"Pounce in drive"
                                                                                  (nine months old)
                            Pounce Training Journals Archive (link)
                            (July - December 2014, January - March 2015)
Mar 1 afternoon started Pounce on the first step in Land Fundamentals which
          doing short left and right angle backs from a remote sit.......Pounce was
          "put in drive" (excited) and pretty much clueless about what I wanted,
          this is a teaching phase so we just kept pecking away and gradually
          repeating the motions and routine....toward the end of this session she
          was taking right and left angle back casts with the arm motion and
          verbal "back"
                note: in the beginning the most difficult part was getting her to
                         look back at me after a bumper was tossed which is the result
                         of throwing bumpers to retrieve off a stable sit because she
                         has NOT been looking back at me on stand alone mark,
                         therefore, the easiest way to get her looking back at me
                         was to bounce the Chuck-It ball and say "good" when her
                         attention returned.....after a several reps the light went on
                         (not bad for the first lesson)
evening at 10 pm repeated the angle back casting drill throwing both
          bumpers out, Pounce was cast to the opposite bumper that was thrown
          after the previous retrieve....repeated several times with the bouncing
          "Chuck-It" ball being a better way to "say" Look At Me and she had no
          issues taking the correct cast with the verbal "back"
                note: noticeable improvement over the 1st lesson with no sign of
                         any confusion  
weakest skill remains coming directly to a front sit....working
                         on many "reps" seems to be taking longer that I expected,
                         but the "Chuck-It" ball seems to have us on the right track
all four dogs HeartGard Plus
Mar 2
morning 7:30 am worked on a repeat of several retrieves to a front sit
         delivery and then a "Chuck-It" chased/caught with a front sit delivery
         (after each bumper retrieve), then finished with a 4 minute remote sit,
         toss a bumper 40 feet away at 2 minutes then the Chuck-It ball bounced
         and dropped in an area 25 feet away from the bumper at 4 minutes,
         walked over to Pounce and released for the bumper with "fetch" and
         delivered on a front sit, heel to left side & released to fetch the memory
                 note: originally was not going to extend the time, but decided she
                          was more than ready......never moved a muscle except to
                          glance at me once in awhile (mostly focused on the bumper  
                          in plain view) and then looked over to watch the "bouncing
                 note: stable sit concept is a huge WOW! 
                 note: Pounce has practiced this routine often and her consistency
                          is excellent - we're ready for better weather and yard work
10F and feels like 10F
afternoon 4 pm worked on the short angle back casting drill with two
         bumpers thrown out, always sent to the one thrown first and using the
         bouncing Chuck-It ball to refocus for casts, front sits improving each
         day and re-heeling to the casting position went much smoother today,
                 note: Pounce is making noticeable progress and seems confident
                          with this drill, the Chuck-It ball has proven to be extremely
                          effective in keeping her focused                   

Pounce's Retrieving Variety (link)

Mar 3
morning at 8 pm Pounce worked on the angle back casting drill (more
          "reps" and become comfortable with the right and left angle "back"
          command...finished the session with another 4 minute remote sit using
          two visible, distracting bumpers thrown out at the 2 & 3 minute intervals
                  note: for a little fun afterwards Pounce got in some practice of
                           catching the Chuck-It ball on a high bounces (her timing
                           and coordination is improving
evening 6:15 pm Pounce did an OB session - brief & sharp...remote sits,
                        here/front sits to right & left heel sits (off lead & whistle)
Mar 4 
morning 8:30 am 1st day of working on the matt & place board training 
         Pounce has walked over and sat on several different mat materials and
         place boards...they've been imprinted along with the word "place" - it is
         now becoming a command, while working on the command, Pounce
         will be moving back and forth from the platform to the rubber bat with
         front sits and heel to both sides - she has had many reps of doing this
         movement and now it is being formalized for the soon to begin yard and 
         field work.............to keep this at a high level of excitement (Hillmann
         technique) the "Chuck-It" ball is occasionally rolled from the round
         placeboard all the way down the pool deck to the other corner, Pounce
         watches the tantalizing, rolling and sometimes bouncing ball move to the
         corner from a stable sit, then is released to retrieve and return with it to
         a front sit delivery to hand followed by the & wheel to a side heel, these
         many, many reps will create the physical muscle and mental imprints of
         the standard = automatic and like a reflex..........for the first go (in this
         combination) she was easy to work with right from the start...........sharp
         and upbeat when we finished..........Pounce is becoming an excellent
         student....a focused, excited pup functioning well in "drive" is cool
       (left click on thumbnail)  
    "mat & placeboard"

         afternoon worked on the same "skills drill" as this morning's session
                     note: about fifteen minutes - good "reps", great attitude & fun
Mar 5
morning - repeated newest skill drill & did the 4 minute remote sit drill
                     note: a little sloppy...need to reduce number of combined skills
                              and do more individual skill "reps"
          afternoon - OB sit, here, heel & place board drill with duck scent in the
          air spread by the pool dehumidifier fan = major distraction
                    note: at 8:30 am
2F and feels like 0F
                    note: next week warmer with 40-50's for highs
                  March "came in" a lot like last year....actually worse!

               (left click on thumbnail)  

Mar 6 at 8 am it is 4F and feels like -10F
          yesterday marked the official beginning of seriously working on the
          "What & Where" strategy - Pounce was trained in a room filled with
          the scent of a mallard......and she let me know....regularly

          today was something quite different - but very distracting as well
          Pounce has been working on a remote sit standard and is solid at 4
          minutes - that is "What" we've been working on, however this winter
          (even going into March) has not lent itself very well to training outside
          which means "Where" had a low threshold of distractions. Therefore,
          the ante was raised this morning by bringing another dog into the mix
          and Pounce has not had any experience with "company"
                   note: when Daisy "arrived on the scene" Pounce's breathing and
                            animation "jumped a bunch", so as not to make this an
                            overwhelming "test" the setup was reduced from the easy
                            (alone & quiet) expectation) which she has done solidly at
                            four minutes to today's two minute remote sit
                   note: she was animated and excited when we did the OB routine,
                            especially when we neared the placeboard Daisy was on,
                            moving OB heel and sit was good after the initial distraction
                            effects wore off.....she sat like a rock on her placeboad and
                            at 90 seconds a bumper was thrown 40 feet away in the
                            corner directly in front of Pounce, Daisy was sent to retrieve
                            it while Pounce  watched....that went well,,.,at two minutes
                            another bumper was tossed into the same corner & I walked
                            over to her to initiate the retrieve.....Pounce did very well
                            and was not noticeably distracted, after her retriever she
                            crated and Daisy was put up.........then Pounce was let out
                            to release a little steam in the snowy airing yard
where she
                            went into "beast mode"

                    note: the heated pool room part of the building is 25X40 feet
                             Daisy and Pounce were placed in the diagonal corners
                    note: later weighed Pounce - 9 months old = 55 lbs and took the
                             nine month old growth photo
         (left click on thumbnail)  
  "Pounce's retrieve
       "at the line"
        "hard left"
      "beast mode"

             note: weighed Pounce - 55 lbs wonder about vets scale because
                              I always weigh more in my Dr's office???
     Weight chart       Daisy      Taffey      Kooly    Pounce 
      2 months          14 lbs      14 lbs      15 lbs      14 lbs  
      3 months          24 lbs      25 lbs      24 lbs
      4 months          34 lbs      34 lbs      33 lbs      27 lbs   
      5 months          43 lbs      40 lbs      43 lbs      38 lbs   

      6 months          49 lbs      47 lbs      51 lbs      42 lbs   
      7 months          54 lbs      54 lbs      56 lbs      45 lbs   
      8 months          58 lbs      60 lbs      59 lbs      48 lbs   
      9 months          58 lbs      66 lbs      62 lbs      55 lbs   
                                            Growth Photo - March
                                                 nine months old

                            Pounce Growth Progression (link)

afternoon 2 pm Pounce did a very short session of casting to and
            retrieving off a placeboard....her returns to it are beginning to show
            that she understands the "place" command
late evening 10:30 pm picked up the airing yard and the temperature
            was NOT AS COLD out ............
20F with no wind feels almost balmy,
            Pounce spent a solid
10 minutes doing OB (sit, front sit, heeling with 
            wheel sits both sides, turning up to 180 degrees & heeling backwards
            all while continually holding a bumper and mostly on a loose lead
                         note: the ten minutes actually went very fast....Pounce was
                                  upbeat, having fun and did well
                         note: the upbeat 'bumper in mouth" OB drill is being used to
                                  hone the skills required to begin yard work

            afterwards did a review
/watch of Hillmann's Retriever Training
- Part 1 Land  (this is just one of many reviews)

                         note: focus on what & where with special regards
                                  to the skill require to do each the "What" 
                                  (refer to
What & Where - Training Strategies
                                  in the useful links below the journal entries)  
continuing the three pronged focus:
increasing distractions, practicing, being consistent
Many consistently correct reps turn into automatic responses.                                      "Perfect practice promotes perfection."

Mar 7
morning  8 am session...10-15 minutes of the same routine as last night,
          each time we do this the work becomes noticeably smoother  
                          note: up beat, fast paced and fun - sharp session
                          note:  at 8 pm 25F and feels like +18F
          evening  9 pm repeated the morning session plus worked on a fun
          game of "snatching" a close, tossed bumper out of the air
                          note: another exciting and cool session 
 side note: FED income taxes e-filed & accepted 

Mar 8 morning  9 am session repeated previous evening's work & finished
          with the fun 4 minute "remote sit drill" (two delayed retrieves)
                          note: more OB "reps" (piling on with fun practice)
note: at 10:30 am
36F and feels like +31F                 
afternoon 3:30 pm session repeated the "OB Bumper in Mouth" drill
         and Pounce is about 90% effective on her leaping snatch/catching of
         a bumper in mid air (this is the "drive maintainer" used to keep her
         excitement level high).....the end result of this work has made Pounce
focused on her "head up", willing delivering of bumpers for the
         next "go" which in turn has dramatically increased her responsiveness
         to commands
....persistence has finally produced noticeable results
                          note: she's definitely ready for "yard work"                          
starting Monday March 9th - high's in 50's            
Mar 9 morning  8:30 am worked for about 15 minutes on the "OB Bumper in
          Mouth" drill, began with snatch & catch practice for excitement and
          finished off the session with a 2 minute remote sit & retrieve in the
          opposite corner
                          note: all fun + exciting......followed by several fast zips
                                   around the airing yard (still snow packed)
                          note: Pounce has begun carrying a bumper in her mouth
                                   to & from her inside crate before/after training/airing
                                   (it was her idea...not mine & she thinks it's a big deal) 
                          note: at 8:30 am
27F and feels like +27F

          afternoon 4 pm session repeated the "OB Bumper in Mouth" drill
                          note: short version about 5-6 minutes
                          note: scouted the area training spots a lot of snow left to
                                   melt with ice, water and mud depending on shade
                                   1st Riverside Park DTA full of snow, geese and a mess
                                   2nd Rockton Road DTA too much snow to enter
                                   3rd Square Pond DTA - maybe in a couple of days
Mar 10
morning  8:00 am check snow conditions and decided it will be a "no
           go" for awhile outside - crusted snow drifts and plenty of not very safe
           surface conditions - being patient is a test, decided to get in more fun
           "reps" in the pool area & did an extended,
in drive (up beat & fast)
           "OB Bumper in Mouth drill" with several breaks of "snatch & catch" fun
                          note: this drill includes the sit command including whistle
                                   sits & many front sit deliveries, heeling (on both sides,
                                   pivoting right & left, pivoting 180's backwards and at
                                   different speeds), many repeats of the "fetch" and "out"
                                   commands, lots of eye contact, the "here" command
                                   (verbal, visual signal and whistle trill), walking fetches,
                                   stable sits to a retrieve plus the "snatch and catch" out
                                   of air game and many different situations requiring a
                                   good "hold" all while continually working with a loose,
                                   six foot lead
                          note: using consistency and a smooth, predictable flow the
                                   focus is on producing useful, automatic, reflexive
                                   behaviors while
in drive
evening (late) put out a couple of well spaced bumpers and Pounce
                          revealed a strong penchant to "shop"
even later - started having Pounce work at laying still in the down
                               position and chilling out,,,,,it's not easy and I quit at
                               15 minutes, this will from now on be referred to as the
"quiet lay down mode" drill
Mar 11
morning  8:30 am 327F and feels like +32F.....the airing yard was a
            solid piece of rough, uneven ice - needed the Vaktrax to walk around
            and "ice pick" up.....Pounce's session was about  "learning how to
            work a pile"...will start with two bumpers a good distance apart and
            increase the number of  bumpers when her "tendencies" begin to
            resemble the standard - "the first bumper encountered is picked up"
                          note: session went about at expected....Pounce's anxiety
                                   surfaced big time when quickly seeing more than one
                                   bumper.....she had a great deal of difficulty with focus.
                                   stopping at the first one with a lead only complicated
                                   the issue. putting a lot more space between them didn't
                                   help much either, stopped a few times for another
                                   round of excitement & became more animated which
                                   only seemed to escalate her anxiety - she was very
                                   much clueless about the concept of "1st one" even
                                   when they were six-seven feet apart....and then her
                                   hold standard went to "hell in a hand basket", picked
                                   up a few single bumpers and did quit a few "catch in the
                                   air bumpers" to keep her excited - which didn't fool her
                                   very much
                          note: came back out at 12:00 pm reduced choices and slowed
                                   down....better....but no cigar...she's not happy about
                                   this....after a few days I think it will begin to sink in, but
                                   it is clear that her sensitivity may be something I will
                                   need to learn how to finesse around or subtly push
especially in yard work        
afternoon 2:30 pm headed out for a romp in the melting snow and a
                                   few fun retrieves - wow! snow, grass, mud and water
                          note: ran several singles off the a placeboard and there was
                                   enough snow free ground at the Square Pond DTA
                          note: with winter now behind us Pounce it will finally be
                                   possible to get more balance between
control and
focus vs. retrieving and "birdiness" with the end result
                                   of keeping Pounce a much more
responsive pup
                          note: Pounce was solid about running off and getting back
                                   on the placeboard plus her "stable sit" is excellent
                          note: she (no we) really did need this "romp" in the field
late evening - 20 minutes of the "quiet lay down mode" drill
note: a bit better.....but not by much
    (left click on thumbnail)  
       "angle back"
   note: the previous 5 sets of photos are .01 min apart which equals  0.6 seconds

             late evening - 20 minutes of the "quiet lay down mode" drill
note: a bit better.....but not by much

Mar 12 morning session at 9:00 am  367F and feels like +30F  the airing yard
            was hard, rough ice (mostly in the shade) and needed the Vaktrax
            Pounce "worked a pile" in the pool room with the focus on finessing
            our way OUT of her early penchant to shop, yesterday's romp outside
            was done for 2 reasons 1) because it was time to begin yard work and
            2) we needed to work at restoring balance..the marks had her "amped"
            and aggressive....the "plan" seemed to work because this morning she
            was almost perfect in 4 "reps" of a 3 bumper, spread out "pile", she
off lead and responded promptly to a well timed "here" just as she
            approached a bumper.....you could almost feel the relief....hers & mine
                      note: this morning's session had Pounce working off a rubber
                               mat and returning directly to a side heel for deliveries

                      note: "Hooray" for our sides!
                      note: the present marking presentation (off a placeboard and
                               moving straight away) will be the same standard for
                               Pounce learning how to mark using the
Y-drill and to
                               stretch out and/or have fun with
"Ya-Ha" singles
                      note: to be able to fully functional with these marking drills
                               Pounce will need to learn how to cast back to the line
                               (they will be used extensively in her early "solo" training)

                                        Y-Drill (bookmark link)
"Ya-Ha" Singles (bookmark link)

            afternoon trained at the Square Pond DTA first worked on casting to &
                     lining to two piles,  she was OK with this for the first time outside,
                     weakest area was the "off OB" at the line....no surprise with that,
                     just worked with her slowing here down and keep a quiet voice
                     be as slow as possibly with a quick pup....then did four singles
                     with Pounce on a remote sit....walked out thirty yards and threw
                     bumpers as far as possible....she jumped on all 4 & wanted more
                              note: Pounce was quick and animated during the pile work
                              note: practice the line routine indoors in the morning and
                                       repeat today's session tomorrow afternoon....focus
                                       on working even slower....at the line and only do
                                       two singles (don't want to push her physically)   
                              note: marks can only be described by one word WOW!
late evening - 25 minutes of the "quiet lay down mode" drill
 note; finally.......some noticeable progress
Mar 13
morning 9:30 am......light, hooded sweat shirt was too way warm
Pounce worked "at the line" in the yard running her first outdoors
                    pile work...followed by an intro to a hurdle (decoy sled)
                              note: focus was on increasing precision on deliveries and
                                       having fun.........kept the excitement up by using her
                                       "snatch the bumper out of the air" game
                              note: "hold" was not perfect, but improved as the being
                                       outside distractions and newness of the setup faded
                                       away, the short decoy sled was not a problem
                                       because jumping is more exciting than just running
                                      around it.......good session and mindset

                              note: the morning session has some retrieving involved
                                       however, focus and control were the major factors
                                       doing this "in drive" (high level of excitement
                                       requires keeping it fun and upbeat
       (left click on thumbnail)  
                 "the line"
       "1st pile setup"  
   "reverse view"
                             "decoy sled jump"
       "full setup"

              afternoon run two different, easy "solo" with the "gunning stations
              at 40 then 50 yd dong a standard Y drills - Sq. Pond DTA grassy area

Y-Drill (bookmark link)

               note: Pounce has "been around & over" placeboards  since the
                       day she came home....the first time she ran a mark off one
                       was back in December just before winter shut us down
             6 months old

               note: walked Pounce up to the placeboard which was 40 yards
                        from where the marks would be thrown, walked backwards
                        re-enforcing sit and she was steady for a delayed, verbal
                        release on the long angle back, received bumper at the
                        station and began walking back the line with Pounce at
                        heel, sat on placeboard after the command, walked back
                        to the station and threw the flat single (opposite side),
                        was going to repeat for the last single but when we were
                        about ten yards from the placeboard she ran to it, spun
                        around and sat - that was not a big surprise because we had
                        done that at 5-6 feet indoors (often & for weeks), finished the
                        set with an angle in and put her up........ran the two older
                        in tandem and then set up a 50 yard Y-drill in a different
                        area......this time she was returning to the placeboard when
                        she could see it (not marked with a bucket or white stake)
                               note: with the throwing station at 50 yards, the angle
                                        back single (1st mark) is about 90 yards
                               note: speed to burn, nailed every easy mark and did the
                                        Y-drills like they were a "piece of cake" 

                               note: this summer should prove to be very interesting
                               note: What a cool day with Pounce!
                               note: can hardly wait to see how the late night
"quiet lay
                                        down mode" drill
                               note: 10:30 pm the 20 minutes didn't go fast enough
                                                 and she wasn't tired

Mar 14
morning repeated  yesterday's pile work with 3" bumpers
                               note: better than yesterday, but the jump was now too short
afternoon did two Y-drills in a different spot and began "the off the
                            van to the line routine" (see below)
                               note: yesterday she was more focused because of not
                                        knowing what was next
                               note: "familiarity breeds contempt" and Pounce was a
                                        bit "looser" to start out......just moved closer and
                                        increased control
                               note: Her marking is like watching lightening bolts.

                               note: start "Ya-Ha" singles next week and recruit my
                                        Grandson (owes Grandpa cab fare
- big time.)

"Ya-Ha" Singles Drill (bookmark link)
Off the Van to the Line Routine

                                                    First Day

1) sit in crate with door open with no lead on for one minute (not
             so good),
2) sit outside crate in van for one minute (not so good),
3) place leash on (check), 4) exit and sit outside van for one minute
             (that went well),
5) walked at heel to air (check), 6) put leash back
             on and heel to holding blind (check),
7) sit behind a holding blind
             for two minutes (not so good = wind whipping blind around) and
8] exit blind on a backward wheeling heel to finally walk to the
             line.......which today was a placeboard (check)....more "things"
             will be added to the mix when the previous are nearly perfect.

             This will be repeated every training session (when traveling in the
             van) "until the cows come home".

 note: at 6 pm feeding time (late) Pounce is sound asleep, this
                               is the first time I've seen her tired

                   We are approaching end of a rather unique
Pi Day 3/14/15.
                   In the never ending value of Pi, the first five numerals are
                   3.1415.....and this will not happen for another 100 years. 

                                         Training Insight on Pounce

                         balanced training insight requires monitoring the
                                    five factors of a balanced retriever
                    focus, control, responsiveness "birdiness" and retrieving

Balance Thoughts (link)                           

                    this morning = more focus, control and responsiveness
mental pressure is reduced by being in drive and having fun

                    this afternoon more "birdiness" (chasing) and retrieving
very little loss of focus. control & responsiveness when excited
                    because of being conditioned to working in drive

           Therefore, a balanced retriever is an exercise in "more or less".

             The framework of Pounce's training is two of Hillmann's  favorite
                              fundamentals "practice" and "consistency".

Mar 15
morning did a 30 minute "yard work" session (early & it's cool out)
practicing the OB routine - remote sit, front sit & heeling to
                          both sides, straight line heeling on both sides, pivots 90
                          and 180 plus heeling backwards (straight back and pivoting)

                 note: continued to insert various excitement techniques to keep
                          Pounce in drive which does not require much effort to keep
                          her there
                 note: first 15 minutes a "little loose"....then she started clicking,
                          verbal commands with re-enforcement will become mentally
                          entrenched and the eventual results are engrained by the
                          shear number of correct "reps", many consistent "reps"
                          induce automatic muscle memory reflexes

                          translation = Pounce will do "stuff" the right way because
                          it is all she knows how to do....at least this is what I keep
                          telling myself. 
   When she doesn't, I know.....it will
                          always be on me.

                 note: she was up beat & "firing all eight cylinders" when we quit 
afternoon  63F, slight breeze and hazy Pounce ran 6 "Ya-Ha" singles
           at the Square Pond DTA with the longest about 75 yds
                note: did the "off the van to the line drill" using 30 second intervals
                          in all the steps except when behind the holding blind (2 min)
                 note: at the line kind of "sloppy" about sitting ON the placeboard
                          (sometimes not all of her was there) refer to
red list in Mar 15
                          training entry.....we did 15 minutes of crisply flowing OB and
                          finished the last 15 minutes with Pounce in bumper in mouth
                          mode and fetching short tosses (kept in drive the entire time)
                          many, many "reps"

"Ya-Ha" Singles Drill (bookmark link)  

note: late night - did the "quiet lay down mode" drill (see Mar 10th)
Mar 16 morning Pounce worked again in the yard, the first fifteen minutes
           were on the end of a six foot lead (after putting in drive with the
           "excitement bumper routine"), the last fifteen minutes were done in
           drive using a 26 ft Flexi-lead with
bumper in mouth "all the time"
                   note: Flexi-lead = more distance + bumper = more challenging
                   note: we've done countless (many) "reps" which have Pounce's
                            "stable sit" in place, now we are working at getting all the
                            OB skills in place....many, many "reps" = extensive practice
afternoon worked on short angle back casting (left & right) at the Square
           Pond DTA.....worked off a large rubber place mat.........did well with
           decent eye contact, switched piles a couple of times and was a bit
           manic about which bumper to pickup at first.....as it progressed she
           got smoother with the concept....a well timed "here" seemed to help,
           warm for mid-March....afterwards did a couple of easy, fun and short
           singles in the bean field
                   note: the angle back casting concept was "intro'd" indoors.....this
                            was the 1st time outside....the morning session focused on
                            this drill's weakest skills
                   note: did the "off the van to the line routine" and already she is
                            "adjusting" well...strong sit fundamentals helps a "bunch" 
                   note: after we got home she is really "sawing wood" = tired
                   note: when Pounce is awake she's in drive......layer on the
                            "excitement bumper routine" and she is in "over-drive"
                 weather note:
73F at 5 pm with zero ice left in the airing yard
                                        more than two weeks earlier than last year

evening Frontline Plus    

      HeartgardPlus 1st of each month and Frontline Plus middle of the month

Mar 17 morning 8:45 am 37F feels like 26F back to coat & gloves day
repeated yesterday's training sequence (another day = more practice)
           worked almost 30 minutes - 1st on a six foot lead & then on the 26 foot
           Flexi-lead and finished back on the short lead......"bumper in mouth"
           last 15 minutes with many on the ground "fetch", "here", "sit" & "out"
           reps...plus used sit & here whistle often..."up beat", fast, in drive very
           animated........Pounce was going at it with a purpose
                     note: many more very good "reps" of the standard & Pounce has
                              greatly improved in picking up the physical cues 
                     note: Who says OB can't be exciting and fun?
                     note: near future work last part of the OB routine with frozen
                              duck, then thawed....hide in van & wash hands before
                              bringing Pounce out......no hints first part of lesson

                     note: cooler morning actually a session advantage
"need to do's"
           charge batteries on wingers 1 & 3........change to new batteries 2 & 4        
           borrow Dokken goose from Brian
           intro popper loads in the field next week with the "frozen duck" 
           recruit Grandson - throw marks for Pounce once a week 

afternoon 3:30 pm Pounce worked on angle backs at the Square Pond
           DTA - same setup as yesterday seven bumpers per pile, zero shopping
           and did all casts correctly - weakest area was in finishing her front sit,
           working a lot on this in the OB drills but "speed is a killer", it will be
           very different tomorrow ....we will work up against the barn wall

           after the angle back casting drill decided NOT do any singles, walked
           a slight incline with Pounce at heel and dropped three white bumpers,
           went back fifty yards at heel, turned around, lined her up & she smoked
           the first one, then at "sixty" same thing and the last at "seventy"....put
           her up for the day
                    note: need to get a controlled front sit off "speed burner" returns,
                             the "slow down skill" will help on her over-runs with marks
                    note: it may take all summer to install a reliable governor
                    note: need to work on remote whistle sits off motion
late evening Pounce worked indoors (pool deck) on front sits (did 20
           remote "sit/here" to front sit with cheese treats (she's into cheese

note: late night - did "quiet lay down mode" drill (see Mar 10th)
Mar 18
morning 37F trained at the Square Pond DTA specifically on teaching
            Pounce how to slow down coming back to the line = disadvantage of
            long winter and training indoors........never, ever really got up to full
            speed, now that she fully developed and very fast slowing down is not
            there.......over runs all marks and especially has no muscle memory to
            repeatedly slow down to pick up bumper in a pile....therefore, the cool 
            morning was perfect to teach a manic, fast pup something new = how
            to slow down quickly......control........29 yard pile of seven bumpers
            were run three times.......strong until we stopped and on the last set
            there were a few hints that she might be getting it (how to slow down)
                    note: not sure the previous night's "cheese drill" had any impact
                    note: formed a V with holding blinds to channel her to the line
                             and come to a quick front sit....first few times I was about
                             to duck aside to avoid her taking out a knee (or two), in
                             addition, I do believe my whistle sits were more of a loud
                             plea...as I was looking for which way to jump....got through
                             the session without an injury & saw progress......repeat until
                             it is smooth 
                    note; worked off both sides, "nose & toes" and she lines out like
                             she has been doing this for years....cool pup...her old man,
                             trainer needs to get up to speed
note: work on getting wingers field ready
late night - did the
"quiet lay down mode" drill (see Mar 10th)
Mar 18 morning repeated yesterday's pile session - focused on front sit delivery
                    note: seven bumpers at twenty yards were run twice....working
                             both sides and focused on "nose & toes" , she's "scary" fast
                             and I was especially careful to not get a leg too solidly
                             locked down....which means I was prepared to dodge the
                             incoming "rocket"......actually, it went better and she was
                             beginning to slow down just a bit....less threatening

                    note;  moved the pile of seven bumpers to forty yards and ran that
                              once - she's working piles really well with great intensity
                    note: did the
off the van to the line routine and she is getting that
                             down really well = 1) sits in crate for 1 minute with the door
                             open, 2) exits crate to put on collar and lead, 3) sits in front
                             of crate for one a minute. 4) exits van to sit outside for one
                             minute, walks at heel to airing area, 5) aired off lead, 6) "here
                             & heel/sit" to place lead back on, 7) walk at heel to holding
                             blind, 8) sits in holding blind for one minute, 9) heels
                             backwards out of holding blind, 10) does a 180 backwards
                             heel to a sit facing the path to the line and 11) walks slowly
                             to the line......
every time off the van
                    note: precision at the line is improving, but it is still a bit frenetic
                             a "ton of go" is a whole lot better than the alternative

             afternoon 4:30 pm 46F and cloudy Pounce did pile work so as to get
                             several more "reps" of the delivery expectations at the line,
                             compared to this morning this was a huge improvement
                             (she is learning

                                    note: slowing down, anticipating the wheel & heel
                                             sit on both sides plus I asked for and got a few
                                             nice front sits......."nose & toes" rule going well
                                    note: out of the 11 bumpers, she only "shopped" once
                                             (pile was at 40 yards)
           Pounce's attitude at the line is just outstanding - stable, intensely looks
           straight ahead, "fires" whenever asked...and this is just with bumpers.
late evening Pounce worked indoors (pool deck) on front sits (did 16
           remote "sit/here" to front sit with cheese treats (she's into cheese

                    note: this is the second time we have done this 
note: late night - did "quiet lay down mode" drill (see Mar 10th) 
                             (she's not exactly a "laying around quietly" pup

     Thoughts about indoor training this past winter (positives & negatives)
                      1) was able to do many OB reps
                      2) now that Pounce is outside it easy to see the "fetch", "back",
                          "here" and "Pounce" release commands work very well
                      3) being closer seemed to cause Pounce to be more responsive
                      4) did not need to teach a lot of new things
                      5) got a lot of excellent "reps" in various areas and the biggest
                          plus was the "stable sit" expectation was much easier to
                          establish (confined = no place to go)
                      6) much of what was taught indoors seems easier to blend
                          with the "bigness" and freedom of being outside 
                      1) distractions outdoors were initially overwhelming
                      2) distance immediately made control out of balance
                      3) needed time to adjust to the speed element....she's very
                          fast and that did not come into play when inside, so she grew
                          larger and more powerful without using it
                      4) relate to #3 it took several days outside to get up to speed
                      5) related to #6 in the positives,,,,for awhile it was disturbing
                          that control dropped out of sight for a week or three, this
                          had me scrambling to catch up (her, too) 

                    The "train a fast dog slowly" concept is restoring balance. We
                    are in no hurry....whatever it takes there is no rush.

                      note to self: now feeling very positive about OUR progress  

                            In Retrospect - Things I Would Do Differently   

First of all, I would have spent time "imprinting" The
Joy of Here just as I had
done with all my other pups. The idea of "sit" before "here" in formal training
was taken too literally in terms of early puppy "stuff". My concept of "imprinting
here" early on would have been compatible with Hillmann's formal teaching of "here" later after formally teaching "sit".

Secondly, and this is more of a hind sight issue, figure out what kind of pup I
have a bit sooner. Pounce was "over the top" dynamic and letting this simmer too long led to issues not easily rectified. This is especially relevant when doing
Hillman's program the first time. There is no room for error in sizing up a pup
early on. Dealing with an aggressive, dynamic pup vs. a slowly emerging, shy
pup (no matter what genetic abilities are there) requires more awareness. 

However, the key component of Pounce's training was in eventually discovering the trainer's weaknesses. Aggressive dealing with the skills required to teach a
pup like Pounce took some doing. The cold winter and not being able to train outside turned into a blessing in that it became the built in "slow down" factor.

The in place advantage was my experience gained in training four other skilled Labs. I knew what it looked like and accepted that they eventually got there through a lot of hard, consistent work.

For awhile, Pounce's training had gone in spurts (good ones and some not so good). With no timetable.....no rush....the process is getting better. The key
components revolve around a few Hillmann words - "reps", practice, consistency and fun......not necessarily in that order. 

Having a pup with "everything" is challenging. A high drive pup is sometimes
difficult to negotiate around tight curve and at times we've had a few wheels off the road. However, the process is getting smoother. Fortunately, I have no problem changing tactics to present skills in a manner that effectively works with Pounce. That's getting to be less of  an issue with better anticipation.

There are two factors to deal with every day. First of all, when Pounce is not doing something well........I'm the one who needs to adjust. And the "duh"
point of this personal analysis is "problem solving becomes less of a issue when you create fewer problems".

Mar 19
morning - Pounce ran a longer lining drill with two 20 yard piles with
           about a  30 angle (seven bumpers at each pile), ran from both sides
           alternating and beginning the basics of push & pull....she picked it up
           right away (no "here" no "heel" and physically applied the cues
                 note: just did super for the first time...better on deliveries
           moved to the east side of the Square Pond DTA (grassy area) and ran
           two short y-Drills with a remote place board about 30 yards away, didn't
           have to take her back to the line....she cast to it each time
                 note: longest single 75 yards (second set was in the bean field)
                 note: she's really got this down pat......marking seems naturally
                          excellent and very focused (doesn't look back at me) so far
                          she has not needed any help on a mark (short cover and
                          black & white, 3" DT bumpers)  
afternoon decided to take the rest of the day off
Mar 20
morning need more "reps" on 2-sided line delivery expectations
worked a pile of eleven bumpers at forty yards  
                  note: focus - cleanup the deliver routine to two-side heeling
                           before starting T work, figure on initial force to pile & T
                           in about a week or two
                           (no hurry - April will be cool)
late night - did "quiet lay down mode" drill (see Mar 10th)
Mar 21
morning too cool & windy with "other things to do", Pounce did some
            work on front sits from a remote sit with the emphasis on a square sit,
            head up & specific eye contact - focus on increased responsiveness,
            better known as the
indoor "Cheese Drill" (see Mar 17th last entry)
late afternoon worked a pile of bumpers at 40 yds focusing on slowing
           down to a front sit delivery....set out 18 bumpers & Pounce was sent for
TEN = good session & beginning to slow down for a front sit delivery
Mar 22 Sunday  day off - at 10:30 am
32F feels like 21F
                         at 4:30 pm
30F feels like 25F snowing (2-4 in. predicted)

                               started looking for the best single T location
                                  Thorson Pond along the south shoreline
                         looks very similar to the one used in Hillmann's DVD
                             (it is normally referred to as the Square Pond)

 Thorson Pond DTA (link)

Mar 23 another day off at 8:30 am - 32F feels like 21F with 5" of snow
            on the ground and another two hours of snowfall
Mar 24 another day off t- much snow on the ground & rain in the evening  
            9:30 am -
18F feels like 18 F & 3 am 36F feels like 25 F
            late night - did 25 minutes "quiet lay down mode" drill (see Mar 10th)
Mar 25 trained indoors this morning a few days of "not much" became a
late morning  modified indoor "Cheese Drill" using bumpers,
           begins with Pounce on a remote sit, bumper thrown in between, "fetch"
           on the way in to a "look at me front sit delivery" (see Mar 17th entry)  
                note: physical "reps" of the standard with a focus on responsiveness
                note: "Son-of-a-Gun" Gunners Up Wingers arrived + Deluxe Dogtra
                         electronics and a Dokken Canada Goose
                note: next three days' high temperatures are
43F, 38F, 31F

                note: good time to recover from a cold
Mar 26 at 11:15 am
37F feels like 30F not too enthused about training
                note: sat down until the urge to train passed
Mar 27 
mid-afternoon Pounce worked a split pile (V shaped) drill running off
           each side deliveries with the "nose & toes" standard at the Square Pond
up against the shed.......8 bumpers in two piles at 25 yards - focus
           on fun, two-sided, control and the delivery routine, Pounce worked in
           drive (fast & up beat) & did well with, the commands ("back", 'here",
           "heel", "sit " & "out")
looking for consistent "reps"
late evening did 30 minutes of the "quiet lay down mode" drill
                note: did a shorter version "off the van to the line routine"....It's cold!
30F feels like 20F
                note: the two new wingers are assembled and ready to go
                note: this was an exercise in dealing with Pounce's weakest skill
 slowing down and coming into a heeling position  
                note: this will be repeated in some form every day for two weeks
                         and the results will be evaluated (don't think it will go away

                note: making progress....being quiet and relaxed is not in her
                         genetic makeup - therefore, it must become a skill
Mar 28 mid-afternoon 36F at 1 pm......repeat yesterday's skills work with
            a pile of eight bumpers at 40 yards......put her up & trained Daisy,
            Pounce came back out and ran four stand alone singles with send
            backs and she is starting to be automatic about the send back, line
            was marked by a white pole and she had no problem getting back
            to the line......weakes7 area in OB is her straight line heeling needs
            a lot of work  
                note: she "fogged" everything in the pile work and ran her single
                         full bore.....sleeping soundly at 5 pm
                note: need to work on whistle sit while moving in the field
                note: Master's Voice Gundog Conditioning System Disc arrived, 
                         started the process today (had the disk for many years, went
                         out on a loan and never came back)
                note: played first phase of disk at 1:30 pm, she liked it, head cocked
                         like the dog in the RCA advertisement, she laid down and
                         listened to the last half of the segment = pre-conditioning dirge
                         like music with a vary well developed, slow beat......later the
                         gun fire (20 & 12 gauge) will gradually be added to the mix
                         repeated at 4 pm..........no apprehension or reaction
                note: after this the cap gun will be used in the field on the short,
                         stand-alone Y-drills, then at the line, then 209 reports in the
                         field  from wingers (greater distance) with real duck marks
                         and finally shotgun live flyer (spread out over the next two
                         months +)  
                note: went ahead and ordered the third Son-of-Gun Gunners up
                         winger with electronics    

Mar 29 Sunday - rain & later...ice...up early, aired dogs and beat the rain           
morning - Pounce did 30 minutes of bumper in mouth, "amped" heeling
          OB out in the cold......went well & kept her excited during the session
this will be a daily session for the next two months (or more)
note: just beat the cold rain
           came in, played the tape through session #2 (about twenty minutes),
           she slept through most of it.......not at all concerned.....probably not
           even necessary from these initial observations......will finish though,
           it is an "easy do"......
afternoon 37F feels like 28F Pounced worked
           a 30 yard pile of 14 bumpers...focused on slowing down & delivering
           on alternating sides....big improvement....reps (practice & consistency)
                note: "off the van to the line routine" is beginning to be a
                note: played the tape again through session #2 and Pounce fell
                         asleep to the first level of music and gun shots

Mar 30 early morning Pounce did a repeat 30 minutes of bumper in mouth,
            "amped" heeling (heeling meaning - all skills) 
                note: trained at the Square Pond DTA
                note: when home listened to the Master's Voice tape
afternoon trained at the Square Pond DTA ran a 12 bumper pile to
            continuing to work on fetch & two-sided delivery expectations
                note; again better than last
            put the two Gunners Up Wingers out and 1st tested them with Daisy
            then Pounce ran the same two singles (need to attach the "Kwick
            Tumbling" device to the pouch....long throws no rotation....plus
             put flags on the bumpers
                note: the Dogtra Receivers would not fit in the slots (need to correct
                         this), the pins on the hinges of one winger were way to snug
                         need to force them in with taps from a screw driver.....may
                         need to do a bit of metal removal with a Dremel.....nice long
                         throws & the sound system is excellent (beeper & duck call)  
Mar 31
morning Pounce worked on the same OB routine = more "reps"
afternoon drove to Savanna, Illinois to move duck/fish camp trailer from
       storage area to the backwater shoreline site on the Mississippi River near
       the Spring Lake Refuge
               note: let Pounce out to air at camp and she behaved perfectly, all the
                        trips to duck camp last season has her comfortable traveling
         (left click on thumbnail)  
  "duck/fish camp"
    "Shasta Trailer"
  "camp shore line"
     "Spring Lake"

                          updated 04/17/15