More and more often the sentence is raised in a conversation : “Julia you dedicate so much time for Jet’s training, how it will be when you (for whatever reason) will not have that much free-time for her? Will she not feel neglected?”
I have got this for so many times recently that I started thinking. Why people ask this and what the answer is. I guess there are two parts of the question: in fact how much time I spend with dogtraining, the other one is how I will find time if my current life schedule changes? Without wanting to be very structured with the answers, I have come up with the followings:
Puppy conserns – Raising a young dog does take a lot of time. It does not really matter what breed you chose living wiht a puppy will always require more attention and time than having a mature dog around. Anyone who wants to raise a healthy and happy dog knows that a puppy needs more walks, more feeding time, more play and interaction with his canine and human friends than an adult dog. Maybe this sentence in its form is not even true. It only seems that a puppy needs more of everything than adult dogs, but in fact he needs the same amount of everything but in little pieces. You don’t walk hours with a few weeks old puppy but take him out many times for short walks. You don’t take him immediatelly to an obedience class to be trained long but take some titbits at home and practice with him little things shortly, few times a day etc… And yes, tiny things add up to a lot , that’s why it may seem you spend your “whole”day with your dog. As time passes and the puppy grows it always gets better, the activities with him do not brake you time into bits and pieces. As Jet will soon become one year old, we can say that puppyhood is over and activites can be done in bigger time-block a day.
Lifestyle aspects – well, there is crowd of people who raise the question above. Lots of them do not have dog at all, or have a companion dog that does not really require more in his life than daily interaction with his owner, some food, water and a nice place to rest. These dogs are perfectly happy with being around their owner, and if they are taken out for a longer than usual walk it keeps them satisfied for days. These “couch-style” people who live their life sitting on a sofa staring at the latest reality show in the telly or living with a “home-decor-dog” and feeling the joy of life when that dog moves himself from one corner to an other has no idea about leading an active life not to mention the life with an active dog. They have never felt the satisfaction after a good workout, and don’t know the feeling of spending long hours outdoor. And this thing has nothing to do with dogs. We are different, some of us likes couches, some of us likes to get up and move. I belong to the latest mentioned group, I get out and move myslef regardless I have a dog or not. I love being in the nature, I love animals and plants, I love observing how nature changes in different seasons, I love the feeling of satisfaction that follows an accomplished a hiking tour and I enjoy the peace and balance what I feel just by being outdoor.
I always had a very active life regardless of having a dog or not. Our life-situation at the moment supports this better than ever, as here in the postcard-like Heiligenblut it takes not more than 4 minutes to reach the nearest forest therefore it is our of question that I go out every day for a good walk. Not incidentally , these walks offer even greater fun with a doggy partner to take. I think if you are that kind of girl who loves to go outdoor, no matter what you will always do that. The “obligation” of taking the dog out is just a good reason to really always go out even if you are not in the mood, or the weather is not so ideal.
Doing a dog sport – If you feel passion, motivation to do something you will always find time for that. I always found amazing how dogs can learn and develop I love to see how they become better and more confident in the activity they do. When you work with a dog, your relationship deepens and you stop being an owner you become a leader and partner for the dog in the play. For the most people it is not imaginable how strong bond can born between dog and human through working together and how much fun dog sport can provide for both parties. Above all this when you feel that you can be successful in something , when all the necessary conditions are together – as I feel now about Jet’s and my dogsport life – you are even more motivated to do that thing…
Basically , the answer for the “how much” is that I train Jet very little. Precisely , the time what we spend on the training field is little. But we take a lot of walk – which I would rather name working walks – where we practice tiny things of everything and we play and run a lot. Yes, our walks are not a silent, lazy stroll in the wood. It is full of fun and play, I use these opportunities to teach Jet basic things or to imrpove her performance where needed. A border collie needs variaty and challenge when working and walks are perfect opportunity to provide different environment and varied training. In a walk I tend to combine excercises from the different sports what Jet is trained for. For example some little tricks, then bits from agility, then practicing directions for sheepdog training, and a little obedience in between is quite usual practice. And of course there are training sessions where we practice a particular sport and I try to put the little things together. If I consider all this I can say I spend 2-3 hours daily with Jet from what there is only 30-40 minutes is actual dog training a day. The rest of the 2-3 hours goes with walks which I would probably do anyway (and later I will start running again using this time) . I also have to mention that Jet live with us in our flat, and this alone gives a lot of chance for short playing and training sessions throughout the day. But such thing, again comes naturally without any previous planning , it is just interaction with your dog that is part of the everyday life – but the dog can learn a lot from it.
The answer for the “how will you find time” question: life can create tricky situations all the time. Most probably there will be time when I have to redesign my current daily schedule but I am very sure that I will find time enough for Jet’s training. But the solution will come only when the need for change comes. The question here is not that if I am going to manage to find time or not, the question is when and how.
And what can I answer for those who ask these questions? First of all, I don’t think I have to answer. Still, if I want to… I will say everything will be sorted out in the right time, with a little help of the goodluck 😉