Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Welcome to 2013

I've been continuing to have lots and lots of fun with the dogs, and less and less interest in blogging about it.  Sorry.

I couldn't miss a beginning-of-the-year post, though.  I do really love keeping up with goals, so it's good to look at what we'd planned and what happened, as well as think about what's to come.

This is what I said last January:

"In 2012, I would like to:
  • Have our first pairs run without any calamities.
  • Earn our USDAA Starters Title.
  • Earn our CPE Level 3 Title.  
  • Go to CPE Nationals!
  • Earn our CPE Level 4 Title.
  • Earn our USDAA Advanced Title.
  • Earn our first USDAA tournament Q(s).
  • Go to a workshop.
  • Have fun.
  • Stay healthy.
  • Continue to work on socialization with other people, dogs and cars.
That's not a long list but it's some big goals.  I'd like to think it's reasonable, but life can always be unpredictable.  Wish us luck, and we hope you have a wonderful year, too!"

Well, it surely was unpredictable.  Here's our report card:
A+:  First pairs run without calamities.  We're 2/2 in pairs runs, and neither has had any trouble at all.  
A:  Yep, we got our AAD!  It's the prettiest ribbon we've earned together.
A:  Yes, we got our CPE level 3 title.  No problem!
B:  We did go to CPE Nationals.  But it ended up being too electric an environment for Jonah, and his performance suffered.  Our confidence and interest in trialing plummeted.
F:  We did not get our CPE Level 4 Title.  That's just because we didn't enter trials, though--not because we were NQing.  
F:  Nope, we didn't get our AD.  We have all our games legs, but Jonah's trial anxiety means he's not wanting to lie down on the table.  If it weren't for the table, we'd have our AD as it's the only fault we've ever received in Advanced Standard.
F:  We didn't get a tournament Q either, but again largely because we didn't enter many (I think it was only 1 NQ).
A:  Yes, we went to a workshop with Grace and then one with Lo.  Both were excellent, and I can't wait to do more!
A:  Yep, we had lots of fun this year, it just wasn't all about agility.  I feel closer than ever to Jonah, and that's what it's all about.
A-:  We haven't had any major issues around our health.  Just a few tweaks and colds here and there.
B+:  We've done a bunch of socialization.  There's always room for more and he's still not perfect.  He's getting much better about having strange people at our house, but he's still prone to be startled by strangers in public.  I think it would take a whole lot of work to get him 100% comfortable with meeting new dogs and people, and I don't know if we'd ever get there.  He was as happy as I'd ever seen him the last time we took him to the Middlesex Fells, though.  I think he is getting better.

So, it was a good year for me and Jonah although agility trials were not the same priority they'd been in 2011.  Here's a look at what I'd like to do in 2013:
  • CPE Level 4 Title
  • Get past anxiety about laying down on a table in trials
  • Go to at least one seminar
  • Improve wrap skills, making tighter turns
  • Enhance drive, and work towards using a toy as a reward
  • Teach new tricks
  • Stay healthy and have fun
I've decided to focus primarily on CPE this year because I don't think I'll do CPE with Nika.  Once they're both trialing, I'll stick with USDAA.  I think having Jonah get his CATCH this year is doable, but we'll have to see.

Last year I recounted some of the events of the year, and I'll do the same this year.  Some were really big happenings!

  • We got a puppy!!!  I hadn't accounted for this when I set last year's goals, but it's had a huge impact on what I've done with the dogs.  More on goals for her shortly.
  • Jonah learned a running dogwalk contact
  • We made a full height dogwalk
  • We got real agility jumps
  • We bought a house!  That meant a number of weekends went to things like putting in the fence and moving furniture, rather than doing agility.  It's worth it though, and we all love the new place.
  • I graduated
  • I got a job  
  • I trained for a marathon, even though a stomach flu kept me from finishing the actual race
  • We swam, ran, hiked, camped, traveled and had lots of fun

Here's what I hope to accomplish with Nika this year:
  • Solid obstacle performance on all obstacles, including running contacts
  • Handling understanding such that she can do Masters level courses in training
  • Do agility in at least 5 places, whether for classes, seminars, run thrus, or anything else
  • If she's ready, go to her first trial
  • Take her to trials with Jonah so she continues to not be flustered by the environment
  • Continue socialization.  She's got a great foundation, but I want to keep exposing her to dogs, people, etc.
  • Trick training, as with Jonah
  • And again, stay healthy and have fun!
So, this year will definitely be different from last year, but I'm really looking forward to it.  I always wish I had more time with the dogs and for blogging, but I'll make do.  I'm just so lucky to have such a wonderful human and canine family.  Thank you everyone!

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