Sirius Training, Serious Fun!
Sirius Training, Serious Fun!

The drawbacks to being a dog trainer…

Although I am absolutely LOVING all the photos being submitted to my “Tongues and Chompers and Drool, OH MY!” Contest, I must say I have been feeling a bit down about myself as a pet parent to Shayne and Rio.

January and February brought a huge influx of private students and a bit of a crazy schedule with classes. I’m already booking into March and yesterday was only the second day I had off in February (not including my daily dog-walking clients). These are fantastic things personally because I do need to make enough money to survive and to pay down my student loans but they’ve also made it difficult to really have the quality time with my dogs that I would like.

My schedule is just all over the place–other than my evening classes, there is just no consistency to create a schedule or a plan to get to do all the things I need to do (not even want to do). I try to fill in report writing, blog writing, record keeping, lesson planning, and business busy-work during the down-times during my day (though it never seems to be enough). I have a really hard time fitting meaningful experiences with my dogs into my days. I can take them to the farm for an hour or two so they can run and sniff and burn off some energy…but I’m not really there with them. I’m thinking about the things I need to do, the classes I need to prepare for or the private client who is struggling.

Last week I brought Rio to an orientation and I felt a bit disconnected with him. He’s normally a rockstar during orientations and tolerates my “don’t do this” handling but there was something really different in his body language this time around. I got to thinking about it and, I dont’ remember the last time we had a meaningful interaction–I’m talking about serious bonding time. I’ve been so busy and scatter-brained in my work life that I haven’t been able to make time for being with my dogs in a meaningful manner. Yes I’m home with them a lot during the day, yes we go to the farm regularly, yes they tag along with me regularly during my daily dog walks… but I am distracted by other things and not really with them.

It’s been over 9 months since either dog was enrolled in a class. This is something I really want to fix. Honestly I don’t care what type of class–rally, agility, flyball, basic obedience, even freestyle dancing. So I spent a bulk of tonight searching local training facilities for some type of class that would fit into my schedule. Well, not surprisingly I haven’t been able to find many classes that fit into my schedule. I have a few emails to send in the next few days to inquire but I’m not sure I’ll be able to even TAKE any of these classes.

The old phrase “the cobbler’s child goes barefoot” definitely rings true for this dog trainer’s dogs. I’m not entirely sure how to remedy the situation yet (I mean, I need to keep the business going) but I know it has to be fixed… I really feel like there’s been this distancing between Rio and I particularly (just to clarify this isn’t a total regression into being strangers and most people may not even notice the shift… but it’s a small difference that I definitely notice and want to change). I think getting both of them into classes will really fix things because it forces me to make sure that I’m present when we spend time together. All the snuggles in the world can’t replace a really nice working bond for these two worker dogs.

3 Comments
  1. I can only imagine hard hard it must be for you to find the time when it’s so difficult for me as well. I am constantly amazed by my trainer who not only runs multiple classes and dog walking sessions but also regularly trains and trials several dogs and also shows her Borzoi in conformation. I swear she never sleeps!

  2. Aww, that sucks. I kind of thought that working with dogs for a living would mean that you’d be able to commit so much time to your own, but it makes more sense for the opposite to be true. Plus, who has the energy to come home from work and do the same work?
    On another topic, “Tag, you’re it!” check out the questions here: http://goneforawalk.wordpress.com/2012/02/23/im-it/ , though it sounds like you might have more important things to do with your time for the next while, so no pressure 🙂

  3. 🙁 I’m glad you’ve been busy but sad to hear you’ve been a bit overwhelmed and haven’t had the time to spend with your guys. That’s one of the many reasons I have been hesitant to consider dog training as a full-time profession.

    I hope you’re able to schedule in some time with your guys soon. But also that business keeps on coming in. 😀

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