Wednesday, August 1, 2012

August Goals

August is here already, yikes.  I've been amazed at how busy I've been and at how much time the basic dog stuff takes (feeding, going outside, making sure appropriate toys are available, etc), leaving less time for socialization and training fun.  Oh well, we just keep going.  Here's how we did this month:

1.  Get exercise.  On a non-dog related note, I'm hoping to break 1:10:00 in my triathlon later this month.
     Yep.  I've been pretty good about this.  I did the tri in 1:04:12, which I was very pleased with.  I'm also now on my marathon training plan, and my first few long runs have gone well.

2.  Make sure I don't let the puppy take over my life to an unhealthy amount.
     Sometimes it feels like she's taking over my life, but I guess if I'm getting the time to exercise I'm staying healthy...physically at least :).

3.  Keep giving Jonah tons of love and attention.
     There's never enough love and attention for the big dog, but I certainly haven't been ignoring him.  We've been doing our share of training, fetch, walks, runs and other fun.

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.
     Yep.  I was at the vet twice this month for vaccinations, toes have been clipped twice, we've stayed cool, everyone is eating well, etc.  We've got 2 happy and healthy dogs, check. 

5.  Read the Control Unleashed book once it arrives.
    I started it, but I haven't gotten through it yet.  There are some good ideas, but it hasn't been the most thrilling reading thus far.

1.  Enjoying agility, making sure every time he does it is fun fun fun.  
     We've done pretty well with this.  ARFF last week he wasn't especially thrilled, but he did his job and was happy at the end of the run--he just didn't get amped up to run full speed.  We'll keep working on it.  It has also been better when I only take him to class and leave the puppy.  Good to know.

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.
     We didn't go.  They moved the location so it was almost 3 hours away, and I wasn't excited about 6 hours in the car for 2 runs.  I was also pretty busy with work, so I knew I wouldn't be able to give Jonah my all.

3.  Work on heeling and car distractions.
     Yes.  He's doing pretty well.  Always room for more improvement.

4.  Go to ARFF and work for happy, fast and positive sequences, not pushing to long courses unless he wants to.
     We went to ARFF.  We didn't really get "happy, fast and positive sequences."  He was speeding up towards the end, though.  It's hard for me to stop early unless he does something really good, but I'll keep working on shortening sequences when possible.  Honestly I had forgotten this was a goal this month.

5.  Keep dw contacts in good shape (above 90%), assuming his lameness merits agility training.
     Yup.  I worked some hard entries and exits yesterday and he's still rocking it.  Good boy!

1.  Have a positive experience starting school (first class is tomorrow)!
     Yes.  The starting was great.  I'm finding myself a little stressed the last few weeks when she gets singled out as being a bad dog.  I really don't think she is.  In fact, I'm quite pleased with how her socialization is going.  Now that she's just bigger and more energetic than a lot of the other puppies, she's outgrowing this class.  Next week is the last week.

2.  Be on a regular and reliable potty schedule.
     Yes.  She still leaks sometimes when she gets really excited, but otherwise things are going well.  Nonetheless, my mom is worried about the odors/stains, etc, which is making Dave and me feel pressure to buy a house sooner rather than later.

3.  Sit (with voice and hand signals alone, no lure).
     Yes, she's doing great with this.

4.  Down (with voice and hand signals alone, no lure).
     Yes, this is great, too.

5.  Stay (goal of 20 seconds, with handler up to 20 ft away).
     No!  Stay is *really* hard!  We can do 20 seconds (usually, and with treats a few times throughout those 20 seconds), but 5-8 feet is about her limit.  We'll keep working.  She's just so excited and busy that staying is not very high on her list, especially when there's food around!

6.  Come (fast and excited, with distractions).
     Yes, come is very good.

7.  Walk on a leash, working towards loose leash heeling with focus.
     Yes, this is coming along quite nicely.

8.  Know how to do simple shaping exercises.
     Yes, we've done a handful of shaping games and she's done well.  It's fun to watch her figure things out.

9.  Meet LOTS of people.

10.  Meet LOTS of dogs.

Wow, these goals posts are getting really long.  Let's see if August can be more condensed:
1.  Jonah:  Give Jonah great experiences at the SureFire match and at the trial next weekend.  Both are in new places, but we'll see how comfortable I can make him.

2.  Jonah:  Work on table performance.  We have USDAA events coming up, and so a fast down would be really nice!

3.  Jonah:  Go to ARFF and try to work through nervousness.

4.  Nika:  LOTS of socialization.

5.  Nika:  Positive experiences starting Beginner Obedience at DogStar.  Hopefully we'll be well on our way with sit-stay-down-come-loose leash walking by the end of August.

6.  Me:  audit a seminar with Tori Self on Friday.  I'm super excited!

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