Monday, February 21, 2011

February Goals

I just realized that, with one week left in February, I forgot to update our goals.  Sorry for the delay, but I thought better late than never.

Here were our January goals:
1.  Keep performance of teeter, weaves, chute, and table sharp.
     I'd say we've done a good job on this:  I'd give us an A-.
     We've been doing the teeter whenever I think of it and Jonah is very happy with our teeter at home.  He was great at All Dogs Gym when he had to do the teeter for his standard course, and he willingly does the teeter at Riverside, where it's especially 'bangy'.  We did have trouble with the new teeter at DLC, so I'm a little worried about his nervousness at generalizing on teeters, but we'll get there.
     The weaves are going great.  I set them up in the backyard today where we *finally* have a strip of ground without snow or ice.  It's pretty narrow, but perfect for weaves.  He was speedy and accurate, and I worked on both front and rear crosses.  He sometimes struggles a little going straight away from me, but otherwise his distance weaving is quite good.  In general he's a little slower away from home, but I'm alright with that for now.
     I must admit I haven't been getting the chute out much, but he hasn't had any trouble whenever we've seen it at trials.  Maybe I'll pull it outside tomorrow.
     The table is good.  Somehow he seems to know when he's supposed to down on it and when he can just jump up (CPE trials).  I must be doing something in my body language, but I couldn't tell you what it is.

2.  Attend our first and second trials, where we have safe and happy experiences.  I hope to pick up some Q's, but most of all I just want to be able to assess where we are and get some good feedback about what we need to work on.

     This has been an overwhelming success.  We get a solid A.
     There are certainly things for us to improve on, but we have been safe and (well, generally) happy.  We've Q'd in all our runs, we've won 8, come second in 7 and fourth in 1.  I've gotten a good sense at what our strengths and weaknesses are, even if I can't predict how forward Jonah will be in a given run.  I know what we need to work on, now we just need the snow to melt so we can do it!

3.  Get Jonah happily using his crate.  We're working on this at home so that, at a trial, I can leave him to go walk the course, etc.

      Here we get a B-.  
     We've worked on the crate, but then we discovered that Jonah was just a lot happier working out of the car rather than being in the loud, crowded crate room.  Once we figured that out we kind of abandoned the crate project.  He was getting happier in it before we stopped, though.

4.  Work on playing leash tug so we have a motivating game before our runs and an immediate treat after our runs.

      Our grade:  B
     Usually I just forget to bring my leash outside to play with him.  He likes to tug on it at home, but he's uninterested at a trial, and when I have any food he wants food, not the leash.  We'll keep working on this, but I'm feeling less like it's a huge priority.  He's pretty happy at trials and that was the main point of trying to play tug.  

5.  When weather permits, work on distance handling.  I think Jackpot may be the hardest game for us right now, especially since Jonah becomes more of a velcro-dog when he's nervous.

     Another B.
     When we're able to work on distance he's doing great, but the weather simply hasn't been very permitting.

Well, our grade point average isn't very good this month as I set out the goals, but I'm actually really pleased with everything we've done in the last 6 weeks since I wrote up the goals.  It's hard to believe we've only been trialing for a few weeks.  It's starting to feel pretty natural, and Jonah's pretty darn good at it.  I still can't believe he'll be in two level 3 classes this weekend!  Even the blog is looking a lot snazzier with the professional pictures.  It's like Jonah's become a real agility dog :).

So, as I said, March is only a week away so I'll do another big goal list then.  As for the next week, here are some basic goals/plans:
1.  Practice the teeter, weaves, chute, table and tunnel at home.
2.  Enter the trial at Breezethru, our first trial at a place we haven't been to class at before.
3.  Have a positive lesson at Riverside on Wednesday, and hopefully use the measuring wicket again
4.  Have another positive trial experience at Riverside this weekend.  We've got Jackpot and Snooker at Level 2 and Fullhouse and Jumpers Level 3.  That's a pretty tough day for us, and we're really just going to have to see how the courses are.  We know we're capable of doing Level 2 Jackpot and Snooker, but they can be difficult depending on how the judge is feeling.  Then Jumpers will be the 3/4/5/C course and could provide some real challenges.  Fullhouse should be a bit of a break, though.  I'm not too worried about that round.  Anyway, as far as goals go, I'd love to Q in all of the runs, but we'll see how challenging they are.
5.  Get Jonah his rabies vaccination next Monday.

Should be a busy week.  I'll let you know how things go!

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