I haven't been getting Lyra out to generalize her behaviors. Too busy these days.
I have a lot going on with training, seminars, writing a book, raising kids, and random things that I need to do. It's not unusual for me to work from morning till night, and I don't see a change in the near future.
But somehow...I had time to play on Facebook today. I had time to buy coffee beans. I even had time to sit down and work on this blog post. Being busy is a relative thing; I'm too busy to do things I don't really feel like doing but I find time to do things that I want to do, or that I understand are not optional (coffee beans are not optional).
Maybe "too busy" is a way to avoid some aspects of dog training that I don't enjoy. Maybe I like to stay in my familiar training area where Lyra can learn new stuff and be a star, because that's more fun than generalizing Lyra's work in the world where we may have minimal success. I always seem to find time for quick sessions at home, but rarely can I find that same time to do training that I don't enjoy as well. I'm too busy for that.
Lyra's primary need is to develop her focus to work in new places. I know that I should start this now, so that by the time we are ready to compete she will have had hundreds of opportunities to work and play in lots of new areas. I know that she needs to see dogs in the distance until they become a cue to focus on me. I know that she needs to see plenty of strangers until she loses her hope that they will come over and visit. I know that we need to practice going to new places until new places automatically cue her to check in and see if work is a possibility.
But it's not very rewarding when I could be here playing with my superstar. It's not fun to watch a dog gaze into the distance or sniff the ground. In public, I want to train and Lyra wants....to be a puppy. Lyra wants to do puppy things and have puppy interests. She does not want to focus on me when the world is calling; she wants to see new sights and meet new people.
How is it that I'm too busy to prepare my young dog for one of the most important aspects of competition?
Lyra could care less if she ever attends a dog show. But if I'm serious about competing with her, then I don't have the option of ignoring her training needs now and then complaining later when she's distracted or stressed in the ring. I need to train for a competition dog, not a trick dog that looks good in my yard. If we're going to do my sport, then I'm responsible for training what she needs to learn- no excuses.
I need to make time. Time to attend training classes, fun matches, and to work on the exercises I don't enjoy very much. Complaining about being too busy will lessen my guilt but it won't make me successful.
I did get Lyra out today; put her in the car when I went to buy my coffee. It added ten minutes to the trip; less time then I spent on Facebook. She did pretty well, which will help me stay motivated to try again tomorrow.
How about you? Has your instructor told you that you need to attend fun matches or work more in new locations? Practice around other dogs? Work on your weave entries or contacts? Play with your dog more? Did you make time or were you too busy?
Did you have time for Facebook today?