Pup Stretches His Legs
We retraced our steps on the same route as the day we found Fergus loose and today we managed to remain just three intrepid adventurers. As you can see at low level the snow is mostly cleared, although Pup managed to find a number of drifts to charge through like … well like a puppy.
Pup was off lead from part way down the lane and was staying between 5m and 40m away with regular returns to touch my hand. We walked partway down the drive of the big house and turned right along a track. This time we didn’t stop oat the bridge with the weir I photographed the other day – we continued up the track past the abandoned farm. There is agricultural machinery standing around and it really does look like the farmer could appear at any moment.
As we walked up the sometimes muddy, boggy track there were field gates open on the right hand side and a burn with some rough woodland to the left. I could see hares and pigeons on one of the stubble fields but Pup made no attempt to go into the field. Instead he went to the other side of the burn and trotted along through the woodland. Whereas his dyke is around 2m maximum across this burn was at least 3 and in some places nearer 4m across – but it didn’t stop him jumping across and back again. And then just to prove he is a smart cookie he found a wee plank bridge and despite it having several branches draped across it he jumped the branches with confidence and used the bridge to return.
We got to the end of the track with two open field gates; Pup had to be commanded “no” since he was about to go rooting in a ploughed field. We turned back and as we drew level with the wee plank bridge I got my phone out to take pictures. Pup was around 35m away and here he has been given a stop whistle and is looking at the wait hand signal:
It was too much to expect him to wait for long but I was not unduly worried given where we were he couldn’t get under a vehicle so I didn’t recall him. Here are some pictures of the woodland he had trotted through:
and then I turned back to see where Pup was … can you spot him?
He is in the shadow under the big conifer on the right of the picture! I blew a recall and he din’t hesitate but came flying right back and sat in front of me – a beauty of a response. I was extremely pleased with him and needless to say he got lots of fuss and kibble as a reward. I paced it at about 60m but when I measured it on the map it is nearer to 70m.
As we passed the farm again he found a pile of pigeon feathers – no sign of any carcase or blood so almost certainly a bird of prey paused long enough to pluck the thing and then took it back to it’s nest? Anyway Pup was fascinated by the feathers and declined to come away when told … so Dog and I set off walking and after some distance I caught a glimpse in a backward glance of Pup looking at me so I blew his recall and he hurtled up the track after us … another good 60m return.
I had hoped he would opt for a dunking again today because the wee beastie is moulting and giving him a good groom had brought dandruff to the surface of his coat. He decided he didn’t fancy a dip though. We returned and as we approached the lane I called him to stay close which he managed with good grace. Having checked the lane was cleared he was released and I used a direction sign to guide him form setting off into the larch spinney. He pottered around a bit and the decided it was time for his heel class – he arrived beside me and touched my hand to let me know. We managed 10 pieces of kibble today – around 30m of him voluntarily heeling and being rewarded; but he only did one segment instead of two.
Safely clipped back onto his lead we made good time getting home despite having to sit for a minute and be ‘bribed’ with kibble to prevent them jumping at a pedestrian coming the other way. The other delay was that Pup decided to stick his paw under the paddock fence where the geese live and pull out a rotting banana skin and eat it; I removed it and later when I went back passed it go safely discarded beyond his reach.
On my way to do messages I caught these rhododendron buds getting ready to spring into colour. I also stopped and treated myself to some chipper (fish and chip shop) chips to eat on my way back. Finally I caught this strange mist hanging over my hamlet as I approached. As I let the dogs out when I got home despite it having been blue skies all day ad warm in the sunshine I was stunned to see snow falling on us – presumably that was what the white mistiness was a mini snow cloud?
If you look closely you can see the Oystercatchers at their worm catching in the pony paddocks! Okay for those of us in the UK our clocks ‘spring’ forward tonight to start British Summertime – dogs find this tricky because they don’t use clocks so my approach is to have an early night and get up a hour earlier than usual and phase in the hours difference over the next week for them. So it is already ‘after 10pm’ on my time … I think a hot drink and a gradual wind down is in order; I was sore after our 4.5 km walk and then my 3.5 km walk (my lightweight boots were perhaps not the best choice for the terrain with the dogs but I need to dry the others out to repair and reproof them) so I expect to be achy tomorrow when I spring out of my bed.