Happy New Year to everyone!
I've been thinking a lot about what typically happens around this time of year: New Years Resolutions. I'm not much for resolutions, those make it or break it types of desperate goal-making so many do as they head into the new year. Instead, I tend toward goals, those things I'd like to achieve, those things I can strive for and work toward.
So here are some of my dog-related goals for 2013:
1. Learn to relax at trials and stop babysitting obstacles. Dahlia doesn't need the babysitting. She will take the jump even if I don't stand near it and coax her anymore. In fact, she finds this somewhat confusing. So I will practice running at trials like I run at class. If she misses a jump so what? We may forfeit the Q, but we can continue to work on getting her to TTFJ (Take The F'in Jump!).
2. Get to more trials. Well, maybe not more trials, but I would very much like to go to more two-day trials. I enjoy having my Sundays to relax, but I think it would work better for Dahlia and I if we could settle into the trial atmosphere a bit more by being there both days.
3. Get Dahlia her Level 2 CPE title. This may not be possible but I'm going to work toward it nonetheless! We have two Q's toward the full title (Wildcard and Colors), but have a long way to go (14 more Q's, with 4 of those being in Standard). Since Standard at this level includes all obstacles, it's going to be a bit rough going. Dahlia can weave pretty well, she gets the teeter sometimes, but her dog walk is falling apart. At the very least, I hope to get her titles in Fun (Full House and Jumpers), Handler (Wildcard and Colors - we're halfway to this one!), and maybe even Strategy (Jackpot and Snooker). If we can obtain those three I'll consider it a good year for us!
4. Work on Dahlia's dog walk issues. This one is somewhat tough as we don't own a dog walk and we can only work on it in class. I'm hoping our instructor will have another "Happy Hour" drop-in class or another contacts and weaves class. We definitely need one! So what is Dahlia's dog walk issue? She blows past it almost every single time we get to it. Sometimes if I take her back and show her it, she'll get on it. Sometimes she runs right by it time and time again. I'm starting to wonder if she even sees it. I read this article about how dog's color vision affects them in sports. It says, of equipment, "This way, if a dogwalk sits on a dirt brown surface, the yellow contact
zone may be harder for the dog to see, but the rest of the dogwalk's up
ramp will be easily seen." Our dog walk does sit on a dirt brown surface in a building that is not all that bright late at night. It's possible that at speed it just blends into the ground and she doesn't see anything there at first. She has also tried to jump up onto it from the side, again hinting that she may not be able to see the end of it as well as the blue part up above. It's obviously something we need to work on, but I'm not sure how to work on it just yet.
5. Get in better shape. Yes, this is related to dogs and agility! As Dahlia picks up speed, I need to be able to run better. I'm terribly out of shape and it hasn't much mattered until recently. I'm not always able to beat my dog to where I need to be and we've had some crashes in class and some problems with my falling behind and not being able to tell her where to go next. So I need to start to work on getting in better shape...for my dog!
6. Work on rear crosses. Coupled with #5, I also need to work on getting Dahlia understanding rear crosses. As she starts to get more comfortable getting out in front of me, I need to be able to "steer from behind" on occasion.
So those are my goals for the new year. Do you have any dog-related goals?
I'll leave you with a picture I took of Dahlia in Vermont on New Years Eve. Every scenic photo is improved by the addition of a dog, don't you think?