2015 wasn't my favorite year; it brought a lot of difficult realizations and changes based on those realizations. It brought real financial struggle despite graduating from college, relationship problems (both human and dog), and finding out who was going to be on my side through all of it. Honestly, it wasn't who I thought it would be.
Needless to say, I was glad to see 2015 go.
2016 will be better. I truly believe that.
Since this is still a dog blog, we'll focus on the dog-end of my goals for this year.
I couldn't name a single moment that Elli has surpassed the impact that Riko has had on me. Elli is my heart dog. She will always be able to make me feel warm, loved, or make me laugh out loud. But, honestly, she's very simple. She has a routine that she adores... so much so that she will pout if you deviate until you get your ass in gear. Riko is a very complex dog, with an intimidating amount of opinions and an unparalleled ferocity in defending those opinions... but he is also a major cuddlebug, a big time mama's boy... and he's affected me in a bigger way than I ever expected.
This year, I'm hoping to:
1. Enter at least one disc competition. I plan to put together a freestyle routine. For now, we've been working on the basics and he's been blowing my mind with the feats he's willing to go for a disc.
2. Pursue Mondioring. I have a bit of a problem selecting sports that are widely popular around my neck of the woods... I really dislike IPO's structure and strictness (there is only one club in MT that practices IPO, btw), but Mondio looks like a lot of fun.
3. Get Riko's NW2. NW2 trials are extremely hard to come by this year for some reason. We've definitely got some work in terms of controlling the BEAST I unleash when I do this sport with him, but I think he's going to take the NW world by storm.
4. Try herding. Riko's mom has her instinct title. I'm legitimately afraid Riko will attack a sheep, or be afraid of them, but I think he could do really well if he was stable lol. I don't think he's even noticed the sheep near the agility field, tbh.
5. Get running contacts on the dog-walk. Enter at least one agility trial - probably just the Tunnelers class unless we can achieve the contacts.
Elli will be 6 years old this summer... That really amazes me. She's still got her youth, though; her bouncy attitude hasn't changed at all since I picked her up from the shelter so many years ago. She really is one of the easiest dogs on the planet. I got so lucky with her. Still, we struggle with our trial relationship, and even often with our relationship. So, for her, goals are much more focused.
1. Get her NW3. I'm hoping to knock out her first NW3 title this spring. She came so close at our first NW3 trial... I still feel robbed.
2. Start working toward her NW3-Elite. I always dreamed she would get this title. There is literally no reason why she couldn't and I'm done doubting that she has the motivation to do it. She excels at this sport and she deserves to win this final title in style.
3. Complete her CAX title. Elli is X Q's away from her Excellent Courser title, which is comprised of 25 Qs. I want to make a quilt of her ribbons from these events to put in her crate.
4. Actively pursue Barn Hunt. I do consider this, like coursing, to be an almost entirely instinct-based sport. As such, Elli is a rat-sniffing super star. It's actually the other competitors who have kept me from entering many trials, if I'm being honest; their attitudes are not particularly welcoming. Whatever, though, I've decided that 2016 is the year during which I will just shut up and work my dog.
5. Successfully counter condition nail trims and feet shaves. I've been working very steadily at this for the past few days, and it has gone even better than expected. I've been filming every session, so watch out for a compilation video here soon. :)