Stuff that matters

Enjoying a pint and a Sunday roast in a warm pub with your dog sat comfortably at your feet is one of life’s greatest pleasures for pet owners. Canine lovers will be happy to hear that Britain’s best pub for pooches has been crowned, and it’s a hit with four-legged guests.

The Bellflower in Garstang, Lancashire, is the number one place to be for your pup, according to Rover, the world’s largest online marketplace for pet care. Dogs are welcomed with unlimited access to premium treats, a wide selection of bowls and blankets, and water is even dispensed from ale and lager barrels – so your pet can enjoy every single aspect of pub life.

The abundance of pet toys also scored points with the judges, but it was the sale of balls to raise money for a local animal charity that firmly secured its place as the winner.

Ed Bedington, head judge of the Great British Pub Awards, said: “The Bellflower takes its commitment to being a dog-friendly venue seriously in ensuring all members of the public – human or dog – feel fully welcomed as soon as they step inside.

“It’s the care that is shown behind the scenes; undertaking regular risk assessments and carrying out special staff training to attend to all dogs’ needs, that really stood out to judges.”

The Best Pub for Dogs category of the Great British Pub Awards celebrates pubs that go above and beyond in creating a welcoming and homely space for four-legged friends.

Canine behaviourist Adem Fehmi advises dog owners how to help socialise their pets before going to the pub for the first time:

  1. Start at home
    Set up a table, chairs, drinks, at home or in the garden. Keep your dog on the lead and offer them a long-lasting chew or food dispensing toy to encourage them to settle.

Keep your training sessions short, sweet and positive and build on this over time. This will alleviate some of the unfamiliarity of the pub environment when they get there.

  1. Reward them
    Before entering the pub, allow time for your dog to observe and take in their environment at a distance, rewarding their accepting and calm behaviour at each step with a tasty treat or favourite toy and praise.

Work at your dog’s pace and take your time to help them feel confident and secure in these types of locations.

  1. Carry essentials
    Along with a lead, poo bags and toys, you might want to take a portable bed, settle pad or mat with you to the pub. In order to be able to relax, your dog needs to be comfortable.

Adem recommends introducing them at home first, so that your dog is accustomed to relaxing on it.

  1. Calm them down
    If your dog does not typically bark for attention or with excitement and starts to bark, it is most likely they are not feeling comfortable in the situation.

You can try to create space and a calmer environment by moving into a quieter and more secluded spot, away from whatever is worrying them. Praise your dog when quiet with your voice and a tasty treat.