Sunday, July 1, 2012

July Goals

June was a crazy month in many ways.  Parts of it were amazing:  seeing Jonah and Nika play, Dave's and my trip to Yosemite, etc.  Some parts of it were really low:  Jonah not wanting to even go towards the rings by the third day of Nationals.  Mostly, though, it was just out of the routine.  This weekend has been a good change.  We're home, for once, and without any big plans.  We can get back on a schedule and have quiet time as a family.  Aaah.  So, it's a great time to reflect.  Here's what I had hoped June would be like:

Goals for me:
1.  Each day at nationals, go out of my way to have a conversation with someone new.
     Yes.  This goal ended up being a little harder to quantify than I would have hoped.  I had one entirely new conversation with a woman from North Carolina.  She had three daughters running a whole slew of dogs.  They were good, and she was as nice as she could be.  Then I met a lady with a 13 year old Chihuahua who was groggy and slowly waking up in the morning.  So cute (although I'm not usually a Chihuahua person).  I also went out of my way to talk more to people who I've seen before at trials but had never spoken with.  Conversations ranged greatly, but I got to know a lot of people better.  Yay!
 2.  Compliment at least 2 people/dogs a day at nationals.
     Yes.  This ended up being really easy and natural, and I quickly lost count.

3.  Make sure to give Jonah the attention he deserves while we have a new puppy.
     Yes.  Well, it was a little hard because the camping area was so far from the rings, and I often had to be near the rings for working, etc.  So a lot of the time Jonah stayed with Dave.  In the evenings and when I had a break, though, I was good about giving Jonah deserved love, play and attention.

4.  Treat nationals like a time to play with Jonah, not like a competition (hard to quantify, I know).
     I have to say, I think I did a good job at this.  I didn't get too upset when he made mistakes, and I think every (or at least almost every) time we went into the ring, I asked him out loud, "Are you ready to play?"  This may have been more for me than for him, but it helped one of us at least :).

5.  Verbally reward every (good) running dogwalk contact at nationals.  
     Well, we didn't have any, so I guess I didn't meet this goal.  He always slowed down to a trot and came down the ramp slowly.  He was never close to blowing a contact, but it wasn't ever a true running contact.

Goals for Jonah:
1.  Have at least one great run at nationals, defined as running happy and fast from start to finish, whether or not that's the correct course or whether there might be a dropped bar, etc.
     Yes!  Our Fullhouse run was great.  Unfortunately it was the only one.

2.  At least one jackpot running dogwalk contact!  
     As in 5 above, nope.

3.  Being able to relax at the fairground.
     Yes.  Certainly not all the time, but at least in the camping area he was very relaxed.  He also was relaxed at night when I walked him up and around the rings.  He was not relaxed in the busy days when tons of people were all around.

4.  Tug at the fairground.
     Yes.  He didn't want to tug much before going in the ring, but after he came out or when we weren't right by the rings he was a tugging fiend.  

5.  Practice focus games away from home.
     Yes.  We did a bunch at bridge, at nationals, etc.  Focus and stress apparently aren't the same things, though.

Goals for Nika (!!):
1.  Get used to her crate.
     Yes.  She still cries sometimes when settling to bed, but she goes in happily on her own.

2.  Get accustomed to a schedule of potty training.
     Sort of.  We haven't really had that much time in the same place to settle in, but she's been doing well.

3.  Practice sits, downs and tugging.
     Yes!  She's doing awesome.  Good with comes, too, and the clicker is charged.  She's walking quite well on a leash, as well.  She knows hand taps and is starting with spins.  We started 'stay,' but it's pretty hard :).

4.  Meet a LOT of new people and dogs.
     Yes!  LOTS.

5.  Play with LOTS of new objects--we'll see how long a list we can come up with by July!
     Yep.  Tarps, towels, blankets, boxes, tent, bones, toys, chairs, couches, fans, trees, rocks, plants, stairs, DogStar, cars, tippy boards, ladders, agility equipment (although I haven't officially worked with her on anything, she's been on the dw, A-frame, table, and she's seen stanchions and weave poles), bugs, birds, squirrels, chipmunks, chain saws, lawn mowers, vacuums, washing machines and dryers, pools, ponds, goats, chickens, ducks...and probably tons of other things I can't think of.  Not bad! it's time to think about July!

1.  Get exercise.  On a non-dog related note, I'm hoping to break 1:10:00 in my triathlon later this month.
2.  Make sure I don't let the puppy take over my life to an unhealthy amount.
3.  Keep giving Jonah tons of love and attention.
4.  Ensure that the dogs stay happy and healthy.  Watch Jonah's lameness, keep both dogs brushed with toes clipped, get them to the vet for vaccinations, monitor good eating habits, keep them cool in the heat, etc.
5.  Read the Control Unleashed book once it arrives.


1.  Enjoying agility, making sure every time he does it is fun fun fun.  
2.  We're only entered in one trial this month, and only 2 runs (in line with our 'break from trialing after nationals').  I want to make a good decision about whether or not we go.  If we do go, I want to make it super enjoyable and spend time with him getting comfortable in the environment before/between/after runs.
3.  Work on heeling and car distractions.
4.  Go to ARFF and work for happy, fast and positive sequences, not pushing to long courses unless he wants to.
5.  Keep dw contacts in good shape (above 90%), assuming his lameness merits agility training.


1.  Have a positive experience starting school (first class is tomorrow)!
2.  Be on a regular and reliable potty schedule.
3.  Sit (with voice and hand signals alone, no lure).
4.  Down (with voice and hand signals alone, no lure).
5.  Stay (goal of 20 seconds, with handler up to 20 ft away).
6.  Come (fast and excited, with distractions).
7.  Walk on a leash, working towards loose leash heeling with focus.
8.  Know how to do simple shaping exercises.
9.  Meet LOTS of people.
10.  Meet LOTS of dogs.

This month is a bit of a break for Jonah, as I'm watching his leg and we aren't trialing much.  He'll just go to class and work on other manners while getting used to living politely with the puppy.

It will be a busy month for Nika, as things should be for an almost-3-month puppy.

I also need to adjust to life with the new girlie, keeping a healthy lifestyle for the family.  Things are changing all around us!

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