Monday, January 4, 2010

2010 Goals

In 2008 I had added 6 more SchH3/IPO3 titles to Quinn's repertoire, making him 8xSchH3. All of those were High SchH3 and all but one was High in Trial at club trials. He earned High obedience and protection at the Regional Championships. On my Goals and Accomplishments sheet I wrote that my goals for 2009 were: FH, HOT trial, not sure about other National Events, Regional Champion. Ultimate goal is 14x SchH3, DPO if I can find a trial."

At the end of the year, we had earned only three more SchH3 titles. As it turns out, the HOT trial was too early for us to be ready but we did compete in the AWDF Championship where we were proud to pass, as many dogs had difficulty. I, on the other hand, DID earn a trophy! I was awarded the "Sportsmanship Trophy", which to me is what the sport should be about. By choosing to compete in that trial, and helping out where I could, I met many new and wonderful people, had a great time and was rewarded in many ways. During the previous year, Quinn's "out" had gotten stickier and stickier and finally darned near missing. In my pursuit of titles, he became quite trial wise and so I elected not to enter as many trials and to prepare for the bigger Championships. We did compete at our club trial and again at the Regional Championship. Quinn had improved in many areas, but it wasn't enough to earn the SchH3 Championships. Since earning an FH was on my list, we also made one attempt at that. We made a good start but, an ugly middle, and a finish granted by the grace of the judge after we failed. I had hoped to make it to the AWMA Championships in Florida in December, but instead found myself undergoing rehab after a shoulder surgery. Plans change.

In 2010. I will earn an FH with Quinn. (notice that I am not saying that I "hope to" or "plan to". Be positive! Be affirmative!) I have earned FH's with two Dutch Shepherds and now it's Quinn's turn. I know he can do it. There is only one DPO judge in USA any longer, and I have yet to see a club offer a DPO trial under him, at least in our area; if it was possible, I sure would like to do that yet. However, we are going to take a slight turn and pursue Mondioring this year! Frankly, I became disappointed that Quinn was not as competitive as he needs to be to win trials. He will never be as fast as the judges want to see. He has improved and given me his 100% in many areas and many arenas. He is fun to work, and I love that dog! So now I am going to give him a gift and let him play Mondioring in 2009. He has a foundation in suit/leg work and after the Regionals I worked him on Fernando Dosta, who was there to begin a ring seminar the follow day, and he pronounced Quinn had the tools to pursue MR. In 2010, I will earn a MR1 with Quinn. The only funny part about this is that many ring folk leave or avoid schutzhund because they don't like tracking, so here I am pursuing ring but also an advanced tracking title!! Call me crazy!

Back at goal setting time for 2009, Jinx was rehabbing what was supposed to be a torn glenohumeral ligament. At that time she had earned one leg of her MR1, SchH2 and was one of only two dogs in Wisconsin with a Type 1/CE SUSAR disaster dog certification. My goal for 2009 was "rehab and recovery. Everything will depend on that. If she remains well enough, SchH3, second leg of her MR1 and the International Rescue Dog test." Now we know that the limp was actually the first manifestation of the brachial nerve sheath tumor, which likely weakened the ligament as well. Now, I am grateful for each day with Jinx. It is extremely unlikely that her atrophied front leg will regain use, or that she will ever finish schutzhund titles. Life, however, is more precious than any title in the world. My goal for Jinx for 2010 is to keep her happy and healthy and celebrate the coming of 2011. I don't know how much of that I can control, but this dream is as big as it gets.

My 2009 goal for Cooper was "CGC, BH, SchH1 and FSA". wow! What was I thinking? We did pass our Canine Good Citizen test. We worked hard to prepare for the FSA. Cooper really came into his own this past season. The little man grew up. He took direction and learned the elements so quickly it astounded me. We were prepared to take the FSA and even drove to CT this past fall but the test was canceled at the last minute, so we will have to seek one out in 2010. In 2010 Cooper will earn his BH, SchH1 and FSA. In order to accomplish the SchH1 I will need to get busy and finish his retrieve over the winter, and track once spring arrives. I joined a DVG club so that we will be able to compete in the DVG Regionals and enter the AWDF Championship. As a Dutch Shepherd and having no breed club, he can't participate in AWDF that way, but he can as a DVG member. hmmm.....

In 2010, I will sell the dogs that aren't actively being worked. That means Chica, Bart, Enno and Excel. It is important that they have their own special homes where they are the most important dogs, worked and loved.

I had hoped to breed Quinn to Ozzie Loups du Soleil in 2010 but unfortunately, the timing is not good for the owner and so that particular goal is out of my reach. I thought that pairing would produce some strong dogs, and I looked forward to keeping a pup for myself. Now it is entirely possible that circumstances are for the best, or at least I will tell myself that. It's not as if I really need another dog. (but who does??)

I do have my newest Dutch Shepherd puppy, Ridley, who promises to be quite a handful! In 2010 I will give Ridley a foundation in the schutzhund elements and also ringsports, and let her tell me what she wants to be when she grows up! No goals bigger than that with her for 2010. If I have the opportunity, I would like to show the Dutch Shepherds in conformation. Cooper is awesomely handsome. I would also like to compete with Quinn in AKC or UKC obedience. Who knows, maybe Cooper, too? Those are just "would like to" , not real goals, because I have to fit those things in where I can and they depend on whether trials are offered nearby that aren't in conflict with schutzhund events.

Some of my goals depend on timing, and not being in conflict with other events or K9 classes, but if time permits, in 2010 I will compete in the AWDF Championship and the NC Regional Championship and the Malinois Championship.

Are there enough days in the year for all my goals? Most definately! Dream so big it's scarey. Dream of titles and travel, of fine tuning your relationship with your dog and meeting new people. Expand your experiences. Read, study, attend seminars. But above all, do it because you and your canine partner enjoy it. Your goals are yours. Remember that. Once you add another to the equation, whether it be human or four-legged, be mindful that they might not share your dreams. They may well have their own, and to drag an unwilling dog along on your ego trip is patently unfair. My goal is always to have my dog give his 100%. If your goal is to be on the podium but the dog does not have that to give, your choice is either to accept his 100% even if it translates to 80 points or find the dog a new home or career. Be fair. What if the dog could evaluate our handling skills and ask to be transferred if we didn't live up to his expectations? What if the dog could say" this girl is never going to get me to the podium. She is not committed to regular training, she can't focus on one task and I would like a new home, please." If you make goals you need to be committed to doing your part to make them happen, as well.

So, get with it! 2010 can be the best year yet! What are YOUR goals?