2009 Year in Review!

Well another year has passed.  I felt this was a really great year and I actually met all of my goals!

Lance started competing in rally obedience this past January and is now one leg away from his Rally Excellent title.  We haven't done a lot of rally trials but Lance really seems to enjoy it.  I think it has helped a lot in getting Lance to focus more in a trial setting as the constant change of directions has forced him to pay attention and plus I can actually talk to him!  I just wish I had tried rally before I started obedience trials.  Goal #1 completed!

Lance also started competing in open obedience this past fall and now has his first leg towards his CDX!  We have struggled a bit with Lance stressing on the down stays and will likely to continue to have this problem.  But at least I know Lance can do it!  Goal #2 completed!

And finally Lance has started competing in agility!  We've only done 2 trials and both were CPE games without any contacts but still!  Lance has done a great job in the agility ring and seems to love it!  Training wise, Lance has switched from being trained on running contacts after about 4 months of work and very slow progress to doing a 2 on 2 off on the dogwalk and 4 on the floor on the a-frame.  Both are going really well.  And Lance has finally figured out how to weave on a straight set of poles!  Goal to compete was in 2010 so checked off early!

Lance 2010 Goals:
I would, obviously, like Lance to get that last leg needed for his rally excellent title.  Since we have both enjoyed doing rally I would like to continue on past that one leg.  Right now I'm just debating if I want to stay in AKC rally to go for his RAE (10 qs in both advanced and excellent at the same show) and/or do APDT rally.  I've heard that APDT is more challenging which I would like, but there's only 2 trials a year up here.

In obedience, I would love for Lance to finish his CDX!  When he does finish I know we won't be anywhere near ready for utility, so my other goal is to actually work on scent articles and go outs. And of course I want Lance to get confident in his stays so he doesn't stress in trials.  Continuing to focus on attention and transitions between exercises is a must as well.  If everything goes well, I would like Lance to be ready for the utility ring in 2011.

In agility, I would like to further Lance's understanding of his new contacts behavior so that he is confident in the differences between the aframe, dogwalk, and teeter.  I would like to have him competing in the standard classes by summer.  Get Lance weaving confidently on a straight set of poles with all types of entrances.  I don't really care what venues we compete in but I would like to continue with CPE and try NADAC and maybe AKC.

For a completely new goal, I want to try some canine freestyle with Lance this year.  Maybe not competing, but at least putting together some routines.  I love training tricks but have always been scared to try freestyle since I have zero dancing ability.  But my blog friend Honey has inspired me :)

Vito accomplished a lot in 2009 as he grew from a wee lad to a somewhat bigger but still wee lad at 30lbs.  We conquered a vast array of tricks and had a blast doing so!

In obedience we started classes at the club.  His heelwork is coming along quite amazing although he is a bit pushy.  But I would rather have a confident, pushy dog then one who lags behind!  Vito needs a lot of slow heeling to get him to think about his position.  I also got Vito to do a nice hold on the dumbbell, finally!!!  This was a huge struggle all year but now he holds it perfectly, no mouthing, for up to 30 seconds!  The main thing I'm working on in obedience right now is for Vito to not step on my foot every time he finishes to the left or comes in for a front.  It's hard since I don't even notice it because it's so quick!  Unfortunately that would be major points off in the obedience ring if I don't crack down on it.  His stays are also coming nicely although I am going slow in class and am sticking within 15ft and lots of treats to build confidence.  While he does many out of sight stays at home I don't want Vito to be stressed like (apparently) Lance is.  Oh and Vito got his CGC at 8 months so he has his first "title!"

We started agility classes at 4 months and have spent a lot of time on foundational work.  Now Vito is doing lots of short sequences with great speed and with almost no problems.  I don't know if it's because of already doing it with Lance or because of the foundational work, but I rarely have to even do a sequence over because of an error.  We also have spent a ton of time with our board in the front yard training running contacts.  A TON of work but it has transferred so nicely to the real dog walk and a-frame!  It is seriously picture perfect and I couldn't be happier!  I am hoping that it holds up over the winter when I won't have time to train it in all this snow.

Vito 2010 Goals
I would like Vito to start trialing in rally by the end of the year.  I think I will hold off on obedience trials until he is trained through open, but rally would be a nice test of where he is at.  I really want his heel work and attention to be amazing before ever setting foot in a ring.

I have no clue what agility goals I have set for Vito.  He is already doing so well and I think he has passed the point of my experience.  Same with Lance, I really have no clue how to progress my dogs' skills.  It's not like obedience where there is very visible goals and strict criteria so I still need to rely on my instructors to point out to me where I need to improve on.  I know continued obstacle focus and distance handling will be a must for Vito.

Dawn  – ( December 30, 2009 at 2:32 PM )  

You might really like APDT. Its fun, and although there are only the 2 right here in Mn there are some in Des Moines which isnt too far. Plus, there are 5 trials at each of those 2 weekends, so really its 10 APDT trials. Magic and I are going to work on his ARCH. Join us!

Muttsandaklutz  – ( December 30, 2009 at 6:22 PM )  

Great post and video!! What a great bunch of tricks both dogs have. I'm getting the itch to try some of them with my guys. Almost want to go out and buy a suitcase just for that nifty packing trick. Anyway, what a great 2009 -- I'm looking forward to seeing what 2010 brings you and your gang!

P.S. Love the part where your cat goes for Vito's tail :)

Crystal  – ( December 30, 2009 at 8:48 PM )  

I agree with Dawn- APDT is super fun, and the Des Moines APDT trials are awesome, too. I went to their trial last June, and it was a lovely weekend.

I'd love to try freestyle, too. I can't wait to read about your adventures there!

Laura, Lance, and Vito  – ( December 30, 2009 at 9:12 PM )  

ok I will send in registration for APDT tomorrow. Unfortunately the first show we have here in feb. isn't a good weekend for me to ask off of work so I will wait to enter until the last moment and see if I get a day off to play!

Mango  – ( December 31, 2009 at 5:56 AM )  

Uh oh, blogger ate my comment. Drat.

Thanks for the wonderful post. Quite a year. They boys look so happy to work with you. I have learned a ton from watching your movies. Keep posting your progress through 2010.

Mango Momma

achieve1dream  – ( January 2, 2010 at 9:29 AM )  

Lance and Vito have done so great this past year and I've enjoyed watching and reading. I can't wait to see what 2010 brings. Happy New Year!

Megan  – ( January 7, 2010 at 10:45 PM )  

Best place to post this? I DID play with Vito's litter!


That's my boyfriend and I, but neither is your baby dog!

But this might be.

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