“Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can’t.”

Christmas! Christmas and it is over now. So this year I wasn’t off work, which was a bit weird as I love to spend it at work. Anyways. There was no snow, so a bit disappointed, but the weather was good enough (or that what I believe in) to do things with dogs.

Parkrun at Vogrie Country Park

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First time ever I have decided to go and check out the parkrun at Vogrie Country Park which we know quiet well, as it is the place where our sled dog sports adventure started. It was busy, but they allowed us to start in front. You do 2 loops of same trails and it was amazing. The parkrun is so challenging and distracting for dogs, that was a great experience for Laferra, but she didn’t even look at sides twice. Super proud of her. She is doing so well. We also did well timewise, although I was hoping for sub 20, but we got tangled on a tree and it was a surprisingly hilly course.

Christmas Eve

On a Christmas Eve I took dogs for adventure to Cathkin Brae. Weather was awful but officialy I became a BAM. Follow the link https://www.facebook.com/groups/206832509725490/ if you want to learn more about it. I ran 13.7 miles with Lafie off lead and Roger canicrossing for last 4.5miles. Great fun and super tired two dogs.

After that run I thought I deserved all the ice cream and a wee donut, but I wasn’t so keen on it when I got home.

How do you manage during Christmas

I am lucky as I don’t have many temptations during holidays time for bad food. It must be hard to still go out train and eat healthy with all those Christmasy food around. Do you stick to the plan? Or just eat whatever and being lazy?

I rather stick to plan with maybe tiny expectation of some sweet, but continue with my training schedule or even work harder as I have more time. Jolly of being off work.

Do you spoil your furry babies?

It isn’t just temptation for you, but also for dogs. Do you spoil them with extra treats? I don’t as it might affect them same as us. My dogs get a chewy treat once a week anyways. This year they only got spoiled with toys which they love. A friend of mine showed me best entertaining toy which includes:

These three things make an amazing toy, just check the video below how much Roger and Laferra loved it.

Rest of the Christmas Holidays

We literally spend it as always! Traditional trip to the beach as every year on Christmas Day. I thought going to Portobello would be good as not many people would be out, and it was raining again so a quick run for 2 miles and back home.

We have also stick to the training schedule and work out dogs in harness, which was super excited. Now planning ahead what to do to make dogs chilled and relaxed during New Year fireworks. Watch out for our next post.

 

 

 

 

 

Big dreams turns into hard work!

Most important preparation just started, in 5 weeks from today, Laferra and I will be probably heading to start line to have one first race at the World Championship. Just writing this gives me goosebumps, so I can’t even imagine how I will feel there.

Preparation

Proper preparation started a few weeks ago, and I can see massive progress in me as an athlete who runs, in my body and in my head. I also see my girl is growing up in confidence too. She has her up and down, but it is going well. As they always say it is better to do mistakes at training and work on them, the actual race. I have decided that I will do my best myself, and have fun. I will not put any pressure on my girl. She is an amazing dog anyways!

Vet check

Part of the preparation for that kind of event, we needed to have a passport ready to travel abroad but also a vaccination so she can compete. Surprisingly even tho day before the event there is a vet check if the dogs are fine to compete, you still need to ask your vet for a clear green light and health check! Laferra is ready!

Planning the journey

I think this is the most exciting part where you need to plan when to leave, which way to go and when you will arrive there. What an exciting thing… I am going to leave earlier than we have planned, so we can be in Poland earlier, and recover for races. It is a long journey. 1291 miles. Many hours of driving. We need to plan where to stop too, as having dogs with us we need to make sure they can properly stretch their legs too.

Game up

As per the previous post, I really needed to pick up the game and make sure Lafie is ready. She is shy and timid, so I needed to find the way to build her confidence in very short time. A friend of mine recommended me to start going to parkrun. I always refused parkrun, as they are just too busy for me. It was great to test us last Saturday. I didn’t know what to expect (exactly like it will be a World CHampionship) so I was a bit nervous. What a surprise to see my girl chilled and relaxed around so many people.

We went to Falkirk to Callendar Park. I can say we stormed it! I was super proud of my girl, even tho she slowed down twice. I had a great time and going to be back again this Saturday. Going to ask if we can start at the beginning rather than overtaking 200 folks.

Obedience training

We work hard at home and outside. I make sure it is loud and busy so she can get used that it is all ok. Does anyone want to go to the pub? Let me know. The more unusual places the better. She is doing great.

Running

I feel like it is going up and down, not always the best! But we are getting there. The most important thing is that we both enjoy it and have fun. I feel again that I am getting addicted to all this running! Rest days turn into more running. Maybe eventually it will pay back.

Dreams

My dogs changed my life. I always dreamed of things, but when I have them I live the dream. I make sure all my dreams are becoming true. Dream big, live big. Last year I said I will go to Poland and we are. We will represent My Home country in my Homeland! I am super excited! Counting down begins. And noone said it will be easy! It is hard work.

Happy Friday Folks.

 

 

 

Equipment that will make you a “Pro” Canicrosser or Bikejorer!

I have decided to write a post about equipment as there are a lot of posts on facebook where people are asking for what is the best!

I am not an expert but I have learnt a lot in last few months being involved in the sport. So here’s my experience and only my opinion (you don’t need to agree).

Canicross

Let’s start with canicross. As of yourself, you will need something comfy for running:

It is an easy choice for people as there are a lot of different running companies that sell the right gear, but when it comes to dogs gear that’s another story. When I started my adventures with canicross, I couldn’t find much or I found information that now I know they were misleading. A lot of companies are trying to say their equipment is right for running with dogs, but I have learnt that a lot of them are purely business and money orientated and know nothing about canicross, and not talking here about faster pace sports like bikejor or scooter.

Dogs equipment

I struggled to understand and find something that will be good for Roger. He has an unusual shape. So I made him run in his walking harness (what a stupid idea that was, note on that my own gear wasn’t good either). I have decided to buy my first equipment back in Poland. DC Grizzly belt for myself, manmat bungee line and Roger had his walking harness. We were very slow but we enjoyed the runs (as per photo above).

Eventually, I have learnt that it is very important to have the right equipment:

  • A dog can get injured, if harness is incorrect for pulling.
  • Dogs should be able to use their shoulders without any restrictions.
  • The harness shouldn’t be too high on their throats.
  • Bungee line has a different length for different sports.

So my first equipment was a wrong choice. My belt hurt my lower back. Now I use this belt for hiking and it is just perfect. My bungee lead was too long (bikejor line) and it was harder to work together as a team. Also, Roger harness made restrictions on his running style and choked him.

Right choice

I still struggled to find the right equipment. I thought I went in the right directions and ordered a customised harness for Roger. Well, once again wrong decision. I was close to giving up when I decided to go and ask for recommendations from folks who do the sport for years. They know the sport and they know what is right for the sport and why.

My old equipment ended up in a bag. Roger got his brand new harness from Dragratten. How surprised I was on our next run, his pull was stronger. I noticed that more often when he saw his harness he got super excited. Note from me: his harness was tight, it wasn’t loose, it worked really well with his running style.

I have changed my belt for the lightweight and it was sitting on my hips too. Amazing, no more pain in my lower back. Bungee line was a bit shorter and the whole experience of canicross has changed. We started to progress with our times and I could see it helped as to become stronger.

My younger dog got her pro harness straight away. She will probably grow up from it soon, but it is defo worth the money as she learns in the right equipment from the start. She was 10 months when she got her first proper sled dog harness. 

Why use a collar?

I decided to keep Roger as he pulls a lot during a walk in a harness, but it is a different one than his running. Laferra walks on the collar, which helps before races that I can keep her on the collar when she is trying to be mental. Also during training, it is handy with her to have the collar to cool her down or walk her to start point. When I am nearly starting running I clip her on harness so she knows she needs to pull.

Bikejor and scooter equipment

Ok with caniross you can make mistakes and learn from it, but when it comes to faster speed sports you better with the right equipment. So what do you need here:

  • MTB bike or scooter.
  • Helmet and gloves.
  • Bikejor/Scooter bungee lead (longer than canicross).
  • Dog harness.
  • Arm antenna to keep the lead away from wheels.

People ask why do you have arm antenna on your bike. Ok on the photo above you can see lead is a bit slack as Roger slowed down due to big stones and hill. Arm kept the line away from wheels so I didn’t have an accident. I tried bikejor and scootering without the arm and instead of having fun I was thinking about line and brakes all the time.

Once again a lot of money if you think, but again it changed the way we train and how much we enjoy all this. I use same arm antenna for my scooter.

Equipment is very important

I have learnt: it is all worth the money! The dogs love it more and you can really push your team at training and races.

There are a lot of companies who say they are great for canicross, but think twice. In last couple months, I have managed to stay injury free and my dogs got excited when they see harnesses.

Think twice about your dog health! Use the right equipment, ask experienced folks for advises! It changed my experience and I hope you will find the right path to the right equipment yourself!

I am not an expert but been to may races in UK, I watched and observed, I have learnt out of my own mistakes!.Be happy, enjoy your running with furry friends.

 

Good shop with equipment: https://www.k9trailtime.com/shop/

 

 

 

Highland Fling Canicross Race

I don’t really know where to start with this post. Probably because my head is still buzzing after the weekend and I am still shattered.

Aviemore

I always thought that Aviemore is further than it actually is. I have packed the car in the morning and then we went away. If you don’t know what to pack remember to read my post: Camping with dogs.

Anyways traveling up there was amazing. All those views with purple everywhere. I think it is the best time of the year to go up North. Sooo pretty. I was driving so I haven’t taken any photos. But thanks to my friend Catherine there is one photo how pretty it was. I love Scotland and hopefully one day I can live up north.

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The road up to Aviemore is nice even tho one line most of the time. I felt the traffic was busy, but it didn’t make me tired. We arrived at the Dalraddy Holiday Park after 2.5h driving. Dogs were way fast asleep. Women at the reception were very welcomed and gave us a map how to get to our pitch. Unfortunately, there were no more strawberries left, but they told me there will be more tomorrow (those strawberries are just the best).

Campsite

A lovely park set in 97 acres of mixed native pine & birch woodland with spectacular views of the Cairngorm Mountains range, which now forms part of the Cairngorm National Park. It is only 3 miles south of Aviemore, close to Loch Insh for a superb variety of all water sports activities. An excellent location for walking along the Badenoch Way, taking in the breathtaking scenery starting from holiday park, with some stunning sights along the 16km walk following a path through the lovely village of Kincraig, leading you to Ruthven Barracks in Kingussie.

So there we are driving to search for our pitch. We found out that it was between start and finish line so actually perfect spot. We have arrived and noticed our canicross friends around on other pitches, which was awesome. Dalraddy campsite is dog friendly (only 2 dogs allowed), but you need to keep your dog under control and on lead all the time. The pitches are separated by trees from each other, so my dogs couldn’t really see other dogs. Roger and Laferra really chilled and played tug game at our pitch, not bother with what’s happening around.

It was nice and sunny, so we managed to set up our camp very fast. The pop-up tent is amazing, a few minutes later that’s tent up. A wee walks around to say hi to everyone and few fixes to the bike. All sorted couple minutes later. Great to see everyone again after summer break.

Pre-race night sleep

I was worried that Laferra won’t settle in as this was her first time in a tent, although she camped before with Roger and me in a car. How surprised I was when I zipped tent and took their collars off to see them getting comfy in their bed. Not moving or barking during the night. A very warm and good night sleep for us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Race day- morning

I felt a bit nervous even tho I did this racing thing for a year now. It was new to me to do two dogs and there wasn’t much time between classes. Dogs walked and hydrated back in the crate and there was me putting and planning ahead my comfy outfits for running and bikejoring. I did help at the registration and then off to prepare dogs for the race. Here is our schedule for preparation (always same routine):

7:30 am Last wee hydration for dog

7:40 am Clothes on, Greeprs fasten

7:50 am Quick walk for pees and poops

8 am Wee energy snack for race

8:05 am Quick run for me including toilet (stress pee) 🙂

8:15 am Another quick walk for dog

8:25 am Harness on

8:26 am Fitline drink for me

8:27 am Laferra’s warm-up

8:30 am Long course starting

8:35 am Standing near start line in a queue

8:46 am Off we go

During race

I think I was more stressed than Laferra as it was her first race. All the time that she was with me since a puppy around races probably helped her to get the right attitude and knowing what will happen. First “haw” and first “gee”: she is amazing on first two corners, which is unusual as she is a wee bugger when it comes to directions. First straight, car passing behind the fence and she doesn’t bother with it. Laferra keeps doing what she supposed to. Approaching the first marshal and I can see it is James, the person she likes a lot. I am calm and shouting: “on by” and she pass without even looking at James. He cheered us too, but she was just keen to continue the run.

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Half way through

I feel so good with her and keep encouraging her. She was fantastic until after single track around 3km, she was a bit confused with tarmac, but she found a nice soft path to run on. Next turn and she is back again on a single track: so focused, but she is terrified of a tape. I reassured her that we just need to pass it and let her go back to front, she is back on track. I didn’t need to encourage her to pull, she was on a mission. We have passed another marshal and once again she didn’t even look. Approaching chalets, difficult crossing, and a marshal, I shout “haw” and there is my girl keen to say hi to marshal (as she does all the time). Somehow we have managed to continue. Around 4.2km I needed to remind her to “get on” with it and start pulling again. Almost at the finish on a nice single track again she picks up the pace. Amazing finish for my girl although she was a bit confused with people standing before the finish line!

She knocked out 1.5min off the time I had last year with Roger. I am super proud and there is a lot of space for improvement. Quick back to the car, water out with some sardine’s oil in, harness off and a lot of praise. Time to get ready for Bikejor.

Race number 2

Same schedule as before. I always have the same routine so my body and my dogs know what we are doing. In the meantime, 20 minutes after canicross I gave Laferra Fastdog- recovery biscuit. 10 am approaching so time for another race.

Start line and as always Roger is super calm. Sniffing around and saying hi to marshals. Oh, I love this boy such a change from last year. The new bike was amazing, it felt so easy to pedal for this wee boy. So much fun riding and shouting in the woods with my favorite. He was as always running his socks off.

Oh how much I love him. We have managed to do our target time, so I am very pleased with him. Back to finish line and he is one happy dog. Got his sardines and water. Harness off and back to the crate. 20 minutes after the run he gets his recover biscuits while I walk Laferra.

Human recovery

Oh, I can feel having two dogs will be hard work, but at the same time, it will be so much fun this season. Right, so I needed to recover fast for my evening races. I felt tired actually very tired, after not doing much in last few weeks due to my business trips.

I have decided to check if the best strawberries are still in a wee shop at the campsite. How chuffed I was when I saw still few boxes left. Quickly ate one box (fine gave 4 to the dogs). I also had some soup and decided to have a nap in a tent. So put the dogs on leads and snooze a bit while they could have fun outside.

Dogs recovered super fast

How surprised I was when I saw them back full beans again just 2 hours after the races. It must have been the biscuits. I was hoping I have something like this for myself. Drunk a bit of my Fitline drink and went to snooze.

Around 4 pm I had a chicken pasta which really filled me and I was ready to go again (well that what I thought).

Evening race time- bikejor

Here we go again. Even tho I thought I feel fine, I felt tired but didn’t want disappoint my dogs, so I kept thinking I can do it. Roger was so excited to be first out in the evening. There we go again. As Rogerowski is cross Staffie and Border collie, he is a good thinker. Sometimes I wish he isn’t that smart. 2nd run: he is doing fine and I feel pain and heavy muscles. He pulls and keeps going, smart boy slowing down at bits with sharp bigger stones, but I am totally fine with it (we are here to have fun). Passing the marshal and stones and he is back pullying like a train. I am super proud and putting as much as I can on the bike. Last single track and he still pulls. There we are at the finish line and Roger is one happy pup rolling all over the grass. Quick hydration and change of clothes. Time for last race of the day.

Canicross in the evening

Last race, I feel really tired. I am hoping for nice and easy run as Laferra never canicross for that long. She does long distance off the lead with me on a bike (MTB), but never canicross.

Start line and there she is, again keen to go and can’t wait for her turn. First “haw” and I am thinking: oh gosh she is great again! First “gee”, I am thinking I am not going to skip training ever again, no excuses. Half way through I hear the noise and thinking: oh no train. Once again she didn’t bother with noise and continue her running. My girl did well. Two races in one day is a lot for such a young dog without experience, but she did it without looking that she struggled.

Wearing Merrells helped my legs for sure. Super light, super comfy was definitely what I needed for my tired feet.

The last corner to run to the single track through the trees, I feel my legs are saying no and I feel awful cramps. I think: Laferra must feel same! I can do it. She sees trees and picks up a strong pull. I cheer her as I really need her help. We did it. We did it again and I have an amazing dog.

From rescues to best pets

Lafie and Rogerowski had a tough start of their lives, they have ended up with me. Every day I am thankful how lucky I am to be able to rescue both. Such a different dogs, but both amazing. Roger is natural at canicross and bikejor. Laferra started from basic, but she has potential with all the hard work we put in she is amazing already. From being homeless and hopeless they become my pets and my life the best. They do everything you ask them for. They are Champions to me no matter what!

Weekend

This weekend was great, so much fun with dogs and friends. Time to rest before more hard training. Couple days off for the dogs, but not for me. Yin Yoga on Mondays is spot on for all those stiff muscles and today I am ready to go again. I will make sure next time I can do as much as those two without a pain in my legs. I am so ready for it. Let’s the fun begins.

I hope you had a great weekend too.

If you have any questions or comments messaged me.

 

 

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.

 

 

All about Roger

Roger

Next few days it is all about Roger in my household. I didn’t realise until a few days ago that 21st July is approaching very fast. This will be always my special date as 21st July 2015 Roger came to my life as my pet. You can read more about how he planned to be my dog in a post: stories about the team.

He is a rescue who changed my life and finally I feel I am on good path feeling happy. As a rescue, he had a lot of behaviour problems including worst ever separation anxiety (he wouldn’t stay for 30sec by himself). I felt really bad about all that and especially knowing that one day I need to go back to do my full-time job. Luckily, when I took him I didn’t work so we had plenty time to train. I started from day one. I was hoping to teach him to stay in the crate, he totally refused and as we know it just doesn’t work for some dogs.

So we gave up on a crate, but I kept it so he knew it is his space if ever we go on holidays together then it will travel with us. Eventually, we progressed from the 30 seconds staying alone to more time. I gradually increased the time for him to be left alone, but I kept training him all day long. He chewed and collected all my clothes or shoes. I felt bad but I wanted to make sure he is ready.

Happy dog

A month later he wasn’t but I needed to go back to work. Somehow we managed. Then we have moved to a lovely flat and this has totally changed the game. Roger relaxed more and was one chilled dog. I found dog walker so he could walk him during lunch time. Two years later I see all that was so worth it. Roger stays at home for max up 7h without chewing or destroying the house (usually he stays max 5h alone). I have also started watching him on camera, while I am at work and he just sleeps and barks at strangers at the corridor. Super proud of him. Ohhh I should have mentioned exercised dog= tired dog= no problem to stay alone.

Training

So we were back to Blairadam Forest for some social run with friends. As Laferra is “in heat” and it is all about Roger week, it was a perfect choice, as I mentioned before he just loves it. A nice wee 6km jaunt around was just a great fun.It was all about the start and stop and a lot of water stops due to very high temperature. I still think it was better than the day before when it was very humid.

Girls problem

All girls dogs’ owners have this problem. Once or twice a year bitches are in heat if not spayed. A personal decision: I am going to spey Laferra as when she is fully grown so still some time to wait for that. However, until then we need to deal with her hormones jumping up and down and make sure she is away from male dogs. This is the time that I started to think even more about canicross and how thankful I am to find it. This is the only way to exercise Laferra and get rid of her energy. Nothing like a big training, just small short 2km jaunt around the park. She is safe with me and has time to enjoy time running. A problem at home?! Yeah, girls can be messy, I spend 5 pounds on adjustable and washable female pet pantie (Amazon). I think that money was the best money I have ever spend.

You would think she looks awful. She doesn’t and actually it is great to keep the mess away from my carpets. Also, it comes in different colours and patterns and even better: she doesn’t try to take it off. I would definitely recommend those to any female dog owners.

Rest weekend

My rest weekend turned into MTB weekend and rest for dogs. Friday I have spent riding my bike around Glentress with Dirt School, which was awesome and a big boost for my MTB ego. I have been eaten by midgies and really suffering now, but sudocream does the magic.

The weekend brought an exciting trip to a new destination, where I took my bike only. It was Yair Forest.  I was gutted that Laferra couldn’t come as this place… Wow amazing and very quiet. but also not many sheep around. This forest is near Selkirk and has proper climbs for MTB. No shame in walking, right? Located just an hour away from Edinburgh, near Innerleithen and Glentress is a very nice treat for a new adventure.

It totally pushed me out of my comfort zone and those single tracks proved me that my hard work on MTB technique is worth. I didn’t manage to go off the bike at all. Nice day off and wee break away from dogs and my usual weekend’s routine. I am going back there for sure.

Time off- dog free evenings

I love my dogs a lot but sometimes I need a rest from them and focus just on me.

I started doing meditation and it helped me to clear head and be relaxed. This week our Yoga teacher decided to move the class outside. What an amazing idea that was.

It happened in Holyrood Park,  the temperature was high so a lot of people, but we managed to hear birds and it was just spot on what I need after a busy day at work. Also, remember Yin Yoga increases your flexibility and as I learnt and experienced it Yin Yoga reduces stress and anxiety. Try it yourself!

Big day coming

It might sound lame but I am really super excited about 21st July. I think Roger is delighted that it is all about him this week. Another agility classes and wow we have managed to have Roger off a lead. Yes, I said we had him off a lead and Yes, he doesn’t have any recall when surrounded by livestock. I have doubts if this will ever be possible to teach that boy a recall around sheep or horses. Yesterday he proved that when he has job to do, he will do anything to please! Even out agility mentor said he is much more focus on me. Does this mean he enjoys agility?

I also realised that going to school for dogs is worth too. Last year we attended to Paw Skills Edinburgh for tricks course. I thought tricks class will be ideal as his brain will work and he will learn funny things. Well how wrong I was, funny things maybe yes but how helpful they are on a daily basis and also very helpful at agility. If you have any doubts? Just do it, do one block it will change your dog and your life. The most importantly it will create amazing bonding between you two.

I know this post is all about Roger and I promise I didn’t have tears when I was writing it. He changed my life. Happy Gotcha Day Roger.

“A dog will teach you unconditional love. If you can have that in your life, things won’t be too bad.”- Robert Wagner.

 

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.

 

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: