As New Years approaches I find myself, like many others, contemplating my plans for the new year. Besides the usual plans of eating better, being ore organized and exercising more, I am sitting down and looking at my plans and goals for my animals.

As far as specifics and goals, I am planning to spend 2019 showing Jager, my good friend Alexia and my new Australian import. He arrived in October, I showed him once and he went Best of Breed over specials for a major, so I am very excited about lots of fun showing him this year.

A bit less definitive, but I would like to pursue a few more trick titles on my dogs. My Chinese Crested Zen Django and Cannoli, one of my Lowchen both got their TDN last year, so I am working on the intermediate title for Django. Also considering doing TDN with my wirehair Dachshund Betty Spaghetti. I put a BN (Beginner Novice) on last year partly because she loves working but also because I had nothing to show after I finished Cannoli. She loves training so I would like to work with her more this year. I also want to explore the possibility of a trick title for Opie who is probably ready to test for that right now.

One thing I would like to work on is more training with less plan of competing. In other words, I tend to set goals of competition because those goals are the easiest ones to remain accountable for and it gives me immediate and clear feedback of my work. This year I want to do more training without the expectation of a title. I would like to work on obedience or rally without feeling like I am preparing to compete. The truth is that with my conformation schedule showing in obedience or rally is challenging. I have competed in multiple rings running from conformation to obedience or rally with several dogs and while it is fun, I prefer to concentrate on one thing at a time at dog shows. I want to show my dog, watch friends and clients show their dogs and basically relax and hang out. Having to run from ring to ring can cut into my “hanging out with friends” time.

Additionally, my dogs could use more basic obedience and manners training. It isn’t that they are out of control, but not all of them have the basic training that I would like them to have. Again, because the only accountability is myself reminding me every so often I tend to slack off, so I would really like to work on that. To make this fun and random I am creating a game out of it. I will make cards, each with a behavior I would like to work on with my animals and draw one every week or every two weeks to give me something specific to work on with all or most of the dogs.

Have you thought about your goals for 2019 with your dogs? It can be helpful to sit down and write your thoughts down. It is amazing how much we forget and how time gets away with us after the down time of the holidays. I also think it is important to have and set goals, but be flexible in changing things rather than beating yourself up for things you didn’t get around to.

For me personally?  I will be working to build Show Dog Prep School and continue to spread good information on training, handling and living with show dogs. Happy New Year everyone and thank you for your support!

Categories: goals


Vicki Ronchette is the founder of Show Dog Prep School and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer. Vicki has been working with dogs professionally for over 30 years as a professional dog trainer and behavior consultant, groomer and veterinary assistant. She is the author of Positive Training for Show Dogs, From Shy to Showy and Ready? Set. SHOW! Vicki presents workshops and seminars all over the country on how training show dogs.