Updates

A lot has been going on in Ranger’s life lately so here’s a quick recap (his latest agility class will go in a separate post).

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Mud pigs

A week ago Ranger, Maddie, and Gauge went for an off leash walk near Gauge’s house. It’s a power line trail through the woods and was completely deserted. There were gravelled sections, narrower paths through rocky outcrops, paths through the woods, and sections of huge flat rocks.

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follow the leader

We were out for over an hour and the dogs spent the entire time racing, wrestling, and sniffing. I am amazed at how easily Ranger maneuvers through the under brush. He seemed fine when we got home, but after a bit I noticed him licking his front foot; of course, a nasty slice to one of his toes (a big reminder of WHY we should always give our dogs a proper once over when they come in from a big play). Although it was deep, I decided to see if we can heal it at home instead of a vet visit and doctored him up. I’ve been checking and cleaning it each day and so far seems good. He’s also the new owner of a set of boots (which we’ll use for scootering too) and I’ve been putting the front left on when we go out.

dog sitting beside scooter

ready to hit the open roads

Ranger’s scooter arrived. I picked it up, brought it home, and promptly tried to kill myself on it (riding it by myself just from the car to the backdoor). It’s is so cool and I can’t wait to get Ranger really going in it. Because of his paw, I’ve only had him hooked up once for a light trot back to the house from the trail after just hand walking him with it.

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napping with his bandage on

Yesterday we went for a long walk through Bell Park in Mt. Uniacke with Maddie and C. We were gone for over an hour and just let the dogs casually stroll along stopping and sniffing as they wanted while we just enjoyed the spring warmth. Ranger played in the water a little bit and seemed to really enjoy himself.

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Ranger out exploring

Today Ranger had a play date with Gauge before his photo shoot later in the day. Ranger blasted around and really poured out that energy he’s been collecting all week while we tried to protect his foot. He didn’t seem sore at all, but his toe does look like its pulled apart a little…both of us want him to be better so fast, but that foot is going to take some time.

three dogs playing

Ranger in herding mode

The photoshoot is a fundraiser for GPAC being held in Halifax today. I brought Ranger and T also brought Gauge. I am so excited to see how they turn out. Studio canine portraits AND I can pass it off as a donation to a local rescue; yes please! I’ll be sure to post once they come in.

Our break

As you can see there was a break in my posts and that break was also mirrored in our lives. The last couple weeks were filled with the labnado visiting. 

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Hey, you talkin’ about me?

The tiny land shark has now grown into an adolescent labnado whose mouth is now high enough the reach EVERYTHING. Ranger and I had our hands full for over a week entertaining Gauge while his human parents were busy laying on a beach in Mexico…I did get a lot of puppy kisses, snuggles, and my puppy lust has been satiated without running out and doing something crazy (like getting a puppy full-time).

Ranger’s days involved outing to the beach, rough housing at my brother’s house with Gauge and Poppy, and sleeping hard.

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Did I mention sleeping hard?

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For a few days after Gauge left, Ranger was depressed. As frustrating as the energizer puppy could be, I really think he enjoyed having a dog friend full time. Once things are more manageable here at home, I really would like to start fostering which would give Ranger a pal and help a dog in need. 

During our break, Ranger also got to meet Santa. Lietash Academy was holding photo sessions to raise money for the various charities (specifically animal) in the area. The last time Ranger was at their centre was for the mushing clinic and he was definitely hyped up. We did get a good picture though 😀

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We have lots to work on and our level two obedience class started tonight (will post about it later). Working on mushing commands and getting him out to run are the two goals leading up to the new year. 

Discover HRM – Sandy Beach Park II

Ok, so I know I already posted about Sandy Beach Park HERE but we went again yesterday and it is SOOOOO much better than I had originally thought. 

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The gate was shut today so we parked right up at the top of the driveway and headed in with Ranger. About 20 feet down on the left side is a trail and God, is it ever nice. 

The trail is slightly angled and once you’re in, there are multiple trails off in different directions. At the lowest park is the lake so really no matter where you go you can find your way out (driveway on one side, lake on the other). Ranger once again zoomed around like his tail was on fire and even had a splash through the lake. 

Since I’ve already talked about here, I think I’ll just let the pictures do the talking. One note, at this time of year there are muckier parts of the trail so you’re still better off to wear wellies. 

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Discover HRM – Conrad Beach

Conrad Beach is located on your way out to Lawrencetown Beach from Dartmouth on the right-hand side. Usually overlooked, the winding road take you down to a small gravel parking lot (during the summer people are parked right up the street on both sides…but it’s too hot for the dogs anyway) at the trailhead.

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The boardwalk area passes over the salt marsh and leads you right to the beach. There are two reasons for the boardwalk; the sandy dunes were difficult to walk through, and the other reason is the Piping Plover.

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 Picture url: http://novascotia.ca/natr/wildlife/conserva/nr-piping-plovers.asp

These little birds have only two nesting populations: Eastern Canada and Praries/Great Lakes. In Nova Scotia they nest on less than 30 beaches with over half of the population in Southern Nova Scotia. This small group risks extinction as their population and genetic diversity decreases due to habitat destruction, human interference, and environmental change.

Dog owners have a responsibility to the environment and to other dog owners. It only takes a few to ruin places for all dog owners. The Piping Plover flies to NS for their breeding and nesting seasons. They arrive March/April and all but a few are gone by the end of September to their winter grounds.

During their nesting time one should keep off the dry sand and pebbled areas that are not threatened by the tide. Those areas should be completely avoided during that time and all dogs should be kept on leashes to prevent the dogs from running over their nests crushing eggs and upsetting the families.

I personally choose to avoid the areas completely from March to Mid-October to prevent the threat. Now though, with all the birds flying south to enjoy the nice weather (so jealous) I allow them to be off leash when the beach is deserted. Remember: Do your part so that everyone benefits.

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Anyway, this place is fantastic. The beach goes on forever and allows the dogs to really open it up. I went with my brother and his dog, Poppy. It was a beautiful day out with sun and shine. When we first got there Ranger met an Australian Shepherd with a polite greeting and then moved on with me when asked (high five! and jackpot treats).

After an hour of running through the surf and playing keep away with the seaweed both dogs were happy and tired. His loose leash walking is still improving and we made it from the beach to halfway down the boardwalk before he started getting a little strong.

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Pros:

  • Wide Open sandy beach
  • Less known
  • Close proximity to the city

Cons:

  • No bathrooms
  • Cannot be used between March and October due to Piping Plover nesting and chick season
  • Not an off leash park – use at own risk of fine

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Discover HRM – Sandy Beach Park

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Sandy Beach Park is located on Smith Rd (which is off Hammonds Plain) quite near the highway exit. I had never heard about it before, but with my current searching to discover the places so close to home I came across a blog post mentioning it. An off leash dog area that I hadn’t heard of? Let’s go!

The park starts up near the entrance sign and is considered off leash as soon as you get through the gates. If you’re crippled like me, you can drive (ever so carefully) down to the giant gravelled parking lot at the base of the entrance. At this point is the entrance the the beginning of the trail. 

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During the summer, you can walk this area off leash and then take the left where the off leash section continues. After October 1st, the whole area becomes off leash so we took a tour down to the human beach front and into a small trail at the end which led into the woods. 

Ranger LOVES the woods. It was my first experience letting him off leash with thicker woods nearby. I’m a wimp and the thought of my guy darting off and becoming lost has always kept me to flat uncovered areas that I can see him. That day with no dogs around, I swallowed any concerns and he passed with flying colours. 

Once in the woods, he basically circled in HUGE sweeping passes jumping over felled trees and splashing through the marshy area. 

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Pros

  • large off leash area
  • gravelled trail walkway
  • interesting area
  • close proximity to the city

Cons

  • longer drive from Dartmouth area (but still reasonable at 20 minutes)
  • trail isn’t as long as I would like (the dog section may be longer, but I will need to bring my rubber boots)

I know one con isn’t a lot, but I really enjoyed the place. I’ll be going back again soon and maybe I can look at it from an unbiased eye then. For now, it’s one of my favourite spots. 

Discover HRM – Silver Sands Beach

At a crisp 6 degrees at lunch time, it was sunny enough to pull me out of the house to find somewhere to explore in HRM with Ranger. The lucky place – Silver Sands Beach.

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The barrier is about 1km long with the ocean on one side and a lake on the other. The waves crashing against the beach followed by it receding through perfectly polished stones present a calm environment. The nice thing about this area is that it’s flat and narrow and long; meaning a dog off leash can be corralled with plenty of time. You know, if you’re one of those people who lets their dog off leash in on leash only spots. You know, if that’s your thing. *shrug*

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The parking is easy to find due to the giant windmill that catches your eye from down the road. If that’s not enough, the oversized moose will give it away. Once parked all you need is to duck around the gate (to prevent vehicles from trying to access) and follow the path down and along the stretch.

Trying to keep Ranger on leash was difficult as the big rocks kept snagging him. He wanted to run, but mountain goat he is not. About 1/3 of the way down is a more gravel/less boulder area and if you remember my earlier comment about being able to see from one end to the other, you’ll understand this is where I let Ranger have some fun.

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I love bringing his Jolly Ball to the beach because it will float, doesn’t hold water and is easy to clean. Ranger loved it here because it bounced and actually made him work for it.

His recall could do with some more work and there were a couple times I feel I needed to call more than necessary. That’s disappoints me, but he gave himself some wiggle room since he did a 180 to visit me when I called him off the trail of something. We had fun, and he spent most of the day lounging.

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Pros:

  • Good visibility to see who is around
  • Different terrain for dog to maneuver
  • Accessible parking

Cons:

  • The rocks are worn smooth making walking difficult
  • The area is narrow meaning that there isn’t a lot of passing room should someone else be there.
  • The large rocks will catch up a dragging line so you either need a short lead, a flexi-leash (which I don’t like) or to let them free…or untangle a million times.

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Beaches

  • Conrad Beach
  • Lawrencetown Beach
  • Rainbow Haven
  • Silver Sands Beach