2012: goals for the new year

2 Jan

Happy New Year! 2011 was an incredible year for our family and our vizslas. We consider it a year of learning. Although Gumbo joined our family in 2010, the past year was spent learning how to live peacefully with a second vizsla in the house and keeping everyone is house happy (particularly Ilsa :P). 2011 also brought us an introduction to the world of dog competitions as Gumbo strutted his stuff in the show ring. This experience was thrilling, nerve-wracking, and humbling. We met a number of amazing people and traveled to many locations we would have NEVER otherwise visited. The highlight was probably Hotel Bothwell in Sedalia, Missouri. We also made the trip to Denver, Colorado, for the 2011 Vizsla Club of America Non-Field National Events. Needless to say, that was quite the experience. As we look forward to 2012, we are eager to deepen our relationships with Ilsa and Gumbo.


Part of the way we foresee even better interactions with our dogs is through the performance ring. In 2012, we will get our first taste of rally-obedience (aka rally-o or just rally). Rally is sort of a mix between formal obedience training (something we’ve been working toward with Gumbo) and dog agility (an area where Ilsa excels). So we thought this would be a nice way to engage both dogs in the same area while directly applying the skills learned toward the bigger picture of better family members. Rally is an excellent way to instill confidence and enhance our relationships while just having fun. Our goal is for both Ilsa and Gumbo to earn their Rally Novice (RN) titles this year. This requires 3 qualifying scores at rally trials. We will be competing in AKC rally, but there are other organizations that also hold trials and the rules are generally the same. Our rally adventure will start next weekend as both dogs are entered in our local vizsla club’s Show N Go. A Show N Go is essentially a practice competition where no points/titles are awarded.

Our next performance goal is hunting related. If you’ve visited our blog before, you probably know this is something we’ve really enjoyed since getting started, and our dogs absolutely LOVE it. We will be entering Ilsa and Gumbo in hunt tests with the hopes of earning their Junior Hunter (JH) titles. For this title, they need 4 qualifying scores which is judged on a keen ability to hunt, finding and pointing a bird, and comfort around a gun shot. Our first hunt test will likely be in March.

Our one other performance related goal is to complete Gumbo’s AKC conformation Championship. We made steady progress toward this goal in 2011 and hope to complete it this calendar year. Dog shows are a competition to identify the dog that best represents the breed standard.

Overall, we are not interested in entering these events for the purpose of earning titles or ribbons. Ilsa and Gumbo most certainly don’t care about that either. The main purpose is to have fun and better our relationships with our dogs. We could probably do almost all of this without ever entering a competition but marking the date of an event on the calendar is a huge motivator to make sure that we practice day in and day out to reach these goals. Even just 5 minutes of clicker training on a busy day can make Ilsa’s eyes light up and that’s what we’re really working for. We look forward to sharing our journey toward these goals during the upcoming year and as always, thanks for reading!

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One Response to “2012: goals for the new year”

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  1. Great day at the obedience and rally show n go! « A Tail of Two Vizslas - January 9, 2012

    […] to the hustle and bustle. We intended to run both of our dogs in rally novice as we are planning to enter our first rally trials this year. They probably would have done fine, but there are a number of signs we have little to no […]

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