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    1. #1
      Senior Dog
      TuMicks's Avatar
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      We made it to TX

      Well... packed sun-block, bug-spray, shorts and T-shirts, drove toward sunny Texas. First day Reno to Kingman, AZ... next day to Tucumcari, NM (not a major tourist destination... not even a Walmart) then to Giddings, TX. It was 88 degrees the late evening we got here. Woke up this morning to 42 degrees, seriously blustery wind and rain. I've lived in Wisconsin, and Buffalo, NY. I've never felt so cold. Fortunately, Giddings DOES have a Walmart and they had some sweatshirts and full-body rain gear and thick gloves on the clearance table.

      I had the pleasure of meeting Bill Hillmann and Mary Tatum (Watermarks Labradors... maybe most successful breeder save only Mary Howley of Candlewood Kennel) and Judy Juhl. He is exactly the way he is on his website/videos. They said kind things about Ram Jet Rocket Dog. AND... it seems my problem is not with her. More correctly, she has a problem with me. In view of the weather conditions, no significant training. Bumpers thrown in a Y-drill. Duh! They showed me how to step back with my L. foot, say "heel", then SIT, then move left foot back and VOILA! She's in perfect position. A bit of this and she was no longer doing her hunkered-down-head-forward-butt-in-the-air-full-launch-readiness thing, and she wasn't moving forward. So within 10 minutes the 3 days of travel was more than worth it.

      Next week when we train again, if they use birds and actually shoot a gun, we may need further coaching.

      I asked Mr. Hillmann about her vocalizing (squeaking). He said he couldn't hear it. (Now... let's be honest, really. How many men of a certain age at a HT or FT DON'T have hearing deficits??? So, it's not that RD wasn't making noise. It was just her high frequency wheedling squeak/whine that makes me crazy. And more than likely, anyone who's been around long enough to be asked to judge at a FT or HT probably has a similar shot-gun induced hearing deficit. So... maybe it's not a big deal.)

      I once heard a story about the days when they used to do logging using mules to drag trees away after they were felled and trimmed. It concerned some French Canadian (not to be pejorative, you understand) lumber-jacks. Seems there were some new mules brought around who'd been trained to gee and haw in English. They tried to teach the lumberjacks to command the mules in English, but found it easier to teach the mules to listen in French.

      I hope Ram Jet Rocket Dog doesn't have a similarly hopeless situation with her handler.

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    3. #2
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      Can't help but laugh about the weather! It was a crazy day here in Texas, but is supposed to be back to our regularly scheduled programming tomorrow. Not sure what caused that random cold front! I got to enjoy the hiking trails all to myself as no other Texans would dare brave it

      And I'm happy to hear that you've learned a lot from Hillmann even in a short time! I always look forward to reading your training reviews and progress.
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    4. #3
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      Yes it went freezing crazy TX weather. Good luck with your training sessions. LOL on the French training

    5. #4
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      I reallyt hought you were going to say there was more snow falling in Tx than at home when you left.

      RE. the language the animal was trained in; I've read some who import a Border Collie trained in Scotland get a CD of the commands in Gaelic. Similar for some Police work dogs imported from Germany. Sounds reasonable.

    6. #5
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      Isn't it amazing how easily a problem we've been having can be fixed with a simple piece of advice from someone who truly knows what they are doing??!!

      Hope the weather improves and you get some great training in!!!!!

    7. #6
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      During the morning, they ran young (9 months or so) dogs on single T. Mr. Hillmann asked me to run RD so he could see her whistle sit. I was dreading this because she takes several steps after the whistle and swings her butt to starboard as she turns to look at me. However, Hillmann says she's doing about as well as a really fast, leggy dog can do, making a genuine effort to stop. He also had me give her a late whistle to see if she would stop once she had a full head of steam, and she did even though she ended up 3' from the pile.

      Clouds began to break up today and we managed a set of water marks. It was a re-entry (or up-and-over). I screwed her up on the short diversion mark, so they had me repeat the double. She is a water fanatic, and so she really, really wanted to creep. Consequently, they had me use a rope looped about her neck, with a knot in it at about the right spot to fit her neck so it couldn't choke her. Told me to give a brisk jerk and say "heel" using the left foot thing again. (Remember, this is a 4 year old dog, so it's not like they are suggesting to jerk around a puppy who hasn't gotten these lessons down yet. Not a teaching tool.)

      Oh, a hysterical thing... Mr. Hillmann pointed out that I use way too much hand motion, for just about everything. He said I was acting like a Golden owner! (What a low blow!!!)

      One more thing about the squeaks. Though Hillmann said the noise itself was not unacceptable, he pointed out today that she's literally saying... "Shut up. I have other things on my mind." So, rather than keep saying "Quiet" over and over, I should give her other things to think about. Like following my left leg forward and back.

      It's becoming more and more clear that the dog's problem is her handler!

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    9. #7
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      Quote Originally Posted by TuMicks View Post
      During the morning, they ran young (9 months or so) dogs on single T. Mr. Hillmann asked me to run RD so he could see her whistle sit. I was dreading this because she takes several steps after the whistle and swings her butt to starboard as she turns to look at me. However, Hillmann says she's doing about as well as a really fast, leggy dog can do, making a genuine effort to stop. He also had me give her a late whistle to see if she would stop once she had a full head of steam, and she did even though she ended up 3' from the pile.

      Clouds began to break up today and we managed a set of water marks. It was a re-entry (or up-and-over). I screwed her up on the short diversion mark, so they had me repeat the double. She is a water fanatic, and so she really, really wanted to creep. Consequently, they had me use a rope looped about her neck, with a knot in it at about the right spot to fit her neck so it couldn't choke her. Told me to give a brisk jerk and say "heel" using the left foot thing again. (Remember, this is a 4 year old dog, so it's not like they are suggesting to jerk around a puppy who hasn't gotten these lessons down yet. Not a teaching tool.)

      Oh, a hysterical thing... Mr. Hillmann pointed out that I use way too much hand motion, for just about everything. He said I was acting like a Golden owner! (What a low blow!!!)

      One more thing about the squeaks. Though Hillmann said the noise itself was not unacceptable, he pointed out today that she's literally saying... "Shut up. I have other things on my mind." So, rather than keep saying "Quiet" over and over, I should give her other things to think about. Like following my left leg forward and back.

      It's becoming more and more clear that the dog's problem is her handler!
      J,
      Good work and persistence in ye handling of RD. Sounds as though the trip to work with Bill Hillmann has been beneficial for ye both. Good on ye Lass. 👍

      Mike 🍀
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      Joanie Madden, Mary Bergin, Adrea Coor, and Nuala Kennedy, each an Irish whistle goddess in her own right.

    10. #8
      Senior Dog
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      OMG!!! Body language is so fr1gging important! She's sitting, but front-ending me. Why? Because ohf my bad timing. You have to move your foot forward AS SHE SITS. And when you handle, you have to face your dog squarely.

      The list of all the things I'm doing wrong is amazing.

      Another thing. When training, do you repeat a mark? Legend has it that when you repeat marks in training you're just making yourself feel better (because... wow! My dog nailed it! Eventually.) But some schools of thought suggest that in doing this, you're teaching your dog to return to old falls. But, here they repeat, repeat, repeat. And the saying here is "Repetition is the mother of perfection."

      I am learning there are really no hard and fast rules. (Wouldn't it be cool if there was a secret recipe for a fabulous dog?)

      So, anyway... the learning continues.

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    12. #9
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      Everyone down here who sees Rocket Dog says she is something special. That's cool. She hasn't really been taught the disciplines of marking... but that is fixable.

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    14. #10
      Best Friend Retriever
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      I saved your thread to read until today. As I sit here the wind is howling, the snow is whipping about and I am so jealous and depressed. Sounds like your trip to Texas has been well worth the effort. As I read it brought back memories of when we trained with our Bill up here. He would strictly point out all the handler errors, like the amount of movement I was doing on the line, he made us keep our hands still and at our sides so the dog had to make the correct choice when coming to heel. I credit him for the amount of straight up stretch I get with my arm on the surgery side. He insisted that when doing a straight back that arm came up in front of my body and touched my ear. I too got the info on facing the dog square when giving a cast, if my shoulders weren't square how was the dog to see the cast when my arm was behind me. Bill didn't like to repeat blinds but he would have us repeat marks usually with a short toss to the side before repeating the marks. I had a dog with a bad no go problem and was down for some help with him. Bill was talking to my sister way off up a hill. I didn't think he was paying any attention to me so after running the blind once I repeated it. I could hear his sharp voice saying "She's not running that blind again, is she" I was caught.
      Please keep us updated on your work with Mr Hillman. At least I can be training vicariously. We are supposed to have our first club training next weekend but if the weather keeps up it will be May before we see bare ground again. I just feel that Elle is getting further and further behind, with her injury and now this rotten stinking weather.

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