Well that time of year is upon us ... the time of year when I give my guys downtime. I try to give them 2 - 3 big breaks a year. This big break will be 6 weeks off Agility training. I know when this time is coming ...
I might need a break if:
- If I start to train for the sake of training, and if I don't feel I am training anything specific. It is hard when we have Arena time, to just want to go and play around "do little things" - but really is it a benefit? Is it making them better, or me a better handler for them?
- If I end a training session and haven't gained or learned anything - I need to have a break.
- I feel my dogs have been working more than having off days
- If I have big events coming up and me and the dogs need some time to refocus and refresh
- If I feel I am losing desire ... I don't want that to rub off on the dogs in any venue we take part in, I need to give them my 150% all the time - and can anyone really do that 365 days a year?
Off time of Agility doesn't mean we become couch potatoes and do nothing. It is really a time to forget about "that other world" and spend time doing other things - maybe learn a new trick or two, refresh some other skills. Also, making sure their bodies have some recovery time from the various impacts of the sport and keeping fit. Keeping up on all of our conditioning (that includes me!) - Long walks, coulee runs, Jogging (me & the dogs) Treadmill (mostly the dogs and a little bit for me - I work while they exercise :)), strength-training (peanut ball, pods, body resistance - active stretching). They get their weekly massages - now a little deeper if they need it, and so I can find any potential areas that might need more attention (clearly from the above photo - they hate it) This is just what I do for me and my dogs - and it seems to really work for us.
Gyp is also on a 6 week break from Therapy work - again I think she needs a break from it - it's not something that is physically hard, but I do think it is mentally draining on her - she sleeps like a baby after her visits.
I am looking forward to 2012! 2011 started out a little rough, but it turned out to be a pretty great year.