We have teamed up with Tesco Bank to share with you our favourite walks and how I keep these walks exciting. I am so lucky to live with the most glorious countryside right on my doorstep. Even with miles of luscious fields and woodland trails sometimes it can be tricky to keep these walks entertaining for Alfie. The last thing I want is a bored Alf. Let’s face it a bored dog usually means they will soon get up to mischief. It might just be an Alf thing, but he will definitely be off sticking his head somewhere he shouldn’t.
To prevent Alfie from getting bored I try to switch up our usual walks with a few mind games and activities. Alfie much prefers this to just a walk, and it’s also great for our relationship – what dog doesn’t love quality time with his owner?
Farnborough Hall & Lake
I really want to share with you our favourite local walk. It’s not the longest of walks but it has so many possibilities when it comes to keeping Alfie entertained.
Farnborough is actually a National Trust property, open to the public – the perfect day out if you are into that kind of thing. We are much more interested in the grounds. This circular route has been the backdrop to many of our shoots, and it’s also Alfie’s favourite.
Making the most of the terrain
The walk starts with a nice sized grassy field. Instead of just walking through it to get to the lake I try to really make the most of this space. Alfie likes to keep busy, he has been bred to work so he is always at his best when I keep his mind occupied. I will use this time to focus on some retrieves, It could just be a game of fetch [What dog doesn’t enjoy playing with the ball?]. I always try to switch things up a bit, so for instance I will make Alfie wait and throw the ball before letting him retrieve it. A simple thing like making him wait really does test his brain, he has to use that extra bit of self-control before his reward.
Alfie favourite game is when I hide a number of balls in the long grass, then he has to find them all. Not only does it make him work hard, he also covers so much ground.
Make a splash…
Now, the lake is the main reason I head to Farnborough. Alfie loves it. He can tell we are heading to the lake the moment we turn into the village. He starts shivering with excitement – so cute!
Swimming plays a key part in Alfie’s fitness, like with us humans it is a great form of exercise. It carefully works your dogs muscles, so is great for building fitness or to bring your dog back to fitness after injury. I always try to get Alfie out swimming once a week.
It is the highlight of Alfie’s week so it is very rare I need to switch things up to keep the excitement there but I do try to play a variety of games – to entertain myself more than Alfie.
Alfie loves to dive, he really will dive off anything! [thankfully he does wait for the command first]. I usually practice our water retrieve, so I will ask Alfie to sit by my side. I will then throw his dummy into the water before he dives in to retrieve it. It doesn’t end there! I want him to bring the dummy straight back to me, sitting by my feet until I take it off him. All these commands really make him think, it’s great for their mind.
Another thing I like to do is walk along side the lake with Alfie swimming along the side, this is great for his stamina!
Sand Bay, Weston Super Mare
How often do you take your dogs somewhere new? With Alfie I try to take him somewhere different every week. It’s good for both you and your dog.
I love to head to the beach at every given opportunity… it doesn’t matter what the weather is, or the time of year I know full well that Alfie and I will have a great time. A favourite of mine at the minute is Sand Bay Beach near Weston-Super-Mare.
Lets face it, it is more mud than sand, and the tide is rarely in close enough to swim… but I love it. Dogs are allowed on the beach all year round and if you time it right in the winter you will have the whole beach to yourself. Entertaining Alfie on the beach is easy, he will happily chase after a ball or dig holes in the sand. Giving him that change of scenery is so enriching.
It doesn’t matter what breed of dog you have, each dog will require a certain amount of exercise. Alfie is an English Springer Spaniel, they are a medium-sized breed who need to lead an active life. They are a breed which have been bred to work, they can spend hours working the shooting field. Lots of exercise is essential as they will have plenty of energy to burn.
They also require plenty of mental stimulation and human contact. This is why I encourage him to hunt on our walks. The more I can get his mind working the better.
Find out more about your dogs breed and their exercise requirements on the Tesco Bank Breeds Page.
Emma & Alfie xox
* This post has been sponsored by Tesco Bank