Sunday, January 3, 2016

Goodbye 2015, Hello 2016!

Well, hello blogging friends! It's been awhile. Despite that, blogger informs me I'm still averaging 250 hits a day. What? Well, hello! It's nice to know people are still finding their way here. Let's do a quick recap of the year, and look forward to the year to come, shall we?

The Reactive Champion namesake, who is really not all that reactive anymore. She does backslide from time to time, especially if we haven't been doing much. For example, she might lunge and bark at the pet store if it's been awhile since she's been exposed to other dogs. But other than that (oh and that broken rib last fall), she's been doing great. We didn't go to a single trial this year, but who cares? We've gotten lots of quality ball-throwing time in, and that's all that matters.

My 2016 goal for Maisy? More hikes!

Darling Lola. I am surprised by how much I like basset hounds. They are sweet, but stubborn. Couch potatoes, but with plenty of energy. Cuddly, but mischievous. Don't let her get bored or she'll steal something of yours! Probably toilet paper or paper towels or whatever else you left to the edge of a counter. And if she manages to escape the yard, well... good luck!

Lola's 2016 goals include developing a good recall, a drop it, and maybe even some loose leash walking. We'll see how ambitious I actually am...

I have to tell you, I have never, not for one minute, regretted adopting this dog. I'm glad I went for it, even though he became available right after Maisy had been terribly ill (and financially wiped me out. PS, have I mentioned how grateful I STILL am to all of you all?). But Pyg is just the BEST DAMN DOG. He is sweet and cuddly. He's playful. He's funny. He is up for anything. He gets along with EVERYBODY. Seriously, I love watching the way he will adjust his play style to each new dog he encounters. He is a seriously cool dog.

I'd like to work on getting him competition ready. (Finally!) Nothing fancy, just level 1 rally/novice obedience. And failing that, I'd love to get a good stay on him.

Oh, Napi. Napoleon has two settings: complete sweetheart, and complete asshole. (I tried to come up with a non-sweary way to describe him, but really. He's just awful.) I also completely love him. He's a pain to have around other people and other dogs, immediate family excepting, of course, but I swear he loves me more than the other three dogs combined. He just fills up my heart and I cannot imagine my life without him. It would probably be quieter.Napi is reactive, I guess, but that doesn't seem like the right word to describe him. He's reactive-PLUS. He's not really all that anxious, at least, not the way Maisy was. It's more like he's got, well, a Napoleon complex. He's comfortable around our house, and that's all I really need from him.

My goal for Napi this year is to work on crate games and/or the relaxation protocol. He absolutely loses his mind if I try to train another dog, and he can't handle having his crate door closed. I need him to learn just enough impulse control that I can put him somewhere safe while I'm busy.

On the Home Front
2015 was a pretty great year. I did get to meet my Guatemalan mother-in-law, which was fantastic! My Spanish really grew in leaps and bounds. Now I sound like a confused three-year-old instead of a confused two-year-old. The secret to learning another language is to speak it and not care if you sound stupid. I truly cannot conjugate anything beyond present tense, and I often mix up estar and ser, and I have less vocabulary than my dogs probably do, but you know what? It doesn't matter. You can communicate a lot with just the basics if you put yourself out there.

I started grad school in September (Master's of Social Work). I'm doing an extended three-year program, so I've only got two classes per semester this year and the next. I've been able to get a pretty good work/life/school balance down, which has been really nice. The downside is that I don't really want to be in school for three years, but it's gone okay.

Denise Fenzi continues to suck up my spare time/winter break... Last year I think I edited three books for her? I can't even keep up with that mad woman/ferret. She's truly a productive monster. I am honored to work with her, and flattered that she has been working around my grad school schedule.

My personal goals for 2016? I should probably say "blog more," but I KNOW that's not going to happen. My husband and I have (tentatively) agreed to train for a 5K. I have a love/hate relationship with running, so we'll see... I do want to hike more, and hopefully even squeeze in a backpacking trip with my friend Laura. I also have a love/hate relationship with backpacking. I want to speak Spanish more (we're hoping for a trip to Guatemala next fall/winter). I also have very good intentions of listening to the weekly Tara Brach podcast, meditating more, and getting back to yoga regularly (grad school life, yo).

Anyway... would love to hear what ya'll are up to! Drop me a line in the comments, yeah?

1 comment:

Chris and Mike said...

So glad for the yearly catch-up. You had forewarned us faithful readers that grad school plus 'all else' made blogging a lower priority, but we like it when you come up for air.

Our update is that Habi at age 11 (8 years after adoption) is continuing to improve. Don't let anyone ever tell you that old dogs can't learn new tricks. We've been loose-leash walking for three years now, after many years when even 'sled dog' walks were impossible because of her reactivity to everything, and this year we worked on her last remaining trigger: other dogs. In her second reactive dog class this spring (first one was years ago when she was barely able to handle it), the instructor pointed out that Habi had no idea that polite greetings started at rear ends. So we shaped her to target dog butts (using her very patient bro Obi as the decoy), and suddenly dog-dog greetings are going well! So well that we're now going on off-leash hikes with up to a dozen other dogs (and their owners)! And because all dogs are no longer automatically Wicked Aliens, our on-leash walks are also much better. So she and Obi are getting out and about MUCH more than in the bad old days when even our backyard was too much for her.

We have so appreciated your documenting Maisy's journey, and look forward to hearing occasional updates about Napi and life in the Barrera family. Hugs to Pyg and Lola too! Feliz Ano Nuevo!