Well, I've known it would take a long time to take a whining, creeping, breaking dog with duck-madness and help her become a civilized team-mate on the line at hunt tests.

Doing Hillmann's Traffic Cop was very good. And doing the Hillmann Heeling video series has been great, also. Learning a lot. BUT... sometimes, she still flinches on the sound of the winger and does a little tappy dance with her front feet as the bumper sails through the air.

So, (I reasoned...) that flinch/dance thing suggests she responds to the sounds of the quack and thwack-jingle-jingle noise as a signal for her impending explosion from zero to Mach-3 for her retrieve. BUT, she has to attend to me to get her release signal. Not the winger noise (or quack or gun-shot.) She knows this in her head but she's not fully conditioned to depend upon my signal.

So we did a bunch of review. (A bunch of heeling and sitting.) Then we sat (like on the line) and as the quack sounded, I held the bumper up and (if she gave me even a brief second of steadiness) I told her "OK!!!" and let her have it. Did this a few times. Then quack, hand toss and (if she was still...) immediate release. Did that for a while. Then had her wait progressively longer and longer.

I next did the quack sound with the thwack-jingle-jingle of the empty winger going off. I followed the same process. Now... she was seeing this as a great big game. Having a lot of fun. IOW, she was listening for MY signal. It was a hoot. We were both enjoying it.

So, then I loaded the winger with a bumper and as soon as the bumper went up, I sent her. She was totally getting into this. After a bit of this, I started waiting for the bumper to reach the apex of its arc. It was great.

And then... we called it a success and went home.

I think we've come a long way and we're having fun. Unfortunately, we're about to get snowed in (well, not really... but snow for sure) and it's a typical Sierra storm system with bodacious wind and cold. It may be a few days before we can get back to it.