Arnie here: Mom broke the news to us today. We're all out of shape and need to start exercising and get on a diet. We've been down this road before. Every winter, when we spend way more time snoozing on the couch next to the woodstove, and way less time running around the yard, we get the "talk".
Mom explains that we're working dogs, and staying in shape helps when we run agility. She says it also prevents injury, and makes our times better. She tells us we can't be weekend athletes.
This means we'll get less kibble in our bowls. Not the end of the world, since we get treats, too, when we train. Gracie will be furious, since she lives to eat and NEVER thinks we have enough kibble in our bowls. But she'll have to deal with it. It means we'll play more in the house. Mom gets out the tug toys, and we take turns chasing it down the hall, running back, and playing tug, HARD. She says it helps us aerobically, and the tugging builds our back legs (better for jumping). We used to be able to do this as a group, but Gracie doesn't play nice. She attacks us when we run to the toy, grabs the toy every time, and tries to bite us if we come near it. So we have separate play time now. It also means we go out to the yard and run over jumps. The jumps are already in the yard, because we were working on distance this fall. But when we exercise, we just run over the jumps, back and forth, building endurance. Gracie can do this all day, but I get distracted by birds and squirrels and things in the yard. I need a lot of cookies to remember to keep exercising.
It also means we get woken up a lot earlier, because mom gets up to exercise herself (she's part of the team, she tells us). I don't see her cutting back on the kibble, but she might be eating light at lunch?
It's the price we pay for being agility dogs. We have to do the work, but we also spend a lot of time training and playing. We get to go to class, and spend weekends playing on the equipment at trials. It's important to remember this when the fire is really cozy and we'd rather be hanging out on the coach. But the trade off is worth it.