I feel like my life is starting to spin out of control these days. This is typical for me at this time of year, or specifically, at this time of the semester. My workload is growing at a rate much faster than I can keep up with it and as a result, I start to feel increasingly overwhelmed. Add to what could easily be a 10-12 hour work day (7 days a week) taking care of the dogs and trying to live as locally and sustainably as possible – which entails, among other things, sourcing my food locally and cooking everything from scratch, including bread and yogurt – and time for sleep starts to vanish.
The last couple of days I’ve been feeling increasingly tired. My homeopath thinks that it is just an aggravation of my symptoms caused by taking too high a dose of the remedy she prescribed. I hope that’s what it is, but I suspect more likely it’s just me falling apart. I am not able to sustain this kind of a schedule for any length of time without having a big flare up of my chronic fatigue. This is why I am being treated homeopathically in the first place! Last semester I took an adrenal support herbal remedy which worked like a charm, but it’s not something you are supposed to take for more than around 6 months. I stopped taking it over Christmas and decided to once again try homeopathy. I would expect to feel this way without having ever taken the remedy, so I am not so sure what’s going on is as a result of it. Time will tell I guess!
So this morning I was running a bit late – pretty much as usual these days – while trying to get to my agility class. I was all set to walk out the door and would have been on time except as I pulled my treat bag out of the fridge, I knocked a large glass bowl containing rising bread dough off the shelf. It hit the floor and exploded in a million pieces. I couldn’t leave it there because of the cats, so had to spend some time cleaning it up as best as possible for the short term.
This meant I was late for agility, which did not make my instructor happy. She was sick and not happy to be standing out in the freezing cold in the first place, and then I was late. And it wasn’t the first time. So she told me off.
It’s interesting how we expect our dogs to be able to take all sorts of corrections and keep going. Being briefly scolded this morning not only put me off kilter in the moment, it threw me off for pretty much the whole day! I had a lot of trouble concentrating throughout the entire lesson, and felt like crap for much of the rest of the morning. Once home, I felt better but was constantly dropping things left and right – including a whole dozen eggs!
Now, I was off balance right from the start today, so my reaction was worse than it would be at other times. But I have to say I was empathizing with my dog during our class. At one point we used a mild correction to try and stop a behaviour I have been unsuccessful in extinguishing using other approaches. The correction simply consisted of shooing her off a piece of equipment when she mounted it incorrectly, but after doing it twice, Hannah was ready to call it quits for the day. Now, she doesn’t quit (and neither do I) but she looses her sparkle while she works. And she starts to make mistakes, even with simple things that she usually does well.
Sound familiar? Good thing she wasn’t trying to carry a dozen eggs. Likely she would have dropped them too.
I think dogs are, in general, much better than the average person at getting over being scolded, but we really need to be aware of how corrections – no matter how mild or well meaning – can affect their ability, and their enjoyment of what we are doing with them. All of mine will loose enthusiasm quickly when they are corrected, or even if they just start to fail and are not sure how to fix things. Keeping training fun, positive and heavily rewarding really is important for this sport. For both dog and handler.
As for me, I am going to try and go to bed earlier, although this means getting less work done. I really should work another 3-4 hours tonight but instead am going to hit the hay. I still feel quite run down and deeply tired, and there is no end in sight to work. It’s going to pretty much be seven days a week at least until the end of May. I will obviously have to take a day or two off at some point, or I’m going to burn out. In the meantime, hopefully my homeopath will help me carry on.