The 10th September this year is official Hug Your Hound Day. Although there is never a bad time to give your dog a hug and remind them of how much you love and appreciate them, the day provides a great opportunity to do something special with your dog.
Well socialised dogs are happy dogs, so if you are searching for ideas on how to keep your dog happy and want to give your dog the chance to run safely off the lead, read on. Here are our top picks of the very best dog parks and dog-friendly areas to visit, and where to find them.
Four Paws Field, Wooton Bassett, SN15
Four Paws Field in Wooton Bassett is a huge, safe open space for dogs and owners that is dedicated to walkies, playtime and training! Plenty of car parking for visitors and lots of well-maintained grass to run around on all make Four Paws Field well worth a visit, whatever your dog enjoys.
This dog park is particularly suitable for people with reactive dogs that need plenty of space, as well as very lively and energetic breeds that need a lot of room to run around. And you can feel safe knowing that they won’t be able to disappear off into the distance.
Dogs Playpark, Hull, HU5
If you want to make Hug Your Hound Day really special for your dog, even if the weather is awful, look no further than The Park at Dogs Playpark in Hull. The Park is comprised of a large, enclosed outdoor field where dogs can play and socialise. It also has a huge indoor activity centre for dogs and owners, with lots to see, do and play with. So you don’t have to worry if the winter weather tries to put a damper on your outdoor fun!
Saunton Beach, Devon, EX33
With so many beaches these days being closed to dogs or only permitting dogs out of season, Saunton Beach in Devon offers a welcome antidote to the “no dogs allowed” signage found on many of the UK’s public beaches.
This privately-owned beach covering over three miles of sandy coastline prides itself on being the most dog-friendly beach in Devon, welcoming dogs every day of the year to enjoy the fun. Owners are asked to keep their dogs on the lead in busy areas of the beach. However, dogs can run free, play and socialise at their owners’ discretion as long as they do not bother the sunbathers!
The Bark Park, Chatham, ME4
The Bark Park in Chatham, Kent is part of Maidstone Road Sports Ground, and has strong, secure fencing incorporating mesh as well as post and rail, to ensure that even the smallest of pups won’t manage to escape!
Corral-style entry gates also ensure that adventurous hounds can’t slip by someone entering or leaving the park. While comparatively small this relatively new council-operated dog park is already hugely popular with local dog walkers, virtually guaranteeing your pup the chance to make friends.
Brecon Beacons National Park, Brecon, LD3 and surround
Off-the-lead dogs are welcome in the Brecon Beacons National Park between the start of August and the end of February each year, and on the lead outside of these times. A large number of signposted walking trails and open spaces ensure there will be plenty for your dog to see and do. And, if you are lucky enough to live locally, you will never run out of new trails to explore and hidden gems to find!
St. George Square Gardens, London SW1
St. George Square Gardens is the perfect park for urban dogs to meet and socialise, located in Pimlico and close to Pimlico station.
The dedicated, enclosed dog walking area is located at the southern end of the park, and provides enough room for dogs of all sizes to run around safely. It also being small enough that you can keep your dog in sight at all times.
Gates on either side of the square provide access into the dedicated dog area, and relatively high and sturdy fencing onto the road sides will ensure that your dog stays safe. There are plenty of benches to relax in while your dog runs around, making St. George Square an accessible, relaxing and centrally located spot for dogs and owners in the city.
The Peak District National Park, DE35 and surround
The Peak District National Park provides a beautiful backdrop for rural dog walking in unspoilt natural surroundings. This huge area of outstanding natural beauty welcomes well-behaved dogs off the lead between the start of August and the end of February annually.
Dogs are still permitted to use the park at other times, but must be kept on the lead due to the presence of nesting moorland birds.
Dog park tips for Hug Your Hound Day
• If you plan to visit a privately-owned park or play centre on Hug Your Hound Day, phone ahead to check availability, as the best dog parks are likely to be very busy.
• Remember that not all parks where dogs are permitted are enclosed, so check before letting your dog off the lead.
• Respect the Countryside Code, give livestock a wide berth, and never let your dog chase or bother wildlife or farm animals. A well-behaved dog is a happy dog!
• Follow local rules and park regulations at all times.
• Don’t take toys that your dog will not be willing to share with their new friends-leave special favourites at home.
• Carry a few training treats with you to encourage your dog to come when called, even if they are having lots of fun with their new friends.
• Take a bowl and some water for your dog along with you-not all dog parks provide access to a tap.