Saturday, December 30, 2006

Where are we going?

Wow, where to begin. A new year is like a new car - it smells good, it's clean, there are no dings, dents or scrapes, the tires still have those little rubber whiskers, there's no dog hair on the seats and no soda cans on the floor. OK, lots of things to work towards next year...In no particular order:

In Agility:
  • I need to get solid contact behavior without having slow contact obstacles. I think that's going to work out to be a sit on the dogwalk and a touch on the A-Frame and I need to think more about the teeter. Murphy isn't fast enough to blow that contact - and he's long enough to have a foot on the contact where he pivots. I've got the behaviors back for the A-Frame and the dog-walk but now I've got SLOW dogwalks and A-Frames. This too will settle out.
  • Distance, Distance, Distance...Another aspect of the speed factor - if I can send to a tunnel from 20' away - or to a jump and then a tunnel at 30' for that matter I can get ahead of Murphy and be where I need to be for the next line. This means distance on flips too.
  • I'd like to have a more solid startline behavior. I haven't trained it as much as I should because it seems to break my obedience waits. Yeah, I know - train don't complain.
  • Titles of course are secondary - but...I'd be happy if we can button up our NA/NAJ titles and get through OA/OAJ. I'd like to come out in 2008 in Excellent. If we can make it there this year - that's fantastic.

  • Heelwork, enthusiasm in heelwork, focus in heelwork - consistancy.
  • I need to get off the cookies. I know it's my problem, not his. I'm using the cookie (or cheese) because it's easy. Shame on me.
  • Staywork - I'm not sure what happened - we went from amazing stays 3 months ago to problems now. I've got to work through the bunny-hop waits and the position changes on the stays when I leave. If I leave and he holds position he'll stay there without a problem. If he breaks it's going to be in the first 10 seconds. I don't understand what that is happening and obviously I'm struggling to fix it. One of the things I start tomorrow are fieldtrips for stay work. I don't want to blow another Q because of stays.
  • Titles: CDX by summer. I know that utility is called futility for a reason, but I'd sure like to be frustrated in Utility next fall then still farting around in open. We've got all the utility pieces, it's a matter of putting them together.

  • Let's get certified and sign up for a tracking test.

  • Stay out there, stay committed and make a difference - it's not a lot, but it's what I can do. I'd love to find a kid and get Murphy involved in reading with kids, but I'm going to let Murphy tell me which way he wants to take this. With puppy coming I want the therapy work to be Murphy and Mom time.

    For me:
  • I need to get in better shape.
    Time is our issue in agility - it's not Murphy - it's me. I need to lose weight and speed up. That means eating better, sacking lunches and getting out there. Enough with the snoring and heartburn too.
  • I need to remember that dog sports are what I do for fun.
    Murphy doesn't fill out entry forms, he doesn't drive to the training center. He's for the most part pretty happy hanging out on the couch with Q. All of these games he plays for me, he enjoys spending time with me and he plays the game because it makes me happy and it's time with me (the cookies help too). I need to remember to not take things so seriously. I'm competitive and I like that quality about myself, but I WILL NOT become that ultra-competitive "If I don't win my dog hates me and I'm a real bitch to be around" person. I've seen people turn into that over the last year and they're no fun to be around - not at shows and not at home.
  • I need to chose my stressors and let everything else go.
    Working 50 hours a week and answering pagers at 2am is fine - it's part of the job, but I don't need to take that home with me when I'm not on the pager.

    In General:
  • Have more fun with people that matter. I'm looking forward to really enjoying the agility and obedience circuits this summer. Getting out there, tenting, camping, BBQing - mixed drinks coming out of the mini-van, getting pizza delivered to a tent in the middle of a fairgrounds somewhere in Mass...Fewer hotels, simpler weekends. Bring on the wipe-ies :-)
  • Chris Zinks says that a canine athlete (in any venue) needs to be fit - fit defined as 20 minutes of trotting three days a week - running around after a ball of playing with another dog does not cut it. Galloping is not the same, chasing a tennis ball is not the same. So we've got to break out the bike, the lungeline, means less injuries; and fewer or decreased rick of injuries is important. Murphy's weight is only half of the picture...
  • I'm hoping for a happy, healthy and beautiful baby boy in January. I've got a list of all these things I'll do differently than I did with Murphy - I need to remember though that he's a baby too - being a puppy is cool and he should get to be a puppy for as long as that lasts. One of my greatest mistakes was rushing Murphy out of puppyhood.
  • I would like to get puppy into the conformation ring for the Essex Cluster - again, the running thing :-) I also want to get a better idea of what UKC is, from a conformation standpoint the owner-handled/no professional handler aspect is really cool. Something I need to try at least once or twice.
  • More housework, more dusting - less cartoons and computer games.
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