Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Goal Time

Now that I have time to really devote to Jonah and agility, it's time to get back to our goals.  I'm sheepish to list our goals from before my trip, but here goes:
1.  Happily walk on the sidewalk while cars pass without barking or lunging.
      This is going well.  Jonah is much more relaxed around cars.

2.  Polite behavior on-leash meeting other dogs.  If this means not saying hello but just walking by, that's fine, but I'd like to be consistently confident that we can be near other dogs without any disruptive, reactive behavior.

     I haven't seen much of this lately, but apparently it's still an issue.  I'm going to take him to a park shortly and see how it goes this afternoon.

3.  Give Jonah some off-leash social time to see if he can figure out how to get involved in playing and running when he'd like to.

     Yesterday we took Jonah to Willards Woods and he was very polite while meeting other dogs, but he also had next to no interest in playing with them.  I guess that's fine, so long as he's happy playing with us and he gets the exercise he needs.  I feel bad that he doesn't enjoy dog social time, but maybe he will some day.  We'll keep giving him opportunities to meet new dogs, and hopefully his social skills will continue to improve.

4.  Get Jonah to play tug outside of our yard (for example, at a local field, at a dog park or at one of the training facilities).

     We've had success with this, but it's certainly not 100% of the time.  I guess it's still an improvement from before, though.

5.  Go to another DogStar run-thru and have positive runs.

     Nope!  I was just so stressed and busy that I could not make time to go do this two days before I left.  There's another run-thru this Friday, so I will take him to that.

6.  Develop a plan for A-frame contacts and for managing in-ring distractions at trials.

     This still needs work.  I think I need to read some more about running A-frame contacts and decide what I think is best.  It's possible I'll end up building one, but it's a big project.  At least our truck is inspected now, so if I decide I need to go get supplies I can do it legally.
     As for in-ring distractions, I don't really know what's best other than practice, and asking him to work for me in other distracting places like parks.  He's gotten a lot better at keeping his focus on me next to roads, but I think there's some element of trial stress that is hard to reproduce.

7.  Enter Muddy Paws and Bo-Gee for after I get back!

     I entered Muddy Paws, but the Bo-Gee closing date isn't until mid June and it's unlimited, so I'll do that in the next few days.

Considering the fact that it's already May 25, I'm going to outline goals that I'd like to accomplish by the end of June:
1.  Get our agility area fully safe and useful, with stumps and leaning trees removed.

2.  Go to run-thrus at DogStar and work towards improving speed while keeping accuracy.

3.  Have a positive time at Muddy Paws this weekend.  It could be a challenging day, starting with our Level 3 Jackpot debut, then Standard level 2, Snooker level 3 and Colors level 2.  I'd at least hope to get the Standard and Colors Q's.  That said, Jonah's had a long break from agility and this will be in a new environment.  He could find it intimidating, so I really don't feel like I should have much in the way of expectations.

4.  Complete our Level 2 title at Bo-Gee.  If we get the two Level 2 Q's this weekend, then all we'd need is one more Level 2 Standard Q.  We could have as many as 4 chances at Bo-Gee, so I think it's a reasonable goal.

5.  Continue working towards on-leash manners.  I really want to not have to worry about Jonah acting aggressive, and I know he used to have excellent manners.  I still don't fully understand why things have changed, but I have confidence we can get the old Jonah back.

6.  Develop a training plan.  We're starting lessons with Grace tomorrow since it's just so much closer than Riverside.  I loved working with Joan, but the commute is four times longer to get to Riverside and back than it is to go to Dog Star.  I'm sure things will go well with Grace, too.  We'll have a half hour private lesson tomorrow and will develop a plan from there.  In some ways I think it would be nice to get Jonah back into a group class for socialization purposes, but my schedule doesn't fit with that at least for the summer.  I want to have a clear focus about how we are going to have a solid A-frame contact, and generally work towards speed and confidence in all aspects.  

7.  At the end of June, I'd like to write out 'My Handling Philosophy.'  Steve of AgilityNerd did this a while back, and I think it's a good idea.  Mine will be tailored specifically to me and Jonah as a team, trying to maximize our strengths and compensate for our weaknesses.

I think that's good for now.  We're going to have a lot of fun, and I promise I'll blog more often now!

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