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Doggy training tips, My life 'tails'

Human Foods that us dogs can’t get enough of

It’s so EXCITING when Simon visits to drop off the groceries. He seems to always remember my carrots – what a ‘Top Dog’ he is.  I always have a friendly tail wiggle for him as he pulls into the gravel drive.  I obviously BARK first like any good guard dog would (I’ve got a reputation to keep! I’m a 32kg Labrador… I sound FIERCE!  Grrrrr……(winky face)).

Is there a place at the dinner table for me?

Anyway, it turns out it’s not only the carrots that are edible for us dogs (I hear you yelping for more!). Here are 10 canine-edible foods that I’ve discovered I can eat from the hooman’s very own supplies:

  1. Natural yoghurt

Oh boy! oh boy! – drool…whine…drool…this stuff is darn T-A-S-T-Y! It’s drooltastic!

  1. Eggs

Cooked eggs are SO SCRUMMY and nutritious for us dogs. But watch out for raw eggs my four-legged friends as apparently they carry the risk of salmonella which as with humans, makes us dogs sick. According to my daddy this type of food poisoning is NOT COOL!

  1. Strawberries

These are PEDIGREE! I haven’t tasted blackberries or blueberries, but I’ve overheard I can eat these too! #cantwait

  1. Apples

I LOVE these juicy treats but for some reason I’m never allowed the core…something about apple seeds containing cyanide which just sounds dangerous, so I’m happy to avoid.

  1. Bananas

At first, I was a little unsure of the texture on my tongue but once it hits my taste buds I was hooked!

  1. Broccoli

Chomp Chomp! A great low calorie snack but not too much as it may irritate the digestive system!!

  1. Peanut butter

BOW WOW…‘TOP DOG’ treat! Hours of licking to be had if it’s placed in our KONG toys – an essential for all dogs. WARNING – peanut butter must be Xylitol free.

  1. Oatmeal

Porridge is my FAVOURITE breakfast.  Its wooftastic. I’m sure I have some Scottish blood in me somewhere! I like to think of myself as a doggy Braveheart, being a passionate, soppy, loving thing. But I’m a lover not a hater and Yorkshire’s where I call home.

  1. Cucumber

Staple! Chomp … Chomp … Crunch

   10.  Meat

Obvs! After all I’m a carnivore!! The word CHICKEN sends me NUTS! Crazy like a dog! (chasing my tail) Woof!…Woof!…I’ll do ANYTHING for chicken!

So…what do my fellow canine friends get delivered in their shopping? Are there some tasty dog friendly treats that I haven’t tried yet?

 

Dylan

 

My life 'tails'

A big woof-shout out to dog friendly employers

So I’m on the hunt for woof-tastic businesses that encourage dogs in the workplace! I’ve decided my mama needs to take me to work so we can hang out more!

Are you a dog friendly employer? Tell me more about you…

It seems that the number of dog friendly companies in the UK are on the increase but where are the ones on my doorstep? And for me, are there ones in Yorkshire? I’d like to sniff out these canine friendly businesses that have a ‘pets at work’ policy in place for a four-legged friend like me.

What is a ‘pets at work’ policy?

I’ve ‘googled’ the subject and found it’s more common than I thought! Wait for it…(a long paws for dramatic effect!)…there is even an official UK ‘take your dog to work day’ on the 22ndJune.  This annual nationwide event originally started in the UK in 1996, with one in five businesses now welcoming their loyal four-legged companions (like me), and with numbers on the increase – could the next one be yours?

Bring your dog to work day aims to raise funds for great doggy causes and you can read more about it here www.bringyourdogtoworkday.co.uk  – there is even a dog with a job hall of fame! #doglifegoals

The benefits of having us dogs at work…

Obviously, some of you clever humans already are aware of the benefits of having us loving creatures in the office and how we can be good for both the mind and the soul…

But don’t just take it from me.  In March 2012 a US study published their findings on the effects that us dogs in the office had on employees of a retail business… I like a good retail business, particularly one that sells dog stuff for me (flick to visions of me dreaming of bones and beds and bouncy balls… sorry I got distracted …back to it!) So, guess what they found? They identified that us dogs have calming effects, reduce blood pressure, lower stress and make employees more cordial and productive.  Doesn’t sound so barking to me!

And here are the reasons why…

It turns out that us pets:

  • Trigger interactions between you humans that may not have happened without us.  We’re great conversation starters (although, I prefer it when you talk to me than just about me!). Either way, talking is good! And I like to talk…or bark..or whine (but not at work where I’m strictly the professional!)
  • Are a pro-active method of staying healthy and avoiding health issues – so go on, throw the dog a bone!

And playing with us:

  • Can increase levels of stress-reducing hormones.
  • Reminds you to ‘paws’ and take breaks whilst working long hours.

In short, having us dogs at work can help encourage a healthy work-life balance – we improve your job satisfaction, boost moral and employee performance –  no more RUFF days!

I’ve been ‘working like a dog’ – coffee break time!

Naturally, there are benefits for us dogs too, as a friendly work environment provides us with social interactions which we LOVE!

In summary, taking us to work is good for you, good for us and good for your employer. YAY! Everyone’s a WINNER!  So, there you have it – people and pets are better together. Companies that accept us four-legged friends aren’t so barking!

Now who is up for having a cute, very friendly and hard-working black lab like me in the office? Employers and employees out there, get typing in the comments section below and tell me all about your PAWSOME dog friendly businesses…

Dylan 

 

 

My life 'tails'

My lip job – lip fold dermatitis

Woof! You read correctly – a lip job, can you believe it??? I’m a dog! Surely I can’t be enhanced by cosmetic surgery?

Well, it turns out my fishy breath was lingering following my anal gland treatment a few months back, so off back to the vets I went. I got swabbed, and the results came back conclusive – pawsitive for pseudomonas aeruginosa a bacterium present in soil. You know how us dogs like to drag our noses in the dirt! The official name of my condition is bilateral lip fold dermatitis. It’s more commonly found in dog breeds with many lip folds like my fellow buddies the pug or a spaniel.  I was just unlucky. The bacteria found the habitat to grow within my dark, moist and droopy lip folds. And then…it turned into an infection. Pretty ruff huh!

My lip folds
My lip folds.
The infection underneath my lip fold.
The infection underneath my lip fold.
Post lip dermatitis operation.
Post-lip dermatitis operation.

It can become a chronic condition. My pawrents were shocked that surgery was strongly recommended due to growing antibiotic resistance of this bacterium. But apparently you good vets and lots of you pawrents who have come across this nasty bacterium would advise that this is the best route – so I’ve heard?

The condition is pretty uncomfortable, itchy and sore. I started to dislike cleaning my teeth and I LOVE cleaning my teeth! That might have something to do with chicken flavoured toothpaste!! [Check out my video on Instagram]. (Other symptoms) some of which I didn’t display, can include redness in the lip fold area and in severe cases it can cause hair loss and scabbing.  Oooouch!!

One happy chappy! NOT!
One happy chappy! NOT!

Here are my thoughts on why the condition needs treating as soon as possible:

  1. It’s painful!!
  2. Left untreated the bacterial infection can spread throughout the body.[Sad doggy face!]
  3. Apparently, antibiotics shouldn’t be overused – this infection is likely to re-occur and the bacterium is becoming resistant to antibiotics.
  4. Worst case, this condition can become chronic. The best cure is prevention.
My cone of shame!
My cone of shame!

I’m now pain free and I have the most pawfect lips!! Luckily, I only had it several weeks. I’ve read about cases where dogs have been misdiagnosed, even  undiagnosed and have suffered it for years!! Those poor doggies.  I’m so thankful to my vet for identifying and diagnosing my condition so quickly – she’s pretty pawsome, and really nice too!

My new lips!
My new lips!

I also hadn’t realised how down it had got me.  I’m now like a puppy again – full of energy and back to getting in to mischief (just the way I’m sure my pawrents like it)!!!

Just one more aftercare appointment with the vet to go! Have any of my furry friends have come across this nasty beast? Paw your stories or comments below.

Splash!

Dylan

Dog walks in Yorkshire

Kirkby Overblow to Sicklinghall, North Yorkshire

I’m in dog roaming heaven, weaving my way through a magical bridleway, lined by stone dike walls and big rustling trees.  We pass an old Yorkshire farmhouse where the path is followed by a parallel stream – I just LOVE a bit of water.

We carry on through a gate into a large plain where I get a sniff of a rabbit, and a whiff of pheasant – its all too STIMULATING for my senses – no dried kibble in sight!  I begin to run, tracking my prey, following a scent trailing though the long grass, then SUDDENLY a pheasant takes off in front of me…I LEAP to catch it but my butt is too heavy to fly!!! I go in for the chase but its over before it began, the pheasants taken OFF and it’s out of here!

 

You looking at me!

As I emerge from the grass I see some sheep and they have lambs too – I’m excited!! But I know the drill, lambing season means I’m back on the lead. Attempting my best behavior as I don’t want to scare anyone. I’m a friendly sort. A little bit too friendly for sheep so my pawrents say – I intimidate them with my extremely waggy tail and my passion to bounce a bit like Tigger from Winne the Pooh, and Tigger ‘likes to bounce’.  They can’t understand I just want to play.

Dog walks
hello horses – are those fly masks keeping the flies at bay?

Past some woods we meet some friendly horses in a field before turning down a track leading onto the main road into Sicklinghall. At the end of the walk there is a charming 17th century watering hole, The Scotts Arms.  And yes, dogs can drink here too. I asked my pawrents for a pint but apparently I’m underage!! Off to the dog watering bowl I go.

After catching a few rays in the beer garden and topping up the vitamin D we take the same route back to Kirkby Overblow. With an array of Yorkshire stone-built houses, a village green and a parish church – these picture postcard villages are delight, to wonder through.

Dog walks
Mud bath!

Much to my overwhelming delight, there are several small streams on the route and many of them allow for us dogs to get really really muddy!!! I’d recommend saving the mud bath for the way home!

Happy walking!

Dylan

Doggy friendly places to eat & drink

Filmore & Union, Wetherby, Yorkshire

Our Good Friday included a visit to Filmore & Union in the sweet little market town of Wetherby.  With branches throughout Yorkshire and beyond – Filmore & Union claim to be the home of the totally dog friendly restaurant.  Clearly advertised on their website ‘as a family business we know how dogs are an addition member which is why we allow dogs in all of our stores; they can enjoy the Filmore experience too.’  I’m pleased to report that they don’t disappoint. We were greeted by the very hospitable and courteous Marcus who remembered us from our visit to the Harrogate branch last week, and we were shown to an area with a little extra room for me.  Well, in terms of size, I’m no ‘shrinking violet’ at nearly 31kg!

Homegrown in Yorkshire and inspired by the San Francisco food scene; Filmore was established back in 2012 to provide an eatery specialising in healthy dishes made from fresh and wholesome produce; sourced from local suppliers, farmers and butchers. I overheard the humans saying; ‘with a reputation of serving food that is ‘nourishing and sumptuous’ benefiting ones’ wellbeing – it makes you wonder should healthy food really taste this good’?

Filmore & Union Sweet Pancakes

Part of Filmores unique selling point is they’re committed to catering for different dietary intolerances including gluten, dairy, refined sugar and flour free options.  Unfortunately for me this didn’t include a doggy diet – no cheeky treats available for me.  Well, none that I managed to sniff out with my gun dog nose.

Flying the flag for the dog friendly restaurant they even feature ‘Top Dog’ of the week within their social campaigns and Filmore Friday emails, sharing stories of those lovely pooches that have visited with their Filmore friends.

Any chance someone could fill my doggy bag?

Keep up the good work Filmore foodie chefs and your enthusiastically welcoming doggy friendly staff – we salute you!

‘Top Dog’ restaurant of the week goes to Filmore.

Perhaps we may visit some more branches on our travels, any recommendations?

Dylan 

Doggy training tips

Puppy secret 5 – puppy allergies

When I was a young lad I suffered terribly from some kind of allergy that manifested itself in different forms.

Eye infection
My first eye infection happened when I was just three months old.  You’ll see from my pictures it looked pretty bad.  It gave me, and my pawrents a bit of a fright.

Eye infection Aug 2016
My first eye infection at three months.

The vet suggested it may have been something I came into contact with whilst walking through the summer grassy field. That was a reasonable explanation. That was until my second infection occurred around two months later, and a third when I was six months.

A human antihistamine helped me on these occasions.  Be very careful as many over the counter antihistamine brands contain a decongestant which is dangerous for dogs, so always administer upon your vets recommendation.

Eye infection Oct 2016
My second eye infection at five months.

Skin allergy
The evening after my third eye infection I developed what looked like dandruff (dry flaky skin).  It soon developed into something quite serious when it became itchy and blistery.  I was in so much pain I had to be soothed with coconut oil.  My break out began late at night so coconut oil was the only thing my pawrents had that seemed safe and natural to try and ease my discomfort, and thankfully it did.  I went straight to the vet the next morning.  My skin had began to heal but my pawrents had taken photos of my breakout to show the vet. It turned out I healed pretty well overnight.

They started some tests to try to illuminate different factors.  At first fleas and mites were ruled out.  The vet, like my pawrents, didn’t find any sign of life from using the flea comb and I wasn’t showing signs of scratching. Nevertheless, the whole house was disinfected just in case.

On my check-up visit a different vet noticed my flaky skin and thought it could be a form of mites known as ‘walking dandruff’ the medical term ‘cheyletiellosis or cheyletiella mange’.  Unlike other mite conditions this disease results in virtually no itching at all. This is an extremely contagious, non-seasonal skin disease of dogs, cats, rabbits and sometimes people caused by surface-dwelling parasitic mites. Well this caused panic in our household.  The vet had prescribed a precautionary flea and mite medicated shampoo treatment. A skin-scraping sample was taken to detect the mites that are not visible to the eye.  But my mites tests were negative.

Food allergy – hypoallergenic dog food
This left two further main possibilities; my environment, or my food.  Was my house too hot, was I allergic to the washing powder or something else in the house.  It turned out my allergy was due to food sensitivity.  My pawrents started to look at alternative natural food options moving me only a locally sourced dog food called Millies Woofheart (www.millieswolfheart.co.uk).  They produce a bespoke recipe dog food formulated without gluten and grains, and are naturally hypoallergenic.  Luckily for me their mixes are extremely tasty – the countryside mix is my favourite.  After a few weeks my skin condition cleared up and my coat was looking glossy.   Be careful though; the key to changing our food is to do it gradually.  My new food was extremely rich and the change needed to be more gradual than the brand suggested, this was probably due to my sensitive tummy.   It’s just trial and error at this stage I’m afraid.

Late Nov 2016
Happier and healthier at six months. New food – new me!

I’ve been happier and healthier since changing my food. Thank goodness it wasn’t my environment – I love my family home. And I’m so glad I found this delicious new cuisine too.  After all I am a Labrador, so I’m ruled by my belly!

Common allergies in Labrador Retrievers
According to thelabradorsite.com Labradors tend to be more allergic that other dog breeds due to their immune system.  Check out more at https://www.thelabradorsite.com/common-allergies-in-labrador-retrievers/

Dylan  Paw Print

Doggy friendly places to eat & drink

‘The Kitchen’, Harrogate

Last Saturday I discovered a new gem of a place to visit in Harrogate.   We’d driven passed this unassuming pretty looking café on a few occasions, but never had a reason to visit. It wasn’t on one of our normal walking routes. Well how wrong we were not to have stopped at this watering hole sooner, and how we’ve been missing out.

Dog friendly cafes
So we were invited for a Saturday morning coffee, which turned out to be morning coffee and lunch. Hanging out with hoomans is a hobby of mine – one which I thoroughly enjoy. Sometimes I prefer their company to dogs! I’m also becoming accustomed to hanging out in dog friendly cafés. You know the ones that welcome you with a smile and a ‘hello doggy’.

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Doggy Bar at The Kitchen, Otley Road, Harrogate

Doggy treats on a plate
A lot of places have upped their game by putting out a dog bowl and ensuring it has fresh clean water throughout the day. Well the Kitchen has set a new level. I got served my own plate of dog treats ‘here you go sir, I hope you’re allowed these’. Sold – The Kitchen is my new favourite haunt. You just can’t beat that kind of 5 star service. Oh but you can – despite taking up a lot more room than a little doggy, the staff and other guests were just so nice to be and many came over to say hello. Including a little girl who had the most beautiful curly hair and a stuffed cat called Jess. Other doggies came and went, so it seems to be a well-known place for dogs in the know.

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Gravy bones at The Kitchen, Otley Road, Harrogate

Child friendly lunch stop
It’s baby friendly too. My bestie Harry was throwing me some scraps of his lunch, not his gently warmed beans though – that would have been messy!

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My bestie, little Harry.

It appears the coffee and lunch dishes were delicious but I can’t vouch for that – there were no leftovers to try and steal. The bacon did smell delicious. I hear that we’re going back soon to try the homemade cakes and boy did they look paw licking good.

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Mozzarella, pesto & tomato toasted sandwich

Family run café with quality produce
It’s a wonderfully cute, bright and airy family run business with top quality food. Check out their insta account https://www.instagram.com/thekitchenht for some mouth-watering images of their creations from their small but perfectly formed menu, with interesting on trend dishes to compliment all-day staples such as the bacon sandwich.

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The Kitchen, Otley Road, Harrogate
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Dog walks at Harlow Carr Woods, Harrogate

Local walks
Its located on Otley Road between Harlow Carr and Valley Gardens, so plenty of places to work off those gravy bones. We took a stroll to Valley Gardens and then through the woods towards Harlow Carr. Its dog walking heaven there, I get to run around and explore off the lead.

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Found myself a new pad at Harlow Carr Woods, Harrogate.

Dylan 

My life 'tails'

My first spa treatment – a treatment for anal glands

So I had my first spa treatment last weekend. A treatment which I believe is similar to what you hoomans call a colonic irrigation. In our dog world its known as having your anal glands emptied. I’m not sure why I’m telling you my intimate details but as there may be others out there suffering in silence like me – I thought I’d ‘man up’ and share. This isn’t a problem shared by all dogs, many can go though life without having to think about their glands at all.

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What are the signs of anal gland issues
In my case I wasn’t showing any of the typical signs of the disorder, which include:

  • dragging your butt on the floor
  • excessive licking and/ or biting of the behind
  • sitting uncomfortably
  • a foul smell
  • chasing our tails
  • licking paws, both front and back

But some of the above can result in fishy smelling breath and that’s when my pawrents realised something wasn’t right. After all I regularly clean my teeth!

Natural activities of the anal glands
Us dogs can’t voluntarily empty our anal glands. That happens naturally when we need to go, if you know what I mean. These glands excrete fluid that helps us mark our territory. Occasionally these glands fill up. A common reason for this is a result of a period of diarrhea. Glands fill due to insufficient pressure being excreted to empty the glands naturally. Some dogs can’t empty their glands and if the fluid is left to thicken they can get blocked. This isn’t a breed disorder so it can happen to the best of us.

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Emptying anal glands
Full anal glands can be uncomfortable and sometimes painful if they become infected.   Luckily I avoided an infection but if your dog is showing any signs of anal gland problems then contact your vet. Your vet will empty the fluids and if necessary, your vet can teach a pawrent how to do it if it becomes a chronic problem. Our anal glands normally need emptied around every 6 weeks. Be aware that applying pressure to an full or inflamed anal sac could cause the gland to rupture – that sounds painful – so should not be carried out without the right training to do so. There is a great article written by vet Marc Abraham published on the kennel club site www.thekennelclub.org.uk/health/for-owners/anal-gland-impaction that talks about anal gland impaction in dogs: its treatment and prevention.

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High fibre diet
The good news is I’ve discovered porridge and its good for me. My new high fibre diet should bulk me out and assist in the natural gland emptying process.

Dylan Paw Print

 

Doggy training tips

Puppy secret 4 – battling biting

My pawrents went through a really hard time with me when I was biting as a puppy. Out of nowhere, suddenly every time we went for a walk I liked to dig my little teeth into my pawrents legs and not let go! Apparently it hurt like hell!

My parents tried most things: standing still, turning their back and ignoring me. Squealing like a dog, clapping or making a loud noise. I just held on strong and kept tugging away. They tried to hold me away from them but it just felt like more of a game, and I could reach most wrists. Then, they tried placing me at the other side of the wall or gate. Now this worked – I couldn’t get at them but I found a way round this – open spaces like in the middle of a field where there is no getting away from me. I win!! Or so I thought. Actually to tell you the truth I can barely remember these incidents and certainly wouldn’t have wanted to cause any pain. I even caused my own pain, as at one point I cracked a tooth trying to bite off a buckle from a welly boot still attached to my pawrents leg.

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My chew proof chair – apparently the towels stopped me ruining the camping chair! The only chair I was allowed on at this stage!

I had entered into phase of over stimulation. I’d got myself so over excited that my hyperactivity was resulting in me behaving erratically, running around and chewing or biting things I wouldn’t normally show interest in. It was like I had been possessed and nothing could coach me out of it. During these times we can appear to be aggressive and some people mistake that we are biting because we are fearful. In my case it was just that I was over excited and had become mouthy and nippy. We play bite with other dogs all the time, I just didn’t realise I shouldn’t do this with my fellow hoomans; they don’t like it. And if you bite too hard sometimes they cry, especially that one time I pierced their skin.

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I’m sorry – i didn’t mean to bite like my crocodile toy!

Toning down the stimuli is the solution but sometimes this is difficult when you don’t know just what exciting things on a walk may cause it, or you’re not familiar with the signs from your dog.

Understandably, my pawrents were at their wits end and didn’t know what to do. They begun to investigate getting professional help and started sharing their challenges with other dog owners. Listening to similar stories from some friends and colleagues they heard about one solution they hadn’t tried that may have potential. Some remedies for one dog won’t necessarily work for another, as we’re all different, so it’s trial and error.

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I’m really a softy at heart!

The answer in my case was a can of compressed air. Yes you read correctly – not hot air but compressed air in a tin! When I entered into the phase of overstimulation, my parents were able to refocus my attention and get me out of my fixated state by letting off compressed gas into the air. It made a hissing sound that shocked me. I suddenly woke up returning to the adorable soft puppy that I was, and wondering what the hell had just gone on. But it worked a treat. It kept me, my pawrents, and potentially others safe from any unintentional harm. It took 2-3 weeks for me to outgrow this stage and allowed my pawrents to notice the tell tail signs of the beginnings of my over excitement.  This allowed them to stop, sit me down, and stroke me for 5-10 minutes to avoid my hyperactivity before continuing on our walks. Everyone was happy and to think I’m such a friendly softy today.  I will only lick you when I’m excited and potentially hit you with my very waggy tail; unintentionally of course. The excited tail can’t be tamed and who’d want to come home to a dog with no friendly, so happy to see you, waggy waggy tail!

Dylan

Paw Print

Dog walks in Yorkshire

Harewood Estate, Harewood, North Yorkshire

Take a walk along Church Lane at Harewood and you’ll find yourself wondering into the grounds of Harewood House, one of Yorkshire’s finest stately homes. Built in the 18th century it’s meant to house an art collection that rivals the finest in Britain. Well, this is what I overheard my pawrents discussing and when they’d next visit. We didn’t venture into the house but we did walk around some of estates 700 acres. It includes 100 acres of gardens. Can you believe it? If only my own garden was a fraction of that size. Check out more on their website www.harewood.org

Harewood

On our walk around the estate we passed a herd of deer, such beautiful creatures. I was outnumbered significantly so I politely watched them play from afar rather than joining in on a game of tig (aka tag).

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We ventured on down the hill through the woods passing lots of other furry and non-furry friends and their siblings. It was very interesting to see other families out and about. Some young ones were learning to ride their bikes.

A word of warning there are some grids. Apparently these are to stop cattle roaming out of the grounds. Be warned that these are not easy to jump. My advise is to listen to your pawrents who recommend to follow them through the gates at the side of the cattle grids that way you don’t get hurt or stuck right in the middle. Although it mostly bruises your pride!

Harewood 2

A very scenic walk but it’s not exactly roaming heaven.  It’s more of an on the lead walk – see my dog walking guide below. There was a small amount of private traffic on the ground, and lots of families as well as other dogs both on and off leads. Most did not venture far from their masters side. I haven’t learnt that skill just yet!

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Dylan

Paw Print