Scotland will always surprise me.

Scotland- my tiny heaven.

Unfortunately, Laferra has injured her pads. I really panicked as she didn’t show any pain and if she wouldn’t come to me for a massive cuddle I wouldn’t even notice. We are at the beach very often so I was surprised it happened after our early morning run. I spoke with few friends who have dogs and more experience than me and also research the Internet for the answer. To be honest, I am still confused what happened, but it looks more like she burnt her pads and had massive blisters. I presume she started using her front legs too hard for her soft pads. Anyway, she is healing well and 2 days later it is barely noticeable.

Another Country Park.

Beecraigs Country Park was my choice for this week training and walk. It is located in the Bathgate Hills and it offers miles of woodland paths and trails. This is the largest park in West Lothian. There is an animal attraction so you can see Red Deer, Highland Cattle, Belted Galloway Cattle and Hebridean/North Ronaldsay/Shetland Sheep. It has a dog-friendly campsite and kids play area. I always thought this place will be busy, but because it is so big sometimes you won’t meet anyone on trails. Beecraigs also offers MTB trails, which are very technical with all the roots and stones. Great place to practise your skills.

Unusual day out.

Last weekend for a changed I went to Craigie’s Farm. Just 20-minute drive from Leith. I always thought it is further, however, what a place. I went on Sunday so I thought it will be full of people, but it is that big that you don’t feel crowded.

OMG those strawberries and raspberries taste amazing, I can even see the dogs are loving them more than from shops. I felt like a child again, smiling all the way and trying to pick the best fruits. I can’t wait for cherries and gooseberries to be available to pick.

As the farm has animals, I thought dogs won’t be allowed, how surprised I was when there were signs: dogs allowed and poo bins. There is even Canine Cafe, which I am going to explore next time with Laferra. Such a good day out.

New canicross season

It is that time of the year, that it is almost July and time to plan a schedule for the new season. I like to plan ahead. All dates in the calendar, planning ahead the budget as this season it will be two dogs entering the races. I also want to go to England for some races. I have most of my holidays booked for races, so we can actually rest and stay a bit longer, so watch this space for some more adventures around UK. Oh, I can’t wait for new season, Laferra seems to understand the “canicrossing” and what she needs to do now. She is still a pain sometimes running around or not on a path, but I am being patient for now. We have still two months until first race so a lot of time for our training. Although I just signed for a muddy run with Laferra (Ruff Dugger). This will be her first experience running in the “race” environment.

 

Happy Thursday.

 

After rain there is always sun out!

What a change in weather from last week. After the rain, we got proper heat in Scotland.

Cani-hiking in Ayrshire

Ever thought of best birthday present for your dog? I have thought about it for Laferra, and thought that cani-hiking at Cani-fit will be the best idea, as she just loves dogs so much. We were away to the west to Dundonald Castle in Ayrshire. Such a long drive, but I always say it is worth as dogs can have new scents. Once again history lesson for me, so this castle is between Kilmarnock and Troon. According to Google Castle is a fortified tower house built for Robert II on his accession to the throne of Scotland in 1371 and it was used as a royal residence by Robert II and his son Robert III. The walk in woods is fantastic for anyone. It takes you to the nice reservoir where dogs had a tiny deep in a water. We used this cani-hiking class as a small celebration of Laferra’s birthday. It is still few more day until her big day.

Princess Laferra and her arrival to Scotland

I will always remember the day when the courier called me on my mobile (Laferra was 4 months and in Lesvos, Greece). I didn’t pick up as I was at one of the SDAS races in Bowland Trails and we were watching Dog Power movie in Barn. Afterwards, I left to see Roger and listen to the voicemail: the man said Laferra will be delivered on Sunday 30th October, depending on a traffic but probably around 8 pm. I started to panic, as I wasn’t prepared, she supposed to arrive a week later. I didn’t have anything for her. On Sunday, I couldn’t focus on anything until I actually went home. I have planned that I will introduce both dogs outside in neutral place. Around 8 pm I left Roger in flat and went downstairs to wait for courier and van. She arrived and she was the last dog. Poor thing, she was terrified

.

The photo below shows our first ‘hi’. Such a tiny girl, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Courier left… and what a disaster night that was! Fireworks went on. I grabbed her quickly and ran up to the flat, as I know how much Roger hate fireworks. The worst introduction ever: I walked into his space with a new dog. With tears in my eyes, I said: Roger here’s your sister and put her down. She loved him from the beginning and that terrified dog I took from courier changed to happy pup straight away. Roger wasn’t really sure, but it took him some time to figure out she is actually good fun. What a jolly that was to see those two playing. I knew even with the worst introduction it will all work out. I believe that if something is meant to be it will always work out. Anyway, Happy 1 Birthday Princess Laferra, you are the best. I can’t believe she isn’t that tiny anymore.

Roger and his new opportunity

One of my exciting news is that Roger has been waiting for 10 months for a space in Agility Club. Luckily, we got an email and this Tuesday we have been invited to East Lothian DC. We had a session which involved sharing more information about agility training, health, safety and ground rules and working on some foundation exercises that we could practise with little or no equipment. Also, they checked if Roger is suitable to work on off lead and in a group with other dogs. And the results is: Roger has passed and he is now a part of East Lothian Dog Training Club learning how to do agility. I am super proud of him, who would have thought a dog with so many problems can come that far. He has behaviour and atitude problems, but we have some how manage to control it and he is one happy dog.

 

I think I am going away from the main topic here.

So lets me share with you another spot on location for a nice walk with your dogs. Yellowcraigs Beach is the place that you will find peace and quiet. Apparently, it is a natural cove beach with an amazing view to the 1885 lighthouse on Fidra Island. If you ever need to go for a run or walk to clear your head, this is the place. I always go there on a nice day as I know it will be almost empty anyways. We also do open swim there. It is around 20 miles away from Edinburgh and definitely worth the drive.

Not all the best walks are outside Edinburgh. I am sceptic to go to Portobello Beach during weekends, as it is very busy. However on the other hand when you wake up early morning and go there at 5 am it is the best place. I always try to keep an eye if the tides are high or low. The lower they are the more fun is for dogs, as the beach is massive. As I said after rain there is always sun out.

Happy Thursday! Almost weekend, so keep smiling.

Rainy rainy Scotland

As you all know now, I won a scooter and I couldn’t wait to try it out with Roger. I know the temperature was high, but we did only 2.5km and very easy pace. Here is the video how much Roger loved it.

Scootering with Roger

Even high temperature we tried our new toy! It is too hot but I know Roger and he can do 2.5km. OMG scooter is awesome 😀 check it out on the video. It is hard work… jelly legs??

Posted by Dogxplorescotland on Friday, June 9, 2017

 

Our weekend was full of travelling so the dogs could enjoy different trails for running. Firstly Heatherhall Woods in Fife. Amazing quiet place, with so many easy trails for walking, running, cycling or horse riding. This place is a home of frogs, newts, red squirrels and deers. It was rainy morning for us, however, hidden in woods, we couldn’t feel how miserable it was out there. Officially Laferra managed to pull me to my dream speed at cani-fit class.

I felt really lazy on Sunday, however, we were booked on another fun canifit class. Cathkin Brae MTB Trails is a tough choice for those wanting to run there. It surprises you with quiet high hills and all that running on grass kicks into your legs and glutes. These MTB trails are tiny trail centre just off Glasgow. It only has 5.5km for riders. For us runners, it is a jolly as it has open fields and nice tiny woods. Just over an hour drive from Edinburgh, it has stunning views all over the Glasgow. I always like to stay a bit longer than and walk dogs and play fetch. I didn’t take my bike so I couldn’t enjoy it even more, maybe next time.

My life is pretty much full of adventures and training with dogs. There is one day during the week that I have dogs free evening so I can enjoy peace and quiet. In January I have decided to start doing yoga with PandaYogaEdinburgh. According to few blogs and people, the key benefits of yin yoga are:

  • stillness: calms and balances the mind and body.
  • stress and anxiety reduction.
  • increased circulation.
  • improved flexibility.
  • fascial release.
  • greater joint mobility.

It has been a few months already and I can definitely see the benefits myself, but also my colleagues mentioned that I look more relaxed. It also helped my body to recover quickly from runs and all rides. This yoga is just perfect as you stay in one position for few minutes.

I will take this opportunity to also explain to you what is canicross? Trust me it isnt cheating like a lot of people say/think. So what is it? Canicross is off-road or cross country running with your dog. You need to have special equipment to do it. Starting from your dog harness (it is different harness than walking harness), bungee lead and your own human belt. According to Cani-fit website (have a look at a guide for beginners): ” the human is the driver, directing the dog from behind with voice commands”. Below photo captured by Sharon Reid shows Roger flying from the start line. Some dogs are natural, some dogs need to learn how to pull and run in front of their human.

Sometimes everyone has those days, that nothing works well. I had one of those and decided to spend an evening on my own. I went up to Glentress 7 Stanes Mountain Bike Trails. This is a heaven for all mountain bikers. As Roger and Laferra were with me, as usual, I wanted to spend some time with each one of them. Roger and I took a wee ride around blue trails. Oh wow, those hills are not stopping him at all. Later on, for the first time, I have decided to take and assess Lafie if she can be my trail dog. Wow. Just wow. Running in front on all uphills and behind me on downhills. She just surprised me as she looked like she knew what I wanted her to do.

Easy 12km spin around and I think she definitely did around 30km, as when I stopped she was running full beans into woods. One, two whistles and there she was back. After all this fun in Glentress I gave both dogs water full of sardines. Remember after runs no matter what weather it is you need to hydrate dogs. Mine don’t drink just water after a run, so I try to find out what my friends are giving their dogs after canicross. It seems that sardines are the winner. Also check your dogs pads for any cuts as that could be painful for them. I try to keep waxing them before and after runs, so they got stronger and more prepared for long running.

Keep an eye on a blog next week, some exciting news will be out!

I wish you all a great weekend and amazing adventures.

 

Super busy Gang

Last couple days have been very busy for our gang.

Roger and Laferra could spend a day with Roger’s previous owners and it looks they all had a great adventure out in Edinburgh. Lucky for them it was nice and sunny, so long walk along Restalrig railway path was ideal. The path takes you all the way to Portobello if you wish to do 2.5 miles walk. It mainly is cycle path but why not use it for a walk with dogs.

On Saturday, I was out in Glentress to do my mountain biking beginner course with Ridelines. The day was amazing. Why MTB course? As you know by now I am planning to compete in bikejor with Roger and I thought I will learn proper skills so I am strong and ready for a season. Now MTB is a part almost every day of our training. I can’t wait to put those skills into practice with Roger. Unfortunately, temperatures are too high at the moment to do it.

Unfortunately, temperatures are too high at the moment to do bikejor, so we only canicross. What temperature is too high? It differs for different dogs, and how well your dog can cope with the heat. Usually, you should stick temperature x humidity <1000 you are fine to go. As I mentioned before you are the one who knows your dog. I still would go for a short and easy pace jaunt on a bike with Roger even 17 degrees, however, I would watch humidity and make sure he has enough water prior during and after a run. I never realised that during summer when playing fetch with dogs you can still overheat them. The best is to stay close to the water on a hot day as dogs can run in and cool down. Please keep an eye on your dog. Here are some of the symptoms:

  • heavy panting or rapid breathing
  • elevated body temperature
  • excessive thirst
  • weakness, collapse
  • glazed eyes
  • increased pulse and heartbeat
  • vomiting, bloody diarrhoea
  • seizures
  • bright or dark tongue, gums
  • excessive drooling
  • staggering, stumbling
  • unconsciousness

As we live in Scotland rain is a normal thing and it doesn’t stop us to enjoy time outdoor. For a change, I decided we go East for our canicross training. Dalkeith Country Park is gorgeous and full of nice trails. However, dogs are not allowed in Restoration Yard or Fort Douglas and must be kept on a lead in the Palace Field area until across Montagu Bridge. Park is full of things to do for families too. Beautiful scenery is just a jolly for training. Even tho rain was very heavy in woods you didn’t really feel how wet it was out there.

Nice trails with a lot of stops as you can walk or run along the river. Laferra and Roger loved the scent and running deer. As you can imagine no one was there during this awful rain.

Saturday night was very exciting for my friends and me. I bought a ticket for a raffle as my friends are going to World Championship and are trying to get funds for their expensive trip (you can still support them, but raffle is finished: https://www.pledgesports.org/projects/sled-dog-world-championships-November-2017/ ). So they did raffle draw on Saturday, and by the look on live video I have won a Kick Bike Scooter. So here is to more adventures for me and dogs and of course a tougher training. I have never won such an amazing prize, so looking forward to it.

On another note, sometime ago our gang had an opportunity to have a photoshoot with Barbara Ostrowska at https://www.facebook.com/BarbaraOstrowskaphotography/. My dear friend Kinga organised all and also thank you to her and Fitline for all the support. My dogs loved it and were superstars. I will leave it for you to judge but here are some of the results: