Friday, December 31, 2010

2011, here we come!

Time to put my training goals for the new year in writing. What fun! I love this time of year, everything is new and fresh and possible and wonderful and dreams are just around the corner. 

I tend to set goals in terms of earning titles because title goals create a wonderful sub-set of training goals, which for me are a whole lot more fun, motivating, etc. than just saying “I want to get a UD”or whatever.

In order to get that UD, I need to thoroughly train and proof each exercise, train with friends who can help me with the proofing, train in a number of different sites to make sure Phoenix is generalizing the exercises and constantly evaluate his performances and figure out how to improve our teamwork while balancing precision with the element of “more funner.” (That's 2011's theme, MORE FUNNER!)

So these are my title goals for the new year:

• UD. I’ve picked the DeWitt, Iowa, obedience trial the first weekend of April as Phoenix and my Utility debut. Thank doG, the date is April 2. There would be something very wrong with debuting your green Utility dog on April 1. I mean, really, that’s just asking for trouble.

• UDX. This is a lofty goal to complete in 2011 and I’m not obsessed with it. It took my previous boys about a year or so to finish their UDXs. Except Jesse, who was my FIRST UDX, and he did it in 4 months/14 trials. (Jess was the exception to a lot of rules. He was mental. I miss him.) I don’t show in obedience every single weekend of my life (in spite of what the Farmer thinks) so we’ll get there when we get there.

I remember showing back in the days before the UDX existed. (Wow, I’m THAT old.) When you finished your UD and didn’t care about pursuing an OTCh., you just kept showing in Open and Utility for kicks as long as you wanted to. That's still what I do.

• OTCh. Same as above. Whenever. The joy is in the doing, not in the completing. To me, an OTCh. is a lifetime achievement, not something I expect to achieve in the first couple of years of showing.

• MXJ. We need a couple of legs. A couple 3? Maybe a couple 2? Maybe I need to go count ribbons? Maybe I need to not think about it and just wait until I find a certificate from the AKC totally mangled by the USPS in our mailbox. I swear, the Postal Service has something against my AKC title certificates. Mine arrived through 2010 in incredible states of mangled-ness.

• MACH. Same as the OTCh. I’ve never MACH’d a dog before so this is a brand new journey toward a lifetime achievement. I suspect it’s very much like an OTCh. in the respect that once you set your mind to it and believe it can happen, it’s not a matter of “if” but of “when.” So this probably isn’t an actual title goal for this year because I realistically doubt we can get 18 DQs in the next 12 months. I just don’t trial that much. So my goal would be better stated as “continue pursuing the MACH.”

Other odds and ends for 2011:

I’m very much looking forward to Malinois nationals in April in Valparaiso, Ind. My obedience club is hosting Joanne (sp?) Brettschneider for an obedience seminar this spring. And then there all the wonderful obedience and agility trials I always look forward to being a part of.

Given that gas prices go up another nickel or dime every time I turn around (so quit turning around), I’ll be choosing activities carefully this spring. Maybe more quality, less quantity.

My other non-resolution is better meal planning and more organized grocery shopping so I'm not stopping at the grocery store every single night just because I drive right by it on the way home from work. I spend entirely too much time thinking about what's for supper, so there's no excuse for always being out of something and needing to stop at the store.

Wishing you all a very happy and safe New Year's Eve!


  1. Awesome goals!! I really liked how you put the OTCh and MACH in perspective about it not taking a set number of months. My obedience instructor is convinced that Layla can be the first OTCh. Malamute. I'd love to believe her, and I do (although that could be wishful thinking on my part), but we haven't even done Novice yet. Thinking of the "when" not the "if" makes it seem less crazy to want to put that as a long-term goal. Today I ordered the Open/Utility book of Terri Arnold's (since that's the main philosophies my instructor uses). I figure I'll at least be able to do the beginning baby steps with her.

    Good luck coming out in Utility! I agree, April 1st just wouldn't be a good day to do that on. And that's so cool that your Nationals are close to you. Close again being a relative term to dog people. And good luck with the rest of your goals too! I think you guys will have an awesome year.

  2. Gas prices are sure going to put things into perspective! YIKES!! We'll have to have some 'backyard' shows! G