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Spectacular setting for dog training

Spectacular setting for dog training


Postby dogplodder » Mon Jul 30, 2018 10:14 pm

Route description: West Highland Way 5: Tyndrum to Inveroran

Date walked: 29/04/2018

Time taken: 4 hours

Distance: 14 km

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We looked on this as our rest day. It was over the half way mark and a much shorter distance than the two previous days. Moira's friend Helen was joining us so we arranged to meet at the Green Welly at the civilised time of 10.00 and by the time Helen had finished her bacon roll and we had faffed around taking photos it was going on for 10.20 when we started walking. I told Pete I'd aim to meet him at the Inveroran Hotel around 2.30 where (if it was dog friendly - and it was) we could go in for coffee.

Pete and the dogs waiting at the Green Welly
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This was my first sensible opportunity to take the dog we'd adopted 3 weeks earlier and a chance to do some training with her while Moira and Helen had a good catch up walking at a gentler speed behind. So after a short distance with the three of us walking together I went on ahead with Callie.

There was a short climb out of Tyndrum then two bridges and a stile to cross and we were on our way into Strath Fillan.

Heading into Strath Fillan
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Beinn Odhar on right, Beinn Dorain ahead
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Almost immediately we were into sheep grazing moorland and I put Callie on the lead. In her previous 3 years she hadn't been out much so the great outdoors was a new and wonderful place. She very quickly learned to recall to the whistle but I couldn't risk what might happen if a sheep suddenly appeared near the track and made a run for it. Dogs are wired to chase anything that moves and I couldn't risk that. But the problem was Callie wasn't lead trained. We'd done a bit of training with her but she still pulled strongly, not in a straight line, but in zig zags as all the new smells hit her.

Sheep about, so dog on lead
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To help with her lead training we'd been advised to buy a Julius K9 Harness, which we had done. But if anything she pulled harder, getting her weight behind the harness, than on the collar. The collar wasn't ideal either because if she wanted to she could slip her head out of her collar. So the best short term solution was to use a slip lead - which should really be called a non-slip lead as they can't slip out of it!

She and I had a bit of work to do
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Whenever there were sheep about (even a long way off) I worked on getting her to walk to heel while on the lead. But even with food rewards when she got it right there were so many interesting smells it didn't consistently go all that well. Walking on rough ground with a strong zig zagging dog isn't the easiest, but I couldn't let her off so had to keep going. I wondered if I'd made a mistake taking her. :oops:

Snow clad Stob Gabhar in distance and others on the way
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We negotiated the 'sheep creep' and followed the track running north alongside the West Highland railway line, which has the reputation of being one of the most scenic in the world. I kept scanning the way ahead and when there was no sign of sheep I let her off the lead. Off lead she was great, stayed on the track, never went far ahead and recalled instantly to her name or the whistle.

Practising recall under Dorain pyramid
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Zoomed to Etive hills
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Tail still wagging
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West Highland railway viaduct
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I'm assuming that's Creag Mhor but not certain
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For a photogenic bovine you can't beat the Highlander
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Keeping her eye on me which is good
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Once I could see Bridge of Orchy I found a suitable place for a sit down and something to eat. Apart from a quick burst of manic barking at the cattle (from the safety of the other side of the fence!) and her sometimes erratic lead walking I was pleased with how this new dog was coping with her new adventure. It had taken much longer to get Jack to this level of training - but he was a dog with a very strong mind of his own!

Bridge of Orchy now visible
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Train from Mallaig
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Once past the station and on the road with the occasional 'people to be enthusiastically greeted' about, Callie reverted to her erratic pulling and by the time we crossed the A82 it was taking its toll so I headed for the picnic tables in front of the hotel where I could tie her to a table leg and text Pete to tell him I was on schedule for meeting him at Inveroran.

Bridge of Orchy Hotel from the bridge of Orchy
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When we reached the path through forestry it was a relief to let her off lead again. No cars, sheep or people here. :shifty:

Looking back to Bridge of Orchy
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Beinn an Dothaidh and Beinn Dorain
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The rest of the route was straightforward. We seemed to have outrun the earlier busy section and had the way over the moor pretty much to ourselves until we reached Inveroran. I took the short detour off the path to the cairn and tried to introduce Callie to the idea of sitting by it for a photo. Jack and Tess knew about the significance of summit cairns and would pose by them without me asking. Wonder how long it will take this one.

Cairns mean posing for photos
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Stob Gabhar, Stob a' Choire Odhair and Loch Tulla
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How long does this posing malarky go on for?
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Loch Tulla and look at that sky
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As we descended the path to Inveroran I saw our car passing about 10 minutes before I got there. As we neared the hotel I met Pete taking the nearly 14 year old Jack a short walk to meet us. In his head he would have wanted to come but with his arthritic joints he would have struggled and the distance even on this shorter day would have been too much. It's sad when you can't take your companion of more than a hundred hills with you any more; I think he and I both feel it.

Inveroran Hotel where I'd arranged to meet Pete
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It was too hot to leave dogs in the car, even with windows fully down, so I went in to ask if we could sit with them at the tables outside. No problem at all and they were welcome in the bar too. So in we went into the shade and ordered a pot of tea for him and coffee for me, along with carrot cake and shortbread. The waiter went out of his way to be helpful, the dogs were fussed over and the baking was delicious. An excellent way to spend a leisurely hour on a Sunday afternoon.

It wasn't long before the others joined us and we headed back to Tyndrum where Helen had parked her car. Later on we had a meal at the Crianlarich Hotel, which was good food in good surroundings, better than I expected to be honest. It had turned out to be a well placed rest day and I hoped the dog had made some progress. I can't have been too discouraged as I'd already decided to take her with us across Rannoch Moor the next day too! :D
Last edited by dogplodder on Fri Oct 12, 2018 9:34 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Spectacular setting for dog training on WHW 5

Postby tweedledog » Tue Jul 31, 2018 9:51 am

Well done Callie (and trainer). A fast learner, evidently.
I'm curious that you didn't find the harness a help. When The Whippet was young, fast and exceedingly strong he was able to pull my wife off her feet if he took it into his head to surge ahead. The harness limited the leverage he could get with the collar and she could hold him then. Whippets and greyhounds have very powerful hind legs and having the lead fixed further back than a collar I presume gave him less opportunity to apply that power. Maybe with Callie the pull comes also from using her weight which, of course, doesn't apply to a skinny dog like The Whippet. These days he's too old and long trained to pull like that anyway, but I still use a harness on exposed sections of hills to lower the risk of neck injuries if he takes a tumble. Otherwise he's off the lead anyway.
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Re: Spectacular setting for dog training on WHW 5

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Wed Aug 01, 2018 12:59 pm

Well done you and Callie - she's fair taken to the posing lark :lol: :lol: B&B never did, perhaps they learnt that photography is something others put up with, with bad grace - now where could they have learned that response :roll: :roll:

The route looks interesting in the early part of the year, and I like your planned social events on the way - no point in being too serious about this :lol: :lol:
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Re: Spectacular setting for dog training on WHW 5

Postby KatTai » Thu Aug 02, 2018 2:06 pm

Lovely report and great to see Callie out having adventures! I hope her lead training has improved since then and she's enjoyed many more adventures :D

Fingers crossed it will be back to square one myself in the autumn too :wink:
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Re: Spectacular setting for dog training on WHW 5

Postby Graeme D » Fri Aug 03, 2018 1:42 pm

What a bonnie looking young lassie she is! 8) I can see she is going to have a great life with you in the hills. :D
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Re: Spectacular setting for dog training on WHW 5

Postby dogplodder » Sat Aug 04, 2018 6:30 pm

tweedledog wrote:Well done Callie (and trainer). A fast learner, evidently.
I'm curious that you didn't find the harness a help. When The Whippet was young, fast and exceedingly strong he was able to pull my wife off her feet if he took it into his head to surge ahead. The harness limited the leverage he could get with the collar and she could hold him then. Whippets and greyhounds have very powerful hind legs and having the lead fixed further back than a collar I presume gave him less opportunity to apply that power. Maybe with Callie the pull comes also from using her weight which, of course, doesn't apply to a skinny dog like The Whippet. These days he's too old and long trained to pull like that anyway, but I still use a harness on exposed sections of hills to lower the risk of neck injuries if he takes a tumble. Otherwise he's off the lead anyway.


That's a valid point about risk of injury to the neck. Now that her initial super enthusiastic phase has passed and we have a calmer dog I may try the harness again. Thanks. 8)
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Re: Spectacular setting for dog training on WHW 5

Postby dogplodder » Tue Aug 07, 2018 10:15 pm

:think:
Huff_n_Puff wrote:Well done you and Callie - she's fair taken to the posing lark :lol: :lol: B&B never did, perhaps they learnt that photography is something others put up with, with bad grace - now where could they have learned that response :roll: :roll:



I can't possibly imagine. :shh:
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Re: Spectacular setting for dog training on WHW 5

Postby dogplodder » Mon Aug 13, 2018 4:06 pm

KatTai wrote:Lovely report and great to see Callie out having adventures! I hope her lead training has improved since then and she's enjoyed many more adventures :D

Fingers crossed it will be back to square one myself in the autumn too :wink:


Lead walking much better now thanks - apart from first five minutes when she's still a bit manic! :crazy:

Looking forward to hearing what happens in the autumn.... :wink:
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Re: Spectacular setting for dog training on WHW 5

Postby dogplodder » Tue Aug 14, 2018 9:43 pm

Graeme D wrote:What a bonnie looking young lassie she is! 8) I can see she is going to have a great life with you in the hills. :D


Did her first Munro on Saturday - Beinn Tarsuinn in Fisherfield - when she was in her element. I'm so impressed with her progress in such a short time. :thumbup:
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