Saturday, October 15, 2011

Finding the Balance

Lately I've been thinking a lot about finding the balance between the time spent training and the time spent just enjoying activities with my dog. When I think back over my time with Jackson, it seems as though we've spent 95% of our time outside the home training for competitive obedience. I'm thinking now that's way out of balance.

Although I have tried to make training fun, a lot most of it has been  just plain 'work' and repetition. Probably not something he would choose to do, if he had a choice. So I started thinking, "What would Jackson enjoy doing?"  He doesn't like to play with balls or toys. He doesn't like to retrieve. He doesn't like to run and jump. However, I think I've found something he loves to do - sniffing and exploring new territory!  With that in mind - and being blessed with some gorgeous fall days here in Iowa - we have been going on walks and exploring some new parks in the area.

Jackson's "heaven"

I don't plan to do training on these excursions, however, I don't pass up a chance to reward him when he is in the 'reinforcement zone.' I find that he frequently checks in with me and falls into heel position on his own. I guess I could consider that 'choosing to work with me.'