04 January 2012


So this is a bit of a 2011 recap, 2012 goals post, but I won't go too in-depth. I am basically always planning ahead with long-term "big" goals, and so my short-term agility goals are always designed around those, but of course dogs are dogs; unpredictable, so all those plans are malleable and I really cannot feel bad if I don't accomplish something.

For 2011 I had a few major goals. I really, really wanted to defend Drifter's NAC title, and although I would've been perfectly happy with him if he had not done it, he did, and so we won AKC Nationals 2 years in a row, with the fastest time of all jump heights. Not bad for an 8 and 1/2 year old dog, let alone one with crooked feet, a toe that doesn't work anymore, and a heart murmur! We also did well at the inaugural WAO, and although the Games Championship eluded us by a mere refusal at the gamble, we did manage to win the Biathlon, and that was a great moment in his career and mine as well; I am very proud of our performance at that event. And to cap off his last "big" year, he made Grand Prix Finals, for the FIFTH time. I don't know how many dogs have done that, but it has to be a short list... and along with that was probably the singular most disappointing moment in time of my agility career, and our very first off course in a Final run. But, I can be proud of all the other amazing things we've done, and my 9 year old dog was seeded first going into Finals, and I am very proud of that!

Kiba did well, and although she didn't make AKC Finals, she did throw down some great runs in Lexington and I am looking forward to running her in Reno this spring. Kiba also won 2 out of the 3 Performance Finals at USDAA, and was selected to be on the 2012 WAO Team, which is a huge accomplishment.

Seri actually started the year out very very well, winning 2 very competitive local Grand Prix's, and was actually the first of my 3 dogs to qualify completely for USDAA Nationals, but unfortunately recurring lameness issues derailed my goals for her, and the second half of the year was spent in rehab, conditioning, and strengthening.

Strafe's goals were all about training, and I am happy with where he is.

(these are his dock diving ribbons:)

For 2012...
Drifter will finish his MACH2 and retire.

Kiba is going to Reno for AKC Nationals, and Belgium for the WAO. Of course I know she CAN win the 16" AKC Final, but I am happy with whatever she can give me. She is so much fitter and more in tune this year, that our chances are very good. For the WAO, I want to do well; I think she could win something like the Pentathlon that is cumulative over 5 rounds. I don't know if she could win something like Biathlon where it is a little more speed oriented over only 2 rounds, but as of right now I don't even know what classes we'll be in. For now her goals are to be able to run at 20"/22" more often and with less bars down. She handles the height very well without struggling, she just has to pay a lot more attention and remember to go "up" more...

Seri, after consulting with my PT, is going back into a similar program to what we've been doing, but we will actually be introducing agility at a higher frequency. So instead of keeping it down to once a week, I will be slowly working up to 3x a week, in short sessions of course. The goal is to make sure we build agility-specific muscles, and also to test her shoulder. Basically the only way to find out if her muscles are capable of holding the bones in place properly, is to try to slowly build up the agility and see what happens. Luckily, it does seem that I can tell when something goes slightly out of whack, before it gets serious. So i will watch her closely.

Strafe has lofty goals for 2012, I would like to qualify him for AKC Nationals and Tryouts in 2013... along with possibly going to the EO in Sweden in July.

I am not sure if any of them are going to USDAA Nationals. I am already sort of committed to going to the local Regional, so I guess I will make a token effort to qualify for that.

Anyway, that's my rambling late-night-for-me post. I was happy that my PT felt that Seri still feels pretty good post-chiro adjustment from a few weeks ago. She agreed with my vet's assessment of the x-ray and has contacted Dr. Canapp to see if he has any advice or opinion on the issue, but she feels that with proper strengthening Seri might still be OK to do agility. So I will continue on with the strengthening and try to be really strict with the specific shoulder and core work that I do. It is nice to have an answer for what is wrong at least, to know it's not some nebulous "soft tissue" thing that has no cause other than "Seri is reckless".
If I am able to get a strengthening program that keeps her sound, I would love to qualify her for one of the National events and take her. She isn't my most consistent dog, but she LOVES to run and I enjoy running her, exhausting though it may be...

Tomorrow we go swimming again. The dogs are loving their indoor heated swimming appointments twice a week!

(this is Seri after a swim last week:)

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