2016 Year in Review

A little late but I thought I would keep up with my tradition and review the last year.  Obviously last year was a big one for me with finding out I was pregnant and then having a 2016 baby instead of a 2017 one.  But the dogs are the important one on this blog!

The Corgi of course is retired, or semi-retired really.  Lance will still compete in WCRL rally since the jump bars can be moved to the ground for him.  Lance did several trials this last year in level 3 and earned his level 3 excellent title with glee.  I have no interest in getting any of the combined level 1/2/3 titles with him so we will keep playing in level 3 for fun.  He was incredibly sassy this last year and let me know he can do what he wants now.  Mainly barking on not just the "backwards" type stuff of backing up in heel and the left pivots, but also just whenever he feels like it.  And of course some forging is coming back as well.  So happy!

We also played with a bit of nosework earlier in the year.  I wanted to give Lance something to do now that he's retired.  Lance had fun training it but he's certainly not a natural!  Unfortunately I dropped off my training by summer.  I'm going to try to re-motivate myself to pick it back up again as I know he will still have fun training for it.  I just have never liked scent work training personally.

Vito's year was mainly one big break. 2015 was the start to our obedience experiment and that continued through spring last year.  I've since worked on more jackpot training with him again but a ton more emphasis on true choosing to work without seeing any rewards up front or any real effort on my part to encourage him to start.  Vito knows when work is an option and doesn't need me to plead with him.  For the most part it's going extremely well.  Vito still takes quite a while to choose to work sometimes but when he does start his energy is very high.  I've started working more on precision again with Vito but it's hard as to truly work on that I would want to up my rate of rewards and do fun "drills" and I don't want to do that with Vito yet.  Maybe not ever again with him, who knows.  Vito needs the most work on motivation when he knows rewards aren't forthcoming, well and all the ring confidence work with people pressure too.

I did enter Vito in exactly 3 trials this year in rally.  Vito isn't really a rally dog but I knew it would be easier for him with teh extra support I can give and with way less people pressure.  The first 2 trials were WCRL and he was a very pushy boy!  Some distraction issues with the food bowls but he recovered and was even sassier afterwards.  The last trial was AKC rally at our club.  Sadly this did not go as well.  Vito and I finished the course and other than me choosing not to redo a sign he couldn't do with the judge behind us, he scored well.  But he was worried by that judge and with the higher pressure environment in general.  It seems as though our AKC goals will remain a once a year evaluation of where his mental game is at.

Sadly an injury plagued us most of the year and Vito didn't get many agility trials in.  Not much changed with Vito in agility.  Some really good runs where Vito ran full speed.  He even got 2 difficult gambles!  And then some mediocre runs where Vito just didn't feel like running fast.  Like the past years, he still seems happy in these runs and not worried, just not speedy.
I am currently debating about what height to jump him this upcoming year.  Vito is not old, just 8yrs, and isn't having issues jumping 22in.  But well he's Vito.  Vito only needs 1 more jumpers Q and 1 more Super Q in snooker to get his ATCH and I admit I want to try to go for it.  I know that Vito might not ever get that last Super Q and I"m ok with that, but I don't want to rule it out before it's time.  I'm also hoping that Vito will get remeasured to be under 19in with the new USDAA jump heights.  I've easily gotten him under 19 when I've measured him in practice and this would allow him to jump 20in instead of 22in.

Vito also did some nosework last spring and loved it like I knew he would.  We didn't get far but Vito is definitely a natural at the sport.  Too bad competitions with him are out as there is no way he could handle the strict trial environment of dogs waiting at the cars and not being able to walk around.

Finally Vito did a tiny amount of gun dog work in the spring.  Unlike Zumi, Vito was over the top excited by the prospect of real birds. We worked on taming the savage.  Mainly teaching Vito to take another reward in exchange for a calm hold on a bird instead of thinking he could rip into the bird as a reward...

2016 was Zumi's trial debut in agility!  A few issues with greeting ring crew and general WaHoo! running past obstacles and not turning.  But overall I am thrilled with how she did.  She earned her starters title and moved up to advanced.  Unfortunately due to being in heat at the beginning of the season and then myself being on restriction ruining the end of the year trials, Zumi didn't get to trial as much as I planned.  At least there is plenty of time!

 In obedience/rally I first started Zumi in WCRL rally and earned her level 1, 2, and 3 titles.  Then in the summer I tried her in CDSP obedience and earned her novice title.  I was thrilled with her level of focus and precision she offered me.  Just a few issues that I know we're still working on in practice.  I entered her in AKC rally novice for 3 runs at our club this October to earn her first AKC title.  I was happy with her performances but she also showed me that the AKC environment was a bit too much for her right now.  While her focus and attitude remained high, Zumi was unable to do some simple tasks even outside of the ring that I know she knows well.  I was planning on entering her in AKC obedience this spring, but will now hold off a little bit until I know she's more comfortable.

Gun dog stuff was almost all done in the spring.  I introduced Zumi to her first real bird which was interesting.  Zumi is very hesitant to pick up any bird that she hasn't been properly introduced to first.  Then she is super excited!  If it wasn't for the "new bird" issue I would say Zumi is ready to pass her WC test.  Somebody kick the handler to get more practice in!

Disc dog was even less practiced. I did get to go to 2 seminar this year to work with Zumi.  A lot of fun!

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