Now that my main showing season is coming to an end I have been able to come up with a game plan for the winter. My first project- take a break! Sometimes our dogs just need a vacation. It's difficult sometimes when things are going well, you don't want to take a day off or even when things are not going so well, we want to keep at it. For me, this was a great time to take a vacation with my young dog. Give him time to regroup and just be a dog. Whether he excels in the sport of agility or not (hopefully he will) he lives with me because he is a pet first and foremost.
In realizing that altho. Tugger has a great understanding of agility, I did not give him the prep and practice he needed before he started competing the last few months. It is well worth the wait to get the dogs out to matches, CPE shows before they make their debut. That may mean you miss a show close to home, but take it from me- your dog will thank you for it! I think that Tugger had many successes even with the failures. I saw things from him that I had worked to obtain and for that, I am grateful in my training. Now it's time to get him into regular classes.
It's sometimes difficult with our regular lives- family, work, school to set aside time to train our dogs. Altho. I have a busy schedule with my 9-5 and then teaching agility 4 days a week, I have arranged my schedule to accomodate classes for Tugger and give myself the time to build a relationship with him.
Just this week in his first day back to class he made some HUGE decisions. He's a social butterfly and after 1 maybe 2 failures, he had a huge its yer choice moment to stay with me. To watch the dog make that choice was so gratifying. Since his first day at class, he is showing me every time we go out that he just needed some guidance and now, he is proving to be an amazing partner. I am looking forward to the winter training time and getting back out there this spring.