New Coat & Trip to Red Brick Coffee House

I recently bought the coat that I featured in my Dog Accessories Wishlist, I was going to wait until her birthday but I got it early so I could start getting her used to it for rainy walkies. It has actually been pretty good weather recently but I’ve taken her out on a few walks wearing it and so far so good she doesn’t seem to mind it.

Bonnie the Border Collie looking at the camera while wearing her new pink Ancol City Coat, waiting to cross a road on a dark morning
Waiting to cross the road on our morning walk, hate these dark mornings now 😦

I’m pretty pleased with it, it has reflective strips around the edge and on the waist straps, is fleece lined but not too thick so she shouldn’t overheat and has back leg straps to help keep it in place. Updated – I have tested it thoroughly in rain now and really impressed with how much less towel drying is needed compared to when she doesn’t wear it. The only negative point so far is that it’s a bit too big in the chest for her as it slips down but that’s not the coat’s fault. She just has a slim chest so will need to put some stitches into it to make it tighter.

Bonnie the Border Collie wearing her new pink Ancol City Coat, it's too big on the chest so is slipping down
Please hurry up and fix this mommy, I look ridiculous!

Also on Saturday we took a little trip to the Red Brick Coffee House after training. It’s a dog friendly café near Ballymena that allows dogs inside and outside.  We decided to sit outside as Bonnie can be a bit overexcited around people, she thinks everyone loves her and wants to greet everyone, it’s been probably our worst area for training as when she does get to greet people everyone except me and my fiancé reinforces her jumping and excitement as “she’s cute” or “she’s light so it doesn’t bother me”.

Bonnie the Border Collie laying down underneath a picnic table outside at Red Brick Coffee House
My ear doesn’t look silly does it?

We reinforced her for laying down calmly under the picnic table we sat at. Also any time she looked at other people and looked back we made sure to reward with treats. We kept the experience positive and most importantly short, she can get overstimulated easily so it’s always important for us to end an experience when she’s still on good form.

Bonnie the Border Collie laying down underneath a picnic table outside at Red Brick Coffee House
You mean I get treats just lying here doing nothing? Awesome!

I’m very proud of her and all the little bits of progress she’s made, when we first got her, nearly a year ago now, she would’ve been way too overstimulated and probably wouldn’t offer the calm behaviour in that situation even for high value treats. We will definitely be doing more trips to dog friendly cafés and restaurants to help with her training, we also have our first overnight stay at a dog friendly hotel coming up on the 23rd of October, so very excited for that and I’ll definitely be doing a blog post about it!

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Training Class & Woodland Walk

We had a wonderful Saturday together. First of all we went to our usual training class held by Puppy School Mallusk and she did great, I am so proud looking at how far we’ve come together. She did brilliantly on the recall as recently she had been breaking her waits early, eager to come back to me, but the first time she broke the wait I was able to get her back into a down from distance so was super pleased and the second time she didn’t break her wait. Also improving her waits from me standing still to moving around and facing away so great progress all around 🙂

Bonnie the Border Collie in training class at Puppy School Mallusk showing great focus while wearing her pink Ruffwear Front Range Harness
Look at that focus!

After training we went to Bashfordland Woods near home which we always meant to explore but never got around to. We kept her on a long lead to begin with but when we realised it was deserted we let her off lead. It was lovely to see her romp around as we’ve been doing a lot of on-lead walks recently.

Bonnie the Border Collie investigating the grass in Bashfordland Woods in Carrickfergus
Ooh look at this!
Bonnie the Border Collie wandering off the beaten path at Bashfordland Woods in Carrickfergus
And what’s over here?
Bonnie the Border Collie hiding in the long grass in Bashfordland Woods in Carrickfergus
Can you see me? tehe

She got great enjoyment out of playing her version of fetch which consists of throwing the ball to her, her grabbing it and hiding it amongst the grass and trees and us finding it and throwing it again.

Animation showing Bonnie the Border Collie chasing after a tennis ball in Bashfordland Woods in Carrickfergus

She always looks so happy doing her recall, it brings me so much joy to see her so excited coming back to me.

Bonnie the Border Collie practising her recall in Bashfordland Woods in Carrickfergus
Imma coming mom!

Bonnie was totally wrecked (doesn’t help that reaching the car we realised we dropped the keys somewhere along the way and had to double back around – whoops!)  and slept the rest of the day. Mental and physical exercise = happy, sleepy dog.

Bonnie the Border Collie with a big smile on her face enjoying her walk in the Bashfordland Woods Carrickfergus
Look at that little face! Think she enjoyed herself 🙂

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Ballybolley Forest with Pack of Paws Belfast Dog Walking Club

I recently found this group Pack of Paws Belfast Dog Walking Club on Facebook and was really interested in the idea as it was a way for dogs and their owners to meet up for walks, talk about all things dogs and find new places to go for walks and trips out.

We went to the walk in Ballybolley forest near Ballynure and met up with 2 other dogs and their owners (Pixie a german shepherd and Bear a bernese mountain dog). Bonnie was really excited to meet the others and was soon off the lead happily exploring.

Bonnie the Border Collie at Ballyboley Forest Larne Country Antrim with Pack of Paws Belfast Dog Walking Club
Sniff all the things!

Bonnie had a load of fun playing chasies with Pixie and jumping in and out of the streams alongside the paths. I really liked that it was a nice big area to let the dogs off lead and it was fairly quiet – only coming across a few other people and dogs.

All our training with Bonnie seems to have paid off as whenever she was quite far ahead and went off the path out of sight I panicked a bit and called her to me. It was so amazing to see her running full sprint towards me, was very proud of her and all our training together.

Bonnie the border collie is covered in mud after her walk at Ballyboley Forest Larne Country Antrim with Pack of Paws Belfast Dog Walking Club
Mucky pup!

Needless to say with all the running in streams and mud a bath was badly needed after!

Bonnie the Border Collie having a bath after her walk at Ballyboley Forest Larne Country Antrim with Pack of Paws Belfast Dog Walking Club
Can I get out already?

Overall we both really enjoyed ourselves and have plans to go back!

I nearly lost my way getting there so I’ve included the map below:

Where’s your favourite place for a trip out with your doggy?

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