Dogs Day Out

Going out for the day with your dog and stuck for ideas?  Here are 10 dog days out ideas; some might be new to you, others not so new but they might trigger some happy memories that you want to repeat.  I love spending the day with Tiffin and exploring Plymouth, Dartmoor and the South Hams.  It’s great to make the most of my free time by getting outside, discovering new places, exploring different areas and trying new and fun activities that both Tiffin and I enjoy   Let me know what you favourite thing to do with your dog is in the comments below. Have you tried something or visited somewhere that’s not on the list?

1. Eat out with your dog.  

Ok, so the not the most original idea but dogs love new smells and they just want want to be with us all the time so why not treat yourself to a meal out at a dog friendly cafe, pub or restaurant near you.  Here are some websites that’ll tell you the dog friendly places near you:

There’s also plenty of [easyazon_link keywords=”dog friendly books” locale=”UK” tag=”thwowo09-21″]books[/easyazon_link] available if you prefer to flick through a book or keep a handy guide in your car

2. Dog Friendly Beaches

The dog beach bans usually start in May and finish in September.  I find the bans quite frustrating/limiting in the Summer but I can understand why the majority of beaches enforce it.  If only we could show the authorities that we do clean up after our dogs and we can control them…

I love taking Tiffin on big expansive beaches such as Mothecombe near Plymouth and watch her run free.  Your dog might like to use the space to just run and run and run, or she might like exploring the rockpools with you, swimming in the sea or surfing the waves on a body board.  I want to teach Tiffin (and me) to stand on a StandUp Paddle Board – I think it will take a lot of coaxing but with patience or persistence I’m sure I could convince her.   I’ve found small beaches near me that don’t have any dog restrictions so you may be able find a beach near you this Summer – if you’re in a new area, it might be worth asking some locals about beaches nearby.

Here are a few useful websites that will help you find dog friendly beaches near you:

3. Dog Swimming Pool 

Did you know that, for a dog, 1 minute of swimming is equivalent to about 4 minutes running?

Assisted swimming is a great alternative to off lead running and perfect for dogs that enjoy swimming as well as those dogs that need to learn to swim.  Swimming is excellent exercise for dogs; it’s good for their fitness and helps them stay in optimal shape.  It’s also very low impact on their bones and joints which is beneficial for all dogs but especially those with arthritis or stiff joints.

I took Tiffin and Duke swimming a year or so ago.  Tiffin was about 1 and Duke was 15, they both really enjoyed their 20 minute session. For Duke, it soothed his aching muscles and joints and for Tiffin it was an action packed session playing with tennis balls and frisbees. They each had their own session with two instructors who relaxed them and supported them.  20 minutes was all they needed; they slept soundly after their swimming lesson.  

There are a number of pools listed on: www.petslocally.co.uk/uk/dog-hydrotherapy but if you cannot find one near you, I recommend doing a few Google searches.

4. Dog Friendly History

Explore unique, extraordinary and historic houses, gardens, parks, countryside, castles and forts and many more different types of places belonging to the National Trust and English Heritage with your dog.  Check out their websites: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/for-dog-walkers and http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/.  You’ll also find plenty of walks on their websites.

5. A New Dog Walk

Spend some time studying a map of your local area — you might know it pretty well, but looking at a map could reveal places you haven’t explored yet or you’ve never thought of going to with your dog.  Alternatively, make a day of it and venture a little further afield to enjoy some new scenery and a bit of variety.  Rick (my boyfriend) and I spent a couple of hours on New Years Day coming up with ideas for new walks within an hour and two hours of Plymouth as we tend to do the same two walks each weekend.  We used my book [easyazon_link identifier=”0957157320″ locale=”UK” tag=”thwowo09-21″]Wild Swimming[/easyazon_link] as an idea generator because we love being by water and Tiffin loves going in water.  It doesn’t show routes but it’s great for ideas. [easyazon_link keywords=”Ordnance Survey Explorer maps” locale=”UK” tag=”thwowo09-21″]Ordnance Survey Explorer maps[/easyazon_link] show an area in great detail but I find them a bit overwhelming because I can’t read maps so I tend use websites such as:

6. Driving With Dogs

If you simply love to go for a drive, take your dog with you.  My dad has old cars and often goes on rallies where he’s driving for miles in convoy; he takes his dogs who love being with him for the whole day.  I take Tiffin with me on errands and I’m sure she prefers to be in the car with me, rather than home alone, even if she’s not really doing much.  She likes to look out of the window and chill out in her space which is the boot.  We have an Estate car so she gets a lot of space to herself.  Dogs must be kept safe at all times even if you’re driving 5 minutes down the road.  You can use a [easyazon_link keywords=”travel harness dog” locale=”UK” tag=”thwowo09-21″]travel harness[/easyazon_link], [easyazon_link keywords=”dog crate” locale=”UK” tag=”thwowo09-21″]crate[/easyazon_link], [easyazon_link keywords=”dog booster seat” locale=”UK” tag=”thwowo09-21″]booster seat[/easyazon_link], [easyazon_link keywords=”back seat barrier” locale=”UK” tag=”thwowo09-21″]back seat barrier[/easyazon_link] or [easyazon_link keywords=”car safety grid dog” locale=”UK” tag=”thwowo09-21″]car grid[/easyazon_link].

If you are driving quite far and know that you’ll need to stop en route check out www.drivingwithdogs.co.uk for walks within 5 miles of motorway exits.  If the drive is only part of it and you want to go on holiday with your dog, there are plenty of dog friendly cottages, hotels and B&Bs that to check out.  Be spontaneous and book a night away whilst out on your drive 🙂 At holidaycottages.co.uk 60% of the cottages are pet friendly.

7. Park Run 

Take part in a Park Run near you – most of the events allow runners with dogs but in some locations it may not be possible so contact the organiser before you turn up.

Parkrun is such a simple concept: turn up every Saturday and run 5km, or if you’re a junior then 2km every Sunday. It doesn’t matter how fast you go. It doesn’t matter what you’re wearing. What matters is taking part.  There are now parkrun events each Saturday and Sunday in countries all around the world. Each event is based in a unique location like a park, beach or promenade. All events are organised by a group of our wonderful dedicated volunteers. 

Tiffin and I have run the Plymbridge one near Plymouth couple of times. I know Tiffin would run it every weekend if she had the chance but I rarely pull myself out of bed before 9am on Saturday.  Maybe in the Spring…

www.parkrun.org.uk

8. Sightseeing buses 

Explore a new place with your dog with a sightseeing bus, boat or train.  You get to see the new place in a new, easy and convenient. There are the Hop Off Hop On buses in most cities.  At the time of writing the following buses are dog friendly:

  • Bath
  • Bournemouth
  • Cambridge
  • Cardiff
  • Chester – small dogs
  • Eastbourne
  • Edinburgh
  • Inverness – one dog allowed on the floor
  • Liverpool
  • llandudno
  • London – Guide dogs only
  • Newcastle
  • Norwich
  • Oxford – Driver’s discretion, dogs generally allowed
  • Stratford-Upon-Avon – one dog allowed on the floor
  • Windsor – one dog allowed on the floor
  • York

Before visiting, I recommend that you contact the Hop On Hop Off Bus company to find out if your dog will be allowed on the bus: www.hop-on-hop-off-bus.com/uk-and-ireland-bus-tours

Where there’s a river or canal in a tourist destination you might find a sightseeing boat or if you’re in Cambridge (where I grew up) you could take your dog punting.  Or there might be a tram or steam train.  Have fun seeing the sights in a completely different way.  If you choose a completely new experience for your dog, you can expect a very tired pooch afterwards.

9. Borrow a canine companion

Spoil your pooch by taking a canine companion along on one of your walks.  Organise a doggy play date with a friend and their dog or borrow a dog: www.borrowmydoggy.com or take a rescue dog out for a walk.

10. Geocaching

Geocaching is something that I haven’t tried but I’ve considered it – I definitely need to improve my map reading skills.  It would be a good way of giving a purpose to a walk (if going for a stroll with your dog isn’t enough of a purpose).

Geocaching is ‘the world’s largest treasure hunt’.  There are 2 million geocaches world wide so it’s quite likely that there’s one near you. To try it out you need to download the app or create an account online and then get searching.

www.geocaching.com