With November half over and Christmas approaching I'm internally reviewing 2010 and planning for 2011. It won't be long until white flakes hit and stick in great numbers.
For me, training in 2010 has been amazing. And frustrating. And extremely rewarding. And irritatingly bang-your-head-here hard. Every year I glean more experience and catch a glimpse of how much I still have to learn. I'm thankful for my friends, helpers and my dogs.
There are a lot of exercises to teach a Schutzhund dog and it's easy to ask too much of them, especially with young dogs. Winter is a perfect time to let their training percolate. What they've learned in 2010 will not be forgotten but eagerly recalled once training starts again. Time is our friend. Even if we love our job we never refuse a vacation.
Play = Work = Play, but even play can slip into a monotonous routine. As humans we often fall into patterns without realizing it. We get bored and I truly believe our dogs do too if we are not careful to add variety to our training and be thoughtful in our rewards. A great solution can be as simple as switching gears and doing something different, even for a little while. Take the pack out to free-play in the snow. Cross train. Our Canadian winters give us a natural break for introspection - to analyze ourselves, our dog and our goals.
That's what I plan to do very soon. Along with some good old hibernation. Then watch out 2011, I'll be ready for you!