The Straw That Broke the Camels Back

This little graphic is a very good representation of me and how it feels to have my battery drained.  I love teaching seminars, going to trials, seeing my friends, laughing, and having a great time. But I pay the price for that with needing alone time. Time to recharge and give my mental space a break. 

For me recharging usually involves being alone and watching some of my favorite tv shows, playing video games (I used to play World of Warcraft a lot for this reason, but not as much anymore) or lately knitting/crocheting and creating content for my Patreon group.

Being alone is usually the key here. Time and space to just let my mind rest and reset.  If I can’t be alone, like if Jimmy is here, I usually go for a drive. Even just a drive to the “big” town which is about 45 mins away helps. I will listen to my music and just drive alone, usually to the pet store or the craft store, get a little something for myself or my dogs and head home. That can definitely help with the recharge. 

So what happens if I don’t? 

Well that is what is currently happening right now. I haven’t had a chance to reset and I feel like I am nearing a breaking point.  

Last week was my virtual seminar, which was fantastic! I loved every minute of it! But during the sessions I am “on” while teaching and in-between I was usually on my computer answering questions from participants.  So my brain was always in this “engaged” mode. 

The same day the seminar ended, my brother and niece came to stay a few days. Which again, Fantastic! I love being around them, hanging out and having a great time. We spent a whole day just playing in the sand dunes and having a great time by the river.  

I knew I was going to be drained after the seminar, and after having a weekend of company, but I wasn’t too worried, I knew I had multiple days of alone time while jimmy worked out in the shop to recharge the next week. 

And then the Wifi went down. 

And yes, I 100% know how that sounds. I sound like a whiney little girl who is upset I can’t use the interwebs.  But what it meant was I couldn’t zone out to my tv shows, and what it also meant was a double in my work load. With no internet I couldn’t do review videos for my Patreon group, which meant writing all the reviews out, not a biggie, but definitely more work. It also meant going to town into a coffee shop to do anything online, which I need to do for my NADAC work as well as my personal training group. So that means crowded place, hard to focus for work, and more drain. 

So as pressure and stress began to build with no outlet I became short tempered, irritable, and just plain whiney. 

I ended up snapping at Jimmy, multiple times. And little things that should have been no issue, became huge issues that I couldn’t even begin to deal with. 

So how does this translate to dogs?  Dogs can experience the exact same thing. With more and more things draining their battery and no recharge, they can act out, be depressed, and snap. 

Wall-E, my whippet mix, is a perfect example of this. He is the friendliest dog I have ever owned, there is not a human or dog that isn’t Wall-E’s best friend. He loves to play and visiting people makes his whole day.  

But for as social as he is, if he doesn’t recharge his battery he becomes “weird” and needy.  Things that don’t bother him do, and he is just “off”. 

He has almost the same recharge needs as me, a quiet place where he can just chill. His main need to recharge is snuggling with either Jimmy or I, and just some down time. 

Now if I were to try and run him when his battery is low?  I get a dog who can’t give me any distance on a sequence, who can’t focus for the weave poles, and is in general just “off”.  

If I feel this happening at a trial, his battery draining, I will try to take him out for a long walk as far away from everything as I can. Or make sure his crate is covered and give him some sort of chewy to focus on.  But most important, I give him the benefit of the doubt during our runs.  If he is not feeling himself, I pick up the slack and help him through.  I also try very hard to let him recharge that night, hopefully a quiet hotel room and snuggles will help. 

Recharging looks different for every dog, for mine its quiet, for yours it might be playing ball, or going for a walk, a chewy, or maybe doing tricks and brain puzzles. 

Find what drains your dog, so you know when it’s happening, and more importantly, find what recharges them. 


We will be discussing various methods of decompression and what it can look like in the Fluid Motion Patreon group this month, come join us at

Published by Amanda Nelson

Amanda Nelson is well known for her distance handling skills, and she has been traveling the country and teaching seminars for 20+ years. She has traveled around the world to Australia, Japan, Netherlands, England, Switzerland and the Philippines teaching all levels of agility, with nearly all dog breeds. Amanda focuses on teaching teamwork as well as how to create a strong connection between dog and handler. She works with all styles of handling, from running with your dog to distance handling. Amanda tailors each training session, large or small, to the dog and handler to help bring out the best in the team. Her training techniques consist of a large amounts of targeting, food rewards, and toy rewards. Creating a fun learning environment for the dog encourages a fast, fun, and motivated dog in the agility ring. Amanda uses a combination of Upper Body Cues, Lower Body Cues, and Verbal Cues. This system was derived from the natural cues that most dogs read and pick up quickly. Handlers are taught how to use all of these cues, together, to create a customized handling system that can be tailored to their unique dog. All of these techniques have resulted in Amanda earning numerous titles with her dogs including the MOD SQUAD award, Purple Achievement Cup, and over 40 NADAC Championship titles. She has won the NADAC Championships multiple times, including winning the Super Stakes and Starter Stakes division. She has also been Top Bonus Dog, Top Purple Dog, and Top Dog of the Year several times in NADAC.

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