What’s In Store This Year?

For the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking about resolutions.

I just love this picture. She's so earnest!
We’re looking ahead today

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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!
  3. 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.
  4. Buy her her own kiddie pool. 
    No more hot Texas summers with no kiddie pool, by gosh!
  5. Learn more about trial environments.image
    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.
  6. 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?


11 thoughts on “What’s In Store This Year?

  1. Boca and I definitely need to get out more if I plan to take her to BlogPaws this year…that will be quite overwhelming if we aren’t prepared. Ruby is of course working on her trick repertoire, and joining the online class has really helped us stay on track with that. On a less fun note, Ruby’s reactivity has regressed in some ways and I need to step up our training walks, it’s just about impossible to do in the winter during the week.

    It sure sounds like you and Nala have a fun year in store!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I bet you can plan some terrific little outings for you and Boca! What a fun goal!

      You know, I think that once a week or less is a great idea for working on reactivity. Ruby needs a chance for her cortisol levels to recover between sessions. What if you planned training field trips? Scout a location with Boca, looking for somewhere that Ruby can be a hundred feet away from her triggers, go at a lightly trafficked time, and screw around together. Bring her frisbee and play! Feed her whenever a trigger appears. Pack up and go home after twenty minutes. That might make it feel less daunting and more fun for both of you.


  2. My number one goal this year is to keep B’s nails trimmer. This means a real effort on my part to take at least 5 minutes every other day to file them. I use a glass file because the dremel freaks her out and if the glass file works, why fix what ain’t broke? I just need to keep it up otherwise her nails grow at a scary rate despite her activity level.

    I start out with good intentions with the teeth brushing after every dental cleaning, but it’s just so gross that I eventually stop doing it after about 3 or 4 months. I also want to try and get on video B’s tricks we’ve been working on. Kinda hard to do with a camera phone and me as the trainer AND videotaper, but I am determined. It’s the relax trick and another one that I haven’t named yet – but B has done since I first adopted her and I am finally rewarding her with treats so she is starting to do it when I do a specific hand gesture. It’s frickin’ adorable (in my humble opinion) and I’d love to share it.

    I think you have great goals for Nala and I can’t wait to hear about how some of these go! You are way more ambitious than I.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A glass file sounds great! I clip and clean up the edges with a rapidly dying emery board–I need to look for a glass file! Because I agree–if it ain’t broke…

      Tooth brushing is gross? Something to look forward to…

      I want to see the adorable tricks! I hear you can get a cheap little tripod on Amazon. My filming set-up consists of my smart phone, a roll of duct tape, and a rubber band. 😂


      1. Glass nail file – Dog Fashion Spa. It’s supposed to last forever or until you drop it. 😉 I love it because it is wide and my hands don’t constantly slip. Even though I talked to a customer service rep and they said I don’t need to wet it first – I found it works best that way – less heat build up and less of a grating noise. DZ dogs blog is where I first learned about it.

        And yes, toothpaste plus dog saliva makes my stomach churn and sometimes I gag. I think B loves the taste of the toothpaste though (I always buy vanilla cause the poultry or peanut butter really make my gag reflexes kick in) but she just wants to sit there and lick the bristles.

        Thanks for the duct tape and rubberband hint. I’m going to try and fashion something this weekend and see what I come up with.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks for the nail file link!

        And oh, boy, yeah, that does sound gross. Blueberry licking the toothpaste sounds pretty cute, though. 😉


  3. We’re adoring nosework. I’d like to certify one dog for tracking, probably this fall as I think we won’t get enough training in to do this spring given all our nosework time. The other dog… well, we’ll see what he feels like.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Such great goals! I think even if Nala can’t trial in Rally, you might find she could compete in noseworks. Our training center recommends it for reactive dogs because it gets them thinking with their nose and not worrying about their surroundings. I’d like to compete with Barley but right now there aren’t many near us and travel isn’t always easy with work, so for now it’s just something we do for fun–but in class, Barley didn’t even notice the other dogs there and she was far more relaxed than she’s ever been in a class with other dogs. Good luck! Our big goal is to walk another 1100 miles this year–hopefully in as many different parks as possible!


    1. I have to admit that one of the draws of nose work is that it might help Nala’s environmental sensitivity!

      I love reading about your walks with Barley! She’s always so thrilled to be there!


  5. Those sound like some awesome adventures. And yes, nose work is awesome. I think you’ll find it fascinating to see Nala engage her nose fully. It will bring out sides of her you’ve never seen.

    Can’t wait to read about everything you do together in 2016.


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