Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Looking Ahead

I am so glad that Christmas is over.  I feel like I have done nothing but eat for the last couple of weeks.  I actually looked forward to going back to work and getting into my normal routine, such as not eating all day.  Plus getting back into my lunchtime running is probably a really good idea for my waist line...

As we begin the New Year it's exciting to think about goals for 2014.  It is the year of our next ANKC Nationals, to be held in Brisbane for the first time.  Nationals are undoubtedly the biggest agility event for Australian agility competitors and I love being a part of them.  My plan is to take Sonic and Cassie.  Of course I have to get Sonic sound first, which is going to be a challenge, but try I will.  I'm really determined to have at least one more Nationals with him as it will likely be his last.  I can't imagine that his hips will hold out for another two years of agility. 

Loving his new pool.  The cheer squad is never far away!
 To that end our house currently resembles a doggy rehab centre.  The lounge room is full of egg balls, fit balls, paw pods, balance disks etc.  Sonic now also has his own wading pool so I can work on water therapy and resistance muscle building.  Hopefully that will cover off strengthening of all muscles whereas all the reversing work was only targeting some areas.  The biggest issue seems to be his lower back.  He is still getting regular acupuncture and has just had his first Bowen Therapy session to see if that helps as well.  I know that I won't be able to run him at every trial but even if I can do the big ones or even one a month would be awesome.  I'm sure he'll be pretty happy about it too.  Sucks to love something but not be able to do it.

Pretty girl Fizz
Cassie of course is awesome.  I still can't believe I'm lucky enough to have such a special little dog in my life.  She has taught me so much and no doubt will continue to do so as she challenges every part of my dog training skills.  I'm working on being a better handler for her and I think we are making progress.  It's been really interesting working on handling specifically for her and focusing on what allows her to stretch out rather than using the same handling that I would use for a border collie.  It's going to be really exciting to run her at the Nationals.  I hope she copes with things like the flight and travel.  We are doing a weekend away to Albany in February which will essentially be a trial run of being away from home and competing in a strange place.  So that should give me a pretty good idea of how she will manage.  But she is a papillon and she still often surprises me with what she does and doesn't like.  I am never really sure what I am going to get with her.  I would expect she will be in Masters Jumping by the Nationals given that she already has three passes in Excellent.  I'm not pushing her to get to Masters but I would love for her to title at least in Jumping so she's against the best.  I know she's fast but until we actually get to compete against the top 200 height dogs in Australia I really have no idea.  It will certainly be exciting to see what happens.  I'm not so sure we'll make Masters Agility but that's OK.  She's only a baby dog and plenty of agility years in front of her.  It may be better for her to still be in Excellent at such a big event.

Not so happy when it's her turn...
Then we have young Fizz.  Fizzy Bear is now almost twenty months old.  To say she is challenging me is the understatement of the century.  She is really not driven to do agility at all.  She seems to enjoy the contacts to a degree and surprisingly seems to enjoy the weavers but has no interest in jumping what so ever and even tunnels she is very lack lustre about.  Not such a great thing for an agility dog! She tests my patience to the enth degree as I try and look for ways to get her motivated.  I find myself chanting "try to be like Sylvia Trkman" over and over as I look for inspiration to be patient with her and above all else make it fun.  Initially I would get maybe one really good training session every two or three weeks.  The rest were like pulling teeth.  Fortunately the better ones have been enough to keep me motivated to keep trying.  Thankfully over the last few weeks they have been better a little more regularly and there is some small hope in the back of my mind that I may actually get her into the agility competition ring in 2014.  Firstly I have to see if we can put it all together over a course which I am hoping to do once training kicks off again.  I have decided Nationals are out of the question for her.  I don't believe she would cope with the flight, travel and strange surroundings.  She is too much of a worrier like her father.  Maybe 2016!

My Cassie Highlights 2013