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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm not quite sure where i'm going with this, but hear me out as it's been something i've been mulling over this evening.

All their life my dogs have gone to training classes - obedience, agility and gundog - but they are no longer young dogs. The collies are coming up for 7 and Flynn is the youngest at 5.5 years. Recently i've had some unexpected things to pay out (car, vets bills etc) so their classes ceased temporarily which has given me time to think. I always thought that my dogs would be going to classes until they departed this earth but recent activities are kind of changing the way i'm thinking.

A dog gym has opened up local to me and they offer hydrotherapy. It's something I wanted to do previously to try and shift some weight off one of my dogs but I went on a waiting list and never heard anything back, I dont even think they made any note I was on the list. So, when this new place opened up I started going there. All my dogs go now and the place also has a visiting chiropractor which one of my dogs has had a session with (i'm not plugging this gym, honestly!)

At the age my dogs are, they know everything I need them to know, plus a whole lot more, they dont need to be learning to look left or right or stand on a chair or anything else that will never be of any use. However, now is probably a good time to start to concentrate on activities which are benefiting them in terms of longevity and general good health, and concentrating my efforts there. After all, I only have very limited finances and I need to decide what is going to benefit my lot the most.

Have any of you lot found that as your dogs age, your priorities with them change? I guess when they are young, it's all about training but when that is in place, it becomes about health and quality of life. I'm kind of in a bit of a pickle because I love going to training, the dogs love it and it's something they've always done, plus it's important to keep their socialising up and their brains working. On the other hand, i've noticed signs of them ageing and I have to remind myself they arent adolescents anymore and it's important to preserve their mobility, weight and health.

I'm also having a tough time deciding about vaccinations. It seems once I decide not to have them boostered, something comes up which panics me. Last year it was a pup at class which died of parvo, this year it's a friends dog which died of lepto. Flynn has poor skin, atopy and his 'funny turns' which I think are caused by heat exhaustion, I dont want to compromise their immune system by over vaccinating but neither do I want to put them at risk by not vaccinating. But this topic has been done to death, it's up to me to decide what I believe is best for them re boosters. It's just such a difficult thing to decide and the more I read about vaccs, the less I actually like them.

I dont really know the point of this thread, I guess I just wanted to sound it all out! I'm certainly giving myself a headache thinking about it all! But anyway, thoughts or opinions are welcomed!
 

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I know what you mean. Flynn has been going to training classes and I thought it was going to be for a few months just to get him used to dogs. However I have found loads of people have been going for years, some as long as seven!

Now I want him to accept dogs but I don't want the hassle of training classes all his life. Hydrotherapy is always a good thing for them, mine love it and it is good for weight loss and muscle tone.

Sometimes I think we can do too much for our dogs and with me I think in order to get Flynn right (dog wise) I need help getting me right. However hard I try I still find it impossible to stay calm at times and it makes my walks so depressing on and off. I would like to have a few courses of hypnotherapy to see if that helps me but I'm always spending money on the dogs and have nothing left for myself.

I think we all know that feeling! ;)
 
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My vet definitely thinks people over vaccinate BUT if you have insurance, some insist the vacs are up to date or your insurance is blown. Also they have to be up to date if you board at all. You can still socialise if you find people with dogs to walk with. You can still ask your dogs to problem solve, etc., but for fun, not competition.
 

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All the choices you have though- I'd love it if all that were available.
Perhaps you could alternate between Hydro and training , I know its not easy trying to afford the things for all the dogs as well.
 

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Could you do a monthly rotation, one month one goes to gundog, one goes to hydro, one goes to agility etc etc. The next month rotate, if you have got them all doing everything this could be a way for them all to continue, but save you money

I dont do any paid activities with mine, ive never felt the need for normal training classes and non are suitable for things like agility. We do work them, but this is free bar equipment until race season. Actually, if you're looking for a low cost sport look at canicross, all you need is a walking belt, lead and harness, you can do it anywhere and if you wanted to get more involved there are low cost events all around the country

As for vaccinations, none of mine get yearly vaccs anymore, they get puppy and first year then no more
 

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I dont vaccinate mine beyond initial boosters either. Im not a big fan of them and my lot are fairly low risk in that they dont like to mix with other dogs and dont like water or anywhere germy!).
Also I dont do classes, although I think it might help their confidence it just isnt feasable here. The local classes are either weekends(when I work) or evenings(too scary an area to go out after dark!:eek:). Although I dont really have breeds that feel the need to be working their brains much TBH!:)
 

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I have never gone to classes for several years, I don't see the need for that.
In my opinion a class is not so much for teaching the dog, but to teach the owner how to teach their dog. After a couple of classes I expect people to have learnt enough learing theory to use it themselves to teach their dog what they want it to know, even if it not something that has been taught in class.

With the dog I have now I went to puppy class (although I wasn't a real participant, since I also had the role of supporting instructor because the instructor was new; it was her first course and she wanted some support).

Since then I haven't gone to classes regularly, but we sometimes take a weekend course if there's something that interests me. In the summer we go to training camp for a week. This summer we trained tracking for a week, last summer it was search and the summer before that it was obedience for a whole week. Those classes are oriented towards competitions; that's why I go to them.

However, I don't think that a dog ever is "finished" and doesn't require any more training (but of course the need is greater with a young dog). I still train a lot, sometimes together with others in organised or semi-organised activities, but I don't pay for that.

I think it's a good idea to go to hydrotherapy and such, but I don't think that's something that has to been done every week. Keeping the dog in good physical shape is quite easy to do on your own, but hydrotherapy once a month or so would probably be good.

I wouldn't stop vaccinating even if the dog gets older. Some things are worse to get if the dog is a bit older. My dog has kennel cough right now, but she's only 3 and in really good shape so she can cope well, but an older dog would have a harder time to cope (not the age your dog's are, probably, but in a couple of years a relatively simple thing as kennel cough would probably be harder for them).
 

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From Malmum"Sometimes I think we can do too much for our dogs and with me I think in order to get Flynn right (dog wise) I need help getting me right. However hard I try I still find it impossible to stay calm at times and it makes my walks so depressing on and off. I would like to have a few courses of hypnotherapy to see if that helps me but I'm always spending money on the dogs and have nothing left for myself."

I have just read a book called "Understanding the Silent Communication of Dogs" by Rosie Lowry. Understanding the silent communication of dogs you can download a chapter to read from this link.
Some of her thoughts are quite difficult for me to get my head round but she does stress that dogs would not be in constant activity if they were feral. They might hunt and eat then sleep or sit and look round most of the day. Her theory is that dogs may or may not want to socialise, get hyped by agility, learn tricks and obedience and that if we watched them more carefully we might see that our efforts to make their lives fun and happy actually just makes some of them more anxious and reactive. Our lives too, are very full and anxiety provoking I guess. Maybe we should just spend time relaxing with our dogs instead of striving too much.

I spend a lot of time thinking "oh heck we should work on this or that", maybe days off are just ( if not more) important. I'm not just thinking of older dogs.
 

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I know what you mean. Flynn has been going to training classes and I thought it was going to be for a few months just to get him used to dogs. However I have found loads of people have been going for years, some as long as seven!
I have never gone to classes for several years, I don't see the need for that.
In my opinion a class is not so much for teaching the dog, but to teach the owner how to teach their dog. After a couple of classes I expect people to have learnt enough learing theory to use it themselves to teach their dog what they want it to know, even if it not something that has been taught in class.
I think it just depend what you're into. I enjoy the classes, I enjoy meeting the people and dogs so even though techically Rosie doesn't need to go to class, and Ringo doesn't need to go to agility, I enjoy spending time doing it.

As for the original question, I think if they are happy and active, you're doing the right thing - I'd choose activities that they enjoy the most so you have loads of fun together, rather than thinking what is best for them. Some of the happiest older dogs (and people) that I know are ones that have just kept doing the same things that they love and then they've retained the ability to do so for longer.
 

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I have never taken a dog to training classes, but then I only need them to have basic manners which I can teach them myself. I don't vaccinate after the first year either.

This gym sounds like a great idea and will certainly benefit your dogs more than training which they no longer need.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I have never taken a dog to training classes, but then I only need them to have basic manners which I can teach them myself. I don't vaccinate after the first year either.

This gym sounds like a great idea and will certainly benefit your dogs more than training which they no longer need.
Thanks for the replies everybody. The bit in bold above basically sums up what i've been thinking.

I keep up the training with my dogs, we can regularly be seen on the park doing heelwork, formal recalls, retrieves etc, and sometimes I take some equipment in the car and set it out on the park. However, in a class situation it's nice to get some feedback and get given some ideas about new things to try.

With the hydrotherapy they basically go on a 3 weekly basis as I can only afford to take one dog each week. I guess I was just rethinking priorities. I think dropping classes is almost definite but i'm going to keep my eyes open for various training days or weekends which I can attend with them because I dont want their life to be just about walks, especially having the working type breeds I have.
 
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