Friday, July 16, 2010


I've read a few blog posts in the past few months talking about balance. Some people are trying to find the perfect balance in their lives of dog related things versus non-dog related things. Others are trying to find the balance between competing and not competing. Or even a balance between over training and training the "right" amount. It's a topic that has sparked a lot of thought in my own mind and I'm going to just kind of ramble on a bit in this post while I sort of think things out loud (and I definitely welcome comments on this because the people who read this blog have given me some really great insight on a plethora of things in the past!)

With regards to finding a balance between dog and non-dog related things, I honestly think that this depends a whole lot on the people that we surround ourselves with and the people that try to influence us. I think that I'm rather fortunate in that I don't have a lot of nay sayers around me who give out those little verbal digs that imply that I'm "too into my dogs." I do have friends who aren't in to all the stuff that I do that will occasionally give me a hard time, but that's usually when I'm joking about the subject, so they're basically joining in. That doesn't happen too often and there's no malice behind it. I do have a husband who isn't into the dog activities really at all who is pretty laid back about the whole dog competition and training thing. Though I do think that some of his friends can give him a hard time about things and that's when it will bother him. As long as I do reserve time for him, he's pretty understanding. In a nut shell, I don't feel as though I'm out of balance with regards to the activities that I choose to spend my time on. I'm doing what I love and shouldn't we all be spending our time doing that?

The balance between competing and not competing is also an area where I don't feel out of balance in. Financially, I can't be training and trialing two dogs in various different disciplines, in a variety of venues, every single weekend. The costs are too high and I have to work within a budget. On occasion I would like to be out competing more than I am, but I also know that I would completely burn myself out if I really was competing more than two or three weekends a month. Two weekends is a pretty good amount, and that's kind of what I've been planning around. Occasionally I like to set goals for myself and the dogs and that's when I MIGHT ramp up the trialing, but that's not often. So I feel like I've found a good balance there.

The balance between over training and the "right" amount of training is something right now that I'm toying with. My training with the dogs has taken some ups and downs more recently due to various illnesses and injuries that have limited what I can do with each dog. It's not the worst thing in the world. It's given me time to sit back and assess what I'm doing and what's best for the dogs. Lately, the dogs days have been pretty structured with a plethora of training. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but their days have been lacking in time spent just being dogs. Time off leash where they can do whatever and I'm not assessing or structuring their every move. I really feel strongly that they need this time and I think that I need this kind of time with them as well. I've mentioned previously that I'm trying to set up a training schedule for the upcoming week on Sundays. This schedule isn't just for training, but also for their cardiovascular exercise and just fun activities. That is becoming more of a priority. I want my dogs to be well rounded, happy, and healthy. And now that they're both back to mostly normal, I can definitely start working our fun off leash sessions back in!

When it comes to working the fun back in to our schedule I'm not just talking about our little off leash jaunts, but I really want to work back in things that we can all enjoy. There are some pretty fun little road races in the area that are dog friendly that we're going to do this summer. I've already sent in our registration for one in August that Adam is actually going to do with us! We're also going to be going camping twice this summer! These are the fun little things that have been sorely lacking in our "schedule," and I'm actually doing something about that. I think that it will help to not only refresh the dogs, but me as well.

On that refreshing note, I took the dogs out for a fun walk last night and took them to one of the wheat fields near our house for some off leash time. It's the first that Bess has had and it was a pretty good area to let her off in. Here are some of the pictures that I took!


houndstooth said...

I think that those around you will generally let you know when you're out of balance. It seems to come much easier to some people than to others, as well!

Erin and Co. said...

LOL that is something I've been contemplating as well..more so if I'm not giving my dogs and myself enough structure, or if I'm really putting too much time into my dogs. Its a hard balance for sure!

Sam said...

My boyfriend is really good about letting me know when I'm "balanced," especially when it comes to Marge. He is totally honest with me when he tells me if he thinks I'm doing too much with her or too little. He has been the driving force behind many of our trials, and also the person who told us "no" when something isn't going to work out for her.

I think my life is a little bit lopsided right now for sure, because I have been doing SO much with animals - teaching a class at the club, training Marge in two classes, pet sitting, etc. But I'm enjoying it, and hey, isn't that what the summer is for? ;)

Chianti's Mom said...

Balance... good topic! I'm training for a lot of sports with my dog, but I find that I do it in blocks so I'm not too overwhelmed. Right now it's Tracking, Obedience & Agility in that order. Rally is part of Obedience, and DockDogs and Freestyle are on the back burner temporarily. I have overwhelmed moments, if I start thinking too much about long term goals instead of the journey and the short term ones, but I get over it ;) The main thing is, do what is fun for your and the dogs :) I try not to neglect hubby, 'cause I'd like him to stay in my life, but so far the dog stuff hasn't been a problem... The benefit of all of those sports is, often if one is at a challenging phase, another is at a really good phase. If I did only one sport the challenging phases would be more frustrating!

andrea said...

I'm obsessive by nature and coming back to agility after pretty much a two year break (not in training bt in trials) I'm trying really hard to set boundaries. I like the rest of my life too - so have set some time and money restrictions- so far that's helping me stay balanced :)