A Bradgate Park Bumble
by Kirsty Lynas // April 2018
A Bradgate Park Bumble
We are fortunate here in Leicestershire to have some beautiful places to explore with our dogs and Bradgate Country Park is certainly no exception to this, so we thought we would take our lovely office dog, Murphy, to check it out and see what all the fuss is about for ourselves.
There is certainly no doubt that the park itself is stunning; deer wandering about, river running through it and lots of other wildlife to look out for. But the thing that makes it great for owners is the ability to make use of its natural beauty for training purposes.
Time to put Murphy through his paces!
The main path through the park has a requirement that all dogs must be kept on the lead due to the presence of deer. This is all part of responsible dog ownership and provides a great opportunity to get in some loose lead walking practice. Early morning and evening when it is quiet is a great time to start the training and then when you are ready you can increase the level of distraction and take them during the middle of the day when the park will be very busy with other people and dogs. It is important to start off easy when learning a new training task before making it more difficult by adding in distractions. Murphy is usually a pro with his loose lead walking, but all the new smells were very appealing to him so we had to work hard with his training, to begin with, and rewarded him with lots of nice long sniffing breaks.
The main path through the park is also a perfect opportunity to work on some focus and attention. The presence of deer and other wildlife can be a huge distraction for a lot of dogs so watching from a distance and rewarding them when they bring their focus back to you is a great teaching opportunity. Murphy found the deer fascinating and initially found it hard to focus on Rose, but made huge progress throughout his walk.
After a quick hot chocolate break (also a great time to work on some settle training), we ventured away from the main path, where the park extends out to some beautiful rolling hillsides. These areas are much quieter and are a great place for those dogs that may not be too comfortable to be around the hustle and bustle of the busier pathways.
The other benefit of this area is that it provides the perfect opportunity for recall practice as dogs are allowed off lead as long as they are under control. If you think there may be a chance that your dog may run off, then the use of a long line in this kind of circumstances is a great training tool. Murphy had lots of fun chasing his ball and running around sniffing in the bracken, coming back to Rose when she called him. By calling him back frequently and then letting him go away, he was learning that coming back to us doesn’t always mean the end of the fun.
Thoroughly shattered and covered in mud, we made our way back to the car. Bradgate Park is a real gem of a place, for dogs and owners alike. So what are you waiting for, go exploring and get training!