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Best Wet Weather Walking Gear

Make no mistakes about it. The weather has been wet! As professional dog walkers we know the importance of dressing smart and there is no more important time to do this than when the weather is chucking it down.

What’s the saying .. there’s no bad weather, only poor dressing for it .. how true is this. And if you own a dog then it makes sense to stock up on some of these essentials to make your life easier. I’ve listed my top three items below in order of importance (to me). What’s your “go to” item for walking in the rain? We’d love to know so get commenting below or over on Facebook.

Shoes

Everyone will have their own opinion about the right shoes for walking in wet weather; some will go for a solid water proof walking boot, while others will stick to their trusty Duberry boots and look smart all year round. For me it’s got to be a quality welly! Don’t get me wrong, I love my Duberry’s but I see these as more of a city wander piece, something I wear when I have a nosy around town, perhaps stopping off in a pub for lunch with friends .. you get the point. I don’t see them as something I fancy wearing when trudging through mud! I’ve also tried the water proof walking shoes but found these were way too heavy and cumbersome, I felt I was walking around with a kilo weight around my heels, not for me.

Welly’s are just the perfect option in my opinion for wet weather dog walking. Of course if you’re going to go for a hike then this isn’t what you’d choose. Nor is it what you’d choose for hours and hours of walking anywhere. But for most average dog owners who get out for an hour or so a day they are perfect. But not just any welly. It’s important to invest in a good quality item which will not only fit well, but be comfortable to walk in (most cheap welly’s are not) and last you for a good year or two.

I have two which I love. The Aigle boot and a pair of Muck boots. The Aigle I find to be a bit more lightweight to wear. They are extremely comfy and breathable but I feel may not last as long as the Muck boots which are really sturdy and subsequently a bit of a heavier wear.

They are really comfortable and while I still wouldn’t recommend them for serious walking (talking a day out and about) they are the perfect option for professional dog walkers who need dry feet for a good 3 hours of walking in mud, snow or rain. They can be easily washed down at the end of the day and guarantee you will not be mid walk and find yourself in a puddle of mud which has not only ruined your running shoes but also the rest of your day.

I recommend having a small crate within the foot well of your car / van which you place the welly’s into after your walk; this will contain the mud and water to one place – leaving your vehicle nice and clean regardless of where you previously walked.

Parcours-2-Signature-by-Aigle-3309-p

Water Proofs

The next most important item you can own for walking in wet weather are water proofs. There’s no point in wearing your nice coat out when walking the dog as they always manage to get themselves full of mud and with a good ol’ shake post walk decorate your clothing in their mess! And for us dog walkers, there is also nothing worse than wearing tons of layers or a thick winter coat, only to find mid walk that we are overheating and miserable.

In my opinion, jeans are just too uncomfortable for a day out and about, they rise in all the wrong places and if wet become the most frustrating thing to wear. They don’t dry out quickly and will make your seat completely soaked which is most unpleasant to drive in but pretty smelly too! My go to time and again is a simple cotton long sleeve (if winter) with a thermal sweater on top. For bottoms I own 10+ leggings. These are so comfortable to just pull on at the start of the day and allow me to move without restriction. Before a walk all you do is pull your water proof jacket and trousers out of your bag and throw them on, tucking the trousers into your welly boots will ensure that no water trickles down your ankles making your feet wet. At the end of the walk you can peel away the soaking wet items and tuck in your bag which sits next to your welly container on the floor. You can then drive off as dry as when you set off and will have the added bonus of being clean enough to pick up the kids from school, go shopping, etc .. ! You can get water proofs just about anywhere, but do think about investing in something which will last. I bought my latest gear from Go Outdoors but you can also get good quality walking clothes at Cotswold Outdoors, John Lewis and other high street retailers.

water proofs

Head Wear

Some people love hats to keep their head and ears warm in the cold, damp weather. But not me. I find a hat a bit too restrictive and a “hoody” is even worse as you can’t see the dogs to the right and left of you without actually turning your head. Annoying. I love these hand bands from Cotswold Outdoors as they keep my ears warm and also my hair back off my face. In winter we not only face wet weather but also gusty wind so these are just the perfect thing for combating both.

headbands

Is Home Boarding Suitable for my dog?

Will my dog enjoy boarding with other dogs? Who will my dog be staying with when with you? What do I need to tell you about my dog before I can book his holiday? How old does my dog need to be before he can board with you?

These are just some of the most frequently asked questions we receive from new clients wishing to place their dog in home boarding while they go on holiday so read on to learn what makes your dog the ‘perfect fit’ for our boarding homes.

What age does my dog need to be?

This is a really important one so comes first. There is no point building your hopes up of securing a spot in our boarding homes if your pooch is below 6 months. Milton Keynes Council stipulate this within our license terms so it isn’t one we can stretch to suit your holiday, even if it is by a day or two! New puppy owners should bear this in mind before they plan any holidays abroad. If you’ve gotten a pup unexpectedly and your holiday was already purchased then house sitting is the perfect option. You can read more about this service we also offer here.

Can you take entire male dogs?

Sadly, the answer is 99% of the cases is no. This is because entire males spray / mark in our homes. This is behaviour you may surprised with as they don’t do it in your home or friends and family. However, it is a reality and something we have witnessed time and again. It is most likely due to all the numerous canine smells wafting through the boarders home as we have guest dogs come to stay 365 days of the year! Entire males not only mark their “territory” within the home, but they also are more prone to reactivity when placed with other dogs which is not a risk we are not prepared to take.

Saying this, some dogs are absolutely fine and do not cock their leg, nor present with any aggressive tendencies so it is not a blanket ban but something we take on a case by case basis. But please do bear in mind that most dogs fail their 24 hr trial with us if they are entire. Again, our house sitting option is perfect for this and it is indeed what I do with Grizzle every time I go away as he is entire too!

Oh no, my female dog is in season! Can she still board?

Again, sadly the answer is no unless we have no other guest dogs coming to stay over the same period (this includes day care dogs). A female dog in heat will be ‘harassed’ by other male dogs, whether they are entire or not. She also must be kept on lead at all times which can be difficult to manage with 4+ other dogs all playing off lead. And finally, it is a great risk for the home boarder which is most cases they are not prepared to take. New dog owners need to do their research on this before booking and paying for a holiday to ensure the dates of the holiday and season do not clash.

Who will my dog be staying with?

We have some small, friendly dogs in day care Monday – Friday and alongside this we will accept another 1 or 2 guest dogs subject to temperament and size. Our day care dogs are regular and well known to the boarder so any home boarding dogs will have their 24 hr trial with the dogs they will most likely be staying with during their holiday. This allows the boarder to assess the dynamics and ensure everyone gets on; and gives owners a chance to see who their pooch will be with in their absence. If your dog is aggressive or fearful they may prefer to stay in their own home, and in this case our house sitting option may be a better fit for you. If, however, they are simply a bit nervous but do enjoy dog company then worry not. We have had lots of wary little dogs come to stay and by the end of day one they are lounging around the place as if they own it!

Do you walk my dog off lead?

Most of the dogs who come to stay with us have reliable recall and are therefore allowed off lead. We walk in the woods and also have access to three large enclosed fields so off lead play is safe and fun. If your dog is small and you keep him/her on lead then we are happy to do so for your peace of mind.

However, we cannot keep large and strong dogs on lead as they often become frustrated wanting to play with the other dogs and pull our backs and necks in the process. If you have a large dog who has not been taught to walk nicely on the lead and has poor recall then they may be better suited to staying within their own home with friends / family stopping over and one of our walkers coming along mid day to take them for a walk. Or you can use our house sitting service.

My dog sometimes has ‘accidents’ in the house, can he still stay with you?

In the main, the answer will be no. But during our 24 hr trials we do assess how frequent these accidents are and if simply down to nerves we may suggest doing a second trial day to see if them getting to know us reduces the number of accidents (it often does). Saying that, some doggies just haven’t been taught where the right place to toilet is and defecate in their beds, in the kitchen and anywhere / anywhere they fancy. These dogs are sadly not suitable for home boarding.

Header Picture Credit: Heartland Animal Hospital Ashland, MO veterinary clinic

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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.

Down the Allotment: March 2018

We’ve not been to the allotment since Christmas. So bad I know!! But things have been really busy with the business and our house sale so we’ve just not at the time to hang out down there as much as Grizzle would like. I thought it was time to pay our plot a visit yesterday which might have had something to do with the glorious spring sunshine and how warm it felt late afternoon 😉 Both Grizzle and I are not fond of the rain and prefer to hunker down at home in winter, but when the sun shines that is our time to shine: we love the sun!! And working down the allotment is our favourite pastime, something which is calming for me and mentally stimulating for him so naturally we had to see what had been going on yesterday when we finally got a slimmer of the summer to come.

I was half expecting the entire plot to be overgrown with weeds as we’ve had a few sunny days before now, and although there has been frost recently I didn’t think it was enough to keep things under control; so you can imagine my surprise to find the plot in a fabulous state.  I’m half thinking that our lovely allotment neighbours have been looking in on the space in our absence, they are great like that and always looking out for me. As you will see, the polytunnel is still standing (result! we made it through our first winter), the little fruit trees we planted last summer are alive, weeds are under control and my ground covering seems to be in place.

I’ve ordered some more pegs so that I can finish off laying the ground cover on the back of the plot to keep weeds under control as this year I won’t have time to actually grow anything or weed. The plan is to simply cover the entire plot with this weed control sheeting so that in the future I have a plot to come back to which isn’t overgrown with brambles and weeds. Perhaps I may grow some tomatoes, herbs and chilies in the polytunnel this year, but in tubs and containers – it all depends on how Grizzle’s dad is doing and how much time I’ll have to get down to the plot. The allotment is meant to be a calming space for me so I won’t allow myself to feel stressed by maintaining it, thus covering it all up until such a time as I can focus on it fully.

In the meantime, we’ll continue to visit our space when the weather is lovely as if nothing else it’s a beautiful spot to sit and watch the sun go down late afternoons and early evenings. No one is there that late in the day but the birds who are chirping loudly and settling down for the night. Allotments are hives of activity for animals and wild with beautiful and interesting smells – just perfect for a dog and my happy place.

I’ve included a couple pictures taken yesterday showing the allotment in its current state, and Grizzle’s adorable face full of joy at having been to his favourite ‘place of work’. I hope you enjoyed reading, till next time ..

allotment

allotment 5

allotment 4

allotment 2

allotment 1

New Dog Walking Clients: Start HERE!

Are you a prospective client wishing to have your dog walked by us? Or are you new and need a refresher about how we work? This is a really important blog post which highlights some of our most commonly asked questions and explores in detail how we work, what the sign up process is, who will walk  your dog if your normal sitter is on holiday and so much more!

  • How does a client go about getting started?

All are welcome to email the office with their requests. Our email is mary@jogmydog.co.uk  and at this point please provide as much relevant info about your dog, where you live, what times you need walks, etc as this enable us to assess whether we can assist with the request. When we have ascertained whether we can help, and a client is ready to get started, we have a very simple registration process that will be explained. We can get started as soon as the registration meeting has taken place.

  • What is the registration meeting?

The registration meeting is a visit that allows the client to get to know our service prior to the start of their first walk or visit. Where possible the dedicated sitter will be in attendance but this may not always happen. During this visit we will introduce ourselves, spend some quality time with your pet, confirm and review the pertinent information about the home and pet care routine (e.g. vet information, emergency contact, special requests, etc.), and answer any additional questions the client may have. We do NOT provide service until this meeting has taken place.

  • So, after a client has completed their registration meeting can they schedule walks anytime?

Absolutely! All clients are provided with a unique login to their secured Jog My Dog account. From this gateway they are able to schedule walks, check their personal service calendar, update their billing information and also receive picture updates following our visits. All scheduling requests are confirmed during our regular business hours, which are 9AM-5PM Monday through Friday.

  •  Can a client schedule directly through their sitter?

No.  For the safety of our client’s pets all visits MUST be scheduled through the Jog My Dog portal. We use an online scheduling program which ensures that “no pet is left behind.” If a client schedules through their sitter and the sitter forgets to inform the office, that takes us out of the loop and therefore unable to follow-up with the sitter to make sure that the pet has been seen. Jog My Dog will not be held liable for visits scheduled without the offices knowledge.

  •  Can I text you or send a Facebook request to book your services?

No. All visits must be requested through the Jog My Dog portal, this ensures that the messages are not forgotten about.

  • What do I need to remember to do before you come for the first walk?

  1.         Pay your invoice
  2.         Ensure your dog has their ID tag on their collar
  3.         Leave out their lead, collar and towels for drying off
  4.         Ensure any alarm codes have been given to us, or alarms switched off
  5.         Provide us with 2x keys for your property, or the code to your key box
  • How do you accept payment?

We accept payment by BACs.

  •  So, you don’t accept checks? Can a client leave cash?

No, we don’t accept checks. The clients can leave a cash gratuity for their sitter if they so wish, but payment for services must be made by bank transfer. Payment is due prior to the start of service.

  •  What time do the sitters walk the dogs?

Our sitters visit our client homes a number of times each day. We have walks at the following times:

– The “Morning” time slot is between 9:30 AM & 10:30 AM.

– The “Mid Day” time slot is between 11:00 AM & 2:00 PM.

– The “Afternoon” time slot is between 4:00 & 6:00 PM.

  •  Are there extra costs for services which happen on a weekend or bank holiday?

Yes. You can read more about Services and Rates here.

  •  How about last-minute requests?

We’re more than happy to schedule pet care for last-minute needs, however we cannot guarantee that a sitter is going to be available on short notice, (so urge you to request your services as early as possible). We also only schedule service during our regular business hours (9AM-5PM Monday through Friday).

  • When do I need to pay you?

On confirmation of your service request you will get an email showing the list of services / walks and their associated cost. At this point you will be prompted to make payment.

You will also receive a PDF invoice a few days before the first service is due to commence. Within the invoice you will find our BACs details, a list of services and their cost.

Payment is due prior to the first service commencing and where a client is overdue by more than 7 days a late payment fee will be added. Clients who are consistently late in paying may be terminated.

  • What is the Jog My Dog cancellation policy?

Since we understand what it’s like to have a busy and ever-changing schedule we have implemented a cancellation policy which aims to be flexible for our clients yet workable for our team:

  • 100% of the Fees if cancellation occurs less than 48 hours of the scheduled service (Dog Walking, Cat & Small Animal Care, Pet/Dog Home Visits)
  • 100% of the Fees if cancellation occurs within the same week of the scheduled service (Day Care)

 

  • What happens if a client’s primary sitter is not available for a pet sitting request? Or they are on holiday / get sick?

 Our sitter roster is chock-full of excellent pet care providers that would love to care for a client’s pet if their primary sitter is unavailable. Since we have all of the client’s pet care information in our secure database it’s really not necessary for the client to meet with the alternate sitter, however; if the client feels more comfortable with having a meeting with the alternate sitter, we are more than happy to schedule another registration “Meet/Greet.” The cost of this meeting is £10, which covers the sitter’s time and expense for driving over to the client’s home.

  • Tell me about your hiring process of the pet sitters.

First, we employ ONLY dedicated pet care professionals. We work with sitters who have practical experience in pet care and view their time with Jog My Dog as part of their career path.

Second, we run an extensive screening process, which includes a face-to-face interview, followed by reference checks, followed by a complete background check (DBS). All sitters are then hired on a trial basis until we have followed up with enough clients to ensure that they are an excellent fit for Jog My Dog. All sitters who work with Jog My Dog promise to abide by and sign our code of ethics and processes and procedures.

  • Jog My Dog have quite a few pet sitters. How is it possible to ensure that they are all keeping up with the standards of Jog My Dog?

All Jog My Dog sitters attend an orientation where they learn about the standards of Jog My Dog and the procedures that we follow to put our Client Peace of Mind System into action. They then work very closely with the owner of the business (Mary) and long serving sitters during the first month to ensure that they understand the way we work and that they are following proper protocol. The sitters also have daily communication with the office and their clients, and are required to check off their visits on our secure database at the completion of each visit. This allows the office to confirm that each pet was visited by their pet care provider. We always follow-up with our clients to make sure that their pet sitter is up to snuff.

The sitters are monitored each month to ensure standards are maintained. This is done via client surveys, joint walks and randomized time keeping spot checks. We also meet up once a month for team meetings to go over important pet issues, planning strategies, behaviour training tips and much more.

 

  • How long do you walk for?

During our lunch time window of 10:30am and 2:30pm we only offer 60 minute group walks in Milton Keynes and Bedford.

In Woburn Sands, Aspley Guise and surrounding, we offer both 45 min and 60 min walks within the lunch time window.

If you require a shorter walk for your very young pup, senior dog or reactive pooch we may be able to offer you a 30 minute dog pop-in visit / walk but this will not be during the lunch time block which is reserved for our 60 min group walks.

 

  • Where do you walk the dogs?

The majority of our clients have opted for our most popular dog walk duration of 1 hour. This gives the sitters ample time to take the dogs to fields or the woods for safe off lead play.

Some clients with small or elderly dogs will have 30 min walks scheduled and these often take place local to the client home. If there are safe areas to allow them to walk off lead then this will happen; if not the dogs will get a stimulating on lead walk, plenty of love and attention along with the chance to have a comfort break.

  • Will my dog get dirty on walks?

Yes, possibly! We live in the UK and that means that rain, mud, snow and dirt are very real possibilities. The only way to ensure dogs are kept perfectly clean is to keep them on lead and walked around the neighbourhood.

Dogs joining our group sessions will need to have reliable recall and be allowed off lead; and clients must be prepared for some dirt. We have a number of solutions in place for wet winter walking which are:

  • Buy your dog a Equafleece Dog Suit. These keep dogs dry, clean and warm. You can buy them here
  • Show us where the outside tap is and provide towels for post walk/shower drying off
  • Specify where we should leave the dog if still wet or slightly dirty so your home is not affected

If your dog is joining our off lead group sessions, or you have requested they be walked off lead or in fields (as opposed to the paths outside your home) then please be prepared to accept some dirt, it comes with having a dog.

  • Are the dogs you walk up to date with their flea / worming meds?

Yes. However, please note that it is very rare for a flea to jump off a host dog in the open field and jump onto another dog.

  • My situation changed and I don’t need your services anymore. How much notice do I need to give you?

In accordance with our terms and conditions we need 28 days notice for regular pet sitting services. This should be in writing via the portal.

Snow Snow Snow

Snow has once again descended upon Milton Keynes, and there’s no doubt about it — snow is fun for most dogs! It’s always important to stay safe when walking your dog in the snow or ice; so here are a couple top tips that are worth bearing in mind when going out in these low temperatures:

  • Make sure your dog doesn’t dehydrate. It can be easy to forget about this when it’s so cold outside, but dogs can get quite dehydrated very quickly regardless of the temperature. So it’s important you make sure they drink lots of water before they go out for a walk and again when they get back home.
  • Picking up their poop is still a must. Just because there’s lots of the white stuff on the ground doesn’t mean that it’s ok to leave your dogs poop without picking it up. When the snow melts – and of course it will – their poop will have probably been trodden in which will spread the mess all over the ground. Gross.
  • Make sure your dog doesn’t eat snow. Ice and snow can harbor bacteria and make your pet sick. It’s quite tempting for some dogs to crunch down on bits of ice and snow, but unless you know it’s fresh (i.e. snow flakes falling from the sky), try to stop them.
  • Keep clean, dry towels by the door. It’s important to wash and dry your dog’s paws once you return home to remove any little ‘snow balls’ which can be uncomfortable for them, along with salt. If your dog has been frolicking as much as my little Grizzle has, then they will appreciate getting all toasty warm after their outing.

We love taking pictures of the dogs we walk, but in really low temperatures it can be hard to keep our hands out in the elements. But despite the freeeeeezing weather and endless sleety snow, our fabulous team of walkers not only braved the wind but managed to capture some fabulous pictures. There were too many to choose from but these are a couple of my favourites. Which one do you like best? Comment below or over on Facebook 🙂

(the cover photo is Bella, a dog we have in day care, and the picture was taken by her mum Rebecca who has her own photography business and takes some amazing pictures!)

lulu in the snow

woody

amber

bella 2

hugo

leah

missy

nala

skyla

shadow

tyler

Things my cat has taught me about life

Sleep is key to success

Do not underestimate the power of sleep. Getting a solid 7 – 8 hours undisturbed rest each night means you’ll be delivering at 100% in your work and personal life. It doesn’t matter where you do your sleep – it could be a chair, your bed (recommended), the floor, your yoga mat .. or – in Pancake’s case – my lap, dad’s shower seat or a grassy patch out in the garden.

Eat well

What you put into your body fuels and energizes you for the day. Give yourself the best foods and supplements you can afford. For Pancake this means raw meat with Felini Complete and extra water. As a obligatory carnivore the healthiest choice or him is a species appropriate raw meat diet. However, this on its own wouldn’t be healthy so I add Felini Complete which has essential nutrients which make a random bag of mixed meat from the butchers a healthy sound choice for him day in and day out. I add extra water because a cat’s kidneys can never have too much water flowing through them! What does a healthy diet for me look like? Well simple really: raw vegetables and fruit,  no processed food and as much water as I can manage .. water is good for all of us 😉

2017 was a difficult year for me and as most of you will relate, we often turn to food as a means of comfort. Interestingly we often choose rubbish food to ‘treat ourselves’. I indulged in more than my fair share of wine, coffee (full of sugar and milk) and carbs – almost in a self sabotaging manner. 2018 is about something else. Just as I am fully aware of what my cat needs to eat in order to thrive, so am I now making a conscious effort to think about what I’m putting in my body and whether it’s helping me perform at my best or pulling me down.

Stretching for days

If you haven’t seen a cat wake from a lazy nap and stretch out every limb of their body then you really are missing out on something special – this is stretching at its absolute best! Everyone seems to be into yoga these days and for good reason. But our pets do this as part of an innate ‘feel good system’ type behaviour. Full body stretching is performed multiple times per day: after waking, after sitting in the same position for awhile … you get the idea. But how often are we stretching and keeping our limbs supple? Not often enough I’d bet.

At only 33 I should still be able to run with ease, stand on one foot without toppling over and sit on my knees. But in all honesty – I can’t. My ankles have been damaged so that one wrong move on the pavement and I’m out for days, my knees are so cramped up from laying the wrong way in bed (accommodating our pets), and because I haven’t made time to balance and stretch these last couple years I am just a wound up ball of knots.

There are plenty of great Yoga and Pilates classes across the city, but for busy people who either have no time before or after work to attend group sessions then I can highly recommend YogaGlo. This is an online platform with 1000s of different classes to suit every level. And even better, there are times for everyone with the shortest session just 10 minutes, I mean who doesn’t have time for that!

Drink more water

A cat with inadequate hydration will not thrive. The body of the cat is made up of about 70% water and the natural prey that they would catch also contain approximately that same amount of water.  The cat’s ancestors came from a desert environment and relied on getting adequate amounts of water in the food they ate which means if you are feeding dry kibble then regardless of how many bowls of water you leave around the house, they will not be able to consume sufficient water to keep their kidneys in tip top shape.

A cat fed predominately dry food from a kitten will be somewhat ‘addicted’ and hard to transition to wet or raw; however, it is not impossible and simply requires time, dedication and patience. But if you are new to getting a cat, why not start them on the best possible food for them – raw! There are so many fantastic resources online now which guide you through the process. But if this still scares you then the next best option is a good quality wet food which is high in protein and low in sugars and empty calories such as carbs or vege. Cats are carnivores and they do not require vegetable or grains whatsoever.

And we too should be drinking more water. It’s recommended to have at least 2ltrs a day, but if you are extremely active or live in warm temperatures then you will need to drink more. I personally fill up a huge 2ltr bottle every morning, with either diluted green tea or just plain tap water. I leave this on the counter during the day and sip from it regularly. If I am out and about with the dogs then the bottle comes with me in the van. You’ll be surprised how much more you drink when it’s measured out like this; and your skin, hair, nails and overall energy levels will thank you for it!

 

Dunstable Downs New Years Walk

We rung in the new year with a lovely day trip to Dunstable Downs. Only 40 minutes from our home in Milton Keynes, this is a perfectly do-able day out if you have dogs, kids or just enjoy a wander in the fresh air. There are a number of different planned walks you can take, but I just like to park up in our usual free parking area and set off. I let Grizzle choose where we were going because if I try and set the pace or direction of any of our walks it usually ends in a frustrating stale mate (he’s extremely stubborn)!

He took off to the left, interestingly not along the cliff like hills but towards the lane leading to the tree cathedral. You first pass a number of beautiful  homes, the sort I dream of living in. As we meandered along I daydreamed of lazy summer afternoons lost in one of the large gardens which backed on to endless fields and green as far as the eye could see. The tree cathedral is of course not a construction in the traditional sense, but rather a natural thing of beauty – trees of different heights and ages. You wander through its paths feeling in another world if but for a moment. This isn’t a vast area really, but a small garden of sorts within the park grounds. Still, it is very pretty and we enjoyed the crisp air in our faces and the sun on our backs. Snow was still covering some of the ground and it crunched underfoot as we made our way through the little paths.

whipsnade tree cathedral

tree cathedral ivinghoe beacon

Quiet as it was, we still had to dodge the odd rogue dog whose owners felt had no need for a lead, despite the fact Grizzle and Mandy were on theirs. However, we navigated the space with ease because I am accustomed to this dog dance as we have been at it for years. For readers of this post who don’t know the back history .. Grizzle has a fierce dislike for all entire male dogs, it doesn’t matter their age, breed or size – he hates them all. Alongside this, he has lead aggression and seemingly lashes out at most dogs on a lead prior to smelling and sussing out whether they are fine or not. Because of this, I find it easier to avoid other dogs when out walking, as on the whole, he’s not keen on greeting or “saying hello” to other dogs; and these meetings can tend to take him over threshold and ruin the rest of the walk.

Having come out the other end of the tree cathedral we came to rather lovely Chute Wood. It was another small space and seemed to be created for children but as dogs were allowed I figured we would have a look. This little wood was in fact a sniffy dogs paradise! With tyres, logs, climbing frames and piles of autumn leaves, Grizzle and Mandy spent a blissful twenty minutes scenting dried liver treats I scattered about the area. Even without a pocket full of treats, finding a little location like this can be of huge interest for your dog – allowing them to clamber over logs, jump across tyres and navigate tree stumps gives them a mental workout and challenges all of their doggy senses.

chute wood

chute wood 2

chute wood 3

chute wood 4

We were nearing the end of our morning outing so decided to pay the cliffs a visit – after all, you can’t come to Dunstable Downs and not admire the view! It was super windy at this point and bitterly cold; but the little dogs forged on, spurred into motion by smells of wildlife shooting through the air. Their little noses were glued to the floor and we covered quite a distance in under thirty minutes.

cliffs 3

cliffs 5

By the end of our long march across the winding hills I was very much looking forward to treating myself to a warm cuppa and cake from the (supposedly dog friendly) cafe; only to find that it is not, in fact, dog friendly. You can sit outside with your dog but cannot enter the shop or cafe with them. If you are in a group or couple situation this would not be a problem; but of course if you fly solo with your dog (as I now do) it was a most frustrating and disappointing find. Still, we had a good morning out and managed to dodge the heavy down pour which started as soon as we drove out of the parking lot. Result 😉

Till next time …

cliffs

Merry Christmas from Jog My Dog

Curious what we got up to this month? This short blog is a summary of the most important highlights!

December is a funny month for pet care with lots of last minute bookings for day care and boarding (people do leave it late to sort out pet care for Christmas and New Year) yet fewer walks; as clients are home with their families and pets from around the 20th or 23rd. We are lucky to have so many organised doggies and their owners who gave us early notification of their plans, which enabled the walkers to take time off with their families too 🙂

One of the girls, Jo, organised a charity collection for Milton Keynes Stray Dog Support Project which ran from the end of 27th November until the 8th December. A lot of our clients engaged with us and we were able to fill up our doggy van with food, bedding, toys, blankets and other small bits and pieces which will go some way in helping the poor dogs who are alone in kennels over Christmas feel some love and hopefully comfort in this otherwise lonely time.

charity collection

 

Milton Keynes also had its first proper snow day in a few years and that saw many walks cancelled as some clients opted to work from home. This was handy for our walkers as some of them also struggled to get and about – this country is honestly not geared up at all for a cold snap!

Our client Christmas cards were sent off to the printers at the end of November but we only got them back, due to the weather, on the 12th December which meant we didn’t have long to get them out. Each walker/sitter stepped up and offered to not only write the cards, address the envelopes but get them out to their clients to ensure that everyone got their Jog My Dog card in time. We have cultivated such an amazing team spirit and I (Mary) could not be more proud; each girl has such a commitment to what we are trying to create and a vested interest in helping their fellow walker out.

Jog My Dog had two Christmas ‘parties’. The first was at Revolution de Cuba in CMK and 8 of the walkers were able to come for a fun night out of tapas and cocktails.

jog my dog milton keynes

For those who couldn’t make it due to boarding, we had a lovely chilled morning coffee and cake meet up in Frosts, Woburn Sands.

A lot of people ask if we work over the holidays and the answer is YES! Pet care is a service that is required 365 days of the year and as a professional business it is our job to ensure that if a client needs us we have someone in place to assist. Saying that, we also require notification as our team have lives outside of their work .. so if you are thinking of going away in 2018 and need someone to pop in on your cat, feed your rabbits, walk the dog or host them in our homes for day care or boarding then please do get in touch early.

We take bookings for boarding months and months in advance and it is really the only way to be sure you’ve got your doggy holiday sorted. Cat and small animal visits can generally be booked in much nearer the time; but we urge you to think about your plans, especially around dog walks and dog care in general, so that we can ensure to have a walker / sitter booked in to suit.

That just leaves me to wish all our clients and readers of the blog a very Merry Christmas, 2017 has been lots of fun and we look forward to doing it all again next year!

merry christmas 2017

Santa is Here! Gift Ideas for your Cat

Who doesn’t like to buy their kitty a present? I’m so guilty of this, I just love to spoil Pancake! If you’re the same then check out this list of useful presents you can wrap up and give to your feline friend on the big day.

♥ If you have an indoor kitty then the Mynwood Cat Jacket will be the ultimate Christmas present! These jackets are made to measure (bespoke) to suit your cats measurements and requirements. Each jacket is made from quality fabrics and fastens securely around the neck and chest with long strips of velcro. All jackets are reversible with black cotton or another choice. I have one of these for Pancake and can highly recommend them (a word of warning: be prepared for lots of meowing and whining to go out; make sure you are prepared to put the time in to ‘walk your cat’ just as you would a dog, as once they have been outside no indoor play can compare).

cat jacket

 

♥ Another one that’s a must for indoor cats: The Cazami Cat Exercise Wheel. This fabulous exercise wheel has been especially designed for cats and helps to keep those confined to the indoors happy, supple, and energetic. The wheels are lightweight making it easy to ship. It is also assemble and disassemble friendly. While I am aware most cat owners in the UK allow the to roam, it is becoming more and more common to keep them indoor only, or with supervised garden access. Cats can quite quickly become bored and lazy, with weight gain and poor health being a common result. High energy breeds like Bengals and Orientals seem to excel with these wheels, but any cat can be taught to use one with patience and adequate time put in (another word of warning: be sure you have the time to commit to training your cat to use his / her wheel; as they are far from cheap it is quite an investment into their long term health and happiness .. so simply buying the thing is not enough, you have to help them learn to love it!)

cat wheel

 

♥  Spoil your Cat with their very own personalised bowl. You can choose one of Hoobynoo’s unique cat illustrations to match the look of your cat; the marble bowl can then be personalised with your cats name. This is a little pricey at £25 but the quality should mean it lasts you a few years.

cat bowl

 

♥  Extra Strength Catnip Cat Mice Toys. These mice toys are the ‘Purr-fect’ gift for any cat. Each mouse is handmade from a delightful range of fabrics. Cats have hours of fun tossing their mice into the air with the string tail and using all those feline skills that make them great hunters.

cat nip

 

♥ Guisapet Cat Bed. This contemporary bed offers a pleasant sleep with privacy for your cats, suiting those weighing up to 8kgs. Retailing at £75 it’s certainly not a cheap steal,  but it’s quite cool and modern so will suit owners looking to blend, naturally, their pet gear within the home. It comes in several colours and designs .. although I prefer my guy sleeping in bed with me!

cat bed

Psss: if you like what you read then why not share this blog with family and friends .. and who knows, it may help them out if stuck with present ideas!

Santa Is Here! Gift Ideas for Your Dog

Who doesn’t like to buy their dog a present? I’m so guilty of this, I just love to spoil my pooch! If you’re the same as me then you will love this list of useful presents you can wrap up and give to your doggy on the big day.

Equafleece Dog Garments – these products are a bit more pricey than what you might find on the high street but they are well worth it! Equafleece stock a wide selection of jumpers, tankies, suits and coats in both fleece and t-shirt material and each item is made to fit your dog on a bespoke basis as you measure them up at point of order. I recommend these to all our dog walking clients as they keep dogs clean on walks along with warm and dry. They can also double up as a thundershirt – these are known to help many dogs stay calm during firework season and other stressful events.

dog jumper

 

♥ Baxter’s Boutique: Handmade Fashionable Dog Tags, Collars, Leads, Bandana’s and more! – now your trendsetting pooch can enjoy looking fashionable just like you. Each piece in the collection is unique and lovingly hand made. Fabrics are purchased in small quantities which means you’re unlikely to ever bump into another dog wearing the same piece. With a variety of styles, there is something for every dog.

baxters boutique

 

♥ Personalised Painted Dog Box – these toy storage boxes are made from solid pine wood with cut-out side handles and batten style feet. When ordering, simply enter your dog’s name and choose your colours and motif and you’ll have a personalised box that will help keep your dog’s toys organised and tidy whilst also looking great in your home on its way.

dog box

 

♥ Mango and Maud’s Doggy Grooming Parlour – help your pooch smell fantastic all year round by investing in a few key items from this extensive posh looking range. You will find everything you need from dog shampoo, body wipes, paw balm, towels, bags and more here; and while not the cheapest if you love to pamper your pup, and appreciate a fine product yourself, then these will be just the bits for you!

mungo

 

♥ Muddy Paws Dry Dog Bag – these are a great way of towelling down your pooch after a long walk in the country or by the seaside. Designed to easily dry and clean your dog when they’re wet and muddy, put them in, zip it up and this bag uses the heat of their body and their movement to dry and clean. They are made from top quality towelling material with a heavy duty zip. They come in 7 sizes and are machine washable. What’s not to love?

dry dog bag

 

Love these ideas? Why not share with family and friends as a sort of ‘hint hint’ if they are stuck on presents for the man furry man or woman in your life .. Have a happy Christmas!