Mary

/Jog My Dog

About Jog My Dog

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So far Jog My Dog has created 69 blog entries.

5* Rating with MK Council

Jog My Dog were awarded a 5 star rating by Milton Keynes Council, following our inspection on the 30th January 2019.

Extensive changes were made to the regulations surrounding the boarding of dogs or cats within a home environment and the changes came into effect from 1st October 2018. We are proud to have not only a fabulous electronic system in place, we also have extensive process and procedures documents which all the team follow and engage in ongoing training to ensure our knowledge is kept up to date and the dogs receive the best standard of care when with us.

This is the link to the new regulations in case you would like to read them.

If you are looking to board your dog or cat with a host family, or put them in doggy day care then do ensure that you have checked to see that not only is the family/individual approved by MK Council (a legal requirement), but also see what rating they have been given. This will give you a great indication of standard of care, experience, systems, etc. Only a local authority may authorise an officer, veterinary surgeon or practitioner to inspect licensed premises. And the license should be on display at all times.

Our home boarding is based in Woburn Sands, near beautiful woodlands and with easy access to three enclosed fields. We accept only friendly small/medium dogs but do make exceptions for bigger breeds if older and if they possess good loose lead walking skills and have reliable recall. The doggies must be toilet trained and if male be castrated. Unspayed females are welcome to stay but not when in season. 

The dogs have free access to the house where they can choose where to play or snooze the afternoon away. With lots of comfy couches, a large wood burning stove, pet friendly and enclosed garden – this is a real home from home environment they will not want to leave. 

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The Easiest Kong Stuffing Recipe

Have you got a KONG lying around but not sure what to fill it with? Sure there are loads of great KONG stuffing recipe ideas you can try, numerous available here for instance. However, sometimes you just want to keep things simple if you’re in a rush. And this Lillie’s Kitchen solution is a no brainer as far as I’m concerned.

Lillie’s Kitchen is a healthy choice, yes it’s a bit pricier than some other wet brands of dog food but it’s full of real nutrients and smells good enough to eat! Grizzle’s favourite flavour is Fishy Fit Pie with Peas (it does make him a bit windy though, shhhh don’t tell him).

kong 2

kong 3

We buy our cans at Walnut Pet Supplies, but Tesco also seems to stock a wide range of them too; and at Christmas they have special editions like their Three Bird Feast which is just too tempting not to buy!

Prepping your stuffed KONG couldn’t be easier. Just open the can and stuff the KONG full of the mushy food. Really smush it in so that it’s jam packed and then pop in a freezer bag and stick in the freezer. If you want your dog to gain maximum enjoyment from his KONG and not have finished the food in seconds, then you need to freeze it first. This will mean he has to lick away at it to start the melting process before the food starts to drop out. When you freeze a KONG most dogs will spend a good 20 – 30 min working to get the food out, vs approximately 5 minutes when it’s soft and loose (too easy for them to squish the KONG and plop out comes the food!)

kong 1

kong 5

If you have a few of these KONGS in the house then you can stuff and freeze multiple in one go, thus reducing the time you spend and ensuring you have one on hand any time you need! Yesterday I froze a large and small KONG ready for the evening when we had guests over for dinner. Grizzle is a bit of a tricky doggy when it comes to human food and if we don’t keep him busy with his own dinner he’ll spend the entire time trying to steal food off our plates. I prepped his KONGS first thing in the morning and by 1700 they were frozen solid and kept him busy whilst we ate. Win win.

kong 4

A KONG is also a great solution for the working owner who leaves their dog during the day. We recommend giving dogs their breakfast in one of these, over a bowl which is typically gulped up in minutes. And for dogs who get easily bored by their kibble (something I see all the time), having to ‘work’ for their food often interests them into nibbling away at the KONG till the food is eaten up. You can top a ‘boring’ kibble stuffed KONG with something interesting and tasty, for instance pet safe peanut butter, bit of natural yogurt, banana, leftover meat, pate, etc. Just check to ensure what you are topping your KONG with is safe for your dog and then crack on!

Header Picture Credit: rawfeedingrebels.com

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Jog My Dog is a friendly and professional company offering home boarding, puppy visits, doggy day care, cat visits and dog walking services in Milton Keynes, Bedford and the surrounding villages of Bow Brickhill, Brickhill Sands, Little Brickhill, Great Brickhill, Aspley Guise, Woburn, Woburn Sands & Brogborough

Registered, Insured, Knowledgeable and Experienced, we take the job of pet care seriously. So whether you’re looking for a cat sitter for your weekend away or regular runs for your dog while you’re at work, we can help! Get in touch to book your pet sitter and dog walker in Milton Keynes today & Bedford.

How to choose a dog walker

If you’re looking for a dog walker in Milton Keynes or Bedford you will be inundated with names of either businesses who offer this service or individuals who do a bit of walking on the side. You may even get some parents offering their child up for a fiver. There are almost too many options now which makes picking the right dog walker for you and your pooch tricky, if not a little stressful.

Pricing

To start with, you need to understand what it is you want out of the relationship and how much you want to pay. If you are pinching pennies and want the cheapest walker going then you need to understand how this will impact you and your dog; often the lowest price means lowest service. Not always but often. Dog walking is hard work, and a business who prices themselves appropriately in the market place will have taken the time to understand the logistics behind dog walking and will not just be bunging your dog in a van with twenty others because it’s easy money.

pricing

Reliability

Reliability is a huge factor too! We get so many clients coming to us because their previous walker let them down. It is often assumed in our line of work that walking is something that’s required 365 days of the year, but of course everyone needs a break. If you’re going for the cheapest rate then there is a good chance that your walker will be working on their own and therefore will be seemingly “letting you down” when taking a holiday. Do understand that a walker is just like you and I .. with the same need to rest and recoup after all that exercise and braving the elements. This may suit you ok, or you may need to use someone that has a cover system in place. Just something to think about before you choose your walker.

At Jog My Dog we have a team in place so when your usual walker takes a holiday, or is sick unexpectedly, one of the team will step in. This cover walker will have been shown the ropes already (usually when you sign up) so that they are ready and able to take up the reigns so to speak when it’s that time of year when you’re walker needs a break. The way we work is really unique I believe as we are able to offer you an individual walker who you and your dog can build up a relationship but provide cover so that you can have that all important dog walk every day of the year.

reliable dog walker

Transport

I’m always surprised how rarely (if ever) we are asked how the dogs will be transported to and from their walk. But people this is HUGE!! So so many dog walkers are cramming ten, twelve or sometimes twenty (yes you read that right) in a small van and then releasing them in a field together. Sure the dogs are usually fine, but what if it’s hot and a flat faced breed is struggling with the heat and proximity of other dogs and one time it’s not ok? What if some of the dogs have issues being this close to others and it starts to bring out the worst in them?

Then there is the opposite end of the spectrum, where dogs are travelling in cars loose and sat in foot wells, clambering over seats, moving around in the boot and generally distracting the driver. Your dog should be in a harness and then strapped in just like you or your child would be when driving in a car, it is against the law to have them loose and out of control. And what if the walker were to have an accident? It would be your dog flying through that windscreen faster than you can say bam!

Again this comes down to doing your research. Ask how the dogs will be transported and what systems are in place to ensure they are secure if travelling in a car not crate. At Jog My Dog we put dogs in their own individual crate unless they are from the same household (with owner agreement) or they are very well known to each other and small enough to still fit comfortably. If dogs are unhappy travelling in a crate – and some are – then we ask owners to leave out a harness so that we can strap them in with our doggy seat belts. Any dogs that are in the boots have a long leash attached to them which is in turn attached to the vehicle in some way, so that they do not bomb out of the car when the boot is opened.

tranport

How many dogs will they walk with?

Every dog walking business is different and the first thing to highlight is that this is a very individual situation which comes down to the experience of a walker, the dog breed, temperament and age, along with the location of the walk.

An experienced walker can quite easily and safely manage 5 dogs if walking in a secluded wood, and if the dogs are known to each other, well behaved with good recall and a calm demeanor then this type of walk would be a delight and totally appropriate. You can, however, have 3 extremely wild and naughty dogs with poor recall and in this case 3 would be the max this walker should take out, with 2 probably being more appropriate.

A professional dog walking business will assess the dogs carefully before accepting them, through a detailed phone conversation and a trial walk during the meet and greet. We do this at Jog My Dog, however, sometimes this won’t show the full picture and we only start to see the real dog during their group play. Dogs that do not listen, have poor recall or ‘harass’ other dogs on their walks are not suitable for group walk sessions with us as we already have groups in place and no more room for solo dog walking.

Most of our group walks are with 3 or 4 well behaved dogs. We take them to safe areas such as the woods (Aspley and Woburn Sands being our favourite), enclosed fields (Woburn Sands or Wolverton Mill), rural areas along the North Bucks Way to name but a few. But of course there is a chance we will bump into other people or dogs so it is a must that yours is well behaved with reliable recall and presents with no aggression in order for them to join these types of walks.

Walkers often meet up as it gives us a chance to further assess the suitability of dog combinations so that last minute emergencies, holidays etc can be catered to. As the picture below shows, we look for good recall, a reliable ‘sit/stay’ and whether there is any reactivity around treats or toys. With two people present, and in fully enclosed fields, we are able to do these sort of checks which I believe is really key to stress free and safe walking.

dog walker woburn sands

So you want to be a dog walker

START YOUR NEW CAREER AS A DOG WALKER

If you have seen one of our adverts for a dog walker and think it might be something for you then this blog post is worth a read. It talks you through the services we offer, what sort of people we’re looking for to join the team, what you could earn and more!

DOG WALKING JOBS MILTON KEYNES with JOG MY DOG. 

Jog My Dog is a professional dog walking and pet sitting company. The pet care professionals contracted by Jog My Dog travel to our clients’ homes to perform the pet sitting duties requested by our customers.

Our clients are located in Milton Keynes and the surrounding villages of:

  • Bow Brickhill
  • Woburn Sands
  • Aspley Guise
  • Newport Pagnell
  • Wolverton

We currently need dog walkers in the West Milton Keynes area, Newport Pagnell or surrounding and Woburn Sands or surrounding. Anywhere within a 3 or so mile radius from these locations would be ideal. 

We provide five types of services:

  1. Dog Walking: one visit per day, typically Monday through Friday between the hours of 11am and 2:30pm, to walk dogs while their owners are at work;
  2. Doggy Day Care: dogs stay with us for the day and they are taken for at least two group walks
  3. Pet Visits: to help make our client’s lives and time away from home easier, we look after cats and other small animals in the comfort of their own home; we are also able to offer a variety of add-on, specialty services on request
  4. Home Boarding: the timeline for this service can range from a day anywhere up to three weeks; a client’s dog stays with a Jog My Dog pet sitter in their home where they will get at least two walks per day and not left alone longer than 3 hours
  5. House Sitting: a pet sitter stays in a clients home to look after their pets, who should not be left alone for longer than 3 hours at a time. No partners or friends/family allowed to stay.

What is essential to work with Jog My Dog?

You must:

  • Have a valid driver’s license and access to a reliable, insured vehicle (ideally hatchback or similar).
  • Have a Smart phone, daily access to the Internet and the ability to communicate effectively by returning emails and phone calls promptly.
  • Be familiar with the service area.
  • Commit to at least 12 months.
  • Be able to provide professional references.
  • Obtain and submit a DBS certificate (circa £25 and lasts 3 years)
  • You must be able to access our mobile phone application while performing duties. (Smartphone.)
  • Pet First Aid Training is advantageous
  • Knowledge of dog behavior is useful (the current walkers all receive ongoing training guidance from a behaviorist we use in Milton Keynes that JMD work with)

Positions with Jog My Dog

  • Mid Day Dog Walkers must be available to walk dogs Monday through Friday between the hours of 11 AM & 14:30 PM. The number of dogs you’ll walk on any given day will vary based upon the clients’ schedules and when they need pet care.  It is important for the business to be able to provide cover on all of these days and hours; therefore please specify if you are only available a few days per week or for only certain hours of the 11:00-14:30 time block.
  • Pet Sitters/ House Sitters visit our client’s home multiple times per day, and may need to be available for AM & PM visits. House Sitters will live in a clients home and the duration can span a weekend or two weeks.

Summary

Sitters contracted by Jog My Dog can either be classified as a Mid Day Dog Walker, a Pet Sitter, a House Sitter or any combination of the three positions. This is based on your availability and what services you’re interested in offering to our clients.

Walkers and sitters typically accept assignments as close to their “home base” as possible to increase their profits (i.e. reduce petrol costs). The usual travel distance is 2.5 to 5 miles with a max distance of 7 miles… unless they have agreed to travel further.

Note: For house sitting assignments, sitters can travel further because their “home base” is the client’s home.

Working as an Independent Contractor

Jog My Dog chooses to work with independent contractors (IC’s) to perform the pet care duties outlined by our customers. An independent contractor is someone who is classed as Self-Employed and is responsible for their own tax returns.

As an independent contractor you’re paid an amount per pet you look after rather than an hourly rate.

Group Dog Walks are kept to four at a time (unless the dogs are small/easy and the walker is extremely experienced in group walks). Independent Contractors working with Jog My Dog may walk one, two, three or four dogs at a time as determined by the needs of our customers, and their own confidence and experience with dogs.

Long-Term Relationship

Jog My Dog is interested in working with IC’s who want to build a long-term relationship with our company and its clients. It’s not a good position for those trying to find interim work while in-between jobs or trying to “figure-out” what their next step is. Our clients come to trust their assigned pet sitter and appreciate it when they’re able to grow a trusted relationship with that person.  

Dog walking with Jog My Dog is a lot of fun, but can sometimes be hard work too when it is raining, snowing or when the doggies are strong, pull, etc. The role offers a great work/life balance but is not suitable to those who need a set income each month as walks can fluctuate depending on when our clients need us (i.e. half term, Christmas can be quieter as clients are off with their dogs). However, if a walker is prepared to be patient and understands what pet care is – the importance of building strong relationships with customers and is willing to engage with local word of mouth advertising which helps business pick up and grow – it offers great potential for good earnings within the lunch time window.

Compensation

Jog My Dog offer fantastic rates for our services to the team of dog walkers, home boarders and sitters – paying the most of all businesses in Milton Keynes as we value our team. We also use a fantastic online system for managing the client info, diaries and invoicing is done by Jog My Dog so that our walking/sitting team do not have to worry about chasing money or getting paid.

  • Compensation information will be provided in email 
  • Walkers, Sitters and Boarders are paid every 2 weeks by direct deposit into their bank account.
    • We pay on the 1st and 16th of each month.

Earnings range from £400 – £1300 a month. What a person earns is very much dependent on their availability, experience with dogs, willingness to walk big dogs, engagement with clients and generating local word of mouth recommendations. The amount of time a walker has been with Jog My Dog also factors in to the amount earned, as areas can take some time to build up but once they do work continues to come in by word of mouth referrals.

Sound like something you’d like to do?

If after reading the above you feel this is something that you would love to do then please follow this link and complete the questionnaire form. We will only contact those who fit what we are looking for – thank you for your interest!

Why choose Jog My Dog?

There are lots of dog walkers in Milton Keynes and Bedford so why choose Jog My Dog? I have listed in this blog the top 6 reasons which are really the corner stones of our business and what sets us apart from the competition.

1. Professionalism: Our clients know that when they choose us their much loved pets are being looked after by a qualified, knowledgeable, insured and DBS checked business. We are members of The Pet Professionals Guild, The National Association of Registered Pet Sitters and The International Society of Animal Professionals. We are also registered volunteers with The Cinnamon Trust and Hula Animal Rescue.

2. Technology and Convenience: To help the business run smoothly we utilise a top-notch system. Clients can book, amend and cancel services, view their billing information and update their pet profiles online and keep in real-time contact with their pet sitter via GPS and picture messaging.

3. Education and Knowledge: We believe that the learning process never stops and as such we are constantly keeping up to date with the latest scientific research around animal behaviour, reward-based training methods, nutrition and pet first aid.

4. Feedback with Outstanding Communication: We encourage all our clients to speak to us about their experience with Jog My Dog so that we can continue to improve as a business. Happiness Surveys have just been launched which enables clients to provide live feedback after each walk, pop in or boarding service.

5. Huge Passion for Animals: Animal welfare and pet health – both physical and mental – is our number one priority; and as a business we promote continued education and learning so that we can give our clients, and their pets, the best possible service.

6. We were WINNERS of the Best Local Business Award 2017 and hugely proud to not only have been nominated by our clients but go on to win in this competitive category.

Best Cat Carrier for Nervous Cats

Traveling with your cats should not be a stressful experience for you or them. However, many cats seldom travel, living much of their life at home unless they need to visit the vet. Some cats are confident by nature and these travel easily, while there are others who are nervous when picked up and even more so when put in a cat carrier and driven across town.

If your cat has a problem traveling, or is nervous by nature, then it’s important to look for the best cat carrier for nervous cats. This way you can build up positive association with the carrier and help them to feel confident about going inside it long before you need to use it.

For me personally, I found the top opening Wire Cat Carrier Basket by The Purr Company fabulous! It is large and spacious enough for my big persian cat to sit comfortably, along with turn around if he wants to; and I line it with a soft towel so it’s not uncomfortable for him to sit in. It gives him the option to look around as we’re too’ing and fro’ing from the house and van. Saying this, if I think we may bump into people or dogs then I pop a towel on top so that he’s in darkness and other dogs can’t see him (thus reducing barking and any other behaviour which might frighten him when he’s inside).

Now my cat doesn’t willingly jump into the carrier – he doesn’t love it that much. But he is not nervous when sat inside it as it’s something I got him used to from a kitten. And the beauty of these carriers opening from the top is that scary prying hands from vets or other strangers are not coming at him, rather he is picked up from above in a much more comfortable and non threatening manner.

Don’t forget to check the size of your cat. Not all carriers are made to fit every size of cats. There are some designed for specific breeds, size, and age, so bear this in mind when choosing your cat carrier.

To end .. a picture of my main man – Pancake the cat 🙂

pankee

 

My Dog Walker is on Holiday, Now What?

At Jog My Dog we pride ourselves on providing a 365 day a year service to our clients. But just like you, we like to take some time off to spend time with our family and friends to relax, travel and unwind. The beauty of how we work is that you will always have cover for your dog walks throughout the year. How? Well have a read and find out!

When you sign up we will run through the process of how we work. You can read about this here. The beauty of having a team of walkers familiar with your home set up, doggy temperament and likes/dislikes means covering for sickness, holiday and last minute emergencies is possible.

Many clients on sign up ask if they will have one walker or a few. We give each client a set walker but they also have a set back up walker – so essentially two girls with keys to their home. However, we also do joint walks with some of the other local walkers so that we can assess your doggy alongside the others that join our group walks; to be sure that everyone gets on and all the walkers are familiar with your dog. This way, should they ever need to step in and cover in an emergency they are more than ready to do so!

This system works fabulously and means we can say yes to 99% of bookings requests, even when they come in last minute. If clients only had one walker then there would be lots of occasions where they would be ‘let down’. However, with the way we work there is always cover for walks even if your usual walker is on their annual leave.

All the girls walking for Jog My Dog have gone through the same recruitment and induction process. They are all DBS cleared and work to the high standards we set. Our booking process is straightforward and as long as you have given us 2x keys to your property or use a key box safe we can get someone to you.

 

 

Hairball Prevention in Cats

Don’t be caught off-guard by an unwanted hairball being coughed up around your house this shedding season by reading our 3 top tips!

  • Keep on top of brushing – Cats tend to do a pretty good job of grooming themselves so many people don’t think much about brushing them. But for long haired cats, and during shedding ‘season’ a good daily brushing is a must! The more of that fur you remove with a brush, the less they ingest. Don’t forget to wipe them down with a moist cloth after you brush them to remove any extra loose fur (oh and keep that vacuum cleaner nearby too as their furs will be floating everywhere!) My cat, pictured below, has lots of fur! He’s a short haired Persian so his fur is dense, thick and frankly all over the place. I invested in both the Zoom Groom and the Furminator, though my top choice would be the Furminator for sure – it just gets so much off of him, and he doesn’t seem to mind it at all.
  • Medicines & Supplements – If you think your cat may already have a hairball brewing, pick up an over-the-counter “medicine” to help them pass it. These medicines are often mild laxatives and can help hair pass through your cat’s system normally. Adding extra fiber to your pet’s diet, through food or supplement, is a great preventative change you can make too!
  • Add some Coconut Oil – Mix a small amount of coconut oil in your cat’s food (if they will eat it of course). The oil helps to lubricate their digestive system naturally. Consumption of it can also make their coat shiny! This is a short-term treatment though. Feed oil in moderation over short periods of time, and do consult your vet prior to ensure that it’s suitable for your cat.

pankee grooming

If your cat continually suffers from issues associated with vomiting and you suspect there might be more to it than hairballs than see your vet as there might be a more serious issue at play. And left untreated, hairballs can form intestinal blockages that are very dangerous for your cat.

Cover picture credit: Getty Images

In blog picture credit: Jog My Dog (Pancake cat!)

The Sign Up Process

So you’ve decided that you want to use Jog My Dog for walking your pooch. Now what?

This blog explores the sign up process for new dog walking clients and helps to shed light on what happens when so you can sit back and relax knowing we’ve got you covered!

  1. Provide us with your email address, home address and mobile number. This enables us to set you up on our scheduling system and generate the Welcome Email
  2. The Welcome Email has a link which needs to be clicked on. Once you have changed your password you’re in!
  3. Read the T&C on the scheduling system. The T&Cs are admittedly pretty long and detailed but they are in place to protect you, your pet and our walkers. Please pay special attention to the booking / cancellation terms and payment info as this is really important to understand at the start
  4. Click on the Details tab and complete the Personal Info page. Here is where you should add your Emergency person and their mobile number (think partner, local mum/dad, trusted friend with house access, etc). This is also where you add any home info that is relevant to us looking after your pet – so alarms, access restrictions and the like
  5. Click on the Pet tab and complete the Pet Info page by adding your Dog, their date of birth, breed and then as much information as possible in the free form fields at the bottom of the page. There are a number of tick boxes which are useful to be completed but we find the free form boxes excellent for clients getting the right space to explain their dogs likes/dislikes, where they should be left after a walk, etc
  6. Familiarize yourself with the scheduling tool. The system is really easy to use and we help you along the way
  7. Look out for the Meet & Greet confirmation email. Before you can schedule any walks for your dog we must come out and meet you and your pooch, see the home set up, go through the pet info tab and collect 2x keys (or obtain the code for your key box if you use one of these instead)
  8. Schedule your walks! If you are a client with set days each week then you can skip this step as it will be done for you automatically by the system (however, it is still your responsibility to notify us of any changes on a month by month basis). If you’re a client with adhoc days then all you need to do is go into the scheduler, select the dates and times and await confirmation that we can attend
  9. The business owner will be in contact with you after a few weeks to ensure you are happy with your walker. At this point you will be reminded of our referral scheme whereby you can get £25 in credit for every person you refer to us who takes out a contract in turn. You will also be asked if you’d like to leave a review on our Facebook and Google pages; although in terms of day-to-day feedback you can do this via Happiness Surveys or in the Private Message tab (these come only to the business owner and not the walker)

That’s it, couldn’t be simpler!

time to pet 2

 

time to pet 1

I hope you found this blog helpful and we look forward to walking your dog in Milton Keynes & Bedford soon.

Dog Friendly Walks in Milton Keynes: Simpson

I’m always on the look out for good walks where Grizzle can be off lead without me worrying he’ll run off after deer, rabbit, foxes or have encounters with too many other dogs – something which can be a bit hit and miss depending on his mood, the age and sex of the dog and importantly whether they are entire males or not.

The enclosed cattle fields in Simpson are perfect because it has everything a slightly wary dog owner might look for in a walk, yet is suitably stimulating for the dogs with an uneven landscape, trees, ponds which form in the dips of the ground, water from the old river bubbling underneath some trees, geese, ducks, sticks, grasses and more.

You can find this space if doing a circular walk of Caldecotte North but I usually drive straight to one of the two little parking lots, either on the right hand side as you enter Simpson (coming from Fenny) or further along opposite the church. At both these points you will find poo bins but none once you enter the fields so just something to bear in mind.

The fields are fully enclosed but with low mesh type fencing and along the edges small and otherwise persistent dogs can get out. If you have a dog who likes to swim then you will need to monitor the river as it is sometimes very quick moving and dogs have been known to get caught up in it.

dog walker milton keynes

There are a number of benches along the path which runs in the middle of the field and a picnic bench by the gate near the church end. It is a most delightful spot for a picnic in good weather and because the fields are so wide you can see people or other dogs coming from a mile off.

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Because the ground is so uneven it makes for a really interesting walk as sticks and balls thrown bounce off the hills and roll into little streams of water, with the dogs chasing happily behind. There are different types of grasses which make the perfect hiding spot for treats which means scentwork games are an absolute must here. Along with the grass there are also lots of cut down tree stumps, twigs, logs and dead leaves which make for fantastic sniffing opportunities.

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If your dog loves to swim then this is the place for you because for most of the wet spring and autumn months there are giant pools of water that form from the rain. The large water areas look pretty clean so if your pooch has been swamping in the more shallow areas of water which are in fact extremely muddy, then all you have to do is lure them into the larger water areas to clean off. I often throw sticks into the water for Grizzle to chase and he absolutely loves it, especially as it gets warmer.

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Speaking of which, this is not the spot for you to visit in summer as by then the sheep have arrived and following on from them we get cows. Total bummer but I suppose they do have to graze somewhere. With this in mind though, dog walkers do need to be mindful of their dogs if walking through the fields and keep them on lead so they don’t scare or injure the livestock. I personally don’t risk it and just find other fields or walks to take Grizzle on.

Although this field is pretty big you would get bored circling it for an hour so we usually mix it up by starting in the field for a bit of ball / stick games and then exit out of the gate near the church and turn right towards Walton Park. We enter back into Caldecotte just after the poo bin and circle back round with the lake on our left and the field to our right. This usually takes 10 or 15 min depending on the amount Grizzle sniffs and pees and it’s more for a change of scenery for me than anything else. Although he won’t poo in the field for the most part, so this is where that action happens. We then enter into the field from the top end and do another 20 min or so of ball and stick games before ending with a bit of scentwork before going home.

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This, for my dog anyways, is the PERFECT walk. Is it boring for me? Yeah kinda! But the whole point of us going out is for Grizzle to have a good time, it’s his walk not my exercise hour. He’s not the sort of dog who likes walking for the sake of walking. There has to be a point, either ‘work’ (in the form of chasing sticks, retrieving balls or scenting treats), or stalking deer (something we do in the woods together – albeit on lead!). At first I balked at this idea of doing the same thing every day. For the rest of my life. But it’s really not so bad and actually I far prefer to see him have a good walk and enjoy himself than drag him about some pavement where he’s bored and miserable.

What does your dog love to do on a walk? Does he love bombing up to other dogs or be chased by them? Or does he prefer a quiet sniffy stroll with just you? Does he like to play games and use his mind or just walk and see the world go by? A really important point to make is that each dog is different! They are unique like you and me; so once we start to see them that way they are less “annoying” and more interesting. Figure out what makes your dog happy and go out there and participate in more of that with them!

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