When you live in Aviemore the Donalds are quite a logistical challenge but they are ideal for teaching a young dog how to become a competent and confident hill dog. There are short easy walks on good paths, like Tinto, to long cross country slogs on heinous terrain, like Curleywee and Craiglaw. Ralph learnt how to walk on uneven ground, cross boggy terrain, negotiate peat hags, walk in awful weather and ignore sheep and other wildlife. We would rarely meet another person on our walks so the Donalds allowed us time to bond and learn to trust and listen to each other.
Ralph approaches every day on the hill with nothing less than total enthusiasm. Repeatedly falling into the bogs between grassy tussocks, charging through bracken that was far taller than he was and negotiating his way across miles of peat hags only added to the enjoyment. One recurrent feature across all the Donald hills are fences, most of them in varying degrees of collapse. Ralph would carry discarded fence posts for miles, the bigger the better.
The only thing that would ruin his day were wind turbines. A still one made him anxious, but as soon as they moved, Ralph’s anxiety would take control and he would sit on my feet for a reassuring cuddle and refuse to move until he was safety tethered on his lead. Nasty things!
In fact, Ralph enjoyed his Donald round so much he has almost finished a 2nd round.