marks and long rope "here" teaching, extended
            sits and a circular path for never ending heeling.....experimented with
            different bumpers today and there was a noticeable improvement with
            canvas (all her adult teeth are in, but maybe still a bit tender??)
                      note: "hold on the move" has improved and "here" has finally
                               become an expectation (on a long lead)
                      note: the 26 ft. Flexi-Lead works really well for remote "sit" and
                               "here" lessons
                      note: Pounce has a short fuse and it doesn't take much to get her
                               "wild eyed"......she'd be a very difficult first pup, the last 3-4
                               weeks have not been easy, but the "on/off" switch is going
                               really well on her sit, this has at least given me an "anchor"
                               to use when things get "too loose"
                      note: the recent treat training on "down" has had an excellent
                               impact on eye contact & responsiveness
Dec 23 pounce did a session mostly on "fetch" and "hold" with some focus on
            re-enforcing "sit" without the pinch collar
                      note: early afternoon Pounce was upstairs in her "quiet crate"
                               with her living room crate open.....glancing over from my
                               computer Lylah was inside wearing my hooded Illinois
                               sweat shirt - took a photo and then came back for some
                               more.....she seemed to be trying to see it from Pounce's
                               point of view next to Taffey
       (left click on thumbnails)  

                      note: did a short session of fetch & hold after the last airing
Dec 24 not a very good day for training outside....however, Pounce has an
            excellent session this
morning working on leaping fetch into a stable
            sit plus heeling around the pool deck "holding", she's much better when
            moving and getting better while sitting

about 3:30 pm it is misting, but the urge to maybe see grass for the last
            time this year had Pounce over at Roscoe Riverside Park for a test to
            observe how a flat collar was going to work out, first we just walked all
            over the northeast section with no talking, showed no signs of slowing
            down and would make an energize bunny look slow.....then back the van
          . for her big, fun surprise...a big goose wing, she was even more "amped"
            than on the walk, flying through the air after the wing........after a few in
            the air "snatch fetch & give it back to me" she was asked to "slam into
            "stable sits", I began walking away from her...reinforcing the sit verbally,
            visually (hand) and with the collar ..she never twitched on "sit" with any
            of the 4 goose wing singles, the best thing was last....she heeled loose
            line beside me all the way back to the van.....of course I had the goose
            wing visible.....but her heeling was consistently in the right position with
            no pressure on the collar....we're back on track
                     note: a silent sigh of relief was felt as we drove home
                     note: hold has been a bit lacking in firmness in "hold" sessions,
                              no hold issues with the goose wing
about 10:30 am no white Christmas this year (airing yard is muddy)
                     note; back in the training room for a quick "here", "heel" and "sit"
                              which are good...."down" just began and hasn't got the idea
                              of keeping down for very long...she is up fairly quickly
                              looking for more action
Dec 25
Christmas - there was a break in family holiday activities and a very mild
           day for late December. So Pounce and I slipped out for a few singles.
           Today's session was enhanced by imprinting the scent of a fresh shot
           goose several weeks ago.

           Zip-tying two goose wings together was to be Pounce's surprise Christmas
           gift. After a good walk to work off a little energy, the session got serious
           and her first marks with feathers since the live quail at 8 weeks old.

           After some teasing and short tosses on the ground she was about as high
           as I could get her. I should be more careful about what I ask for, but that
           was part of the plan. Walking out into a large flat area, Pounce was
            "planted" with "sit" and I was sure her Hillmann "sit" was stable.

            I walked backwards keeping close tabs on her while waving the wings.
            In addition, conditioned habits have a camera handy and on stand-by. I
            threw the mark, reinforced "sit" (verbal), mounted and focused the
            camera, pushed the button for burst mode and said, "Pounce!"

            She did three more singles and was perfectly steady, but we have to
            work more on the "drop" command.
     (left click on thumbnails)    

              note: changed the hold "bumper" to something that was intended
                       to alter Pounce's mouthing tendencies. I did not mind the
                       "cigaring", but when she got to a far end it would simply fall
                       out. This had her nervously scrambling for it which was very

                       Then in a search of creativity an "aha"! moment arose. The
                       photo of Pounce making one of her very first retrieves was
                       recalled. She had no issues what-so-ever "holding" then.
                   Five months later Pounce's lower jaw fits perfectly in the circle.
                   She likes this "object" (high value reward) and most importantly,
                   Pounce can't "mouth to the end and" simply loose her grip on it
                   (same thing if she picks up the ball section). Hold is easy.  

             after a midnight airing, Pounce did a series of "here"/"sit"/"down" work
Dec 26 early morning session of "hold" - improving
            late afternoon we went to Roscoe Riverside Park for a long walk laced
            with random remote "sit" commands (when 25-30 yards away) and then
            "here" recalls to a front "sit"........very good for the first time outside and
            no retrieves involved
                     note: this was treat driven and not wearing her e-collar (forgot it)
Dec 27 It's cold! so after airing an early morning session was mostly remote sit
            recalls with another "halting" remote "sit" half way in, then a close front
            "sit" followed by a "heel/sit".....last segment was tossing a "bumper"
            halfway between us (Pounce on remote sit), Pounce was released on her
            name and as she approached with the "bumper" in her mouth she was
            turned around in one smooth motion to heel back in the other direction
            with the "bumper" in mouth, verbal "goods" were given, eye contact was
            sought and eventually a sit followed by a delay (which has increased in
            the length) before taking the bumper (this is timed to happen when she
            offers me eye contact)
                 note: the "hold duration on sit"  is in the early stages of a "work in
                          progress", she was upbeat, happy and looking for more.....but
                          we quit
                 note: the session was all of five minutes long......you can do a lot in
                          five minutes
              however, it never seems to totally end, going through the pool room
              door into the lower level "rec" room Pounce must "sit" while I open
              door, heel beside me after I go through the door first, sit while I close
              the door, heel up the stairway into the living room..........but we are
              not finished.......there are several front "sit/downs" to do (with treats)
              and we finished with "kennel" and a bowl of water 
                  note; The following link will provide some extra ideas for teaching
                           Pounce to respond to the "place" command (which she is
                           already familiar with and retrieving from). 
                  note: a critical term used toward the end of the video is "muscle
                           memory". Skills with motion require many correct "reps". 

                           The magnitude of many muscle memory "reps" may
                           require many more than most manipulate.

Janice Gunn "Platform Training" YouTube (link)

Dec 28 cold weather has moved in with no snow, worked in the pool area this
            morning on remote sits, walk-away "here", remote "sit" half way, then
            "here" front "sit" and side "heel".....changed up with a retrieve half-way
            in, followed by a continuation "heel" (in motion) carrying the retrieve, a
º turn walking back to the remote sit area for a quick sit and give
                       note: huge improvement on hold, upbeat verbal and with motion
                                keeps her focused and altering the expectation, not giving
                                her any time to drop or fumble 'cause there other things
                                to do including paying attention to where I'm going next
                       note: extinguishing a poor expectation is easier when the new
                                expectation provides no time to think about the old 
Dec 29 aired at 12:30 am - cold....stopped in the pool room and worked on the
            routine of an excited level of "fetch, hold heel" and "fetch, hold, here"
                       note: keeping her moving at heel is the key to improvement and 
                                she is now very aware that if I don't get the bumper in a
                                proper manner the "cycle of fun" in interrupted, during this
                                time the "on/off' switch is exercised with appropriately
                                timed leash tugs or verbal "sits" and/or e-collar positive
                                reinforcement....in addition the whistle and visual hand
                                signal are incorporated (each session does not always
                                include all of those) 
            morning airing was at 7:30 am and Pounce went right to the training
            room afterwards = another longer session than usual with a great deal
            of motion on heel with bumper in mouth, second half of the lesson was
            close in staccato leaping fetches in the air or slashing fetches off the
            floor, moving off on heel to a sit and give (any bobble to the floor was
            greeted with a slow heel command and she'd scramble to pick up the
            bumper so as to avoid leaving the prize behind......she's getting more
            careful about having to "do the scramble" & with improving eye contact
            she is now looking to see what I'm going to do next = more responsive 
            indirectly hold has greatly improved without "making" her do it and this
            in turn reinforces her "this is fun feeling" about training
                       note: a few of the motor skill responses are enhanced with treat
                                luring (especially the front sit to side heel and the other is
                                keeping her head up when taking a bumper...initially her
                                instincts were "It's mine!" and duck her head to the ground)
                                The physical imprint is becoming "head up and it's yours
                                for a reward".......the key will be to convince her that saying
                                "good" is equal to a treat......easier said than done.....not
                                giving her much time to think about it is important 
            "win/win is much more effective than trying to win more than you loose"
            aired again at 4:30 am and Pounce came in the entrance to the pool
            room and took a hard right down the stairs to the training deck, sat on
            a placeboard and looked at me with a "let's do something stare"...so we
            repeated the 12:30 am session and it was better....especially the hold,
            the idea of looking for just a tiny bit of hold initially and gradually
            strengthening that without testing or a fight has paid off
                        note: eye contact is getting better, too
                        note: Dang! winter is back. The ground is hard and it is cold!
                        note: but the Bulls won tonight = good day all around
                        note: weighed Pounce today, could not wait until Jan 5th to
                                 see what it would be at 7 months = 48 pounds is a relief,
                                 was concerned about not breaking into the 50's....she will
Dec 30 12:15 am after airing - Pounce did a brief 15 minute session repeating
            the similar sessions of the last couple of days and again more progress
            with a much greater sense of play.....this is fun! 
                        note: no drops and excellent eye contact on the "gives"
                        note: Pounce seems more comfortable in drive (the wild look is
                                 turning into more of a thrilled look which in some cases
                                 I'm not as thrilled with
but in contrast, I've watched cute
                                 puppy videos where they playfully and slowly move with
                                 sweet casual attitudes into various OB positions and take
                                 treats gently.......in contrast, it seems I often have a small,
                                 wild, yellow dragon on a kite string..
..I prefer the dragon
                        note: may introduce the cap gun soon
            7:30 am long session working on excitement, hold and heeling......using
                   heeling to enhance hold........this went not so well, mostly because
                   Pounce's prey drive is off the charts and she wants the prize moving,
                   the focus was on realizing
giving it to me results in a reward.....I'm
                   guessing my recent rewards are not viewed in the same context,
                   she's not quite there yet,
I have recently come to the conclusion
                   that my thermostat needs a special "dragon mode" installed (refer
                   to a previous entry) to avoid getting "hot under the collar"

                         note: today's journal entries were mostly written to remind me
                                  about not getting all bent out of shape when things don't
                                  go as planned.....it's not working
  ...then again...
4 pm decided to do another session of hold - worked primarily on
                    keeping her head up on sit.....that made a big difference in that
                    dropping was eliminated (given the object she is fetching) while
                    maintaining eye contact and hands on much easier....common
                    sense (in the moment) was missing from this morning's session
                         note: the mouthing immediately ceased the moment she made
                                  eye contact.....with her head up.......upbeat and excited
                                  for the fetch became instant calm on the sit with way less
                                  mouthing, that eventually stopped....eye contact and "sit "
                                  indirect pressure combined with direct, verbal reinforcing
                                  with "hold" were possible....now all we need are more
                                  sessions with many similar "reps"
                         note: session lasted all of five minutes (five or six good "reps")
        11 pm aired and it is cold......
5ºF with a wind chill of -9ºF however, the
                   pool room is 65ºF (no wind chill and well lit), so Pounce and I did
                   a solid training session working on high excitement fetches (leaping
                   and on the floor), remote sits, heeling, the "here" command with
                   stopping on "sit" half-way, front sits and return to heel PLUS a lot
                   of holding while sitting, heeling and during OB "maneuvers".
                   she had her head up, maintained good eye and was doing very
                   little mouthing which was reduced or eliminated by using the heel
                   command (motion or sit reinforcements like a indirect pressure
                   The little, wild dragon didn't show tonight. "Am I smiling! or what?"

                 Today the wind chill was 4ºF = not working outside - three new Elsema
             transmitters arrived from Australia a few days ago and the four Kwick
             Wingers came out of storage. They were not used at all last year, but
             will be with Pounce. After ten years, they still work, but needed some
             inspection for battery function, possible oxidized zip ties, wiring and
             bow release function. Not much to do except change out 2 batteries
             and replace all zip-ties. All four fired. Three new receivers would
             cost almost $300.....fortunately, that won't be necessary. They will be
             ready to go quickly.
                   Kwick Wingers - originally were called "Mini-My-Wingers"   

         This photo was taken in 2004 and free design information was posted.
              Construction was easy, cost was best described as inexpensive
                                  and the electronics were exceptional. 
Total cash (including electronics) came out to $150 apiece.
                  (Labor was free and technical support is always present.)


              this is a 2012 photo including a fourth winger made around 2006

                          note: the original design has stood the test of time

Dec 31 Only one day left, going to be a cold one, 2:15 pm wind chill -5ºF-
            Pounce again worked on "The Drill" combing several skills and the
            most important (needing the most work) was "hold", she's getting it
            because I have finally figured out what is needed "on the fly" at any
            moment, riming has improved and she has learned what is next, this   
            training in drive "thing" is not simple.....however, it is very rewarding
            to observe positive results when doing the right actions...it gives a fresh
            meaning to "timing is everything"
                 skills required in the drill include heel on both sides...fast & slow,
                 backwards, switching sides, front sit/heel/sit to either side with a
                 bumper in mouth or not, "here" without & with bumper in mouth,
                 long remote sits with recall to a shorter remote sit (with & without
                 a bumper) plus exciting fetches in the air and off the ground

note: she's dealing with the ebb and flow plus her stable sit
                                   is "rock solid"
             did a brief "fetch", "hold" and "heel" session...late = sloppy on
             delivery, but "hold" good while in motion
Jan. 1 
morning t- used continuous walking and regular fetches off the floor
           using a very small, canvass puppy bumper.......this seemed to work and
           quit while we were ahead......decided she really needs to get out more
afternoon - went for a long, long walk at the Rockton Road DTA, on the
           way back the small canvass bumper was thrown after putting Pounce on
           a remote sit initiated with the whistle....did several of these and she was
           very good about bringing the bumper back all the way.....the last two
           hundred yards to the van were spent working heel with the 9 foot poly
            rope and flat collar.....gave her a lot more loose rope than previous
            lessons (idea from Pete on RTF) and followed his approach....Pounce
            and I are much improved with what has been an issue...now we just
            need consistent reps....she's going to be a "handful" for a long time




                               Middle of November into December - Tactics

          "things to do list"
now that Traffic Cop is solid - pace will be determined
           by Pounce spaced out evenly as each progresses = no specific time table
           because it will be a cold winter for the next 3+ months, presently
           reviewing videos and keeping track of "details" (see video links below)
                     note: work on the modifications from Dec 12 & 13
                          observations/realizations updated Dec 5th
intro & work on whistle "sit" continuing
continue use of pinch collar for heeling with physical
                          manipulation/cues and verbal rewards
(both sides)
                          straight line, varying speeds, changing directions, front
                          sit and heeling/sit on both sides (refer to link below)
this was separate from the sit, walk with me,
                          excitement sessions (for awhile)
now combined, but many
                               isolated lessons will continue

                               note: there was a short period of time before switching
                                        to a pinch collar where Pounce was gagging and
                                        coughing from all the "barreling/forging" into her
                                        flat collar & short lead rig.......trying to use short
                                        tugs was useless given her extremely quick moves
                               note: finessing a pinch collar is a fairly simple process
                                        since using it in the past & one can be almost gentle
                                        if fitted properly and usd correctly....as opposed to
                                        the flat collar having Pounce bulling, snorting and
                                        gagging....as opposed to simply paying attention to
                                        what is next
                               note: there was no alternative
                               update: doing extremely well both sides, varying speeds,
                               backwards and loose leash, quick study, relaxed, looks
                               good doing it and deals well with varying speeds....not
                               nearly as easy as I expected which means this will be a
                               regular session for a long time to become an expectation      
need to eventually move back to a simple collar and work
                               toward an off lead standard
(still a long way off as throat
                               issues remain a concern)
update: Dec 23 put a flat collar on Pounce to see if there
                                            was any change in her forging tendencies, the
                                            coughing and hacking from a few weeks ago has
                                            disappeared and nay injury to here throat would
                                            take about two weeks for soft tissue to heal,
                                            during that time she evidently learned how to heel
                                            correctly because there was zero forging and slight
                                            tension for just a split second had her back in
                                            position, the real test was Dec 24th when she was
                                            outside and "amped" with a big goose wing

2b. introduce "heel" command - did this and easy do, but moving
                          outside is proving to be "interesting"  
this is going well now
intro leaping "fetch" with fetch/yes release off anchored sit -
and this has become a command plus a regular reward & exciter
 4. intro "soft" e-collar layering of positive reinforcement on
                        top of the lead sit "tug" reinforcement
  "stable sit" going well       
intro "hold" on sit and motion) work in progress (better)
 5b. "hold" concept during "walk with me" as part of heeling
 hold is better when moving and depends on
                                                what type of bumper

6. "place" - going to & sitting on placeboard with command
                          does well close (10 feet) not trying to extend distance....yet

determine optimum time to work on "here" command
started brief lesson Dec 3rd with bending at the waist as
                                physical cue so as to isolate standing erectly for sit with
                                low horizontal "tug" vs. upward "tug" for "sit" began
so far she is getting it at the end of Dec INSIDE  
                       note: this now represents three distinct "tugs" on the collar
                                two initiated by the trainer up (sit) &. horizontal (here) plus
                                the two heeling tugs which are totally initiated by the pup
                                which elicit self-correcting responses in a different context,
                                a pup recognizes the heeling "tugs" and responds with
                                repetitive, self-imposed behaviors

                                Note: the correct use of a pinch collar is NOT to jerk or
                                         pop the lead, the pup dog does ALL the correcting 

Conversational Leash Work (video)

 NOTE: this WAS an "out of the Hillmann program" effort to deal with the
               possible throat issues created by Pounce's penchant for slamming into
               the rope lead, keeping the lead short and her close was not working,
               the plan was to eventually move back to a soft rope lead and more in
               step with the process for me, I decided to draw a line between being
               too highly excited to the point of possible injury, in addition it is winter,
               there is ice "lurking" everywhere and I'm 74 years old, with a 45 pound
               pup on a rope, we are "one short end of the rope too soon" jerk away
               from an "awkward" situation, went down once last month, walking with
               a ski pole now and not going to tempt fate again,  for me Pounce on a
               long lead was not going to cut it unless I found a way for her and I to
               safely do the "walk with me"...if that makes any sense.......the standard
               will eventually be Pounce walking with me......highly excited....off
               lead....under control and the pinch collar a distant memory
                       update: it took a little less than two weeks for this to "turn around"
chain new retrieve command "fetch" from "yes" (phase out "yes") 
transitioned to "Pounce" for marks
teach "down", "whoa" with commands started "down"
formalize all commands work in progress Dec 24 (not "whoa")
10b. hope for at least a few decent days outside (no snow, yet)
 11. train Pounce with another dog present - Daisy (off placeboards)
8+ months old - Jan AKC OB classes (use pinch collar in class)
13. finish fetch before/after AKC OB classes intro is completed, but it
                                                 never is finished as it is an ongoing exciter
14. indoor swimming pool fun in February
15. figure out a way to transition Pounce's heeling expectation
                       with the pinch collar into a soft collar reinforcement more
                       inline/compatible with the soft e-collar reinforcement on sit
                           note: the sequence has been designed, in place and being
                                    implemented = long way to go Dec 15th entry  

                                    Dec 24th completed with positive results
note: Pounce will be 9 months old at the end of February

                                    Michael Ellis' Philosophy of Dog Training (link)

                                     basic teaching rule: verbal 1st & physical 2nd
                          note: watched heeling again and again...around 45 min. in

Michael Ellis - Leerburg Corrections (link)
                                                     note: excellent read