Being as it's, well...around the New Year, I thought I'd write down some "dog" goals for the coming year.
2009 was a bit of a disorganized year for me, and I feel like I didn't get as much accomplished as I would have liked. It started off with a lot of herding.... Cedar and I worked very hard at the beginning of the year and managed to hold it together enough to earn our ASCA Started title. That was our first trial experience and I learned a lot. I attended several clinics and USBCHA trials (as a spectator) last year as well, which was great. I learn almost as much from watching other people and other dogs than I do when I'm actually working Cedar or Moss.
Cedar has made a lot of improvement since this time last year. It's almost like I have a different dog :). She is much better able to let go of her nervousness/panic (most of the time) and take my directions. She's growing up a lot mentally, which I've noticed a lot in the past few months. She's much less prone to diving in and gripping, but even when she does, I am able to call her off immediately... even if the sheep are bolting. So, that's a big step for her. We've done a ton of work on her outruns since the end of the summer, and all that effort is paying off. She is running wider than ever before, and is usually pretty good at the lift. I am really proud of her for that. I am hoping to do some arena trials (and *maybe* USBCHA Novice) next year with her.
We have also taken up agility again (which she LOVES) and hope to compete next year. Cedar is doing really awesome in agility.... she's wicked fast and very enthusiastic! Right now her favorite obstacles are jumps, tunnels, and the table. She's not so sure yet about the teeter ;). I am excited to see how far we can go in agility, I think (and my trainer concurs) that she could potentially be really good.
The biggest change this year would have to be the addition of Moss to the pack. I picked him out at two days old and took him home in early February. He fit right in from the start and has been a lot of fun. His sunny, laid back personality has been really good for Cedar. He is very dopey, but deceptively smart, picking up on tricks and new commands very fast. He is also wicked talented on sheep...which has been a blast. Everything just comes so easy for him.... his like the popular, handsome jock who you want to hate, but you can't because he's actually a really nice guy ;). Moss went and stayed at Dianne's for training in the beginning of November, and has made tons of progress since then. He's home right now, but will go back with Dianne shortly.
Anyways, I suppose it's time for the "goal portion" of this entry...
1) Continue my progression towards becoming a calm, competent, confident, and patient handler;
2) Never forget to appreciate my dogs for who they are, and try harder to work with their strengths instead of focusing on their weaknesses;
3) Learn whistles;
4) Manage my time better so I have more time to spend with my dogs;
5) Successfully compete in my first USBCHA trial.
Oh, and I'd also like to strive to blog at least two-to-three times a week ;).
1) Follow through with agility classes and get her to the point that we can trial successfully next summer or fall;
2)Aim to teach her one new trick each week;
3) Be able to send her on a respectfully big outrun--from my feet--without having to give her any re-directs or corrections;
4) Master inside flanks.... at least somewhat reliably;
5) Work consistently towards making her less fearful and insecure;
6) Get an obedience or rally title.
1) Make an effort to do more formal obedience/trick training with him;
2) Learn how to handle him effectively on sheep;
3) Learn inside flanks;
4) Get good at penning as a team;
5) Teach him to go to a bed, lie down, and stay there calmly until released.
That's all I can think of for now.... I may add to this later. I'll leave y'all with a pretty picture of my Beatcakes in the snow :)
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