Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season!
As much as I love welcoming a new year, I hate New Year’s resolutions. I am goal-oriented, and big sweeping ideals – I will be healthy! I will lose weight! I will get more sleep! Or whatever! – just can’t be accomplished. At least for me, anyway.
But since I’m a big goal setter, I always, always set a bunch for myself at the start of the year. They’re arranged by topic and quarter with checkpoints, milestones, and color coding. New projects get a file or notebook. I’m a nerd. But! Getting to my point…
I always set goals related to the dogs. It’s really more about me, of course, but I try to devise a set of checkpoints that will benefit them, too. For a little accountability, I wanted to share my 2011 goals for Emmett, Lucas, and Cooper.
- Pass his therapy dog retest! His registration expires in April, so my goal for Emmett is to train the test components at least once per week in a public location (i.e. PetSmart) and run through the skills 2-3 times per week at home.
- Tricks, tricks, and more tricks. This ties into the therapy dog test because his tricks really help kids come out of their shells. But his repertoire is limited, especially since we work with the same kids all the time. The goal? Emmett will learn one new trick each month! Now, if only I could think of some clever tricks to teach him… I’m open to suggestions! 🙂
- Conquer his leash reactivity, once and for all! This is my “aim high” goal for the year. We have come so, so far that I’m convinced we can make it over this last hump. If Lucas is startled (a dog comes around the block when he wasn’t expecting it or a kid hauls past us in a Power Wheels), or if another on-leash dog jumps or leaps or charges toward him (even playfully), or if an off-leash dog is within five miles of us… THAT is our hump. However, Lucas and I start reactive-dog bootcamp this afternoon! We’re doing a couple private lessons followed by group sessions with other reactive dogs.
- Walking. To aid in achieving the first goal, Lucas will get 3-4 solo walks each week. It’s so much easier to work on his behavior (rather than avoid, walk away, whatever) when it’s just him, so I’m going to aim for fewer group walks and more focused walks with Lucas.
- Basic manners. We start puppy class tomorrow night, and I’ve been using half his dinner to work on really specific behaviors. (Proud mama moment: He already aced sit, down, on your bed, and watch me. His leave it is well on its way. He’s a genius.)
- Socialization. He gets lots of solo trips, too! One-on-one walks several times a week, trips to the pet store once a week, hitting up the Red Box, and more. He’s a pretty outgoing fellow, so I want to make sure I maintain and encourage that!
- Walking! Whoo, boy. This one. He is all about running at top speed to the end of his leash every five seconds. I want to get him to walk nicely while he’s still small, plus I want to take him on lots of one-on-one walks to help him be independent of Lucas and Emmett.
- Door manners. Sigh.
- Group walks! I want to get them used to walking together BEFORE Cooper is full-sized. So even though I want to focus on solo walks with Lucas and Cooper in particular, I want to do 2 or 3 full group walks each week.
So that’s it… Those are my goals for the boys (well, really for me) for 2011. I’m excited that several are already underway – I like to start out on the right foot – and we’ll see where this year takes us!
What about you? Do you set resolutions or goals? Any related to your dogs?