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Lucy our Cockerpoo practicing boundaries – Photo by Deirdre Rigney

Lucy the Cockerpoo’s 121 Training

“A week in Devon with some training with Devon Dogs,” was my reply to the question of what I would like for my 70th birthday present. My lovely husband John duly made the arrangements. So on a fairly bright Monday morning at the beginnings of March, John, our cockapoo Lucy, and myself set off for Bowerland in our packed car from our home in Bedfordshire.

The journey was surprisingly easy. The only downer being the weather as soon as we crossed the Devon border the heavens opened and it rained until the Wednesday morning. For those using the M4, the Coate Water Park in Swindon is a nice stop. The park has a large lake and plenty of space for a quick dog walk. It also has a kiosk that sells coffee and snacks.

The Annexe

We booked the Annexe and were very pleased with the accommodation. Not only is the Annexe spacious and well equipped, it was also spotlessly clean. The bed is very comfortable – John and I slept really well.

7 Hours of 121 Training

We booked 7 hours of 121 training with Michelle, who was friendly, professional, extremely positive and helpful. I wanted to improve Lucy’s impulse control, loose lead walking and work on boundaries. Michelle showed me lots of useful games to play with Lucy and gave a number of tips to help. I’m pleased to say Lucy and I made good progress. With the threat of the Coronavirus looming and possible isolation, Michelle also gave me ideas to keep Lucy entertained during a lockdown.

Local Sightseeing

We were lucky to have some bright spells during the week and managed to see some of the local area. We are National Trust members and visited Castle Drago for a nice walk in the grounds. Unfortunately, the Castle was closed for the for the winter season. The actual building is an amazing mixture of styles – a return visit to see inside is a must.

We also drove across the moor to Bovey Tracey to visit Parke, another National Trust Estate. Another nice walk in the woods and along a disused railway. We enjoyed a snack lunch in the pretty cafe/restaurant, part of which is dog friendly. We took the short drive to Sticklepath to visit Finch Foundry and the amazing walk along the River Taw. The grounds of the foundry are very pretty. The tea room is extremely small but there is seating and tables in the dog friendly grounds. It is probably a good idea to check opening times and entrance price before visiting. I also think there are alternative points to join the walk.

Lydford Gorge, Meldon & the Granite Way

We also enjoyed a walk to the waterfall at Lydford Gorge. The waterfall was in full flow due the amount of rain!! We also did the Meldon Reservoir walk and walked both directions along the Granite Way. Due the likelihood of bad weather, we took plenty of food with us and ate in the Annexe. We did, however, enjoy a couple of breakfasts at the nearby Hog and Hedge. The area is also a service station, but the cafe is extremely clean and dog friendly with a small outside green area.

When the World is back to normal…

When the World is back to normal I am hoping to make a return visit and enjoy what both Devon Dogs and the local area has to offer. Needless to say we had a GREAT week – the perfect birthday present! A BIG thank you to John, Michelle and to everyone at Bowerland and Devon Dogs.

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About the Author: My name is Deirdre and my husband and I are both retired. We live in a north Bedfordshire village. John had dogs during his childhood, but Lucy is my first ever dog.  She’s a cute cockapoo who enjoys walks, sniffing, food and curling up on the sofa especially with Lizzie, our granddaughter. Lucy and I enjoy agility, gun dog training, scent work and long walks.


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