I’m having a bit of a writer’s block currently: I’m feeling that my posts are – and drafts – are revolving around just few subjects. Which I have covered already pretty well, only tweaking and clarifying the older posts regularily.
I suppose this happens even when you’re living, exercising and/or training dog’s, too: you get railroaded into certain routines without noticing how simple and predictable your routines become. It’s food in the morning, walkies at noon, food in the evening, with ‘scheduled’ training in between.
Howabout the training? Unles you are very meticulous and plan your trainings beforehand (or have a training diary), you are bound to end up doing the same kind of strength, speed and stamina trainings over and over. And most probably in the same place, so the dogs will learn what happens where and when. The curses of organized training system.
As I have stated time and again, I don’t believe in rigorous training programs as such: free movement and roaming is what I put my emphasis on. For IW’s this works pretty well, especially in a pack like ours: two youngsters keep the older ones on the move and active. I can imagine this proves to be difficult if there is just one dog though: she may well become so dependant on the vincinity of the pack (aka owner/handler) that she will not even sprint for the occasional ‘prey’.
The pitfall of routines is also dangerous in the sense of training: the body, whether human or dog, will get accustomed to repeated exercise. Accustomed to certain strain. The training which gave excellent results in the beginning will soon become just an upkeep level strain. There has to be changes in the pace, hardness, strain and lenght of the training for it to become constantly rewarding. This can be achieved with adding some hill sprinting between two people in the woods, by adding some longer jogging sessions (yes, to really train a dog you have to be fit yourself… :P) or to have a pull or two for the sprint/speed training.
But the routines should be avoided in training. They should be enforced in other aspects of life: feeding times, rest times, obedience and play time. The routines should be time based, not exercise based. This is my philosophy, anyhow.
Currently I have to think about these training issues, because of our Ness’ paw: it’s healing nicely after a severe cut almost through one toe (took 6 stitches…), but the time between today and the European Championships is way too short to get him into prime condition. Without rigorous dedication and training.
Both of which I resent in this hobby, because for me the dog should enjoy it’s life, not be a tool for my personal craving for recognition.
But I cannot let a dog with no fitness, endurance or health to compete in such a competition, so I’m bound to have some sort of training schedule at least in my mind. Because of this, I’m off to the drawing board.
My jolly, how many sentences started with B… 😛