Sunday, January 24, 2010


We are tough, hardy people. I must keep reminding myself of that, as I trudge up the wet, sloppy path to the training building, shuffling across the ice. The building is unheated and has a dirt and sawdust footing, that leaves you blowing brown snot at the end of the day. The parking lot, after several days of thaw and rain, is a muddy mess so that when the dogs jump against you it leaves instant tattoos of pawprints on a previously clean jacket.

So why in the heck do we put ourselves through this? All for the sake of the sport of schuthzund, which is more reliable than the modern post office in it's "neither rain, nor sleet, or dead of night" attitude. Schutzhund must go on no matter the weather, and it is a sport of the outdoors. So the petty inconveniences we suffer to train indoors in January in Wisconsin fall by the wayside.

I would love to be able to park on a concrete pad and walk into a heated building with professional mats. But neither I nor my club members are independently wealthy and this is what we have available to us. Many clubs in Wisconsin stop training for the winter months, but in my opinion that leaves the dogs far behind in things they could be working on, or forces members to seek out other training which could be in conflict with what they need to know here.

This was our first training session of the 2010 season. Two new members joined us, along with only five regulars. Sometimes I wonder if new people are inspired or whether they are intimidated by what they see, and how far they have to go. Foundation is everything, and it takes a patient hand to accomplish, Without that, the house will fall when it is under pressure. The good news is that the two new members put up with the cold and the dirt and the ice. That is a good sign that they are made of the tough stuff this sport takes.