Ein wrapped up his rally obedience career this year, he ended on a high note earning his Rally Veteran Championship x 5 under our very favorite judge (and also, at the first place he ever did a WCRL trial at.) He also earned his Companion Dog Excellent title in CDSP Obedience, at long naughty last! And third time's the charm, Ein earned his Canine Good Citizen title at last as well as his Novice, Intermediate and Advanced trick dog titles. I still try to do a little trick training with regularity, for his mental and physical health. He also had a great agility year, though our CPE showing has become more and more limited. Other than performance, Ein is definitely showing his age in some ways. He is going deaf and showing the early stages of "doggy dementia". I started using 3mg of melatonin for Ein at night, as his pacing and crying was becoming intense in the evenings. The issue has resolved completely and he sleeps peacefully now. During the day time Ein shows mild and adorable vacancy but is still incredibly active. He still loves to go for walks and the occasional hike, though he takes longer to recover physically than he used to.
Molly had a rough start to the year, with her left front foot causing persistent lameness problems for her. After a diagnostic work up and steroid injection into the problem toe, she has stayed 100% sound. (besides ripping her entire toenail off the literal day of her return to agility after the toe ordeal. Molly! What can I say!?)
We no longer run on mat agility footing and I have kept Molly's runs limited to three per trial day. Sadly, no lure coursing for Molly this year because of her foot. In January, Molly had her last two runs in Regular 20" class and earned her AKC AX and AXJ in the same day. Molly did some running in Veterans 12" (CPE) but I have decided that we are definitely not ready for that low of a jump height - she is way too fast! 16" is perfect for her right now. She is running with so much joy and confidence especially since the fall. We are in a really great place as a team. We also spent 2018 in a regular training class with excellent instruction and I have had a lot of personal growth handling and mental-game wise. I am so grateful that Molly was my partner for that. She has seen me through thick and thin, and I could never ask for a better first agility dog.
Molly also played in Obedience and earned her Starter Novice title in CDSP as well as one leg towards her Companion Dog. She seems to enjoy the game!
Health wise Molly has been doing phenomenal. The addition of a twice-daily histamine lowering probiotic put a complete end to her GI attacks. Molly did not have a single episode of intractable vomiting in 2018. No signs of any lymphoma related issues.
Perri and I have had a great year together. I have been clear that my mind was not where I wanted it to be in regards to Perri and I'm not proud of that, but I feel like I am at a better place now. Perri had a medication switch from fluoxetine to amitriptyline and composure / l-theanine as needed. Amitriptyline has been incredible for her and I could not be happier with the results. She is much more pleasant to live with now.
Perri had a new therapy dog job, weekly visits to a group home and she continued her monthly library visits. Agility wise was more laid back than ever. We took a lot of breaks and if we did any agility, it as Intro or Novice with focus on ring confidence. Towards the fall I dropped Perri to Enthusiast in CPE and she went on to earn the last 9 legs needed for her CT-ATCH title in a straight shot. No NQs. She is now retired from CPE. She ended the year earning her P2 Snooker title and showing much improved ring confidence in all other classes entered. My own confidence has grown and most importantly, I have a much better understanding of what Perri needs from me before we enter the ring. The time from she gets out of her crate to my release from the start line is crucial. I have learned a lot from Perri this year.
Other than all that, Perri has enjoyed "her baby" Zorro. They play and wrestle together and she has done a wonderful job as a hiking partner to teach little Z how we act on the trail. I think having a puppy in the house has done wonders for Perri's mental health and confidence.
And of course our new kid, Zorro! joined the family this year! I flew to Nevada and back with him, my first plane ride in many many years and certainly my first time with a puppy! Zorro has learned so much this year already! He is housebroken now, doing well with his crate training, integrated well with the pack and is learning how to be an off leash hiking dog. He is truly lovely to live with, though he certainly has plenty of annoying puppy behaviors and a lot of energy! We have had a fun year working on foundation agility training, tricks and body awareness. Looking forwards to 2019!