Monday, January 13, 2014

Why Hello, 2014

Work was pretty crazy for the last few months, but I'm happy to report that we hired someone, so now I won't be having to do the work of two people.  Yay!  I wish I could say that will mean lots of time for blogging, but really I'm just hoping it leaves time for spending time with the dogs.

The weather has been pretty yucky for agility lately.  We had to take down all the equipment for snow.  Then, I shoveled a pretty sizable (30' x 60') area in the yard.  But then it rained and froze, so it's an ice sheet now.  I got quotes to put rubber flooring in the garage, and I think I will do that.  It's only 24' x 24', but I could do some jump drills, work weave entries on a set of 6, and have the teeter in there.  It's not cheap (a little over $500), but I think worth it.

We're taking a little break from trialing since Nika's A-frame isn't as confirmed as I'd like and she won't be able to practice on it regularly until we get the contacts back outside.  She was great at class this week, though.

Here's a look at 2013 goals that I set last January, and setting some for the coming year:

 Here's a look at what I'd like to do in 2013:
  • CPE Level 4 Title (Yes!)
  • CATCH (Nope, still working on it)
  • Get past anxiety about laying down on a table in trials (No, not at all.  Frustrating)
  • Go to at least one seminar (We did with Grace, but not with anyone else this year.  We did train with Laura)
  • Improve wrap skills, making tighter turns (yes, but still room to improve)
  • Enhance drive, and work towards using a toy as a reward (yep, he works well for a toy at home.  not at class)
  • Teach new tricks (yes, and he really likes them)
  • Stay healthy and have fun (yes, he's been healthy and we always have fun!)

Here's what I hope to accomplish with Nika this year:
  • Solid obstacle performance on all obstacles, including running contacts (mmm...not really.  I decided to do a stopped dogwalk, and it's mostly pretty good.  Running A-frame is still a work in progress.  sometimes it's great, other times not so much.  Everything else is pretty good)
  • Handling understanding such that she can do Masters level courses in training (yep!)
  • Do agility in at least 5 places, whether for classes, seminars, run thrus, or anything else (DogStar, Gemini, Bo-Gee, Lo's, American K9, Collinswood, and that place in RI.  Maybe more, but at least 5, yep!)
  • If she's ready, go to her first trial (Yes!  She did well.  Not always consistent, and one bad trial, but overall I've been pleased.  I'm sticking with CPE for now, though.  Maybe USDAA this spring.)
  • Take her to trials with Jonah so she continues to not be flustered by the environment (yes, she's been a star)
  • Continue socialization.  She's got a great foundation, but I want to keep exposing her to dogs, people, etc.  (yep, she's great)
  • Trick training, as with Jonah (yes, she thinks it's great)
  • And again, stay healthy and have fun! (yep, yep!)

It's fun to look back a year.  Then, it's fun to think forward, too.  Here are some goals for 2014:
  • Go to a UKI trial and train in the ring, trying to get him to enjoy his time in the ring
  • Continue to give him time to go to class, which he loves, even if Nika becomes the more successful competitor
  • Find ways to be emotionally engaged in his training, even if he's not as fast.  He still deserves my 100%.
  • Confirmed obstacle performance on all obstacles
  • CPE Level 3 title
  • USDAA Starters title
  • Always keep motivation and training above wanting a Q
  • Have an awesome run in a trial: clean and FAST to the point that there are no glaring hiccups
  • Go to a seminar

Somehow these goals seem underwhelming or uncreative.  I'm hesitant to put titles as goals, but that is what comes to mind.  The big focus in my mind is getting Jonah his CATCH, but knowing that he might have limited competition runs ahead of him, going for it on every single run.  Just 12 legs left.  I want to make them count.

Then, Nika will come along.  She's really talented and for a while I felt lots of pressure to get her going quickly.  Work got in the way, so now I'm just wanting to do things right.  She should have lots of years ahead of her, so I want to make sure those years are great, and I'll put in the patience now.