I mean the title of my post both optimistically and sarcastically. Sarcastically because it has rained for most of the day and the temperatures haven't risen above the low 60's. Not the best start to the summer month. It also means that it's going to be several days again before I can use the back yard for anything dog related. That's a little annoying.
I'm also trying to stay optimistic with the beginning of a new month. I'm hoping that our dog health woes are over and we can have a nice uneventful month. I'm also going to be trying out new things to keep me on schedule for training and exercising the dogs. My hope is that by spending a little bit of time on planning, I'll feel more in control of things and hopefully help to lower my stress levels. As I said yesterday, I'm going to try and start the month out with my goals for each dog for that month. Here goes!
*I'm shooting for working some of Susan Salo's foundation jump grids to improve his overall jumping. I've looked back at some of our videos and sometimes he has good understanding of the jumps and sometimes not so much. I want to improve his jumping ability and his consistency. I'm aiming to practice the jump grids two to three times a week.
*Working with outdoor distractions. My plan is to go to at least one new park a week to work on obedience exercises. My hopes are that this will help improve his focus on me in outdoor settings with a variety of things going on. It will also have the side benefit of working on his reactivity. I'm going to choose parks that will have people and a low occurrence of other dogs to start with. I'm also going to places where it will be a lot less likely that people will have their dogs off leash.
*Finishes. I am trying to focus on using only one cue for these. He understands the concept of what I'm asking for with both cues. I just need to wean him off so that he understands that either alone means the same thing.
*Lots of working the rally off set figure 8's with food and toy distractions. That will help us for a lot of things.
*I am doubtful that I will have Bess physically back to a point where I'm comfortable working her on jump grids of a variety of heights on a regular basis. With her I will probably just leave the jumps at 4" or 8" and practicing taking her through the standards. I'm also going to work on rear crosses with her over jumps at this same height.
*Bess too will go to these same parks once a week. We'll be sticking relatively close to home. With temperatures on the rise (eventually!), there's no way that I can leave one dog in the truck while I'm working the other one. So there be some going back and forth to the house. Her focus is pretty good outside, but there's still room for improvement.
*Finishes. My goals for her are the same as with Heffner.
*While she's caught on to the idea of the rally off set figure 8, we can definitely still work on it and fine tune it.
*I am planning on writing out a game plan for the dogs for the week each Sunday night. First I'll sketch out what our training exercises and focuses will be for each day based around what my work schedule is and whatever cardiovascularly we've got going on. After the training is figured out, then I'll work in the cardio. That won't be too difficult because we already have a pretty good routine. However, I'm going to start throwing in one trail run a week. It's good for me and it's great for the dogs.
*Tricks. Each Sunday night I'm also going to try and pick a trick to work on with the dogs. This won't necessarily be a weekly repeating thing. I won't have a good idea as to how long it'll take me to teach the dogs the trick until I actually under take it. And it will also be based on what ever else we have going on. The trick training will be a lower priority event.
I feel pretty good writing out this list! And I just realised that I never got around to posting pictures of Mia!! Here are the pictures that her dad Jeff took of her and I in the ring!:o)