What a Typical Day Looks like at the Rufford Park Retreat...

Hi everyone, welcome back! The weather has surely gone downhill from last weekend's tropical heat wave, but this Sunday morning it seems to be letting the sunshine through (keep dreaming, Rachel!) Summer is a long way off and we have a lot of dogs booked in for their own summer getaway. We've been very lucky to have been fully booked since the middle of February and Lottie, the last of our holiday makers, has now gone home to see her beloved family. So I thought it might be a nice idea to share what a typical day would look like for one of our guests. Lottie, you'll be our guinea pig!

As you can imagine, all of our dogs have different routines, needs and preferences when they come to stay with us. Take Lottie for example. She's a nine month old Labrador puppy who doesn't eat from a typical dog bowl, sleeps on a duvet inside her crate and loves to play! So her day usually starts with a play outside. At about 6.30am Lottie is getting a little restless, so the crate doors are open and we let the play begin.

Lottie likes anything she can chew, so your typical chew toys are a winner. I have a variety of hew toys that Lottie likes to chew up. However she did use her initiative when I wasn't quite quick enough to get the toys out in time. Bits of branches, leaves, socks and even my sofa cushions were all the things that Lottie decided were the best toys that I had. Always be on your guard for naughty puppies! So after the morning energy is nearly our of her system, it's time for breakfast!

Now like I said earlier, Lottie doesn't eat from a usual dog bowl. She prefers this very interesting looking food dispense toy. Does anyone else think it looks a bit like Saturn, or is that just me? Basically, the food goes into the top and it's weighed down by the red hoop around the outside. Lottie then has to tip it and roll it for the food to come out. This should take a lot longer but little, crafty Lottie has broken it so the food comes out a lot quicker. That being said it is a lot more enhancing than just a bowl and everyone knows how I feel about enrichment. This is a really easy way to get it into your dog's everyday routine.

So once Lottie is well fed and ready for the day, it's play time again (how did you guess?) This will all depend on the dog, some have a walk at this point in the day or others like to nap for the morning. It all depends on the dog! Lottie needs as much explore time as possible so she spends the majority of her day in the garden. Puppies need to experience as much as possible to really soak in the environment around them. We are fortunate to have a large garden with natural parts for the dogs to explore. I could leave Lottie to dig, sniff and swim (oh yes, we have a pond too) until the cows come home, but I do like to set up activities to vary up the day.

I have done a blog post on some different enrichment activities that I like to do, so go and check that out once you're finished with this. Lottie's favourite is anything to do with food! Particularly the Tempting Poles, I could have teased her for hours. Usually I like to do two or

three activities a day depending on whether they're time consuming or whether I can leave the dogs to figure things out for themselves. Some dogs, again like to relax more than others so maybe one with be sufficient for them. Lottie could have done at least fifty a day! Every dog has a personalised exercise plan and this highlights by breed, age and temperament what sort of activities they'll be doing with me.

So as the afternoon progresses, some dogs have their afternoon walks. Lottie comes into this catagory. Obviously, the natural destination is Rufford Park which is a lovely route to take. Especially in the later hours, now the nights are getting longer, when everyone has gone home it is really peaceful and a tranquil place to end the day. Unfortunately dogs aren't allowed off lead as it is a nature reserve so for Lottie, this just won't do! From Clumber to Sherwood Pines and all the trails in between there are plenty of woodlands to explore

completely off lead.

When Lottie is completely tired out, this is when she has her dinner and has some chill time. Even chill time to Lottie is laying down hewing something that she didn't get to that day. Lottie likes to stay productive! Some days are completely different to others. We might have a play date one day. Lottie has had play dates with both Lexi the Wiemeraner and Clyde the Romanian Rescue. It's so lovely to see the dogs having fun together and again, it adds variety to those dogs who are with me for weeks at a time. I try my best, but sometimes I get a bit repetitive!

I've loved having Lottie and all the other dogs these past few months, but now it's time to see

my little Maggie Moo who's been staying with her Dad while Mummy spends time with all these other dogs.

Until next time, keep those tails wagging,


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