Monday, January 2, 2012


It's hard to believe another year has passed.  I just don't know where the time goes. We think back to when we were kids and how each school year felt like an eternity, but summers were too short.  Now we leap from appointment to appointment at lightning speed and as soon as I flip the calendar to a new year I am greeted by scheduled events.  And when those events include trials and Championships, there is an immediate pressure to begin to prepare. I can look at 2012 and already know what I will be doing most months.  It is only January 2 and yet I have to look to 2013 to find a blank calendar.

I have a need to fill those blank spaces on the calendar. It creates quite a conflict. Fill the spaces, then look for a few hours of free time for ME.  I generally start out planning to set aside a particular day or days each week when nothing is scheduled, but inevitably there is a club member who needs help, or a lesson with a dog that just can't wait, and I add them.

I always begin a new year by reviewing what I have accomplished and what my goals are for the upcoming year, involving my dogs.  The more personal goals I write in journals I have kept since junior high.  In 2012 I trained and competed with Pre, a malinois owned by my friend, Sam.  We did compete in all the events that I had indicated in my goals, but were not successful in all.  At the AWDF Championship we earned an IPO2 and were IPO2 Champions.  That was a proud moment, to be on the podium at a National Event, and a first for me! At the WDC we did not pass tracking. We earned our IPO3 at the North Central Region Championship but did not stand on the podium there as I had hoped; neither did we do that at the AWMA Championship, where our participation was terminated due to injury following a dog attack upon reporting in.  Training Pre consumed most of my time. 

I had hoped to pass Cooper's USAR Type 1/CE certification at the test in Milwaukee in the spring, but it just did not come together. I wrote about it in an earlier post, and our performance really set me back.  I really wondered if I had it in me to carry on at all.  After taking some time to consider it, I decided that Cooper was up to the task and that I owed him my best in achieving that.  I thought about how the spring test had gone wrong, and how we could improve and we practiced those things.  In autumn, we traveled to Tennessee and were successful.  Not only successful, but we made an awesome pair and I felt good about our performance.  Cooper became my second dog trained to that level.  My search team boasts the only Type 1/CE dogs in the State, and two of us have trained 2 dogs to this level.

2012 will be a schutzhund year for Cooper.  He has the foundation in the sport, has his BH and also an RH1 which we earned this year, and since we don't have to recertify in USAR for several years, my plan this year--- my goal, as it were--- is to earn Cooper's IPO 1-3.  There is the WDC in April, the AWDF in May, our club trial in June, and then the Regional Championship and the Dutch Shepherd Nationals in the fall.  I have to see how his early spring training goes and then how he travels to big events, but he has been a good traveler and done well working in new environments.  It is all possible at this moment!  One thing that I need to look into is the UKC Championship and whether doing obedience with him is also something to investigate!

I have several other young dogs that are included in my goals for 2012; Marco and Ridley both need to earn at least a BH this year, or more.  Quinn is insisting he isn't retired and I have been using his talents to train a new helper.  He should be added to my list for some sort of title that is within his physical ability. He has so much enthusiasm yet that I hate to put him on the shelf.  I have debated on whether to train Chica to HRD detection but I would prefer to sell her just because I have so many other dogs to train, and Excel still needs a home. Until they are placed, I will continue to train them, as well.

So there. I've put it out there and you can feel free to hold me accountable.  If I don't meet every goal, I haven't failed if I have given it my best.  2012 promises to be a wonderful year!