Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Mandatory Date Night

Hello lovelies!  To whomever is still tuning in, thanks for still hanging in there!

Hmmmm...what to update on.  I've got a few things and then I'll get to the title of this post.  The french bulldog national specialty was at the end of October and Ruthie and I had our very first time in the ring!  Considering that I didn't have her physically conditioned as well as I would have liked and had been seriously slacking on the training the past few months, she did REALLY well!  She qualified in both Beginner Novice and Rally Novice! :0)  I have to say that she is the most enjoyable of my dogs to take into the ring right now.  Heffner is concerned about the other dogs, and I in turn am concerned about that.  Bess either shuts down on me in the obedience ring or she stresses up in the agility ring.  Ruthie just takes it all in stride and does her thing.  Due to work constraints I was only able to attend one day of the national, but that day was quite full and a ton of fun.  I have to admit that I am seriously considering a frenchie puppy.  I have no idea on the timing or anything like that, but it's something that I have been thinking more and more about lately.  I'm still on the list for a dane puppy, don't get me wrong there.  But seriously, a frenchie puppy??!!  Hard to resist!

In other performance related news, I have made the decision to pretty much retire Heffner from agility.  This was going to be his last year regardless, but I decided that I want to retire him while we were still ahead.  He's still very sound and not having any age related or other issues and I'd like to keep it that way.  He'll be 7 in January and I think it's just time.  Plus, I have to admit that dealing with the reactivity at trials was really just stressing me out and wearing me down.  It's really hard to be in an environment where every single second that he's out of his crate I have to have my full concentration on him and what's going on around us.  It's very draining and I know that it was also hard on him.

I am getting back into the agility ring with Bess this month.  Actually next week I have her entered on one day of the AKC agility trial.  We haven't done much in the way of training, but her over all conditioning is where I want it to be.  The aspect of trialing with her that I still have a difficult time gauging is her stress level in the ring.  We could either start off with a decent run or she could take off and rip around the ring.  I'm expecting her to take off, but will hope that we can still get something out of that first run.  We'll see!

And now to the actual intended topic of this post.  Mandatory date night!lol  I know it sounds weird and it's not quite what you think it is.;0) Since Adam and I split and I've been in my own house, I've been trying to find a balance with a lot of things.  Trying to find time for everything.  I really thought that it wouldn't take me as long as it has, but apparently some things will just take as long as they take.  In my "quest" to find the right balance, I ended up over doing a lot of things and just generally burning myself out.  Not getting even close to enough sleep because there just weren't enough hours in the day to fit everything in.  And just running myself ragged in general.  In the process, I started feeling like I wasn't spending enough quality time with my dogs.  Yes they were getting out for regular exercise and we were doing whatever training we were doing, but I was neglecting those soft, sweet moments where we would just simply cuddle.  Those moments where I wasn't preoccupied with what I was trying to fit in on what days, trying to figure out how to pencil everything in.  I had stopped enjoying my dogs for the individuals that they are and was just doing what I felt I needed to to meet their basic needs.  That made me feel horrible.  Even more so when I thought about the fact that I am really they're only outlet for human contact.  Yes I have friends over who also interact with the dogs, but it's not the same.  So I decide to do something about it and instituted a mandatory date night with my dogs! :0)

The concept is really quite simple and I've found that it really helps to rejuvenate me in general.  I take the dogs out for their respective exercise, feed them, and get them all settled in.  Then I cook myself a lovely dinner, which usually involves all three hanging around the kitchen to see what I'm up to.  Depending on what I'm cooking, I'll give them all little tidbits as I'm going along.  Sort of pretending that they're helping me with dinner. ;0) Once dinner is ready, we all curl up on the couch, I eat my dinner, and we watch a movie or whatever.  I don't take any phone calls.  I don't do any texting.  I don't answer any emails.  My phone is pretty much MIA.  All four of us just cuddle up on the couch, relaxing, and enjoying each others company. 

Now I will admit that I feel a little "crazy dog lady" admitting that, but considering how awesome those date nights are for me, I don't really care.  It was a real wake up call how badly I needed to just chill out savor these moments.  I can't quite explain it, but it's one of those great, utterly peaceful moments that keep me going throughout the subsequent days.

Since my schedule (both work and otherwise) can be a little all over the place, I don't have a set week night reserved for this, but I do make sure to fit one in per week.  It's pretty fabulous and I highly recommend it!;0)