How important is variety?
Before we moved to the wonderful Milton Keynes, we lived in Essex and I used to trudge round the same, pretty tedious walks. It was a Country Park, with a small lake and next to some fields, but it was newly built and not very exciting. For me, one of the best things about living where I live now is the quality of my walks (and our proximity to John Lewis!) I now have the opportunity to walk round a large lake, beside a river, or up in the woods and on the heath.
Just as I feel passionately about being able to walk my dogs off lead for at least 90% of their walk, I really love the fact that they can experience different places to walk as well. I think it is very stimulating for them to be exposed to different smells and varied terrain. Of course it’s brilliant for me if it’s not too muddy, but it is much more important that they have the chance to do something different.
It was lovely to be able to take Ounce out with her cousin Bea (from the Beatrix Potter litter) and her family. I wanted to give her the chance to go somewhere different and it was great to see her running around the fields.
It was also good to see her relaxed around other, strange dogs. She had not met Bea or her family before the walk and was thrown straight into this new situation. As you can see here, she was quite happy to take treats from Charlotte (much tastier than mine!) and to sit nicely next to Nico. When we got back to the house I was able to have a chat and a coffee while Ounce and Nico ran around in the garden, playing really well. I also took Ounce up to my favourite woods, on Aspley Heath, but I forgot my camera! She enjoyed it very much, though, just like the girls do. I can’t wait to walk them all together every day, so that she can run around with her family. However, I know that every day I walk her separately is a day that strengthens my bond with her and improves her obedience.
It astonishes me that people walk their adult dogs on lead up in these woods. Of course you have to be careful if you don’t know the area, as there are roads around. But surely a bit of hard work on recall is worth it, so that your dog can enjoy running in and out of the bracken? Yes I do know I have collies, not spaniels – it’s not always that easy!
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