The Secret Dog Garden is a brand new facility which allows your dog to focus on their natural behaviours – sniff, search, investigate and explore, providing them with a complete mental and physical workout.
The area is designed from the dog’s point of view with sensory planting including lavender and rosemary, recycled objects with a scent history such as children’s toys, horse rugs and brushes, shoes and boots, hats and gloves, bicycle tyres and brooms. Scent cloths, feathers, and other items with various animal smells can also be discovered. Dogs see in a range of blue and yellow so items have been chosen to reflect this to give them a visual experience as well as an olfactory workout. Different textiles have been used to enhance the sense of touch with gravel, stone and wooden paving slabs around the outside areas, and indoor areas have non-slip mats of various material such as nylon, foam and natural fur, plus hanging items to brush against like scarves and beads. Our Great British birds provide a natural soundtrack in the garden, and indoor areas have bells, rattles and other items that make a sound when nudged with a nose. How your dog moves around the area is considered with different levels to reach via ramps or steps, plus objects to step over, step on, or avoid, dependent on your dog’s preference. As your dog moves around and explores, they will discover natural treats hidden in boxes, puzzles, snuffle mats and even ball pits.
The Secret Dog Garden gives your dog the opportunity to simply be a dog, allowing them to make their own choices and explore at their own pace. For this reason, only one dog can visit at any one time, as it is their experience for them to enjoy undistracted. As all dogs are unique, each experience is planned on an individual basis taking into account your dog’s preferences, age and ability, character and behaviour, and the layout is adapted accordingly. It is also your opportunity for you to relax and simply observe your dog’s natural behaviour. On subsequent visits, the environment can be changed to reflect your dog’s preferences or provide additional opportunities.
Session times and prices
The length of the session is decided by your dog, the average time spent exploring will be around 45 minutes and in return we ask for a contribution of £20.
However, if the dog is very nervous or anxious and does not settle, giving signs they would rather leave, then there is no charge. Should this happen, we can rearrange another time and allow them a few brief visits (free of charge) to become more relaxed with the surroundings as the aim is to give them a good experience with no pressure whatsoever.
For further details and to arrange a visit please contact Lisa to discuss your individual dog, via telephone or email, details here: Contact us.
Alternatively, you can complete an initial booking form here: The Secret Dog Garden booking form.
To find out more about visiting The Secret Dog Garden and the benefits to your dog, and to you, read our blog post here: Visiting The Secret Dog Garden.
To learn more about canine enrichment, and the benefit to your dog, please visit our ‘What is enrichment?’ page on our website, see the link below.
“I think your Secret Garden is a fantastic facility for dogs to freely roam and explore at their leisure. Cleo is a little girl who needs to be stimulated both physically and mentally and I am always trying to find new activities and places for us to visit so I am thrilled I found you!”
“This wonderful scented area was perfect for Pepper our super active one year old working Sprocker puppy . He had such fun exploring the huge range of smells and textures created by Lisa who had put an impressive amount of thought into this safe, exploratory space that we are sure will work for dogs of all temperaments and breeds. It was by far the best dog activity we had during our 5 day visit to Worthing. An absolute delight and one we will definitely do again when we are next down this way.” *****
“Cuddles had a great time – she was left to follow her own nose and do what she felt comfortable with and it was lovely to watch her snuffling out all the very considered and lovely treats and do what comes naturally to her in a relaxed environment. Not long after we got back, she headed straight for her basket and only rose for dinner and then went back to bed again (lol), and slept very soundly indeed – it really did prove to us how mentally stimulating the visit was for her. We all had a great time – Thank you for being a lovely host and all the effort you went to – you are indeed a hidden gem in Rustington.”
“Shae seemed to really enjoy herself, getting more and more confident and relaxed as she made her way through all the wonderful scents and sensory experiences. Shae was so relaxed on the way home that for the first time ever, in the history of her car rides, she remained seated throughout. At home she was alert and energised but soon crashed out on the sofa!”
“Thank you, it was such a lovely experience and your care and attention certainly showed.”
Bessie says ‘Explore, sniff, eat, repeat – left to myself to do all my favourite things in one intriguing space – I loved it! (When can I go again?)’
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