Activities

Benefits to being active with your dog

We all know those moments: your trusty hound stands at the door, lead in their teeth, ready to go!  But the rain is battering the windows and the trees are bent double in the wind. 

At times, walking the dog can seem like a bit of a chore. But, here at LeanDog, we want our food to make a positive contribution to your dog’s energy levels and well-being. Making sure they’re always ready for the next adventure – whatever the weather!

So, what are the benefits of being active with your dog?

You and your beloved pet can share the benefits of dog walks, running together, interacting with toys and agility. They are much more than a daily task!

Going for walks helps to eliminate stress from your life—and the same applies for your dog. For instance, combining various routes to your dog’s weekly walking activities is a great way to encouraging them to develop a healthy lifestyle and happy mindset.

You can both experience so many great benefits to walking and talking a run together, here are just a few:

Health & Well-being

• Both your health and wellbeing will benefit. Walking is great for your heart, circulation and strengthening muscles and joints

Social Aspect

• For you there is the social aspect of walking your dog, giving you the chance to meet with like minded people walking their dogs, exploring new sights and surroundings together.

Weight Management

• Walking is great for you both to manage your body weight. Regular exercise combined with a healthy diet, helps to maintain a healthy weight for your dog.

From Flying Disc to Flyball…

Percy the Labrador with his flying ring

If your dog likes to run, jump and catch, a flying disc is a fantastic option to burn energy, including a great form of entertainment for you both.

Getting Started

  • Check that your dog is in good physical health.
  • Choose the right disc for your dog, one that is not too heavy for them to catch and easy to grip.
  • Introduce by playing fetch and getting them used to their new toy, but removing before chewing starts.
  • Initially start by throwing the disc low at your dog’s level, allowing your dog to chase it.
  • When your dog starts retrieving, provide plenty of praise and complete the process, keeping it low.
  • As your dog becomes more accustomed to retrieving, the distance can be increased within their ability.

A great way of having fun and becoming fitter together!

Thank you Percy for sharing your photos and video in action!

Flyball on the other hand…

However, for those looking for a competitive team sport, perhaps Flyball is what you are seeking.

Flyball is a race of two teams of four dogs, racing side-by-side along a lane with four consecutive hurdles to jump before pressing a trigger and releasing a tennis ball from the Flyball box.  Retrieving the ball the dog then returns over the hurdles to complete their turn, before the next dog is released for their turn in the relay.  The first team to have all four dogs complete the course without errors wins.

To find out more about Flyball or a club near you, a few sites worth checking out are British Flyball Association   Killie Flyers Flyball Team or UK Flyball League

Who is for Dog Agility?

Dog agility is a sport which measures the handler’s ability to direct their dog through an obstacle course.  It’s a great activity for both you and your dog and can be very rewarding.

  • Start by finding a dog agility club or trainer in your area.
  • Eighteen months old is the minimum age for competing in agility, although you can start training with low jumps from under a year old.
  • Both you and your dog can have fun and exercise together!

In Summary…

One dog’s idea of fun is not necessarily another’s.  Understanding your dog’s needs and wants will help build your relationship together and understand what they enjoy.  Providing them with stimulation, activity and a healthy, nutritious diet will support your dog becoming the best version of your best friend!

If you have a sport or activity that you enjoy with your dog that you would like to share with us, send an email to adventure@leandog.co.uk to feature on this page.

Roz 😊

Love To Know More About Border Collies… Meet Spock, Urban Search & Rescue Dog

Learn About Border Collies

Border collie’s are natural working dogs with high energy and intelligence. They have a need to please and thrive on having a purpose that keeps them physically and mentally active. They were originally bred as a working farm dog as they have a strong natural herding instinct, a desire to please and unlimited energy.

Weight: Male 14–20 kg, Female 12–19 kg

Height: Male 48–56 cm, Female 46–53 cm

Life expectancy: 10 – 19 years

Border Collie’s Behaviour, Health & Nutrition

Generally, Border Collies  have very high energy levels that require an outlet or they can become destructive. In addition they are very loyal and protective in nature. They are keen to please, love to follow you, can be very social or require to be alone.

On average, Border collies require more calories than other dogs. This isn’t necessarily because their bodies work differently. Mostly, it is due to them being so active. However, there are several factors such as age, activity level and metabolism that their calorific requirement depends on.

Since Border collies are typically energetic, they benefit from a diet rich in protein. But it is important also to ensure that the diet is balanced with carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. It is the essential fatty acids such as omega-3 that help to maintain their coats from drying out and skin becoming irritated. In addition, it has anti-inflammatory properties which provide support for healthy joints.

Each of the LeanDog recipes provide a complete and balanced diet that Border Collies require. With a minimum of 50% protein and added Omega-3. Prepared with fresh wholesome ingredients to maximise on those essential amino acids they require.

Spock – Urban Search and Rescue Dog

Meet Spock the Collie – National Urban Search & Rescue Dog

How Spock Started

To enable me to understand Search and Rescue, I started off watching people run away and hide so I knew where to find them and to build my interest in finding them. Then I progressed to searching for people in a short search area. I was taught to bark when I found someone and run back to my handler (dad) and bark again. Then continue back and forth until we had both found the person.

The searches progressed over larger areas, including buildings and rubble piles, because I specialise in urban search and rescue. I had to learn lots of commands such as directions left, right, forwards and backwards and hand signals because I might not be able to hear commands if I’m far away.

Spock’s Fantastic Achievement

I practiced a lot of training scenarios and when we were ready both me and my handler sat our practical exam finding several casualties hidden in an abandoned building and on the grounds surrounding it. We were both assessed separately by several assessors on the team and externally.

Once I passed I became the youngest ever to qualify in National Urban Search and Rescue. We both had to resit the test the following year then every two years thereafter.  I am currently working with the Trossachs Search and Rescue Team.

Day-to-day-life When Not at Work

My day starts with a big long walk round the local parks and I usually play ball as well. After that my parents go to work. Luckily I get left a natural chew such as a pig’s ear, chicken trachea, paddywhack or buffalo horn to keep me entertained. I also have a toy box full of toys I can play with and I get a lick mat covered in pate as another way of stopping me becoming bored.  Around lunchtime I am out  playing with my ball in the garden or go for a short walk. However, I’m happiest in the garden people watching or playing ball with the local kids who come play with me.

So Lets meet Spock the Collie…

How old are you Spock?

I am 2 years, 3 months. I was born 2nd May 2017

How long have you been a search and rescue dog?

 I qualified 2 days after my 1st birthday after beginning my training 3 months earlier. It usually takes 18 months minimum to train a search and rescue dog but I passed a lot sooner.

When you are not working, do you have a favourite game that you like to play?

Ball! As a collie I’m ball obsessed and will play all day and never tire.

What is your best memory?    

Holidays on the beach. I’ve been really lucky and been on many holidays all over Scotland staying near the coast. My favourite thing to do is go to the beach and chase the waves.

Do you have any bad habits?

If I don’t want to do something I shake my body to tell my parents no. I can be quite the diva. I also like to wake my parents up very early on the weekends because if I’m up they should be up and playing with me.

What is the bravest thing you have ever done?   

Getting over my fear of horses. I used to try hide behind my parents legs whenever I saw one! However, after visiting dog friendly farms, country parks and agricultural shows I am no longer scared.  I know to lie down and wait for them to pass me.

How many times a day do you get fed Spock?   

Once a day at dinnertime.  I get a few treats throughout the day.

How much do you like LeanDog and do you have a favourite recipe?

 I absolutely love LeanDog! As soon as I hear the bag open I run to the kitchen and sit and wait for my dinner. My favourite one is LeanDog GUSTO salmon and asparagus it makes my coat so shiny and soft and I love the taste.

What is your favourite thing to do?   

I love training for work. As soon as my search jacket is put on I go into work mode. When I’m not training or working I love to play ball. I will play ball all day if I was allowed.

What has been your most favourite adventure?   

When I went on holiday to Aviemore in the middle of winter and there was lots of snow. I went on so many long walks and loved getting snowballs flung at me 😁🐾

Top Tip from Spock the Collie

“Make sure to have lots of fun!!”

Thank you Spock and your family for sharing your story, what a fantastic and skilled job you do.  An outstanding accomplishment to complete your training in such a short time and be able to provide help for people in need.

Best wishes to you Spock on your future adventures!

Roz 😊

Love to know more about Labradors…

LEARN ABOUT LABRADOR RETRIEVERS

The Labrador Retriever, or just Labrador, is a large type of retriever-gun dog. The Labrador is one of the most popular breeds of dog in the United Kingdom.

Popularity: One of the most popular breeds who are playful and  intelligent, with a warm, friendly temperament that makes them ideal for first-time owners.
Purpose: Labradors were originally a sporting breed, used to retrieve shot game.
Weight: An adult Lab can weight anywhere between 25 – 35 Kg.
Coat: The Labrador’s short, smooth coat is easy to maintain with a weekly groom.
Height: 55 – 62 cm, varies from female to male.

LABRADOR’S HEALTH & NUTRITION

When owning a Labrador, you’ll find they’re easy-going, rewarding pets with high energy levels, meaning they love extra attention and exercise. They make excellent companions, as well as assistance dogs.

Training is not just for teaching your dog new skills, it’s also a great source of exercise.

Labradors are lively dogs, that need plenty of physical as well as mental stimulation.

It will keep them happy, but will also help them to stay healthy too.

Keeping an eye on your Labrador’s weight is crucial to their health, especially as they can be prone to gaining a few extra pounds. Therefore, ensuring the right balance of calories, protein, minerals and vitamins is important for your Labrador in  regular small amounts.  Recommended daily feeding guidelines are provided for each of the LeanDog recipes and can be found at Our Food

FUN FACTS ABOUT LABRADORS

  1. Did you know the Labrador Retriever were recognised in England as a Kennel Club Breed in 1903.  They were originally called a St. John’s Dog or lesser Newfoundland dog, which is where they originated from.
  2. The average life span for a Labrador is 10 – 14 years.  Amazingly, the oldest dog, believed to be 29 years old, was Bella, a Labrador cross who lived in Derbyshire.
  3. They are intelligent, easy to train, eager to please and have a gentle temperament. Consequently, they are the most commonly used breed for guide dogs.
  4. The first dog to detect diabetic episodes was a Lab named Armstrong, according to Guinness World Records 2015. He was trained in 2003 to smell the chemical changes that happen when hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) occurs.
  5. Labradors were specifically bred to have these five distinct traits:

An “otter-like” tail for propelling through water
Webbed paws are like flippers for swimming
A layered, oily coat to keep them insulated and repel water
A “soft mouth” to gently carry things (with training) without causing damage
A great capacity to learn

MEET PERCY THE LABRADOR

Percy is a black labrador, living in England with his family who loves to share his daily antics and adventures on YouTube

How old are you Percy? 6 years in September
Do you have a favourite game that you like to play? I love to play with my ring frizbee.
What is your best memory? Meeting my Mum & Dad for the 1st time.
Do you have any bad habits? Trying to sit on mummy’s lap on the front seat of the car when he has his seat belt to keep him in the back.
What is the funniest thing you have ever done? Destroying my dads stunt kite on holiday (well I thought it was funny)
How many times a day do you get fed Percy?  I am fed three small meals a day.
Where is your favourite place to walk? Epping Forest which is my local walk.
How much do you like LeanDog and do you have a favourite recipe? Loves it, currently into GUSTO
What is your favourite thing to do? Chase balls.
What has been your most favourite adventure? Travelling to Spain with my mum and dad and going to my Dad’s flight school.

TOP TIPS FROM PERCY

  • Start training as soon as you get your puppy.
  • Do not give in to the crying and moans on the 1st week when they get home. Give them a safe space, e.g. dog cage and do not let them sleep on the beds.
  • Feed regularly and do not give human food.
  • Exercise as least 2 times a day.
  • Carry puppies up and down stairs until they are at least 1 year old.
  • Use a harness to walk your dog not a collar.
  • Introduce puppies to cleaning teeth and nail clippers.
  • Introduce them to stay over a close friend or family member early so they are happy to stay when you go away. (Percy’s second home is his Grandmas)
  • Use anti gobble bowl.
  • Labradors love routine.
  • Introduce early to car and streets and let your dog socialise with other dogs.
  • Give them plenty of attentions and cuddles.
  • Have a box of toys that your puppy knows is their box of toys so they don’t chew.

Over all labradors are easy to train if you have the patience and they are keen to learn, not to mention they are great kissing monsters 🐾

We have fallen in love with you Percy.  Thank you so very much  for sharing your secrets and top tips, not to mention the stunning photos of you in action.  We look forward to watching your future adventures around Epping Forest and beyond!

I hear that you will be “flying high” soon, can’t wait to learn more about it!

To find out more about Percy you can follow him on YouTube or visit Percy The Labrador

Adventures With Your Dog

Exercise is just as important for dogs as it is for humans.  Taking your dog on a couple of walks a day around your local park is okay, however what if you want to be more adventurous, what is there to do with your dog?

Camping With Your Dog

A camping trip with your dog is a fantastic experience that you can both enjoy. This is a great opportunity where you can adventure together experiencing the delights of new walks, parks and beaches.  Enabling you both to enjoy your holiday together.

There are plenty of dog friendly campsites within the UK, providing suggestions of where you can visit with your four-legged friend once you are there. If in doubt checkout Camping and Caravanning Club

If this is the first time camping with your dog, you may wonder what is best to bring along for them. This checklist will help keep you right.

Feeding your dog when camping

Dry complete dog food certainly is the most convenient and if possible, store in a sealed container. (Keeps away any unwanted visitors). Always try and keep to your usual feeding routin. Therefore minimising any anxiousness. Make sure you have plenty of fresh water available for them too, especially out on adventures. A bottle of water is essential for keeping you both hydrated.

Camping Rules for Dogs

Make sure you have your poo bags handy. Respect camp rules and clean as you go. Most campsites always require your dog to be on a lead, no longer than 2m or 6ft long. Their rules will be on their website.

The benefits of your dog joining you on your camping adventure are many.  Not only will you be saving on boarding costs, but you you will be enjoying your adventures together.

The Lakes

The Lake District is probably one of the most dog friendly areas in the UK.  Even just walking round one of the small towns, it’s obvious just how much dogs are appreciated and welcomed.

If you’re thinking about a weekend away with your family, dog included, then Windermere might just be the perfect destination. Walking round lake Windermere is the perfect way to take in the beautiful view.  Also plenty grassy areas for a game of fetch and pebble ‘beaches’ perfect for pebble skimming. You and your dog will definitely appreciate the fresh air.

If you’re visiting Windermere as a family, then why not visit Brockhole.  This not-for-profit attraction features gardens, tree top adventures, an adventure playground, exhibition areas and a café.  Most importantly though, it is dog friendly! There are a few limitations, as dogs aren’t allowed into the play areas, but Brockhole is sure to please everyone.  Including your dog!

Geocaching

If you’re after something a bit more adventurous why not give Geocaching a try? Perfect for families with young children or even adults who are still children at heart.  This world wide treasure hunting game is sure to keep you all busy.

Start by simply downloading the app onto your phone and entering your location. You will then be given coordinates and hints which will ultimately lead you to a small treasure. Often these ‘treasures’ contain items, which you can swap for your own.

Geocaching will get you out and about, no matter where you are, in a city or in the countryside.

National Parks are absolute hubs for Geocaching, and even more perfect for taking your dog on an adventure. With trails for all abilities and even camping facilities at some sites.  Your dog will absolutely love a day out or even weekend away at one of these parks.

Obviously National Parks have rules which dog owners have to obey.  However these are completely understandable guidelines that responsible dog owners will unconsciously follow without prompts.  Such as keeping your dog on a lead near sheep and other animals and cleaning up after your dog.

Conclusion

There are tonnes of adventures you can go on with your dog around the UK, the majority of which are free, easily accessible and perfect for a full family day out.

What has been your favourite dog friendly adventure? We would love to get some inspiration from you.

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