So today i was excited because I found out that Wed, when we were closed, actually turned into a paid day off for us. Which means I don't have to go in tomorrow (Sat) morning. Now I'm not excited because Keystone wasn't able to get the parking area plowed for the trial this weekend, and so I'm probably going to lose part of the money (hopefully not ALL, the club isn't usually that stingey) and get nothing. There is 24" of snow on the ground, so I can't train outside. i can't hike. I can't run. BLAH!
One of the things I've been doing is trying to figure out when the hell I am going to need/want a new puppy. After I ended up placing Drake after keeping him for way too long (he got along great and was super sweet, just wasn't *doing* anything), I want to make absolutely sure i have the time and drive to train a puppy right. So that means, basically, that Drifter must be closing in on retirement, or at least past the ultra-competitive stage. Because Kiba is already past the stage where she needs a ton of training - what training she may lack on obstacle independence is easily compensated for by my skill as handler, and there's nothing wrong with that. Drifter doesn't need a ton of training after IFCS in May, because I fully expect lower heights to solve what remains of our bar knocking issues. At 20" and 22" he doesn't hit much. He did great at most events this year at 26" so I'm pleased with how far I got with him, he's a fabulous dog. But after IFCS in May, it's lower heights for the rest of his career. He will be 8 yrs in September, which is before USDAA Nationals. I expect he'll comfortably stay at 20/22" for at least 2 more years. He's pretty sound. Kiba, on the other hand, won't be staying at 22" for many more years. She lacks power and has niggling back pain issues already. I think she can do Perf 16" and AKC (where 16" is full height) for a while, but I actually expect she'll probably retire about the same time as Drifter. Because I have a lot of dogs, and they are all talented, the dogs I have probably won't have extended Performance/Preferred careers. Once they can't jump full height, they will simply retire to stay home. Maybe continue hiking, or do more herding, things like that.
So what i've been trying to figure out is when to breed Seri. I'm pretty sure at this point that I do want to do it, and that's where my pup will come from. Seri isn't a big name dog yet, but she has amazing talent, and the few times she has run a course similarly to Drifter, her time is very competitive to his already. She IS my AKC World Team dog. She is ALSO a bit of a slow maturing dog, mentally, so it may not be next year.
So here's my potential breeding/due in-season dates, and the reasons I'm having trouble:
She was just in season Jan 2010, and she is a clockwork 8-month cycle.
September 2010, obviously is too early. Drifter turns 8, Kiba almost 6, and Seri barely 4.
May 2011, Annoyingly conflicts with Tryouts. I think they let you run anyway. Or used to. She's not qualified yet, but I hope to do so after returning from IFCS. She's still in Exc A though. Drifter will be 8.5, Kiba 6.5, and Seri almost 5.
Jan 2012, This would be great except that breeding Jan means puppies in March, puppies going home early May - meaning she wouldn't be back in tip top shape for Tryouts as pups would barely be going home. Drifter would be 9, kiba 7, Seri 5.5
Sept 2012, This might be the best option IF IF IF Seri isn't on the AKC World Team. Drifter will be turning 10, Kiba will be almost 8, and Seri will have just turned 6. So by the time pup would be ready to compete spring 2014, Drifter would be 11.5 and almost certainly retired, kiba would be 9 and probably also retiring, and Seri would be closing in on 8 herself.
If Seri DOES make the team and will need to run on it Sept 2012-ish, her next heat wouldn't be until May 2013, which is right back conflicting with Tryouts again. If I did breed her then (perhaps after Tryouts - she usually comes in heat around the 5th so wouldn't be ready to breed till 2 weeks later), Pups would be born mid-July, going home mid-September, so again would conflict if she did make the Team. These would be PRIME years for her to make Team.
In May 2013, Drifter will be 10.5, Kiba will be 8.5, and Seri will be almost 7 herself.
That's about it, as I really don't want to breed a bitch for the first time when she's past 7, I think that's pushing it.
This begins to make me wonder if I should think about skipping Tryouts next year and breeding her on that May heat. . .? Or go to Tryouts and if she doesn't make the team (I'm not sure if she'll be quite ready yet anyway), then breed her - I'd have to be READY to have puppies and already have the stud lined up though.
Man, breeding is a pain in the ass! Am I ready for a puppy in a year and half? That is 3 and 1/2 years after I got baby Drake, and 2 years past when I decided I couldn't keep him. Drifter will be almost 9, Kiba 6.5, and Seri 4 going on 5. When pup came out competing in early Winter 2013 Drifter would be 10, Kiba 8, and Seri 6. I guess that's not really bad at all. Next year seems soon though!