Happy New Year and all that…
It’s a new year, I guess talking about resolutions and things we’re going to change is what everyone does long about now.
I’m feeling a little deflated with how 2016 ended, but I’m willing to play the happy new year game.
Travel. I was a busy traveler last year. I had five Karen Pryor Academy – Dog Trainer Professional (KPA DTP) series’ in 2016. For the most part, those workshops are scheduled over a weekend, which means I’m traveling to the workshop on Friday, and sometimes don’t get back into Baltimore until Monday. It makes for a short workweek — or a really long one, depending on how you look at it! Needless to say, travel kept me busy. I had only one “home” workshop and traveled to Cincinnati, St. Louis, and Kansas City. I like the travel that’s involved in my work, but it does take me away from writing this blog, from my family, from my business, and from my dogs. So there’s a definite price to be paid for traveling.
ClickerExpo. In addition to the KPA DTPs, I went to both ClickerExpos.
I got to spend some time with my dad in January at the Reno Clicker Expo which was quite a treat. We took a day and left the valley and drove to Virginia City.
What a beautiful part of the country! Of course, I found some microbreweries and dragged my dad around so we could do some beer tastings.
March found me in Cincinnati at the second ClickerExpo. I didn’t have to speak at that Expo, so I was truly a student! I reveled in my freedom and enjoyed going to as many seminars as I could fit into my schedule!
Smart Dog U. Smart Dog University stayed on track with its Puppy Charm School and K9 Building Blocks group classes. My weekday schedule stayed full helping people with their dogs in their homes.
Running. I also got even deeper into running. Even comparing running with dog training. Yes, the woman who three years ago said four letter words about running! I ran more races in 2016 than ever before!
And thankfully, my personal bests have been getting better! My husband is a runner, too, so it’s a nice family activity we can do together. Schooner even ran a 5K with us!
I went out to Kansas City a day early so I could run the Santa Dash 5K!
Running turned out to be my most fulfilling activity of 2016. I swear I would have called you crazy if you’d have told me three years ago that I’d be writing those words.
Blogging. Here at the blog, things slipped a little. I had it in my mind that I had to produce only the very best quality stuff. If it wasn’t the absolute best (whether it was video, handouts, or articles), then I just wasn’t going to do it. Between all the KPA travel, the speaking gigs, and Smart Dog U classes and appointments, “perfect” just never happened.
My dogs got older.
Nemo. A dog we thought we had at least two more years with us died suddenly and unexpectedly. Losing Nemo threw our world off its axis in so many unexpected ways. We’re still working to recover and adjust (does anyone ever adjust) to life without our silly, ridiculous Nemo.
Lily. Lily is slipping deeper into canine cognitive dysfunction — her mind isn’t always great, but she’s doing well physically. We laugh and compare her to a big tank — she walks up, over, onto anything in her path. She routinely still jumps onto the couch without any assistance. She walks more miles a day than anyone due to her pacing and circling thanks to her dementia. She seems happy enough, though, and we love having her around so as long as she’s happy, we’re happy.
Tango. Tango, my osteoarthritis mess of a dog, has progressed to joint injections because he can’t tolerate NSAIDs any longer. We had a horrible bout with ulcers about six months ago thanks to prolonged NSAID use. He gets weekly laser treatment and massage, along with supplements, and medicine to keep him feeling as best we can.
Schooner. Schoons continues to amuse and entertain us. A true giant of a dog, he regularly hogs the bed and the couch, snoring like grown man who’s had too much to drink. He’s as goofy as he looks and sweeter than you can imagine. He’s expanded his horizons this year, getting more comfortable with his veterinary visits (thanks to our wonderful veterinary hospital, Kingsbrook Animal Hospital and lots of “happy vet visits,” where we just kind of hang out and visit with the different technicians and veterinarians). He’s a great running partner for me and helped me achieve a new 5K best in November! He’s been sidelined from running recently due to a foot surgery, but he’ll be back to running with me in a month or two.
A look ahead
Travel. I have some more travel scheduled for 2017, but I’m trying to cut back. I want to cut back for several reasons, one of the most important reasons being our aging dogs. With Nemo’s sudden death — and the other dogs seemingly so much more vulnerable — it’s even more important for me to be home as much as I can in order to keep them healthy and to spend as much time with them as I can. I’m scheduled to travel to Atlanta, GA, St. Louis, and then home for local KPA DTP series in Arlington, VA.
ClickerExpo. I just canceled my airline reservations and registration for ClickerExpo in Portland. I love Portland and have family out there. Thinking about not going was depressing, but once I made the decision not to go, I instantly felt relief. With Lily’s dementia and accompanying incontinence, Tango’s osteoarthritis (and medications), and Schooner’s foot surgery (and required bandage changes and meds), it was just too much to leave to a neighbor and my husband. And it meant leaving the dogs alone and unmonitored for too many hours each day. While I’ll miss seeing all my colleagues in Portland, I’m happy to hang with this crazy passel of dogs to make sure everything is alright.
I’m speaking at the Stamford, CT ClickerExpo in March, so I’ll be able to see all my colleagues and friends there — I need my CE fix every year! I’ll be giving 5 talks in March:
- Get (Buy) In or Get Out: How to Convince Clients to Adopt Your Training Plan
- Help Me Now: Effective Management for Desperate Clients
- Scratch Your Niche: Get the Clients You Want
- Triple Planning: Enhance Your Teaching with Hannah Branigan
- Your Target Market: How to Have Better Clients, More Success & Way More Fun
Smart Dog U. I’m considering adding a trainer to help me with group classes. Nothing’s been finalized (this is the first I’ve even put it down in writing!), but it’s something on my to-do list. I have plans as well for an online dog training class! I’m gearing the course toward people who can’t take their distracted and excitable dog to a group training class. Stay tuned, I’m meeting with an online course developer later this week to finalize the course structure. It’s quite exciting for me and that’s a fine and fun new development.
Running. More running in 2017! My husband and I are planning even more runs this year and are looking to run a couple 10Ks instead of just one. I’m in training for an April 10K (the earliest race I’ve ever entered, particularly for that distance!). We’ve already decided to take Schooner to any dog-friendly races we can find because he did so well at the Turkey Trot last year.
Blogging. You’ll see more blog posts in 2017. They may not be perfect, they may not always be polished and SEO optimized. So be it. 2017 is the year of going for it, not going for perfection!
Nemo. Later this year, we’ll be cracking open a fresh, new homebrew called “Ode to the Load” as we sit in our Adirondack chairs and soak in the sun, fresh air, newly cut grass, and hang out in the backyard with the remaining dogs. My husband brews his own beer and two days before Nemo died, he brewed a Hefeweizen (with Nemo by his side in the kitchen the entire time). Over the years we typically named our homebrews after one of our dogs. Neemie always got the Hefeweizens: Simple-Hefe-a-Load, McLoadaWeizen (“Load” or “McLoad” was one of Nemo’s nicknames).
Lily. We’re going to keep this girl going as long as we can. On Monday, January 16, we’re having a 15th birthday celebration for the sweet Lily! I made her promise me many years ago that she’d make it to 15. And I’m holding her to it! Once we get some warmer weather, she’ll start walking again with me. Even at her advanced age, she loves to walk (and walk fast), so I’m happy to oblige my sweet senior girl.
Tango. We’ll be keeping Tango’s massage and laser appointments and, like Lily, I hope to get him out and moving more when the weather warms up. He’s due for another round of joint injections soon.
Schooner. I have aspirations to get Schooner into Nosework. Nemo loved that sport so much and Schoons shows a similar interest. It’d be fun to get back into a sport with a dog again. I am in an online course with Schooner now — it’s a prep course for competition obedience. It’s great fun to work with Schooner — he’s an enthusiastic and goofy learner. So I wind up laughing as much as I’m learning. He’s great fun.