I go into year long goal planning with a little trepidation. You just don't really know what the new year will hold. There could be injuries (we've had that), there could be set backs (we've definitely had that), and there are any number of unknowns that you really can't plan for. So completely ignoring all of that, here is what we're shooting for in 2012, broken down by dog and by sport.
Our goals here are pretty mild because I go into it knowing that we aren't going to be trialing a ton. In AKC agility I would like to finish up his Excellent Standard title. We need two more legs there. And I would like to finish up his Open JWW title. Because for the love of gawd, I would like to no longer be in Open Jumpers!!lol I can't remember entirely, but I think he only needs to more legs there as well. For CPE agility I would like for him to finish up all of his Level 3 classes. I think he's at least half way there. And with the number of CPE trials that I think we should be able to hit this year, I think it's doable.
I am sooooooo excited that AKC is doing away with the honor station in Excellent!! This makes trialing Heffner so much less stressful! Now I just need to focus on getting him less stressed overall when in the ring. I've read up a little bit on the new stations and I think that we should be good to go on them by April. Because of these changes, I will happily wait until April to begin trialing him in rally again. Which means that Lodi will be our big welcome back to rally.;0) Our goal for 2012 is to get that RE title that I know he is capable of!
For the most part, Heffner is retired from obedience. I use that phrase loosely because it's not like he really had much of a competition "career" any how. With respects to obedience, I will only be showing him at specialties. Because Beginner Novice doesn't have any group exercises, I would like for him to finish that title in the new year as well. There are more than enough obedience trials near us that this should be a totally doable goal. We will continue training however, because I would eventually like to show him in the versatility class. There's also that newer Teamwork class that sounds like a lot of fun and a different type of challenge.
Since the big boy did show some interest in the sport at the one practice that we attended, I would like to try him out at a few more practices to get a better feel for it and then possibly enter a trial and see what comes out. Our only goal in this sport for the new year is to try it out more and see what happens.
Bess only needs four more legs to get her RAE, but we seem to have stalled out. While her limited performance in the obedience ring seems to have improved, her level of depression in the rally ring is clearly evident. We'll keep working on this and see what we can do. I don't think that four more qualifying legs over the course of a year is too lofty of a goal. After that, she will be semi-retired from rally and will only be competing at specialties.
We've seen some pretty great improvements in obedience and I'm really happy with the direction that we seem to be going! I've got her entered in a trial coming up in January. I was going to enter her in Graduate Novice again, but then chickened out. The trial site is going to be pretty crazy and distracting and I don't want to overload her too much and turn it into a negative experience. Therefore, I entered her in Beginner Novice. For 2012 I would like to put a BN on her as well as either a CD or a GN title. The BN is definitely doable. The CD will be the hardest because our off leash heeling is still pretty terrible and is the one thing that I'm really having a hard time figuring out how to fix. The GN would be the next most achievable after the BN due to the lack of off leash heeling. But we do still have the off leash figure 8.
Bess made huge improvements over where she started out at the beginning of this year. The beginning of this year so a total mental break down in the agility ring that took several months to fix. She's a stresser, and it had apparently built to the breaking point for her. We've had success this fall and I'm hoping that we continue to improve as a team. I feel like our runs are still pretty inconsistent because I'm not entirely able to trust her and am wary about her getting the urge to zoom. Which means a lot of looking back and stutter stepping on my part. This is not always conducive to good clean runs. I guess my goal for 2012 should be to trust Bess more on the course and hope that we start to jive better as a team. For her, I would REALLY like to finish up her Open Standard title. I'm on my laptop in the craft room (hubby is hosting poker night and I'm hanging out with the dogs since some of the people who come over are scared to death of them) and don't have my competition spreadsheet (remember, Excel and I have a serious love affair!!) to know for sure how many more legs she needs. I think it's two more legs. Those darned down contacts specifically on the A-frame are just killing us! I would also love it if she could get her Excellent JWW title, but since I have some personal hang ups in JWW, that one is going to take some work.
I would also like to try Bess out at more lure coursing practices. She didn't quite catch on to it the way that Heffner did. She was more interested in chasing the other dogs who were chasing the lure. We'll see how the practices go and maybe enter her in a trial.
I am trying to take things nice and slow with little pressure with Ruthie. She seems to really enjoy our time out at the agility barn and is catching on to things faster than I expected. I've tried some sequencing with her and once I realized that it works waaaaaaaaaaaaaay better to front cross with her than to do anything else, our runs actually smoothed out and we are starting to get more fluid! She has no qualms about the A-frame or the dog walk, but the dog walk is her absolute favorite obstacle on the course right now. Enough so that as I'm going around lowering jumps for her, I have to keep my on her because she will just run across it. The teeter is so-so right now. She does the full height teeter, but she's not a fan of the fast descent, so I'm slowing it down for her and that seems to make her much happier. We'll continue to work on it at her pace and it'll come when it comes. On the up side, she very willingly gets on it, it's just the going down part that she's not a huge fan of. My goal for her is to put her into a group class in the spring and see how that goes. My eventual goal is to enter her in her first trial in the fall, preferably a CPE trial since it's a gentler way to start trialing.
Everything really is a clean slate with Ruthie and we're just starting into the various sports. My only goal for her in the new year is to have her to a point where I feel comfortable entering her in the rally trial at the national specialty in the fall. I'm not shooting for any titles in 2012, I just want us to get started and see how things go.
Our goals for obedience are pretty much the same as they are for rally. I want to have her to a point by the fall where I feel comfortable entering her in Beginner Novice at the national specialty. We're actually starting things off in January with a bang by going to an specialty A match! Are we ready? Nope! But it'll definitely let me know where the major holes are! On the up side, posing for all those Christmas pictures had me working on her stays daily in a fun way. And now she actually has a freaking stay!! Yay!!
LOL.....I put this on here because I included it for the big dogs. I don't think that lure coursing will be in Ruthie's future. It's not that she doesn't have the athleticism or the spunk, I just don't think that she'll see the point in chasing a baggy. And with those stubby legs, I'd have to make sure that she was running in only well mowed fields. I MIGHT bring her to a practice or two just to see, but there really isn't a goal for her in this sport.
I've also made a commitment to improving the ball studio in the new year. There's a ton of equipment and other things that have been on my mental wish list for a while now and I've decided to just suck it up and start adding things on a monthly basis. Some of it's little like adding in more mats. Some of the items are more spendy, like an 80 cm peanut ball. There's also a possibility that I will be moving the studio from the garage into this mostly unused room towards the front of our house. The dog crates are currently there, but we could pretty easily move them else where. It's a possibility, but would take some work and planning.
I've also got two bitches who will be getting spayed. We've been saving up for Bess spay and gastropexy so that we have the money up front and don't have to put it on a credit card. I'm shooting for doing that in May so that she'll have the summer to recover while we're in our "off season.";0) Once Bess is taken care of, then it'll be Ruthie's turn.
I'm also planning on starting a new sport with the dogs, but I'll leave that for the new year to reveal!;0)
2012 is looking like an exciting year and I know that regardless of how things turn out, getting to spend time with my dogs is the best part!