Keep safe!

Keep safe!
You are responsible for your own safety and that of your dog. The walks listed in this blog are not detailed guides. Plan your route! Click the landrover image for safety advice from Bowland Pennine MRT.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Winter wanders

It’s the middle of February already.  This morning there were hints of daylight on our walk at 6.30am, and it’s not pitch black when we get home from work.  The first signs of spring are here, albeit we have another storm to come this weekend!

We’ve not been up to much in terms of exciting walks.  Most are in our local area, Bee Lane or over to Walton Park.  Last weekend we got to Derbyshire which was wet and wild but lovely.  We had a good walk around Matlock, Matlock Bath and Starkholmes as usual.  We’ve also had a few trips to the beach at Lytham, and an evening walk on Lytham Prom after fish and chips.

We move in a few weeks so the house is full of boxes.  I’ll miss this place, and I’m sure Marley will too, but sure we will have fun settling in to new, albeit temporary, surroundings.

Sunday, January 05, 2020

Formby to Ainsdale, The Star of Hope and Christmas 2019

2020 has arrived and we’ve had a good start to the year.  A whopping three hour dog training class yesterday saw our first ever go at man trailing.  I think Marley got the idea, finding the hiding person twice and of course now regarding her as his latest treat dispenser!

Friday saw a return to Formby for a fabulous walk, pretty much all off lead, up to the wreck of the Star of Hope at Ainsdale and back. It was probably Marley’s longest off lead walk to date so he was shattered for the rest of the day.

Thursday was a trip out to lunch at the Watermill at Ings. It’s a great dog friendly pub.  Marley behaved pretty well other than 10 seconds of wanting to play with another dog and it’s 2 foot high companion. Other than when kids are looking at him or running past he’s pretty good at settling in pubs now.

Other highlights of the season were some off lead time with the twins. Can’t say they were too impressed with his contribution to their indoor cricket matches but he joined in Christmas Day present opening without total carnage, before it did all become too much and he had some time out in the car.  The adults only meal a few days later was rather calmer!

The build up to Christmas was less enjoyable with Marley picking up a rather nasty stomach bug. No idea how he caught it, but it followed a snowy but rather muddy trip to Tockholes. After a few days he had a trip to the vets, some probiotics and special food, which did the trick. Sadly it meant he missed a weeks training classes and a day out, but we were relieved it cleared up almost as quickly as it came on.

Monday, December 02, 2019

The Langdale Pikes, training classes and Rivington Pike - A great walking weekend

Friday was one of those increasingly rare days off with nothing planned other than a walk in the Lakes and, now he’s pretty much fully grown, Marley’s first real Lakeland mountain. Under perfect blue skies with a hard frost underfoot we headed up Stickle Ghyll from the National Trust car park in Langdale, gaining height quickly before emerging at the Tarn for a brief ice cold paddle.  With no sign of tiring, Marley continued enthusiastically to Harrison Stickle, passing a few fell runners, walkers and dogs on route, where we shared a cheese sandwich and a drink of water. Descent was much harder on the icy ground, taking as long to get down as it did to reach  the summit. All good for trying to get some close lead walking though.

Saturday brought a few hours of training classes, which  are going well. Over the past few months we’ve seen a big change. Yes, he’s still a crazy dog but he can hold it together for a meet and greet most of the time. We not yet cracked birds, bikes and joggers, but he doesn’t kick off quite as much these days. He’s though the worst of puppyhood and turning in to a good boy, bit by bit.

Sunday saw another first with a walk up Rivington Pike. I was surprised how much it’s changed in the three years or so since I was last up there. Looking very smart on the terraces and by the Japanese pond. We were joined by lots of Santa’s doing a charity walk at the top. Couldn’t have wished for a better morning walk, which ended with some training amongst the brave or foolhardy bikers who had come over on the Belmont road in such icy conditions.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Autumn colours and the Ribble

Loving the new path to the Old Tram Road.  On a gorgeous Sunday morning we wandered down to the Ribble and Avenham Park, through the autumn leaves, enjoying the sunshine.  En route we passed runners, bikes and kids.  No kick offs although of course he was interested.  Happily the road is still closed to traffic.  Not sure it will be open by the time we leave this place. 

Also had a first visit to doggy daycare this week.  Think Marley loved it!

Monday, October 21, 2019

The Old Tram Road - On the doorstep

For the last 14 years our route to the Old Tram Road has involved a 20 minute walk along busy roads or cutting through the old derelict Lostock Hall Gas Works.  Finally, the new link Road is open to pedestrians and this weekend we wandered over the bridge, down the tram road to Factory Lane, and enjoyed a stroll around Walton Park.  It was so odd to walk along roads and paths that have felt so far away!  It’s like two communities of dog walkers have merged in to one 😊

Other than local walks, we’ve had a good trip to the beach at St Anne’s, plenty of trips to Lytham Green and of course Saturday visits to dog training club.  Marley is still very excitable, but maybe a little calmer week by week.  Tonight I was confident enough to walk with headphones in, one of life’s little pleasures, for the first time in our walking together history!

Hopefully we will get a few decent walks in over the next month or so, after which we might be on the move. Very exciting.

Saturday, October 05, 2019

Summer’s gone

Summer has gone and this week we had our first frost!  Been a busy summer, things on most weekends and also another week away in September.  Walks have been mainly local, with plenty of visits to our local park, a few trips to the beach and of course lots of weekends at Worden.  Oddly enough we’ve not been on the moors for months.  We had a day up in the Lakes, where Marley dragged me up Orrest Head which was nice, followed by a walk around Tarn Hows with mum and my sister.  Mostly though summer was about training, continuing to work on loose lead walking and learning to trust him off lead (only when it’s quiet!). We then had a bit of a disastrous period following his neutering, where he was out of action for a few weeks.  Happily we still managed to ge5 down to Cornwall in September, staying near the stunning Cape Cornwall.

Now I’m looking forward to autumn weekends, a few trips to the woods or beach and hopefully a dog who continues to get a little bit calmer. My main mission remains to stop reactivity to kids, birds and bikes but hopefully have some fun with it.

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Back to Cornwall

June saw a trip back down to Cornwall, this time to Tregoose Barn, at a fantastic dog friendly holiday home near Helston.  With a huge wooded garden it was pretty much perfect for chilling out, games with a ball or just sniffing round after the visiting rabbits and foxes.

It wasn’t far from Porthleven so we got a few early morning walks in along the coast path and around Loe Pool, somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit. Towards the end of our visit I realised Porthleven beach welcomes dogs before 9am so as the tide was out and a calm sea we also had a stroll on the sands.

We visited plenty of pubs and cafes as usual, but this time there was more outside eating and drinking to be done. That proved a challenge is there were playing kids or birds getting close. Whilst he is calming down a bit, he still goes nuts, especially when kids are around. Given that, the lead stayed in for much of the time out and about but the long line was invaluable again as he had his first proper paddle in the sea at Porthluny.

After all the excitement of a summer holiday life back home seems a lot calmer. Even walking on the main road is easier, but not easy, now. Months of training might be stating to pay off!

Sunday, June 02, 2019

Blackpool Prom, Lytham Green and back to Worden Park

Dog training has become a way of life rather than I thing I do! One of the the most important principles of our training programme is to train for the situation, not in the situation. That begs the question, how do you know whether you’re ready for the situation? Two weeks ago we had reasonable success with our ‘bird’ training so last week I thought we’d give a busy and novel environment a go. What better place than Blackpool Prom!

Having parked at South Shore we had a challenging 5 minute walk to South Pier, largely due to paper blowing in the wind.  Clearly not ready for blowing paper yet!  Second was go-karts, which I expect would have been a major tigger a few months ago.  Marley strolled past the noisy karts without concern so I call that a success.  Next was the busy spot around South Pier.  Again, no big issues and we made it happily to the grassy area that lines the prom, watching trams, horses, carriages and the expected stag and hen parties wander past.  Again, no issues.  Eventually, we made it to North Pier and under the shadow of Blackpool Tower we listened to some live music close to a crowd of several hundred people. Success again.  Amongst the crowd was a young boy who decided to run across the prom which prompted some lunging and whining so at that point we headed back, with only birds and blowing litter prompting any reaction.  All in all a good walk in the sunshine and a good test of where we are at.

Last Monday (bank holiday) we headed to Lytham and a nice walk on the prom and through town. Only birds proved a challenge, and another little boy playing football. Monday night was a bit of a nightmare with jumping and humping, prompting a telling off followed by a rethink of our approach to keep a nice calm dog.  With hindsight, his bucket would have been filling all weekend so hardly unsurprisingly it overflowed on Monday night.  We have done lots of calming training since.

Today saw a return to Worden for the first time in a few weeks.  A group of friendly lady runners said hi to him and whilst I wouldn’t have him off lead near runners, he didn’t lunge or jump at them.  More than 5 minutes watching football practice proved a challenge, as did birds (again). We had loads of off lead time though, with other dogs and people around, which was great.

Since we got back he has been a gem, even allowing me to (largely) get on with work on my laptop tonight. Maybe we have turned another corner!

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Bronze Award and Meresands Wood

What a great weekend. Saturday morning saw our crazy springer transform in to a dream dog for just long enough to get through his Good Citizen Bronze Award. He really has come on leaps and bounds, or a little less of them, in the past few months. It didn’t quite last for the obligatory photo shoot but hey, he was having fun. Sunday saw a lovely walk at Mere Sands Wood, one of my favourite places to visit when Finney was slowing down. Two circuits of the wood were in order for Marley, who had a good sniff and had some calming (ish) training near the woodland bird table. He even managed some loose lead walking afterwards. Happy days watching the transition from unruly and challenging puppy to a manageable adolescent!

Monday, May 06, 2019

Run to the hills

It’s been a great bank holiday weekend.  With Marley soon turning one I decided it was t8me to get him out and about on the moors.  Yesterday saw an early morning walk in the cold sunshine up to the top of Great Hill, my first trip up there for a couple of years.  It was an ascent full of memories but as we reached Joes Cup and gazed back over the Lancashire landscape towards the sea it was one of those happy to be alive, fit and healthy moments. The walk up was easy thanks to a pulling springer spaniel. Marley was certainly happy on top. Descent was a little more tricky but to be fair the past 4 weeks or so of disciplined heelwork seems to be paying off.

Today saw a morning and late afternoon walk to Jubilee Tower. Again, great to be up on the moors and even after meeting plenty of bikes, runners and a not very friendly collie he generally stayed close on our descent.  Won’t be long before we head for a mountain or two!

Still very jumpy and excitable but a little bit easier to control these days.  We need to get some more pub practice in though.  It’s weeks since we went out.  We did have a nice weekend at my mums over Easter though, where he was pretty well behaved.  We even got up Mam Tor!