Unfortunately due to Ted’s recent bad experiences with other dogs, he has become quite reactive (we are getting training for this) and you can see how uneasy he is out on walks worrying about running into one. Something that has really been helping him enjoy walks recently is getting up early and going out before most people (and dogs) are even out of bed. We’re trying to do this at least once a week as its a great training opportunity and also allows us to explore beautiful walks that are usually quite busy. I thought it would be useful to document these walks incase anyone else (reactive dogs or otherwise) would like to make an early morning expedition for a peaceful walk just them and their dog.
A few weekends ago we went for a lovely hike to Lud’s church. You can walk across The Roaches to get there but we wanted to start off easy so we only did half of the full route. We parked in a lay by at the end of The Roaches which has a signposted route guiding you to Lud’s Church.
We had our pick of spaces since it was so early. There was no one else there when we arrived and even when we got back to the car there were only a couple of others arriving. We then did a circular walk which looped us back around to the car.
Unfortunately Lud’s church itself was so muddy that we only walked half way down then had to turn back and come out the way we went in so we went a slightly different route than we had planned. Poor Ted was practically swimming through the mud – thankfully they have since put down a wooden walkway.
This was actually our first early morning hike so we didn’t do too well at getting up – we woke up at about 6 but didn’t actually arrive and start walking until half 7. Luckily we were still early enough not to run into any dogs, we didn’t even see many other people – just a runner and a few walkers. In terms of how long the walk took us, we were back to the car for 9.30 so we were out for 2 hours. You could easily do this walk in just over an hour but when you’re like me and stop for photos every 5 minutes it adds on quite a bit of time.
The walk was relatively easy, mostly flat! If it hadn’t have been for the steps down into Lud’s Church I would have given this a 1 paw difficulty rating but they are quite steep. Ted was actually a bit scared of them so I ended up carrying him down.
Overall this was a great walk, very quiet at this time of morning which is just what I wanted for Ted. I’ve had to knock one paw off due to the fact we almost got stuck in the mud whilst we were walking through Lud’s Church but i’m sure if the weather has been nice you wouldn’t have this issue!
That’s all from us! If you try this walk be sure to let us know how you got on by tagging us in a photo on instagram or tweeting us: @cheshirecanines
Amber and I were lucky enough to be #Gifted tickets to Dog Fest North this year by the lovely PitPat activity monitor team. Sadly Ted wasn’t able to come as he would have been far too overwhelmed but we spent the weekend with the lovely Hayleigh and Toby from @lifewithtoby so I don’t think Amber missed him too much. For the first time ever we spent the entire weekend at Dog Fest – despite it only ever being around half an hours drive (or less) from our house.
I wanted to share some of our highlights from the weekend with you all – I’d highly recommend visiting all of these companies if you attend dog fest next year or if you’re going to Dog Fest West on the 22nd – 23rd June!
It’s no secret that we love all things PitPat! In fact, Amber and Ted are even brand ambassadors for PitPat life. Their Dog Fest stand seems to get better and better each year.
This year they had a hay bale race for the dog’s to compete in! Amber and Toby went head to head and no surprises, Amber came last. Once the pups had completed their race they got their victory photo (or defeat photo in Amber’s case) taken to be posted on the PitPat facebook page and received a rosette.
At the stand they also had a Prosecco bar for any Pit Pat pack members! To become a pack member all you need to do is get your dog one of their activity monitors. They had lots of fun toys for the pups to play with as well, and even little bowls of Pawsecco for them. Unfortunately as it was raining, Amber and Toby spent most of their time sheltering under a coat in my shopping cart.
Despite the rain, being able to check Amber’s PitPat at the end of the day let me know that she had indeed been enjoying herself and even had some playing on her monitor and not just walking (which is what usually happens at events).
I know I go on about it a lot but having a PitPat has really helped Amber in her weight loss journey and now that we can earn points whilst exercising as members of PitPat life, it just makes it all the more exciting! The activity monitors are usually £39 but at dog fest they were being sold for an amazing deal at £24 – if you’re heading to Dog Fest West i’d highly recommend both the PitPat itself and a visit to there stand for some fun activities!
This isn’t a brand we knew much about before meeting their lovely team at Dog Fest over the weekend but they welcomed me and Amber as if they’d known us for years. Amber was very spoiled with attention and Ice cream samples.
I think we all know by now that Amber is very into her food, however she’s always been a little bit funny about frozen products – It took me hours to get her confident eating a pawsecco pop – but she couldn’t get enough of the Billy + Margot Ice cream. She liked it so much that the only way I could get her to leave their stand was to take the pot of ice cream with me and even then she was reluctant. They also gave us a sample pack of their wild boar food which Amber has been loving as treats.
Oh and can we quickly just talk about this enormous deck chair! Always fun to take photos in – even ones of people as well as pooches.
Now I know what you’re thinking… insurance? That sounds boring! But honestly I think this was the highlight of Amber’s second day at Dog Fest. Their stand consisted of all things fun for dogs. They had a paddling pool, a ball pool and treats (Amber’s favourite part). They were also giving out free pimms for the humans which was definitely my favourite bit!
Surprise, surprise Amber found more food! I’ve been wanting to get some Cold Pressed food for a while now so Wilsons was on our list of brands to visit whilst at Dog Fest. Since Ted is raw fed I needed a dry food that could be fed alongside this for when we travel.
I think Amber and Toby got a bit too excited by sample bags of food as somehow they ended up sat in them. We went for the Salmon flavour in the end and got a 2.5kg bag for £10 instead of £17.99 – since Ted is so mini this will last him a long time so it was great value for money.
Over at the PDSA stand they were hosting demonstrations/ workshops about animal first aid and offering free health checks for your dog. We attended a very informative talk about what to do if your dog is choking and I definitely walked away knowing a lot more than I did before.
I think Amber’s face says it all here. She was very impressed by the Lily’s kitchen stand. They had a little doggy picnic complete with deck chairs where your dog could sample some of their dry food. There were some other fun activities to such as a ball pool for the pups and a ‘win the tin’ game for the humans. They were also giving out samples of their wet food that you could go and personalise with your dogs name.
Formby Beach is Amber’s all time favourite walk location, she sees the sand and all of a sudden it’s like she’s a real dog. She runs, paddles, chases birds and even occasionally plays with other dogs! We are very lucky to have such a great dog walking location just a 40 minute drive from us.
There are two car parks at Formby beach, both owned by the national trust. We are members to always choose to park in the car parks but a lot of people choose to park on the streets leading up to them so that they don’t have to pay for parking. Our car park of choice is usually Life Boat Road as this includes a lovely walk over the sand dunes to get to the beach – however the car park on Victoria road is also a great option as you have the woodland red squirrel walk that leads you down to the beach. I prefer this one if i’m planning on spending a full day at the beach as there are toilet facilities and a woodland for shade if it gets too warm.
During the summer months we tend to avoid going to the beach during the day as it gets quite busy with the children being off school, especially when the weather is nice. I tend to take Amber in the early morning or late evening so that it’s cool enough for her to run around and have a proper play. We’ll either arrive before 8am in the morning or after 7am in the evening which also means that the parking kiosks are closed so you can park for free, even if you’re not a national trust member! I have to say I prefer the evenings as the beach is north-west facing so you get a gorgeous sunset on a clear day.
Upon arrival at the back we usually walk straight down towards the sea, as Amber quite likes chasing the waves. The beach is the only place she’ll go further into water than just dipping her toes in, she’s even had a swim a few times which is unheard of for a lazy, water-phobic dog! We then walk along for a few miles and come back on ourselves to get back to the car – i’d love to be able to do a longer walk but that’s more than enough for Amber as she’ll chase seagulls and run ahead along the way so she’s usually knackered afterwards. I took her on Sunday evening and she still hasn’t moved since (It’s now Tuesday).
Her PitPat results on Sunday:
An average day for Amber:
What’s your favourite place to walk with your dog? Any other beach babies out there?
Love Ellie & Amber (and Ted who also loves the beach, he’s just struggling with other dogs at the minute so hasn’t been for a while)
For those of you who don’t know, this is Ted. He’s my 11 month terrier mutt. I adopted Ted when he was 14 weeks old after he was rescued from a puppy farm. Because he didn’t have the best start in life, Ted has always been quite a nervous little soul, but being a Terrier the way he reacts to fear is definitely more fight than flight.
Why Ted wears yellow
Ted has always struggled to feel comfortable on lead, it took me 2 weeks of getting him used to it so that he could go for his first walk. From day 1 he would bark at every dog he saw when on lead and get very overstimulated in the process. We worked hard on this and until about a month ago he was doing brilliantly. Up until this point people had generally been quite good at keeping their dogs away from him (even when it got the the point that he would walk past silently). Recently it’s been a different story, he has been approached by off lead dogs more times that I can count over the past month, and 4 of those had quite aggressive snaps at him… keep in mind that they approached him and not the other way around. Ted gets very overaroused when dogs approach him on lead and to some owners this can look like he’s excited to see their dog – he’ll wag his tail and get up onto their face to lick them. Most dogs decide that they don’t like this behaviour which is why they have a go at him… but they shouldn’t have come near him in the first place. I personally can’t think of any situation where I’d think it was ok for my off lead (or on lead) dog to be running at or approaching a dog on lead without checking with the owner first.
What to do if you see a dog wearing yellow
After having such trouble with Ted, I’ve started using some yellow lead slips that instruct people to give him space. But it’s hard for people to do this if they don’t know what the colour yellow means for a dog. Dogs can be wearing yellow for various reasons – like Ted they might be nervous/ reactive, they may have had a recent injury so don’t want other dogs jumping all over them or could even be working as or training to become an assistance dog. Whatever the reason is, a yellow lead (or lead slip), coat, harness or bandana means that they need space. If you’re with a dog, keep them away. If you’re not with a dog make sure you also keep your distance. You’ll be helping a dog far more than you realise by simply staying away from it!
For those who would like to know, Ted’s lead slips are from The Huggable Dog etsy shop, his training lead is just a basic one from Pets at Home and his harness is the Ruffwear Webmaster. He also has a Ruffwear Front Range harness that we sometimes use when training.
I hope this has been useful to some people reading.
I’d really like to get into agility with Ted once he’s a bit older and something that I’m very aware of is that at shows you are not only surrounded by dogs, but by people as well. For this reason I find towns and cities to be a great place to work on his training. So on Monday I took Ted for his first trip to Liverpool!
We started with a little walk around The Albert Docks and in natural tourist fashion we had to stop for a few photos. I find photographing Ted in a busier environment is actually very good for his training, as it’s not only making a cute photo for me but also works on his ‘stay’ around distractions.
(I just want to make it clear that Ted was on a lead at all times, I have simply removed it from the photos as it was taking away from the rest of the image.)
After a mini Photoshoot we decided to go and find some lunch. We stumbled upon Brasco Lounge and their menu looked great for vegetarians like myself so we asked of they were dog friendly and luckily they were!
Whilst I ate my avocado toast, Ted spent most of his time sat/ lay under the table. It only took him about 10minutes to settle which is a vast improvement of the first time I took him to a pub. He did however decide to bark at a dog out of the window which was a little bit embarrassing, but he’s still learning so I can’t expect him to be perfect first time.
After lunch we went for a walk around Liverpool One. I’m not sure how dog friendly the shops are as a whole but we popped into John Lewis which is very dog friendly indeed. I don’t think there was a member of staff who didn’t come and say hi to him!
I did also nip into a few other shops with Ted in his k9 Sport Sack carrier which he did very well in.
He’s never been in it outside of the house and I wasn’t sure how he’d react, but he was tired by this point so he just sat in there nicely and didn’t make a sound.
After a bit of shopping it started raining so we headed home. Ted hates the rain so I decided to quit whilst we were ahead. All in all it was a lovely day out, and far less stressful in terms of training than I had imagined!
I have always been a big fan of travelling, but one thing I hate doing is leaving the dogs behind. When travelling in the UK whether it be a day trip or a weekend away, I always bring at least one dog along for the adventure. We do occasionally take the train, but most of the time I will drive to our destination. This means that my car has to be full of the essentials for dog friendly travel. So I thought i’d share these with you all to give you some inspiration when taking your own road trips with your pups.
In my boot I have a basket of our travel must haves. I find keeping them all in one place not only saves me space, but also keeps the items from flying all over the car as I drive.
In this basket I have a fleece for each dog. I find these very handy to keep in the car when taking a dog friendly trip for several reasons. If I know that it’s going to be muddy, I’ll put these fleeces on at the beginning of the walk to avoid a bath afterwards. On the very rare occasion that either of my dogs do decide to venture into water, they’re also handy to pop on after a walk to keep my car seats dry. Ted’s fleece is from Equafleece and Amber’s is from DryHound.
Another important thing that I keep in the car is a roll of poo bags. I do usually have some in my coat pockets but if I was ever to run out I know is always have back ups waiting for me in the car!
If we’re taking a longer journey I like to bring some chews to keep the dogs occupied when we stop off at the services or nip into a pub to get some food. These ones are the pure chicken chews from JR Pet Products but another chew my two love are the Soopa ones.
One of the most important things I bring with us on car journeys is a water bowl and a large bottle of water. I got our collapsable bowl from TK Maxx because it matches Amber’s K9 Sport Sack which isn’t in the photos as it’s in the wash – but I usually have that in my boot as well to keep everything that I want to take on walks with us in.
In our travel basket I also keep a lead for each dog, a Pet Teezer because Amber just has to look at a twig to get it stuck in her tail, a tennis ball for Ted and a spare treat bag from Luna’s Loft full of treats that won’t go off being left in the car. I do usually use chicken and cheese to train Ted but it’s good to have a back up incase I forget his other treat bag!
In terms of what I take for the dogs to sit on in the car, they have a choice of blankets and a bed. These all go onto my back seats as my boot is absolutely tiny and although the dogs are also tiny, they prefer having room to stretch out and nap whilst I drive. Their bed is from Collared Creatures and is the prefect size for the seats of my car!
Since I put Amber and Ted on the back seats of my car I use a seatbelt attached to their Ruffwear harnesses to secure them in. We got our seat belts from Pets at Home. Rule 57 of the Highway Code states “When in a vehicle make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you stop quickly.” Other ways you can restrain your dog in the car is by getting a dog guard or crate for your boot.
Something else I have just ordered for my car is a doggy first aid kit. Since we are getting more into hiking I wanted to make sure I have the means to deal with any accidents/ injuries that the dogs may have. Especially Amber who probably holds the title or words most broken dog.
That’s everything. Now get in losers, we’re going shopping! Amber’s driving so you’re definitely going to need those doggy seat belts on.
A couple of weeks ago Ted and I went to The Soggy Doggie Dog Grooming in Wigan to get his first ever haircut. Ted is quite nervous round other dogs so I didn’t want to take him to a grooming salon where he would be faced with the stress of not only getting a bath (which he hates) but also being surrounded by other dogs. I found Laura through her dog’s instagram page @talesofrex where she told me about her dog grooming business that she runs from home. This sounded perfect for Ted as all of her appointments are one to one with each dog and she keeps it very personal to them and their needs.
Upon arrival we were greeted by Laura who took us through to the back of her house which she has converted into a space for dog grooming. We wanted to give Ted a little bit of time to get used to his surroundings before his makeover began so he went for a little sniff around the house and met Drogo the bearded dragon although I think he was more interested in his cage than anything else!
Because it was Ted’s first time and he does suffer from mild separation anxiety Laura very kindly let me stay to watch and take photos of his groom. Before she started we took him outside to get a before shot of his scruffy look.
As much as I did love the long hair it was getting a bit out of control, especially around the eyes. So I was incredibly excited for him to have a little tidy up. Ted on the other hand, was not!
We started out with a bath. Ted chose his own shampoo after sniffing them all and trying to eat the bottle! He tried to act like he was hating it but when it came to being shampooed you could tell that he was loving it really. He did not love having it washed off though! He screamed the place down. Personally I think he was playing it up because he knew that I could hear him.
Once the bath was over the time came for the hairdryer. Honestly I thought that this would be the worsed part as he was scared of the wind when we hiked to the top of Mam Tor a few days earlier!
He was a bit nervous at first, but Laura really took the time to get him used to it and show him that it was ok. He then proceeded to sit nicely for her and let her dry him, all the while looking over at me as if to say ‘I hate you’.
It was then time for a trim. At this point I left the room completely and went to hide in the kitchen and drink my cup of tea! He didn’t need much off his body as he’s not got much fur to begin with. The main focus was around his face! He’s a wiggly little monster at the best of times so I was amazed by the fact that Laura managed to not only trim his head and around his eyes, but also made is completely even. He has an awful habit of trying to eat anything you put near his mouth so I can only imagine how much patience is just have taken to trim him. But Ted still loved her and even tried giving kisses to get out of his haircut!
He looked like a different (much fluffier) dog afterwards! He didn’t seem phased by his groom at all. In fact he ran upstairs and retrieved a pair of socks to play with, then settled down on the sofa for a nap. He definitely made himself at home!
I’d highly recommend The Soggy Doggie to anyone in the local area, especially people who have puppies that they’d like to have a very positive first grooming experience.