Explorer pass- Historic Scotland- an amazing historic tour with dogs

Last week was a bit different than usual as I was on holidays and we had a visitor. We have decided on explorer pass which gets you to over 70 attractions and therefore fast track to Edinburgh and Stirling Castles. We have bought 3 days pass which needed to be used within a 5 day period. Most of the attractions are apparently dog-friendly, so we tried to see what it is like to go and visit Castles with dogs.

Tantallon Castle, North Berwick

Set on the edge of the cliffs, looking out to the Bass Rock, this formidable castle was a stronghold of the Douglas family. Ascend Tantallon’s towers for spectacular views of the Bass Rock and to watch gannets plunge into the North Sea. Then descend into the depths of a particularly grim pit prison. The castle was home to the powerful Red Douglas dynasty, which often clashed with the Crown. It was besieged by both James IV and James V but was ultimately destroyed by Oliver Cromwell’s troops in a siege of 1651.  follow url Tickets: follow link 6 GBP.

Amazing thing about this castle is that you can bring your dog (leashed) and explore the castle. Massive massive respect for being dog-friendly. Love that there were a lot of grass around to walk. Not many tourists too and a lot of place to stop and have a break with stunning views.

Dirleton Castle, Dirleton

A romantic castle often in the forefront of Scottish history since it was built in the 12th century. The renowned gardens include an Arts and Crafts herbaceous border and Victorian garden. The herbaceous border has been authenticated by the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s longest. The two gardens and grounds are accessible to those using wheelchairs. Two steps lead to the inner courtyard. The castle interior is restricted for visitors using wheelchairs as are the gazebo and dovecote. Surfaces on all garden paths and those leading to the grounds are suitable for wheelchairs. The main garden has a selection of scented flowers and plants.  http://dorothy6.com/menu-item/beer-flight/ Tickets: 6 GBP.

I think this one was my favourite, it had lovely garden to walk around the castle but also dogs were allowed inside. It was very quiet with tourists so we could enjoy it just to ourselves. The staff offered us the water for dogs and welcome them too. We even stood in a shop and Roger was taking all the teddy bears! Oops.

We could walk around the castle, but also inside the building in the Great Hall and so on. Dogs loved all the livestock around, we saw goats, cows and horses while walking in the gardens. Dogs were really keen on sniffing around and we could also take an amazing photos out and in. Loved it! I was very impressed with my first castle tour!

Linlithgow Palace

Inside one of the most spectacular ruins in Scotland you cannot help but walk in the footsteps of royalty. This royal pleasure palace was the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots and an iconic filming location in hit TV show Outlander.

Visit the great hall where monarchs hosted banquets, tour James IV’s suite of chambers or say a prayer in the private oratory of James V. Outlander fans will recognise the Palace gates and corridors as being those used in the scenes when Jamie was imprisoned.  You can see the elaborate, restored fountain in action every Sunday in July and August – it reputedly flowed with wine when Bonnie Prince Charlie visited.The high towers look down over the palace’s grounds –the Peel – and Linlithgow Loch, an important refuge for wildlife. You can explore both on well-surfaced paths.  Tickets: 6 GBP.

Maybe actually this one is my favourite one?! You can walk around the Palace which has a Loch (dogs ran into it for a cool down), but also an amazing palace’s ground full of ground for playing fetch. A lot of walking around inside the Palace once again brought a lot of interesting smells for my two mutts. Laferra was in love with birds inside the castle as they were really teasing her.

Cragiemillar Castle

The castle of Craigmillar is one of the most perfectly preserved castles in Scotland. Even today, the castle retains the character of a medieval stronghold. Building began in the early 15th century, and over the next 250 years the castle became a comfortable residence surrounded by fine gardens and pastureland. The castles history is not only closely involved with the city of Edinburgh, but plays an important part in the story of Mary Queen of Scots who fled to Craigmillar Castle following the murder of Rizzio. It was in the castle where the plot was hatched to murder Marys husband, Lord Darnley. Built round an L-plan tower house of the early 15th Century, Craigmillar was much expanded in the 15th and 16th Centuries. It is a handsome ruin, including a range of private rooms linked to the hall of the old tower. Tickets: 6 GBP.

Once again a very quiet place to visit with friendly staff and a “make it yourself” wheel trolley so we made ourselves crowns! So much laugh as we knew it was just for kids. A cat welcome us which probably would be funny if Roger would spot it. Apart from that a nice building to walk in and out and literally noone there apart from the staff.

Blackness Castle

One of Scotland’s most impressive strongholds, Blackness Castle was built in the 15th century by one of Scotland’s most powerful families, the Crichtons.

This Castle is close to the beach so dogs could have a deep in the sea, but also on the other side there is grass grounds for them to run around and play. [Note: I actually realised this was a part of our training grounds, but from other side]. Absolutely lovely and tiny castle. Dogs are not permitted in roofed buildings.

Absolutely amazing time exploring! I would defo recommend a dog-friendly tour around Scottish Castles.

Why am I so motivated to start my day so early in the morning?

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As you may know, I am not a big fan of running and in past, I really used to hate it. However recently things changed and I am more into it, even train every day. A few folks asked me how do I do it that I am so motivated to wake up early and just go out there in the dark and do my training. So here are my thoughts on that:

Why early morning

I am an individual that likes to be on her own, a lot of people make me tired 🙂 Recently also a lot of people started asking me how I trained my dogs that they are so well behaved. During training I don’t have time for chatting, I like to go out there and smash my training in 30min! Early morning it is usually me and the dogs, which means I can totally focus on training and don’t need to shout after Laferra to not approach other dogs and of course no people keen for chat. Easy life for everyone: I can run, dogs can run!

Stunning morning

Usually, in the morning I can see the sunrise, which in Scotland is just stunning.

Food fuel

In the morning I can also feel I can go quickly do the training without worrying about food, I can just fuel my body straight after the run and during the day at work. I am always worried to get a stitch if I run after work due to that when I finish work I am hungry for light dinner already. The only minus of this is that if you work hard (most of the time for me) you will get a headache after a good training session and you feel like you can eat the whole fridge 😀

Consistent morning and increases discipline

I am always up early in the morning even at the weekends, so keeping the consistency in waking up makes it easy for the whole week. Also, it means training is done and nothing interrupted it as it the is always the same time. If I decided to do it in the afternoon, my workout time frequently ends up at the bottom of my to-do list and by day’s end, I might not even do it. So I rather hit the trails first thing in the morning and I am able to enjoy it and be fully focused on training. This also means I have a free evening and can spend it on catching up on tv shows or reading books.

Metabolism

I have noticed that morning start helps keep metabolism elevated for hours. Why not get your engines running as soon as possible- the earliest the better hehe?! In this way, my increased metabolism will be working — and burning more calories — while I am, instead of when my body is at rest. If you are like many people who sit at a desk all day, you know that this is reason enough to train in the morning.

Clears your mind

We all know that training really helps clear our head and put us in a healthy mindset. According to literature training before your day officially begins allows you to start each day with a fresh perspective as you destroy the stresses of the previous day with a run on the trails. It would help you to decrease the chance to become stressed or upset during the day. Of course, it also depends on individuals but it defo works for me.

Energy for the day

Early morning… yes it is hard to move from nice and cozy bed when it rains outside. The weather and accumulated fatigue can make you feel a bit lazy, however, if I go out and do the training first thing in the morning I am buzzing for the day. Doing so will release endorphins and other hormones to give you a much-appreciated boost that often lasts all day. In other words, it’ll give you the required energy to work all day and party all night if you desire.

 Sleep better and increase mental awareness

I have noticed that I feel more alert and ready to take on whatever challenge or curveball life throws my way after a good workout. I am ready for the day. As my body learns the pattern I started to sleep very well too. My sleeping patterns are consistent and I feel like I am resting/recovering much better and quicker.

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So stay focused and disciplined yourself! Get your “ass” out of bed early morning and enjoy the rest of the day. Happy training.

 

 

 

What strange phenomena we find in a great city, all we need do is stroll about with our eyes open. Life swarms with innocent monsters.

Valentines’ Day is one of those days that I don’t really understand why people celebrate it and waste money. If you really love someone you can buy him/her flowers or chocolate any day, right? Anyways I decided for a change to explore Edinburgh a bit more.

Urban walk

When we finally will move out the city, I think I will miss that place for sure. Right in the middle of the city centre in Edinburgh, there is Arthur’s Seat and Holyrood Park. This park is based just near Holyroodhouse palace and it is known as royal park about 1 mile away from Edinburgh Castle. It literally has everything: an array of hills, lochs, glens, ridges, basalt cliffs and patches of gorse, really amazing landscape. Arthur’s Seat is the highest point in Edinburgh, is at the centre of the park with pretty cliffs to the west. I never knew that there are three lochs there (always thought there are only two). On the photo above you can see St Anthony’s Chapel ruins.

Arthur’s Seat

It was defo too windy yesterday to hike to the top, but we manage halfway through. Arthur’s Seat is the main peak of the group of hills.The hill rises above the city to a height of 251 metres (823 ft) and it provides stunning views.

St Margaret’s loch

St Margaret’s Loch is a shallow man-made loch to the south. The loch was formed in 1856 and it is a home to ducks, geese and swans.

Great place for dogs in the middle of busy city

Between Arthur’s Seat and Salisbury Crags there are nice grassy paths that really you can use to fetch ball, training or just walk around.

For the first time ever I let Roger off lead there, as I know there are a lot of rabbits and squirrels so he would be gone. However, as he improves recently, must be the recall training we do with him, I decided to let him off and just walk. Dogs had a blast, Laferra even ran into wee pond in the middle as she thought it is only a paddle.

Surprisingly a big field with hills around makes a nice and safe walk for dogs. Far away from any urban life (especially cars), I felt confident to let both muppets off. We met few other walkers and dogs had a good run all together. Roger was exploring around, even ran up the hill, but being called, he came back straight away. I really start to believe the recall training works with him. After walking on this part of the park we went closer to Holyroodhouse Palace and played fetch with dogs.

I was a bit more cautious here as it is close to busy road and a bit busier with other walkers. My two defo don’t need other dogs to have fun. They are happy with each other. Happy and tired dogs after an amazing one hour and a half walk around in the middle of the city. I love this place. Happy Valentine’s Day to Roger and Laferra.

 

Love for sled dog sport? Planning new dog?

I presume most of you watch the Dog Power Movie? If not, please watch it. It is only 25 minutes and it is defo worth if you are looking for a dog for the sport.

My story

I have been reading a lot around and hearing a lot of questions from people regarding hounds or greyster which are great breeds and dogs for the sport. I have followed a lot of groups and forums to get to know the breed but let me tell you my story first.

As you may know I started my adventure with canicross in February 2016 with Roger. Great pullying dog. I thought this will be an additional fun hobby we can do together. How wrong I was?! I was so hooked after my first run that I went home and signed for my first race in April 2016. Despite I hated running. Roger loved it and he was very tired that afternoon. Our first race was with CSS in Plean Country Park. It was very challenging and hilly route, but I loved it even more. That time I discovered that it isn’t just canicross that’s there but there are more to this whole crazy thing. Yes, I was hooked and excited. Literally, I was buzzing after talking to so many folks and meet very good athletes. I started doing my research into the sport.

First proper season

I have decided to compete around UK with Roger and see how things look like and where we stand. I discover that a lot of folks have pointers in the sport, but also dogs specially breed for the sport called eurohound or greyster. I always dreamed about having two dogs so I started to think maybe I could get a pointer and be a bit more speedy than just 22 minutes per 5k with Roger.

I started looking for another dog, that I thought could make me faster. I have trained every day so hard to improve my running. In September 2016 I have enquired about pointer puppy in Greece. To make whole story short Laferra arrived to Scotland in October 2016. This was my first experience with a pointer breed. I read a lot about that they are energetic and full beans, but later on I learnt what that really means. As I am qualified behaviorist I was very confident that I will manage no problem. Laferra was only 4.5 months old and not really house-trained. Personally, it was my first puppy that I needed to teach what is the world.

Basic training started from day one, as I really wanted her to be spot on with everything to make my life easier, as Roger being an older rescue is very high demanding (separation anxiety, behavioral problems and reactive). I always knew staffies don’t understand your personal space, but later I have learnt that pointers are even worst. So house-training became and it was smooth, she was one clever girl. On the other hand, she was a nightmare to be left alone or in Roger’s companion. Laferra was loving to chew two things: socks and plastic things. Constantly something was chewed and I started to worry that something might happen to her. I don’t believe in crates and unfortunately, that wasn’t an option (Roger hates crate so he has access to the whole house, so I couldn’t just close Lafie).

Back to basics

I have started saying to myself she is only a puppy so I presume she will grew up from this stupid chewing. Later on I discover others pointers’ owners had the same issues, but dogs grew up from it. Ok she is only a baby. Laferra learnt quickly to do her “business” outside (very quick actually) and her recall was brilliant! I trusted her everywhere and she wasn’t even bothered when she met a horse on our walk one day. I thought fantastic I have a brilliant pet that I can trust being let off lead!

She was growing super fast and Roger loved her more and more. I could see that he liked to have her around. However, every day coming back home there was evidence that she found something and chewed. I gave up on “5min per month” rule and started really making her tired on walks but also playing games like I do with Roger. You can read a bit more here. It started to work, she finally stopped most of the time, but she was growing and being tall she could reach to the places she shouldn’t be even interested in. The kitchen counter got hoovered so many time and I knew Roger was delighted with her being able to reach there as she shared everything with him. I still kept saying to myself she is only a puppy.

However, being a puppy and being a pointer puppy was a bit different. For Laferra one day of me being lazy (meaning not playing a game or proper long-running off lead walk), she literally destroyed things mainly my clothes: lines, necks, zips and so on. She was bored where I was hoping she would sleep.

Old enough for more running

In 2017 I have discovered bikejor so I started training that with Roger, but to get skills I started riding bike on my own. I thought brilliant as Laferra is great off lead I can take her with me and she could get the activities that she needed. She was old enough to start doing it and be my trail dog.

I was learning myself and building up my fitness but Laferra had the best time ever and she could go for a long time. Our rides were minimum of 10 miles every time we went out. I was gutted that Roger couldn’t join us, but tough life if you have a zero recall. Anyways finally princess stopped all the chewing and she was tired sleeping when left alone. You probably want to ask how do I know this? I watched my dogs on camera while at work, just to make sure they are not stressed. The only problem was that I couldn’t ride a bike everyday I needed to do something with Roger too.

Running around

Laferra learnt canicross, being a bikejor dog and pull the scooter around. I always thought Roger was high demanding, but he was tired after 20 minutes training, where Laferra could go again and always tried to play with him at home. I thought she is young so she must have a lot of energy, but at 19 months old now she has even more energy.

My life changed a lot having her, I wake up 4.30-5am to make sure I go out there let them off lead and let them run around before I head to work. Usually, they have a dog walker during the day who takes them for an hour walk which is usually off lead walk and finally in the evening we drive outside Edinburgh to train: canicross, bikejor or scooter, or just me running with Laferra being off lead. Only Friday is my day that I don’t do anything with the dogs in the evenings (well we clean the house, which is great fun with two barking dogs). If one day I am being lazy and ruin the routine I come back to chewed things! And Laferra isn’t a puppy anymore.

Note: Laferra doesn’t understand personal space at all as per below photo ( you wake up to this).

Sled dog sport

I started my story to show you that a pointer changed so much my life as she has so much more energy than Roger or any other dog really. She also made me super busy with making sure she gets rid of this crazy energy.

Now being in the sport for 2 years, I started looking and learning about those “special breeds” for the sport. There are a lot of folks out there with those dogs, a lot of forums and groups on facebook that talks about them. However, I felt it was just talks and people opinions, I wanted to know the truth. As you know I had a brilliant opportunity and qualified to go to the IFSS World Championship in Poland (you can read here about it). I met with so many breeders but also athletes who own those dogs. This trip allowed me to watch the dogs at home (I stayed with few in the same accommodation) but also I could watch them during the big event racing or just sitting at the stake out.

IFSS World Championship gave me the chance to meet so many those pretty puppies but also see those adult dogs in action. They all were fantastic, strong and very keen to run, no matter if it was canicross or four dog team. Fantastic to watch but I thought there must be something more to it. I started talking around and surprisingly people were happy to share their experience. I discovered that those breeds can vary in mix of the breeds they have already and this mix was changing the way dogs behaved. All those breeds are full of energy, and I knew this kind of dog means more than Laferra herself.

On forums and groups you can read how much they destroy and how difficult they are to be left alone in crate. I know different dogs are different, but people told me it is a tough life to own one of those dogs, they really need attention. In case of the greyster they also need some attention as they love being around people. After few discussion I can easily say that those dogs cant be just pet, you need to train them every day. Canicross isn’t enough for them, and also they are that strong that running in a harness isn’t an option for every day training, so you need to do a lot bikejor and scooter- be brave enough as the speed you can go is crazy. Couple athletes in Poland told me that if I ever decided on that kind of dog I will need to make sure I am prepared for life to change (and there was me thinking, Laferra changed my life enough), otherwise this dog will ruin my house no matter if it is greyster or eurohound. A few of those dogs are only one person dogs, so not really a family dogs either. A lot to take on board before you decided about them.

I am not trying to put you off! I just want that people realize that those dogs are pretty and amazing runners, but there is more to just looking pretty athletes! In my case, how would my dog walker cop with having a greyster on a group walk pullying him?! This is just an example. Do your research, it took me a year to collect all the facts until now and I am still learning every day about them. I use the opportunity to go to different events to spend time with those dogs and their owners. I love to get to know them and see how really different they are.

One more thing before you get bored reading this. Those dogs breed for the sport and there are a lot of wonderful breeders with a long waiting list, but to have a confident and super athlete you need to put a lot of effort and train it correctly! What’s the recipe? Noone knows and you can only try and do as I tried with Laferra (I am still learning that recipe!).

I hope you enjoyed this post and have a better idea! I would defo recommend doing your own homework. Laferra is only pointer, no more crazy breeds in there and one day I was thinking Roger is high demanding right?! There are a lot of things to take into consideration when willing to buy a sled dog and bring it to your house.

For now I just focus on Laferra and Roger, They are both great for the sport and I feel it is great progress for me. Starting canicross at 30min with Roger and going down to 22min and with Laferra down to around 19:30min. I think I am on the right track, slow progress and improvment. I have learnt a lot about other breeds for the sport and still have plenty to learn.

 

 

Bring on 2018

Ok so we had a look what we did in 2017 it is time to look what we will do in 2018. So far it doesn’t look that busy yet.

January

We are away to Wales this weekend for our first qualification for IFSS ECh in Sweden which will happen 24-26th October in Nybro, Sweden. Apparently Pembery is lovely, so hopefully, it is worth the drive. Roger is suffering from an allergy so rest for him.

A week after that we are away to Muiravonside Country Park for another Scottish Championship race. I think Roger might run this one, but it all depends on his allergy.

February

I am planning to attend D&A time trial in Tentsmuir and check how we progress in 4 months with Laferra. Lovely place for walks too.

The middle of a month is taking us to England for BSSF National Championship, which is a second part of the qualification for Sweden. Another long trip for some great races. We loved it last year.

Laferra was still a pup, but during that trip, she proved she is an easy dog to take on travels. That was when I knew if we managed for Poland, she is going (and as you know she was a great companion).

I am tempted to fly to Italy for races on snow at the end of February. Of course not to compete but just go and watch it.

March

I might go and do one of SDAS races in Ford (all depends timing).

As per our tradition, we always did Plean race, as that was our first race ever with Roger. This year we will miss it as we are away for third and last BSSF National Championship somewhere in Scotland.

Our Easter weekend this year we will hopefully spend at one of the Midlands Canicross Series. Four days of racing in different classes.

April

We still be at Midlands races but also we are away to CSS Strathallan Castle races. As last year plan is to do canicross and bikejor.

May

We are away to France for the weekend. Yay super excited about this.

 

Oh yes there might be more to come for sure! But that’s all that I have defo planned and put in our calendars. Actually it looks busier than I thought. Happy racing yay.

 

 

Hello August.

Beach before the rain

I chose a right weekend to work, as it was heavy rain here. However, we have managed to have a good run at the beach just before it came.

There was no one else there, so I let Laferra off for a first time after some time being on the lead. You wouldn’t believe how much happiness that brought to her. She was crazy hunting seagulls. Such a happy pup!

The best Saturday morning, as Portobello beach isn’t that far away and not meeting anyone there is just a bonus. What do I mean by morning? Before 7 am.

MTB

Another day another beach walk before I could go and enjoy riding a bike.This time I was trying another 7 Stanes trail centre at Newcastleton. Surprisingly after Glentress and Innerleithen, those red routes were very easy and not challenging at all. A good fun day of 30km, which I definitely feel today. Dogs enjoyed the day walking near the river. I must say I liked it that there were no people. Nice trails if you are planning to have a trail dog, as nice and soft surface for their pads. Even tho it was a bit longer drive than normally, I have a good day out.

August

I really can’t believe it is already August and it seems very busy time ahead. Luckily Laferra’s “heat” almost finished so we can go back and enjoy our runs with the group. So it is a month to go until our first race of the season. I am really looking forward to the weekend away in Aviemore, although my car doesn’t seem to make that happen easier (stuck at the garage). Yes I said racing time, which means we need to push this month to make Lafie focus during 5km not just 2-3km like she does. So we have plenty classes booked and also Ruff Dugger, but I haven’t decided yet which dog will do it (probably Laferra, as to see how she is in a race environment, even it isn’t a race).

I know she looks great in a harness, but I wish she can run as good as she looks. Haha do I sound like a mean mum?! I am so looking forward to race season as that means most weekends away with the dogs to some great locations in the middle of nowhere!

Wee social run

For a change, we went to the social club for canicross to Almondell and Calderwood Country Park. It is located in West Lothian near river Almond. A lot of natural woodland with a home to a wealth of wildlife such as deer, foxes, herons and woodpecker.

 

 

 

 

Oh! What an evening. I lost Laferra, as she was a bit crazy running around. I actually didn’t stress and started running to the car while using a whistle. It was maybe around 10minutes and I could see happy Laferra running back to us from the car park. She got lost and ran to the car, which is fantastic (after all I must be a good mum for her). Rest of the evening she stayed with me the rest of the run. Another test for princess Laferra and another pass for her. She is seriously the easiest dog I could ever rescue.

Bike bike

At least my bike doesn’t break as much as my car! (touch wood). I was back with Dirt School for some MTB on a Friday night, as this is the best way to spend your Friday night right?! Another amazing dog free evening (well I missed them a lot). A wee 17km around Glentress on Friday night is the best way to start your weekend. I was lucky to be captured by Brodie Hood Photography.  

This is my first MTB photo and I must I am chuffed looking at it, as I look confident on a bike. Just after 3 months riding that’s not bad at all, but it is time for the new bike.

Beach is like a heaven

My dogs love the beach. Roger was taken out of the shelter for his first walk to the beach, Laferra was found as a puppy at the beach. You can see how much they love it, when they run free like crazy hounds.

First time ever we have travelled to Tentsmuir Forest. Just a 1.5h drive from Edinburgh, you are taken to a pine-scented forest and windswept sands. I really didn’t know it is such an amazing place with single trails for a canicross or a bikejor but also amazing pretty massive beach for dogs to be off lead. It also has fantastic facilities such as picnic tables so ideal for having BBQ and a massive car park. A fantastic day spent with our canicross friends on a social run.

Another day of the weekend and another beach. We were back to Yellowcraigs. I was gutted that I didn’t take my wetsuit as it was hot and no wind at all. It would be ideal for me to have a swim as I think I pulled my muscle so time for few days rests. I have decided we will be going swimming every day this week. Wish me luck as it isn’t fully light at 5 am.

I must say I am so happy it is August already! Just a month to go and we are back to our racing season! I would normally say let’s the hard training bein, but in my case let’s it heal quickly.

Have a good week People. 🙂

 

All about the training

Surprises everyday surprises

So after big lessons for myself and Laferra, I gave her chance to canicross with cani-fit class in Blairadam Forest, which is Roger’s favourite place due to so many scents. Lafie was amazing, I was in shock when she even led the group, or stayed behind others and overtook with no problems. She was showing off, or maybe she can read my mind?! She was pulling like a train and I can feel my legs. Well done Laferra. Another lesson learnt! Not every day she will be amazing. She is still young and learning her world, but also she can have bad days.

Roger was resting his wee paws for his Saturday class. I really cleared my head during that class after a crazy day at work. However my car added more to that day, parking brake appeared to have a problem, so I was stuck in Fife. Luckily with help of friends over the phone, we have managed to come back home and still have good rest for another day of fun.

Friday fun

Friday is the best day. It flies quickly at work and also it is our rest day in the evening (well most of the time until I decided free run at the beach is our rest day).

It is usually nice evening working on dogs obedience at home: tricks and just usual sit, lie down commands. Oh and I should mention it is a day of a massive homemade pizza for myself too.

 

Weekends are the best

I am lucky that I only work from Monday to Friday, which means I can always plan weekends to have some fun with my dogs. Unfortunately, due to not being able to be off lead in woods, sometimes Roger needs to stay at home when I have a blast on a bike with Lafie off the lead.

This time we had a chance to explore the area around Dunkeld but mainly Loch Ordie. I am speechless and definitely going back there for hiking with both dogs. There was no one there on an almost 15km ride, but we saw a herd of stags and a lot of amazing birds. It was great to see Laferra watching the stags and not even bothering to follow them. My two dogs are very opposite to each other in the way of being off lead! At least I can have one with me when out on a bike. Back to the Loch Ordie area. Scenery and lochs are just amazing and you really feel like on holidays for few hours.

Trail dog training

A lot of people are asking me about training for my trail dog Laferra. I have started with making Laferra familiar with the bike and what it does. She knows that it won’t hurt her if she stays off wheels. I started with short distance around the country park she knew well. Start and stop as I wanted her to learn that she needs to stay nearby. Usually, when I just walk she stays nearby, but on a bike, I can move faster. Over few days and weeks, we build up the distance and now I can proudly say she is fine to be my trail dog on 15km long route. She stills goes off to hunt birds and her own mission, but I have a whistle with me so she knows where I am and that whistle once and she needs to come back.

That training worked for me, but I made sure she had good recall before that and I have tested it when walking in that kind of places. Do small steps and be patient. Eventually, it will pay back.

Recall

It won’t work with all the dogs. It didn’t work for Roger, as a cross staffie/border collie, his recall in Country Park with sheep, cows, deer or even rabbits just doesn’t exist. His instincts are stronger than his love for me. Haha. I have tried simple recall training stages, and unfortunately, only one place he can be off lead is the beach. I am not giving up on Roger and still trying to teach him or at least improve his recall in different places than just beach. Hoping for the day that he can go for adventures up the mountain with Laferra and me.

Shakey video of Laferra running around Loch Ordie

Small things but it makes me happy

I feel that my training, time, effort and money that I put in this are so worth. Roger and I were travelling around UK to compete with BSSF at National Champs and we got the World Cup points (still big error on a website as we did 3 races, not 2). Within 2 races results, we have managed to get the 22nd place in Europe and Russia in World Cup (male/female/veteran/elite). I am super chuffed. I was a bit down with training, but this gave me a boost and motivation back. Time to work harder and finally aim for dream sub 20 minute.I am also super proud of Roger, as nothing can stop him and he always runs his socks off. Well done Rogerowski. The more races you do the more points you have, so even faster people can be below you. Next year I am hoping that I can travel and compete not only in UK at National Champs but also in Poland at National Champs so I get experience in different countries. This was big surprise as I didn’t know we will get even to World Cup ranking.

About the team

So this is the start of a new exciting chapter in my life. I am not really sure where to start but hey let’s start from the beginning. Meet the Team and their stories.

Roger

Staffie x border collie, 4 years old. Roger as a rescue can’t imagine his life without human-being. He doesn’t understand your personal space either and also he taught me that no matter what you should enjoy every minute of your life and be happy like he is every day from 5 am.

Our story is a bit of heartbreaking but in a good way. I moved to Edinburgh and as I missed my dog back at home I have signed on BorrowMyDoggy (https://www.borrowmydoggy.com/), which has changed my life. Two years ago I met a Border Collie x Staffie called Roger and fell in love immediately – I still remember his face from the day we met. We all became friends, his owners included, and now we are like one big family! Not long afterwards, I met them all, the owners started having problems coping with him as he is so energetic and told me they were unable to keep him. I thought about how much I loved Roger and knew this was a sign, so I adopted him! What is more, his previous owners are now his borrowers and help me out with him when I need it. It has helped me find the perfect dog and the perfect borrowers and it has made my life very, very happy.

Laferra

Pointer cross, 11 months old. Laferra is the biggest softie, gentle dog who thinks everyone will love her. Laferra is very opposite to Roger and she is in love with dogs. At the beginning, she didn’t like cuddles with humans but now she would demand cuddles from humans. At times she is being the biggest daftie, however, when out and about she is the easiest dog to maintain as she is super happy being off lead not interested in anything apart from birds and insects.

I always dreamed about the 2nd dog, in my head they could keep each other’s company. So after having Roger for 18months, I have decided it is time to add another dog. I have been looking for puppyish age dog that will be fast for canicross. I was very specific and fussy what my 2nd dog needs to look like and behave like.

Therefore, I couldn’t find that kind of dog in UK. Luckily I have found the most amazing Rebecca Michaelides who is based in Greece. Rebecca has a big heart for animals and rescues strays there. As I was curious what dogs she has for adoption, I have checked her website. I saw tiny 3months old pointer cross called Luna, who was found at the beach at only 1-month-old. I didn’t think twice and enquired about the adoption process. A month and a half later this beautiful dog arrived from Lesvos to Edinburgh. She is the best dog I could ever dream of for a 2nd dog. I have changed her name to Laferra as she is my Ferrari dog for canicross, so from La Ferrari (Italian) she is Laferra or short Lafie.

Agata (myself)

My story?! I have moved to Scotland years ago as I came here for University. I have decided to stay in Aberdeen and work rather than go back to Poland. A few years ago I have moved to Edinburgh just as I thought there are more opportunities with jobs here. It was the best move ever. I always played volleyball and couldn’t even think that one day I will stop. I did stop just because I wanted to spend more time with my dog.

Anyways Roger made me a runner or rather a kind of sprinter and made my dreams to become true (you can read more here: https://www.powernutritionct.com/single-post/2017/04/25/From-an-overweight-athlete-to-a-running-champ—a-remarkable-story-of-my-best-friend). Since April 2016, I am taking part in canicross races and exploring Scotland with my two mutts is the best thing.

I am involved in sled dog sports doing canicross and bikejor but also going on a lot of adventures with my dogs. Exploring Scotland with my two mutts is the best thing.

Also as a dog lover I have attended a lot of dog related courses: animal behaviour and welfare, dog behaviour and psychology, dog emotion and cognition, the passion of play and more. I am now officialy qualified in dog behaviour.