Firstly, the celebration part. As of this weekend, Diego has been with us for five years. I can’t believe its been that long. While he mainly cruises in the background these days, he was a huge factor in teaching me about dogs with “issues” and that they can be helped and even eventually overcome. He is such an easy guy for the most part, and at the end of the day the ultimate loyal dog. We went on a hike today and even though he was hot and probably not feeling well from me let him gorge on pupcakes and waffles all weekend, he trucked along. He will not quit, no matter how rough it gets. (I did give him plenty of water and shade breaks, tho I did feel horrible for pushing him like that.) I love the little man, flaws and all.
On the goals and planning front… I signed us up for the upcoming DASH AKC trial the 2nd week in August. That leaves us 5 weeks to get our contacts dialed. Well at least Phin’s. Forest’s just are what they are, though I have been working the Aframe more lately and am thinking about just letting him run his DW. Thats a whole ‘nother kettle of fish though, and well… yeah. So, RE Phin, I need to be good about working contacts with him a minimum of 2x a week at work and then as well at least once on the weekend. He is doing really well on the Aframe–I had him running it with the box on at 5’6″ the other day from a tunnel, and with a jump after, including crosses before and after, etc. He only bailed over the box less than a handful of times in the last few sessions so at this point that’s all I can ask for. At some point the box has to come off, but I feel like he pretty much gets it. We’ll see how it holds once he gets amped up in trial mode.
The dogwalk, which I said I thought was good not all that long ago, has been on hold while I re-teach him a nose target ala the SG Contacts course. She really splits hairs–in a good way as far as I am concerned–and we are really, really, really working getting that nose touch down and then adding a target and then adding all that fun stuff to the foundation equipment. I may have to do some dogwalks on a wing and a prayer in August, but my goal is to get it at least decent or better by then and just keep refining it from there. At this point I am pretty confident he wont bail the contact altogether in a trial, but even if he runs through it I will have to force myself to hold criteria.
So, the schedule for the rest of the year is looking roughly like this;
DASH AKC, Costa Mesa 8/11-8/12 – Forest & Phin
Walnut AKC, OC – 8/25-26 – tentative
AKC Rohr Park, SD – 9/15-9/16
AKC Point Loma, SD – 9/29-9/30
DASH AKC, Costa Mesa – 10/13-10/14
Daisy Peel seminar – 10/20-10/21
AKC Walnut, OC – 11/3-11/4
DART USDAA, Irwindale – 10/17-10/18
Happy Dog USDAA – 11/23-11/25
AKC Point Loma, SD – 12/8-12/9
AKC Rohr Park, SD – 12/29-12/30
That’s it. So wish that there were more USDAA options but between distance and timing its just not half as easy to get to USDAA. I love it more than AKC by leaps and bounds, but it is what it is. I also know now looking at this that Forest will unfortunately only be running here and there. I signed both dogs up for the August trial and the total fees really hit me hard. (Not to mention I signed up online which was great in theory, until I checked out and noticed AKC dinged me I think $14 in “service fees”. Eeek! I’ll use the $.34 stamp next time thank-you-very much!) I dont know how people do multiple dogs weekend after weekend. I guess they just have better paying jobs than I do! Ouch.
To add to my goals for the rest of the year, looking at this now and assuming I do most or many of these trials, I think its realistic to work towards Phin getting through AKC Novice and Open JWW by the end of the year. Standard should be doable as well, but I’ll focus on the very doable and be thrilled if we get the not-as-easy bits. 🙂
He’s pretty excited about it as well. Almost excited as he is to demolish yet another toy within an hour of me bringing it home…