Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Building Relationships and Living Life

This is part of the dog agility blog event day "Outside the Ring",  the non-agility training and activities we do to help our dogs and ourselves when we do enter the agility ring.

This is a hard topic for me!  I don't do much outside the agility ring or practice field that is explicitly in the name of agility to be honest.  Perhaps I spend a little bit of time watching video, reading blogs, and generally feeding my obsession of agility.  In general we just live life.  But it is how we live life that benefits us in the ring. And I do believe that all of these activities benefit us in the ring.

I do these things with my dogs, not in the name of agility, but because this is why I own dogs.  I just love spending time with them. 

My dogs and I run probably 4 times per week or we hike on weekends. I generally trail run so that all the dogs can go (without a leash), so that they can be dogs, chase prairie dogs, chase each other, run up hills, go splash in puddles, swim in the lake, and roll in the mud.  It makes me smile to watch them enjoying themselves. Before my pups can go on runs with the pack they must have safety skills.  They must know how to lie down at a distance, stay while I run ahead (is the coast clear?), keep me in their site, not greet if someone isn't ready for that, and recall to stay away from coyotes just to name a few skills used daily.

Benefits to agility: cardiovascular workout, build muscle and speed, cross-training, stress relief, relationship building, body awareness, self-control, recalls, and responsibility

Swimming in Rivers

Running in Fields

Running in Rocks

We roll around on the floor and play!  It makes me smile!

Benefits to agility: Stress relief, building relationships and knowing how to play with each other.

We have a great patio and the spring, summer, fall mornings are lovely in Colorado.   Frequently, we play fetch while I drink my morning coffee.  To keep order in the chaos, I call out the name of the dog that is allowed to chase the toy, the others can move around, they just can't steal the toy.

Benefits to agility: Cross-training, building toy drive, finding the toy, self-control, relationship building and the obvious, knowing their name :)

We spend time with my family and friends.  The dogs get used to babies, kids, other dogs, the elderly, other dog's houses.  When we camp they know how to stay close, play with all sorts of people, recall off of wild animals, sleep in strange places (4 dogs in a backpacking tent makes some close quarters).  They get the opportunity to climb on rocks, swim in lakes, and run up hills.

Benefits to agility:  Well socialized, body awareness, self-control, can be respectful of each others space, they love kids and are respectful of the elderly.

Playing in the snow

My husband and I lead an active life.  Our active lifestyle gives them the cross-training and diverse physical exercise to have a very sound mind and body.

So I guess in short, my dogs are built into my life.  Many of the skills that they need in order to live successfully in my pack are also basic skills that they must know for agility.