For the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking about resolutions.
I’m excited about 2016. So! I’ve decided to set some goals for us this year–goals beyond the usual sorts of things like learning new behaviors. I want to plan some adventures that Nala will really get a kick out of.
In 2016, I have some goals for Nala:
- Start learning to do Nosework.
Since Nala is the kind of dog who really lives through her nose, I think she would both get a kick out of and really excel at nosework. I’m determined to get started with this sport this year. Knowing Nala, it would be best for us to start at home with an online class, then look for local classes once we have some strong foundation skills.
- Meet some horses
My aunt has begun to teach me how to ride, and I think Nala would find horses hilarious. I want to bring her along and let her take in the sights and smells from a safe, non-terrifying-to-horses distance. Okay, I’d also like her to rise to the challenge of exercising some impulse control there!
- Continue to try out lots of fun, new places
We’ve already made a good start on this resolution: we tried out a new hiking spot last weekend, a state park with a big moonscape edging full creeks and rushing falls. While I want to slowly make Nala more comfortable in urban places, it only seems fair to her to also let her try fun new hiking spots–maybe even a real beach or two, since she loves swimming so much.
- Buy her her own kiddie pool.
No more hot Texas summers with no kiddie pool, by gosh!
- Learn more about trial environments.
I keep saying that Nala may never trial–but that’s not a fair assertion, as I’ve never attended a Rally trial. It’s time to change that. I’m going to go to a trial or two, and try to figure out how–if ever–Nala could enjoy herself at one. And if Rally will never work for Nala, maybe we should consider another sport–or at least think about how best to motivate ourselves to improve together.
- Stretch goal: Try out herding
I’m not sure whether there’s any herding instruction in the area that meets the exacting standards of my training philosopy. If Nala doesn’t think it’s fun, then that will be that. But if, as I suspect, herding animals is something that she deeply wants, I want to give her the opportunity. If it doesn’t happen this year, it will surely happen some day. Besides, it’s definitely an activity that fascinates me.
We have other goals this year, of course. I’d like to teach Nala to accept having her mouth handled so that I can brush her teeth (her raw diet helps, but she came with damage to her enamel from trying to chew her way out of crates, and I’m a worrier by nature). I want to improve at shaping, and I have a number of tricks I’d like to teach. I want to finally work on stays (more on that later), and find a way to make impulse control fun. And I’m planning to attend a seminar for the first time ever–I’m so excited to share that with you! But these goals are about Nala; they’re the ones that she wants me to tell her about as I rub her belly while she dozes off, you know?
What adventure lie ahead for you and your dogs, dear readers?