All the fun begins

Training dogs

This week we will focus on training the dogs. You would think it is easy, just go for a run and that’s all. But it isn’t that easy. I am still learning myself but I will share with you what I have learnt so far. When you think how to train your dog you should see it as how you train to improve your running. If you train for some certain distance, you built for it. You run intervals, you run longer distances, you work on pace and heart rate. It is exactly same for your dog.

The training plan is important but also please make sure your dogs are well hydrated for exercises even if it is just fetching the ball.

My dogs love fetching the ball, even Laferra discovered it is fun to catch the ball, as Roger is chasing her and then she gets a lot of strokes from me for bringing the ball. On that note be careful what ball you are using, as I have read a lot about tennis ball being swollen by dogs but also that it is bad for their teeth.

Balls recommendations and interval training

Personally, I would recommend you those three balls:

  • Ruff ‘N’ Tumble Five senses- it appeals to all five senses: sight, sound, smell, taste and feel (it smells like beef, got tiny bell inside). Amazon has it for 4.99 GBP.
  • Rosewood Starmark Durafoam ball– extremely durable design, even Roger can’t destroy this one and it is lightweight but easy to throw far away. Amazon has it for 6.92 GBP.
  • Chuckit Ultra Ball– developed to have a high bounce. Amazon has it for 5.49 GBP.

So my two Muppets play with a ball once a week, usually the beach as Roger can be off lead without any stress. They both sprint to catch it and just jog back, which is ideal.

Canicross

I feel lucky as three times a week my dogs are being walked by a dog walker, who takes them to the beach and both dogs run for an hour. I consider that when planning what are we doing in the morning or evening. They received a bit more food on those days too.

Canicross training is all start and stop up to max 6km (which we do with cani-fit classes). Again I feel lucky to have cani-fit classes, but you can always do it with your social group runs. I do that 3 times a week, but I switch dogs, so probably one dog will do it twice a week.

Bikejor or scootering

This is a new part added to my training for both dogs (it used to be just for Roger). I have learnt that building strength of your dogs is as much important as other training. So once a week short rides that the dogs constantly pull. Roger has no problem with a scooter or a bike. On the other hand, Laferra doesn’t feel as confident near it, but she loves running fast. She is slim, lean and doesn’t really have many muscles yet. So we will do once a week short distance, Laferra pulling constantly with the scooter. Again I feel lucky that I won a scooter, it seems to be very important part of training. Recently Laferra started making that funny noise like purr. It was just for food but now it seems it is for her running harness and scooter. Does that mean she loves the scooter? I hope you watched the video that we posted yesterday?! If not here it is:

Working on her homework! Amazing Sunday morning. what were you up to?

Posted by Dogxplorescotland on Sunday, August 13, 2017

Fun

Ok ok training, training, but where is the fun? These all are fun, my dogs love being just out with me running around the woods. Laferra’s prize for hard work is that she can be off lead and hunt birds or bunnies, where Roger would be 5minutes play with a ball or nice sardines in his bowl when he comes back after the run.

Hydration

When you think about hydration, think twice. How do you feel when you finish run and you won’t drink enough water? A headache, you feel sleepy and very tired? Dogs would feel same. Roger is good and drinks a lot of water during the day normally. Lafie doesn’t drink much at all. An hour prior leaving the house, I put bowl full of water for both dogs. Yes, they won’t drink just a water. I use few things to make them excited every time:

  • Icepaw- Salmon Oil or Cod Oil. 9.99 GBP. It can be any other fishy oil.
  • Icepaw- Fish Powder. 4.99 GBP. (Laferra’s favourite).

When we leave the house dogs are ready to pee all that water! I usually drive to trails which are around 1h drive from the house. That means the dogs drunk 2hours prior training. It works for my two but watch your dog, you know it the best and will know when it was ok to give water to the dog.

After a run, my two wouldn’t drink water. I usually put something in their water:

  • Few Pedigree biscuits. 1 GBP per 500g.
  • Icepaw-Sproutten- two bags 11.99 GBP (it last for a month).
  • Sardines- Lidl 0.37 GBP.

Food

I discover that my two definitely run better on empty stomach, so I feed them an hour after training. Please make sure you don’t feed your dogs before ANY running even if you are going for a walk and they will be off lead running.

This may predispose the dog’s stomach to bloat or twist. Generally Google says an hour prior and afterwards don’t feed your dogs. Depends on how hard they work, they get more or less. I keep an eye on Laferra, as a young dog, we can’t keep same weight on her, so I started feeding her double portions. She managed to gain 2kg in 4 weeks. Let’s keep it this way now.

Again off topic

A lot of folks tell me I am very dedicated to my dogs. Well, I feel I am ready to tell you a short story. Before I moved to Edinburgh my life was just a life, nothing exciting, just normal life. I was even depressed just before I moved to Edinburgh. Big decision and finally arrived in the capital of Scotland. A week later after my move here, I have met Roger via borrowmydoggie. My first thought was I wish he can be my pet. He was amazing, a rescue dog that had a lot of behaviour issues but he loved spending every minute of his life with humans.

I spent more and more time with him and I became happier. One day I adopted him and my life changed. From being a miserable and grumpy person, I changed to that happy outdoory person. Loved spending every minute of my life with Roger. He smiles every day and has such a character that everything else wasn’t important anymore. All my problems disappeared in a second that I was with Roger. I have a bad day at work I come back home and I totally forget about everything. Yes, I am dedicated to my dogs, as I know their life is short and I want to spend as much time as possible with them. I feel like a Hero for them and I know how much they love me. I hope they know how much I love them. Roger changed my life. So be happy and enjoy every minute with your 4-legged pals. They also help me with my health problems, but that’s one thing I rather not talk loud! I have those days that due to pain I just can’t crawl from bed, but seeing smiley Roger helps to fight and forget about it.

August

Anyway, enough all this happy tears notes. August is a month of pre-season training. We are taking it surprisingly very easy due to my injury and high temps. Weather is very funny at the moment, it is very cold for August or surprisingly very humid. No plan in place due to that so more of spontaneous wee trips.

This week back to Roger’s favourite Blairadam Forest. After some rain earlier this week, it was great to see streams full of fresh water. Nice run with Cani-fit  family. This time long loops with max speed for Roger. He is defo stronger after training on a scooter. I can feel more pull. However, I learn that I need to tell both my dogs to “get on” and stop letting them trot around. Roger is definitely strong enough to pull for longer. We are still working on Princess Laferra.

New hobby?

Recently my yoga studio re-shared an event for charity workshop to make dog beds and jackets. I thought what a great idea and we could bring dogs, so great option to socialise weird Laferra (she can be funny sometimes when indoor, she is still very friendly towards dogs tho). Unfortunately, due to some circumstances, I couldn’t take her but I decided to go myself. I had a blast and it was my first time that I was working with a sewing machine. Apparently, there will be more workshops like this, so keep your eyes on our fb page for more details. Here are few photos:

It was amazing and I have never knew that sewing can be so much fun. I really want a sewing machine now. Also as you can see below my dogs approved the bed I made for them.

Lubi Lykan thank you so much for rescuing those fabrics and letting me and others having fun and learn how to sew. I also manage to find best tweed bow ties for my dogs:D Lubi you are a star!

Happy Monday!!

 

 

 

Rest, injury and back on track

Rest

It seems that we will take a rest a month before race season starts due to my tiny injury. I presume it is for the best to rest and it gives me time to catch up with my favourite tv shows. At the same time, dogs are loving their lazy life. I have never thought I will ever think that I feel really bored and I can’t wait to go running and riding my bike. I used to just play volleyball and be lazy, now the more is happening the better. Last few days I have been trying to go to the sea so the dogs could run and I could swim, but it has been raining every time (morning and evening that I wanted to go). So tonight is my last try. Yes, I hate being potato coach, even tho that I watched few seasons of tv shows already. Maybe I will stand on my kick bike scooter and make the dogs train hard. Well someone from our team needs to be strong for start of the season. Haha

Bike

I also never thought that buying a bike is so difficult. I spend hours to search for that one bike that would tick all the boxes. Really?! And well guess? I am still searching. Hah

My Kona is doing great, but time for an upgrade so I can enter some races. I know like I don’t do enough races with dogs.

Time off

How to deal with hyper crazy dogs when you are limited within moving around? Continue reading and learn what we do with Roger and Laferra during my injury.

1

So as I am injured and need to rest I thought I will focus in this post how to make your dogs entertainment if you are really limited due to rain or actual injury/illness. I like to work with my dogs on their behaviour. Roger is very well trained with tricks as we attended few classes for dogs. However, it is challenging to train two dogs as both of them are trying to do it at the same time (and most of the time wrong). I have decided to use Laferra to practise Roger’s agility skills. What do we do? Laferra sits and wait and Roger uses her as a wing and turns around her whatever side I tell him. She gets treats for staying and he gets treats after each run if a good side. Both dogs are stimulated and it is quite challenging to multitask with treats. Two happy dogs at the same time.

2

Sit and wait is one of my favourites, however, I also like touch hand. Roger managed to master this, where princess Laferra is still a bit confused so she touches and then gives me paw, which is sweet. Touch hand skill comes very handy, when you want your dog to focus on you or check his focus for example for agility (as I learnt recently). Roger likes to cry when he stands and does nothing, so this comes very handy.  It is great to still make one of the dog sit and wait and another one to touch hand.

 

3

I have tried my dogs to work together and make synchronise sit and lie down.

I must admit this one doesn’t really work well most of the time, but I am not giving up. Make sure you have treats in each hand for each dog and show them at the same time. If lie down is too hard for them (they do have those bad days). We do sit and give me paw, which Lafie mastered so much that she gives me paw without me asking for it, as she thinks she will get a treat.

4

You may question that it is all about treats, not toys. Both of my dogs are food orientated and slim, so I know many treats will work well and won’t affect their weight. However, sometimes I use toys at home, to teach dogs to leave, drop it or bring it to me. Recently Lafie discovered that fetching toys is amazing as Roger chases her and she gets a lot of cuddles and strokes from me. As a limit of space in the house, I let them play tug game and leave it when I want to. Hide and seek- search for the ball and bring it is another great game. Dogs need to stay and I hide balls.

 

5

The only one toy I used for them is wobble ball dog toy. I was lucky as I got it on sale for less than 10 GBP. Easy to clean and dishwasher allowed. I thought it will make a lot of noise banging off the doors and walls, but surprisingly it is nice and quiet. Not that easy to take the treats out, dogs really need to move it around. Defo one of my favourite pretty looking toy.

 

 

Back on track

Luckily for me, my pulled muscle recovered after 7 days of rest. I never thought that these 7 days will be so frustrating. I just wanted to go out. Finally!

Saturday lovely 1-1 with Lindsay from Cani-fit with Laferra to work on focus and strength. A lot of work for us. Time to raise the game and tell my dogs what I expect from them. No more fluffing around?!

On Sunday, I have decided to train both dogs as the temperatures are spot on. I chose a safe option for my leg and did kick bike scooter with Roger. We had so much fun and he pulled well. Then off for a cani-fit class with Laferra to work on our homework. Both dogs did not bad. My leg is much better, so back to training, smart training. It is less than a month until our first race, lets the fun begin.

Edinburgh

We were back to Holyrood Park. This place is in heart of Edinburgh and every time I am there, it really surprises me how wild it is. Nice walk up the hill in the evening. I love this place.

Nice views are definitely worth hiking to the top, however, just half way through you can see as much as on top. Surprisingly there are a lot of scents for the dogs, I presume Laferra loved the bunnies.

 

This week post not much about places to visit! But I hope you enjoyed reading. Happy Tuesday. I have already planned few trips for next week so keep your eyes on next post.

 

 

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.