Master and I have been having ongoing talks about a certain topic for the past few weeks.
It is my dogs/sheep/sheepherding/dog trialing hobby.
I think I have mentioned this a few times in passing, but not gone into any in-depth discussion.
For the past almost 20 years I have this hobby, really an obsession, of training dogs for sheepdog trials.
Evidently I have trouble holding more than one obsession in mind at a time, because ever since I became a slave and we got involved in BDSM I have been cutting back on the dog activities. But animals are not something you can put down like basket making or knitting. Even when you lose the driving obsession to compete with them, which takes considerable expenditures of time, energy and money, the dogs are still there demanding care, attention and training (a high energy working breed just does not do well if they have to find their own entertainment).
Anyway, other than putting a restriction on how much I could spend a few years ago, he hadn't discouraged me at all. There is no actual reason I can't both be a slave and continue to train and trial dogs. So we talked about why I wasn't training anymore, and why I hadn't been to any trials except as a judge in a very long time. Some main reasons came out :
1. Money- I didn't want to spend it on things that did not directly benefit us/our time together/him.
2. Time- I didn't want to be away from him for several or many weekends a year. When I was actively campaigning for Stockdog Finals- one has to earn points to get in- this took A LOT of time and money, in travel, entry fees and hotels. There really are no trials that are local to us.
3. Relative importance- When I have things I HAVE to do, according to his rules, I, of course, put priority on those. The training gets pushed off and just not done, because I don't really want to do it, and I don't have to do it, so I don't. I do have the time; I just don't have the motivation.
He told me that he didn't want me to give up my hobby for him, or for any of those reasons. We may not have the money for me to trial a lot right now, but I can always train, and then I'd be able to trial if we do have more money later.
I told him about my problems with self motivation, and he said he'd consider making out a schedule, which I would then be required to follow.
A few days later, after he'd had a chance to consider what he wanted, he wrote down a schedule for me, putting down some extra chores that he wants done weekly, as well as days that are marked for exercise (for me) and for herding with the dogs.
I'm good at following orders :), so I have been sticking to his schedule since then. Thursday was the holiday, so he told me to move my exercise day to Friday instead this week.
If for any reason I can't follow it I have to email or call him and let him know right away (deep snow or ice might be a reason).
I have found that I still do enjoy training the dogs, even though sometimes getting started involves an act of will. Once I get out there I have a good time. The dogs love it too. I enjoy it even more knowing that Master requires it, that it is not just some whim of mine that may be taking away from the time I devote to things he wants me to do. I just feel better all around knowing that it IS something he wants me to do, and he wants it enough that he has made it mandatory.
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