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.