Guest blog by Grant MacKenzie at We Welcome Dogs
As a dog owner I have spent much time trawling the internet looking for dog friendly holiday accommodation in Scotland. This has often been a frustrating experience and whilst sometimes it has paid off, success has more often than not been due to comprehensive research on my own behalf. There is however a new guide available, We Welcome Dogs (www.wewelcomedogs.co.uk) that aims to provide a much more comprehensive guide to Scotland’s dog friendly self-catering properties, hotels and other holiday locations. The guide makes it much easier for dog owners to plan their dog friendly holiday.
But what is it that dog owners want when planning their dog friendly holiday with their pooch? Dogs, as with humans, are all different, different dogs will have different requirements for their holiday. Some dogs need to be with their owners at all points whilst others are happy to be left on their own for some rest and relaxation, away from human interference. However as a guide, here are some tips for providing dog friendly self-catering properties:
- If there are restrictions on the places that dogs can go in the dog friendly holiday accommodation, then communicate this to the visitors in a friendly manner, in advance. A long list of ‘do nots’ will ultimately be off putting. However if the rules are communicated in a friendly manner, explaining why the restrictions are in place, they will be adhered to by the majority of dog owners.
- Provide information on other dog friendly holiday locations where the dog is allowed, such as dog friendly pubs, beaches, cafes and shops. This makes the holiday stay a much more rounded one and allows dog owners to take their pet with them as much as possible.
- Have an enclosed garden or area at the dog friendly holiday property, where the dog can roam freely and if that is not possible, identify a location nearby where the dog can get out and about for a walk.
- Dog Sitting – Some dog friendly self-catering properties and hotels have even started offering dog sitting services where they will look after your dog when the owner is out. This is obviously a possible additional source of income. Others provide information on doggy day care businesses nearby where they can be looked after for the day if the owner needs a dog free day.
- Walks, walks and more walks – One of the great things about having a pet friendly holiday in Scotland is discovering new walks. We are spoilt for choice with walks ranging from those undiscovered beaches, like the magnificent white sands at Morar in the West Highlands, through to the more well known routes such as the National Trust for Scotland’s managed properties at Glencoe and the Hermitage in Perthshire. These walks are a key element to exploring and providing those memorable holiday experiences so if you have them nearby then tell your potential visitors about them.
- Pubs and Eating Places – The image of one man, or woman, and their dog in the local pub is an age old one and when you are away from home it is great to be able to have a pint and perhaps something to eat, after a walk with your dog. So if there are dog friendly Scottish locations near you then let visitors know about them. Or even get in touch with other places that welcome dogs and do some joint promotion to make your establishments a truly dog friendly destination.
These are just some of the things that dog owners are looking for on their dog friendly holidays. Essentially if you are going to allow dogs into your property then make it as welcoming as possible for them and their owners, as it will be more enjoyable for all concerned. Dog owners will also tell other dog owners about places where they and their dogs have been made to feel welcome and so allowing four legged friends onto your premises will provide positive word of mouth recommendations and your business will also be likely to garner those all-important repeat visitors.
If you wish to discuss any of the issues raised here or are looking for further information on being dog friendly please contact Grant MacKenzie at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out our website www.wewelcomedogs.co.uk.