Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail
Growing up, there was one item that was prized in my household above all else. Indeed, almost nothing in life could be accomplished without it, yet it seemed elusive as the Holy Grail. Here, I present to you, an image of one of these rare things:
It’s true: I’ve been meaning to brush up on Ian’s obedience training for a while now; I’ve also been meaning to get Elli ready and earn her CD, but I never seem to get a “round tuit.” I think it’s time to find one, don’t you?
I’m finding — the hard way, as I tend to learn most things — that just meaning to do something doesn’t get it done. “Meaning to” means that I suddenly realize that it’s been two years since Ian earned that first CDX leg, and I’ve let his training fall completely by the wayside as I focus on conformation showing and chasing those elusive championship points. “Meaning to” means that Elli is going on FOUR years old and doesn’t have a CD yet. Inexcusable!
So, to put some workplace terminology on it, it’s time to devise some “action items,” complete with a set of “deliverables.” To whit, as soon as Elli’s agility session is up in three weeks, I’ll be joining a competitive obedience class at the new (to me) training center where I’ve been going to handling classes. I’m unclear yet as to whether that class will serve both Ian and Elli’s training needs, or whether I’ll need to look for a separate class for Open work, but either way, I’ll be going. The goal, or deliverable: To enter Elli in the July obedience trials in Springfield (and hopefully earn her CD), and to have Ian ready to (please, deity-of-choice!) finish up that CDX between the Labor Day shows and the Saccarappa obedience trials in September.
A once-a-week class does not, however, an obedience dog make. There has to be practice in between. Fortunately, obedience exercises are easy to work on in public places, unlike agility practice, where you have to cart around equipment to train in different locations. Parking lots, area parks, the beach, school athletic fields, the big lawn in front of the local nursing home… all of these are great places to work on focusing through distraction. The goal: two away-from-home practices a week per dog in addition to class and the casual around-the-house training.
Unfortunately, one casualty of this new-found focus and grasping of the round tuit will be Elli’s agility training. I’m feeling rather guilty about that, because she has so much potential to be a great agility Cardigan, but the fact is I’m just not that driven to do it. I like agility as a means to build communication between dog and handler, and I think the dogs have fun with it, but I really don’t have the drive — and to be honest, the confidence or the money — to go out and trial in agility. Agility classes have become a chore, not a fun part of my week anymore. And if I’m not having fun, I somehow doubt that Elli is.
So, will Ian have his CDX by the end of the year? Will Elli have her CD and be well on her way to learning the retrieve and the drop on recall? I can’t answer that.
But if they don’t, it won’t be because I didn’t try.