With London registering 26° on Sunday 7th May, outdoor activities are calling. To bring some fresh air to our weekend, my husband and I decided to head to the Paws in the Park spring dog event in Ardingly, West Sussex, on 14th May.
We hired a car for the day and, after a nice driving through Sussex, there we go, the three of us, ready to discover what one of the most advertised fun dog event looks like, and to give it a go in some of the featured activities.
In this post I will tell you a bit about our experience and provide you with a list of scheduled fun dog shows you can attend to.
A go to the ‘Dash N Splash’
After a walk through the stalls – selling a range of things from toys to dog food, from beds to crash tested car crates, and much more -, we got to the ‘Dash N Splash‘, the activity we were so much waiting for to try. Basically, there is a pool and a platform, and your dog is supposed to jump into the water to get a tennis ball the instructor will throw and retrieve it.
My furry friend had a go, first in the training pool, then in the main one. The queue was awful, but it was worth the wait.
At first our boy was a bit scared: the platform is quite high and he felt it a bit unatural to jump down. Indeed he tried to cheat, landing on the ramp to the side before getting in the water (you can see it in the picture above), but, being a gorgeous swimmer, he enjoyed retrieving the ball.
He also had some supporters watching him…and he stopped to say hi…! This is a picture my husband took of their greeting.
Other activities and overall impression
You could also have a go to agility, obedience, canicross and flyball and there were fields dedicated to the different sports, where experienced people were displaying or competing. We watched the flyball competition and it was funny to see how madly people were shouting to push their dogs.
We only tried flyball, and it was a complete disaster! Our dog got the first ball and, instead of running back through the obstacles carring it, he jumped over the low fence and started playing by himself… much more fun in his mind.
We had a nice time at the show, however, I must say that we were a bit disappointed by the fact that, even though you have to purchase a ticket to access the event (which was £9 online or £10.50 at the gates, per person), you are still asked to pay to take part to each activity (for example, the Dash N’ splash cost extra £5, flyball was £3). So if you want to try several activities, it gets a bit expensive.
In addition, you have to queue almost everywhere to take part to the activities, so better to get there early when it is not so crowded yet.
Dachshund with a hat (big trend at the show)
Next fun dog days you can go to
It is pleasing to see how many fun dog shows you can find around England. I found a decent list on The Good Dog Guide’s website, but with a simple internet engine search you will find many other hints. Two major events for dimensions appear to be the following:
- All about dogs show: 28-29 August 2016 Northfolk; 24-25 September 2016 Hylands
- Paws in the Park: 6-7 August 2016, Stansted Park, Havant, Hampshire PO9 6DX; 17-18 September 2016, Kent Showground, Detling, Kent ME14 3JF
Of course, if you are into dog sports such as agility, obedience, flyball, IPO, canicross, working gundog, working trials and others, this is also the competing season and you will surely be informed about the calendar of the sports shows.
Dog charities’ dog fun events
Also dog charities often organise fun dog events in order to raise funds for the cause.
Last year I went to Battersea Dog & Cats home‘s September event, which was held in Battersea Park. The event was very well organised and crowded with people and dogs of any age and breed. You could access it for free, just paying for having a go in the various activities (dog temptation alley, agility, little pool, etc.) or entering the competitions.
The next Battersea Dog & Cats home’s fun day will be held at Old Winsor on 2nd July 2016, while a muddy dog challenge, consisting in a 2.5 or 5km run with your dog, is scheduled for Saturday 21st May 2016 at Windsor Great Park and you can register until midnight today!
Another event you can attend to and helps a good cause is the so-called Big Walkies organised by the RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). The forthcoming Big Walkies will take place on Saturday 21th May 2016 in West Cliff Gardens, Bournemouth, and on Sunday 22th May 2016 in Alexandra Palace, North London. For further RSPCA events keep an eye on this webpage.
In addition, the Dog Trust will organise many fun dog day events in different locations on the 5th June 2016 and other dates. You can find a list of them browsing here.