Well, here I sit on the train, heading for the city, for the second time in two days.  Life has been crazy of late – good crazy, but crazy non the less – and I’m feeling like a bad mom, leaving my crew like this two days in a row. 

Because of my crammed time-table, I am not able to train the way I would like, or had hoped to be able to do this winter.  Not so far anyway.  And as a result of always rushing, I have to make choices around working the dogs. 

For example, today I had to get food for the week, do my banking and a few other errands, pack and organize to be gone overnight, and leave by 3:15pm.  That meant skipping herding for the day (hopefully I’ll be back in time for tomorrow), but also skipping all training in general.  All I could do was cram in a one hour hike to tire the dogs out. 

That choice also meant skipping some important criteria for my training.  First, I walked all three together to the park, which meant all heeling training went out the window.  I just can’t get all three to heel together yet. They feed off each other’s energy too much, and for me to get them to all get in together for the two blocks to the fields would take the entire hour.  Which of course is what I should have done, but that would mean no exercise for them for the day. I figured giving then a good, hard run was going to leave them happiest, and so that was my choice for today.

Running the dogs together means letting a lot of other thing slide as well.  As I mentioned earlier (and will discuss more in subsequent entries) I took two ‘Say Yes’ workshops this week.  They were fantastic and well worth attending.  But they reminded me of just how much I let slide with my dogs.  To follow their methods to the letter, my understanding is that the dog would have very little unstructured time at all for the first three years.  There would be no ‘pack time’ to bark out the window or drag me to the park.  However, these people are professional trainers and make that their number one priority.  My dogs are a top priority in my life, but their formal training is not.  Training beyond basic manners and life and death obedience criteria is a hobby.  A serious hobby, but a hobby none the less.  I have to remind myself of this when I make the choice to let my criteria slide.  As long as my dogs are well fed, well exercised, happy and low stress, it doesn’t make me a bad mom to do so.