Thankfully summer is well and truly on the way, and after the long, wet winter, we can start thinking about planning fun days out again. It’s only natural that you want your dog to come with you – part of the joy of having a pooch is you share all the good things in life with them. But how can you give your dog their best day out?
Do they enjoy novelty?
Start by asking – are they an extrovert or an introvert? Do they love new things, new places, new experiences, and new people and dogs?
Or do they prefer just being with you, at home, surrounded by familiarity and going to the places they know?
If it’s the latter, a day out somewhere new and exciting probably isn’t something they’re going to enjoy.
For them, the very best day out is a staycation. A day where you spend time together – doing the things they enjoy, at home – or at least in their favourite places.
You know them best
Only you know what your dog really enjoys. It might be games and play, it might be transforming their garden into the perfect summer space – which could include a paddling pool or a digging pit, or a dog-friendly sensory garden. Somewhere you can spend lots of ‘days out’ at home together.
Or it could be packing up a picnic, going to your favourite walk at a time when you know it will be quiet, and spending time together walking, playing, snacking – and exploring the place you probably plod around every day without really looking! Play scent games, or hide and seek… Whatever you do, this is a day just for you and your dog. Clear your diary and leave your phone at home.
The canine extroverts
If you have a canine extrovert, however, or a pup who takes new things in their stride and loves new experiences, you can think further afield. And there are more questions to answer before you plug in your sat nav!
Is your dog quiet, relaxed and happy to settle? Are they brimming over with energy and enthusiasm? Do they enjoy hustle, bustle and lots of people and dogs? Or do they prefer space and room to run, sniff and play? Do they love new places but would rather avoid other dogs? Are they happy with strange noises, smells and sights? Or do they prefer quiet and peace?
Once you’ve answered those questions, you can really start to make plans that embrace your dog’s personality and preferences.
For noise sensitive extroverts
For the active dogs who love new places and experiences but are sensitive to noise and tend to get stressed when things get a bit crazy, find a more remote country area to visit. Here you can have long walks and your dog can run, explore, sniff and discover new things. If you love hiking or a bit of hill climbing, so much the better – just remember to stay cool, hydrated and check out our tips for hiking with your dog.
And after a long walk to burn off some canine energy, a peaceful country beer garden will probably be a relaxing end to the perfect day for you both.
Or if you can find a quiet dog-friendly beach, that’s another great opportunity to enjoy a new experience with your dog. You can introduce them to all the sniffs, sights and sounds of the seaside. For those dogs who love water – or love to dig – this can be a real joy! Just be aware, not all beaches are dog-friendly during the warmer months, and these can get busy with dog walkers and picnickers! And make sure you have a waterproof liner for your car on the way home. It’s amazing how much mess a wet, sandy dog leaves behind.
For the chilled extroverts
If you have a less active dog who is happy to settle down after a short walk – and who is happy with a bit of hustle and bustle – you can explore things like country shows, dog-friendly parks and gardens, and even interesting towns. Here, a gentle on-lead stroll can be punctuated with coffee shops, a quiet lunch and some exploration.
If you have a canine athlete or a pup who loves learning, maybe your perfect day out will be finding a class or workshop where you can learn a new skill – or polish up the ones your dog already has. Maybe agility, or scent work, or hoopers… The choice is endless.
Or perhaps it’s a day where you round up all your dog’s canine friends (or even family) and have a get-together. This can involve a walk, a chance to play, and a chance to talk (eat/drink!) with other dog parents.
Every dog is different
The bottom line is only you know what your dog will enjoy. When you’re planning a day out, don’t just think of somewhere you want to go to. Instead look at days out from your dog’s point of view and decide if they were in charge of the sat nav, where you would end up?
Places to avoid with your dog
- Music festivals – the high noise and volume of people can be very overwhelming. Not to mention, none dog-friendly food scattered within easy reach
- Children’s parties – these can be a lot even for most parents – and when you add in snacks, sugar rushes and overtired kids, this is a nightmare for most dogs
- Firework displays
- Anything that involves bagpipes – I’ve seen a terrier decide bagpipes were monsters that needed dealing with most firmly (to be fair, a lot of people agreed!)
- Shopping trips – unless this is dog shopping of course!