So what is a secure field and who does it work well for?
Firstly, a secure field is exactly what it says on the tin: – a safe, secure environment for your dog or dogs to have the freedom to explore without the risk of bumping into others. We all know that dogs love to investigate their surroundings, but for some, it’s not that straightforward and walks can be a huge source of stress for both dog and guardian.
Secure fields are great if…
- You have recently rehomed a dog and want a safe and secure environment to allow your dog to discover their newfound independence uninterrupted.
- You have a dog that is reactive to other dogs and humans and needs a safe and calming environment where their only worry is just to be a dog.
- Your dog has little or no recall and you want somewhere to practice where you know they can’t escape.
- You have a multi-dog house and logistics or behavioural considerations make walking them together impossible.
- You have a young family and walking your baby and dog together isn’t possible.
- You just want to try a new experience with your dog.
There are over 500 of these facilities in the UK now and they range from under an acre to over ten, all offering something different but with the same ethos of safety, security and freedom. To check out your nearest available field there is a great website with all the listings of your closest facility www.dogwalkingfields.com/
As well as providing a safe and secure environment for your dog(s) it also provides that for you. A safe space where you can enjoy watching your dog explore and sniff without having to constantly scout the horizon for the next challenge.
If you have a dog with no recall or one that likes their own space, finding somewhere safe is a lifeline. It removes the worry and anxiety that starts building inside us before we step outside the door.
It means that we can spend that hour (or more) with our dog(s) where we are not having to constantly put them back on the lead, not constantly searching for those out of the way areas, getting up earlier and earlier each day in the hope that we avoid anyone else. Then feeling disappointed to turn up to your favourite walking spot to see that every man and his dog has now decided it’s their favourite walking spot too!
Dogs provide us with the most amazing company and for the majority of us we want to provide them with the best life, they are part of the family and we would do absolutely anything to make them happy and see them enjoying themselves. Watching them just be dogs and enjoy their freedom is a huge contributor to their wellbeing but it’s not always as straightforward as just going for a walk…
“A safe space where you can enjoy watching your dog explore and sniff without having to constantly scout the horizon for the next challenge.”
Since the start of the pandemic in early 2020, it’s becoming harder and harder to find quiet spots where safe social distancing can be observed. I for one am not a big fan of crowds, even more so now where I am conscious of maintaining my distance and this is not always possible with the huge shift in people working from home and in addition many more dogs now out and about at all hours of the day as people try and juggle “the new normal”.
During lockdown, secure fields have seen a boom in popularity. There are four in Dorset now, including ours and each offers something different, depending on your needs. My belief is that they will continue to be popular. Not just by owners of nervous or anxious dogs but also by those that just want some solace and peace to enjoy their dog and provide them with something different. Safe in the knowledge that they can continue to practice safe social distancing.
As a trainer, I often hear stories where people tell me they walked their dog for hours and hours and they still were not tired. Taking them somewhere new where their senses (particularly their noses) will be exposed to a sensory explosion. It’s a common known fact that 20 minutes of intense sniffing is as tiring as an hour’s physical exercise.
Wouldn't it be nice to:
- Spend time with your dog just you and them without the fear of meeting others?
- Watch your dog explore in safety, creating their own adventures with you.
- Watch them enjoy that freedom and the sense of wellbeing that comes with the lack of restrictions and anxiety
- Not have to constantly have eyes in the back of your head and on high alert to see the next challenge.
Have I convinced you yet?
So now you are ready for your first experience of a secure field but what should you be looking for?
It depends on your needs. For example, our field The Gallops has 1.9m deer fence, secure onsite parking, appointment only, and a one-in-one-out system, which is aimed at and planned for clients that have severely reactive dogs. Inside the field, we have a variety of digging pits, platforms, jumps, log piles, access to water, splash pools and a wonderful sensory garden with a variety of plants for self-selection.
Things to remember
- ALWAYS read the T&C’s regarding the do’s and don’ts for every field. Each one will be slightly different but they are there to keep you safe.
- Remember that whilst every effort has been made to ensure the security of the fencing at all venues please remember that every dog is different. If you have an escape artist do check out your chosen field first with your dog attached to a long line.
- Please pick up your dog poo and either take it home or use a bin if one is provided.
- When you first visit remember that your dog is likely to get a sensory overload. Let them
take it all in. There will be time for cute paws up or middle photos at a later date.
Hounds & Hooves is an award-winning dog walking & training business located on the beautiful Whitcombe Estate in Dorset. Established in 2013 we seek to offer the gold standard in dog walking and training.