Wednesday, February 1, 2012

February Goals

January was a very good month for us, and it's looking like February will be too!

Here's a review of our goals from January:
1.  I'd like to practice running Jonah with another dog in the ring, in a pairs-like setup.
     Yes!  It had mixed success.  The first time, Jonah got loose and decided to chase Zer.  That was bad.  The second time, there was no chasing or barking, but Jonah was clearly very distracted and ran right past the jump closest to the dog.  That was not great.  The third time, Jonah didn't notice the dog at all!  That was excellent!

2.  I'm hoping for a successful first pairs run.  It would be excellent if we got the Q and finished our Starters title, but so long as we don't have a terrible experience I'll be alright.
     A+!  We did it, and now Jonah's an AD.  It was a lovely run and Jonah was not bothered by the other dog in the least.  What a good boy.

3.  Take Jonah on a socialization outing at least once each week.
     Yes.  We were quite good about this, and Jonah went on several trips to Willards, Beaver Brook, Petco, Chiesa Farm and probably others.  He was excellent both on and off leash.

4.  Bring the pause table inside and practice with it frequently.
     Nope.  There's still no snow, though, so we were using it regularly outside until last week when I picked it up.  Now it's on the porch and I should just bring it inside so we actually use it.

5.  Build a weave entry trainer and use it inside.
     Yes.  It's not a thing of beauty, but it works.  The trouble is that we don't really have that much space to practice all the angles of entries.

6.  Take advantage of our contacts still being outside as long as they're there.  Maybe even do some discrimination practice.
     Yes.  Looking at the weather, I don't think I ever should have brought them in.  Anyway, we did get good practice with them and we did discrimination sessions a few times.

Now, looking ahead to February, we still have two weekends off before we trial, since I didn't get into one.  That means, as far as trials, we have a USDAA trial on the 19th and then a CPE on the 26th.  

For the USDAA trial, we're entered in Steeplechase, Standard and Gamblers.  These are potentially tough classes.  Steeplechase is always hard to qualify in just because it's so competitive, but I'm cautiously optimistic because there's steeplechase in the morning and then just Starters and Advanced classes all day.  I'm hoping all the Masters dogs will stay home!  As for Standard, most Advanced courses don't look that bad to me, but it's our first time at Advanced and there's no room for error.  In gamblers, we just don't have super distance skills.  It's certainly possible that we could get an Advanced gamble, but it's not certain by any means.  

The CPE trial will give us shots at Colors Level 3, Wildcard Level 4 and Jackpot Level 4.  There shouldn't be many surprises there.

Other than that, it's practice at home, classes and some run thrus.  Here are some goals:
1.  Get at least one Q at the USDAA trial.  The Standard Q would be extra valuable!
2.  Get at least 2 Qs at the CPE trial.  If I don't get the Colors Q I might cry.
3.  Get video of one day's courses, whether at class, run-thrus, or one of the trials. 
4.  Set up at least one gamble a week to practice on distance skills.  
5.  Bring in the table and work on a fast down with a solid stay (at least now that we're out of starters we only need a cumulative 5 second count, not a consecutive one!).
6.  Get to the point where Jonah understands the wrap exercise where he should turn inside the tree/cone/marker.  Also have him be consistent in turning the correct direction when I send and pull, FC, RC or Ketschker.

I really would like snow, but it looks like at least for the next 10 days or so we'll be able to do lots of agility!

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