Close up of golden retriever indoors

Willow’s Staycation!

With two bank holidays in May to make the most of, what better way to do it than a staycation!

As long as we have access to a pond/stream/brook and a muddy bog, we knew Willow would be loving life, even if it meant that the rest of us would be getting wet and cold.

At just over 6 months, Willow is huge and she’s got an appetite to match it and so with a trip planned to see Granny and Grandpa in Hertfordshire, we would need to pack lots of Natural Instinct food supplies and treats in our freezer bag for the day trip.
We haven’t been in our car for a journey as long as this with Willow, apart from when we first picked her up from the breeder to bring her home and on that two-hour journey she was quite car sick towards the end. We’ve discovered that if she sits/lays on one of the car seats, plugged into the seatbelt with a special seatbelt attachment harness, she can then peer out of the window, which we can open just a little and she can breathe in the fresh air on route!
As there are 5 of us and Willow plus a wheelchair, even with a 7 seater car it’s still a bit of a squeeze by the time we’ve piled everything into it and we’ve found that having Willow sit on her own chair works much better for us than using a crate in the boot. Although we do have to make sure we’ve got plenty of blankets/towels to put down for her on our return journey, as Willow loves nothing more than a roll about in the muddy ditch before we have to leave to go home.
Our daughter Bea found this really clever dog water bottle that has a drinking cup attached and when Willow has finished drinking, rather than wasting the water, your press this button and it sucks the water back into the bottle, no mess or fuss and no wastage!
One highlight of May bank holiday is the Moormead Park Annual May Fair in St Margaret’s at the end of May and their dog show! Of course, for some dog owners the highlight is parading their dogs in a circle nicely, hoping to win best breed etc, but for us it’s the ‘hotdog’ competition!  As it sounds it’s basically a test of willpower by the dog to leave the frankfurters, whilst their owners leave them under their noses, then turn their backs and eventually walk away.
Complete chaos normally ensues with dogs stealing other dogs’ sausages, running around the ring with their owner’s desperately trying to catch them but then there are always one or two dogs, who just lie there with the sausage right under their nose perfectly, still and patient, waiting for their command. Now this is exactly what we are going to be training Willow for. 
We’ve been using Natural Instinct chicken hearts and whitebait as temptation treats and slowly but surely we’ve been walking away from her out of sight into the other room.  As long as we say ‘leave it’ we’ve had success, however, if we don’t say anything at all, she gobbles it up!  So this is our challenge for Willow, to bring home the winning rosette in the Annual Hot Dog competition! Wish us luck!!
By Abigail Hutton-Tufano