Wednesday, March 31, 2010

2010 Goals: First Quarter Update!

So, it’s been three months since I set my 2010 dog training goals, and I thought it would be nice to evaluate our progress so far. Overall, there’s been some great successes, some moderate progress, and a few places where I’ve dropped the ball entirely.

Goal: Complete the relaxation protocol.
Progress: We did the relaxation protocol daily for several weeks, getting to the point where I was ready to progress to the “second day” of the protocol… but then petered out.
Looking Forward: Doing the relaxation protocol is a bit boring, especially to do it every day. This quarter I’ll try to work on it once or twice a week.

Goal: Increase Maisy’s physical exercise.
Progress: I feel like we made a ton of progress here! Unfortunately, the numbers disagree: I walked Maisy 47 out of 90 days, which is a success rate of only 52%. Still, this does include the month of January, when we had sub-zero temperatures for the first two weeks, as well as the two weeks at the beginning of March when I had pneumonia.
Looking Forward: I am anticipating even more progress next quarter. The thing that really surprises me here is how much I love walking Maisy. I actually tried to walk her while I had pneumonia because I missed it so much.

Goal: Develop novice obedience stays.
Progress: None. Haven’t even tried. Oops!
Looking Forward: I would like to spend some of my Five Times Challenge time on this goal.

Goal: Improve heeling so that we can complete a novice-level heeling pattern.
Progress: I’ve really built a lot of attention into her heeling. I’m getting excellent eye contact through the first several steps of heeling, and she often offers a nice, attentive heel during the off-leash portion of our walks.
Looking Forward: I’m hoping to continue to build these skills. First, I need to work on improving duration. Then, I want to work on reducing food treats. Finally, I’ll need to drop the verbal encouragement, as well. That’s three sub-goals, and I have three quarters of the year left. Neat!

Goal: From heel position, hit the proper front position on the first try.
Progress: Some progress seen. She’s usually getting heel position on the first or second try, but not yet from heel position.
Looking Forward: I’d like to spend some of my Five Times Challenge time on this goal, too.

Goal: Develop jumping skills for a recall over high and directed jumping.
Progress: I was able to send her over a jump from heel position during a trial in February, and one of those times, we were six feet away- the required distance to avoid taking a 3 point deduction!
Looking Forward: I learned at the Suzanne Clothier seminar that due to Maisy’s structure, jumping will probably never be her strong suit. We’ll continue to work on it in small pieces, and I think a jump or two will be doable for her.

Goal: Reduce ring nerves.
Progress: I did get through a trial without using stomach medications, which was a huge improvement! I did this by using Rescue Remedy. Unfortunately, I was so nervous that the judge actually took me aside and had me smell an essential oil to help me relax a little. Oops.
Looking Forward: I have an appointment at the end of April to get hypnotized to help deal with my ring stress. Hopefully it helps, but if not, I suspect I’ll talk with the therapist about some visualization and other exercises to incorporate.

Goal: Complete ARCH.
Progress: Maisy completed her Level 2 title in February, which was the first step towards the ARCH.
Looking Forward: She already has enough Level 1 points, so we just need 40 Level 2 points and 5 QQs. I don’t think we’ll actually achieve all that this year unless we travel, and that, of course, is going to be dependent on whether or not I can get my ring nerves under control.

Goal: Get one leg towards a CD (any venue).
Progress: None officially, but we are working on the skills necessary (heeling, etc.).
Looking Forward: I’ll probably try St. Hubert’s CDSP program first. The problem with that is that the only local trials are held in conjunction with APDT rally… and that might be too much for one day since I want to work on her QQs then.


Laura, Lance, and Vito said...

Great job on the progress!!!

It sound like she's doing really well with her heeling. Your plan on getting it ring ready is what I did with Lance, but with Vito I've decided to pretty much not use much verbal encouragement from the start of his training. I do use some praise in the middle, but decided what's the benefit? If I break it into small enough sections and slowly build he shouldn't need that crutch. Plus he's learning that silence during heeling is a good thing and I won't have that issue to work through as I had to with Lance. But again every dog is different, it's just a change I shot for with my 2nd dog and so far I'm happy with Vito's response.

For jumping skills, have you done any 1 jump work? Linda Mecklenburg has great exercises on teaching the dog HOW to properly jump and while it's designed for agility, the 1 jump exercises are great for obedience too.

elegy said...

I'm excited to try St. Hubert's. It sounds pretty user-friendly.