I love spending time with Archie and Chico exploring what this great
country has to offer. Unfortunately, my dogs can be reactive initially
to new dogs, so picking a quiet location is critical. Therefore we select locations where we can have fun, explore and have little to no other dogs around.
Below are just some of our favourite locations in and around Sydney, as well as our favourite dog beach on the Central Coast. Finding locations for reactive dogs can be tricky, but don't be afraid to explore and experience new locations. You never know, your next favourite outing could be just down the road!
Fagan Park - Galston, Sydney
I have been visit this park since I was very little. Fagan Park holds many childhood memories for me, and I still enjoy an afternoon walking around and letting the dogs have a good sniff. During the week the park is very quiet (picks up ever so slightly in the late afternoons), but weekends are a different story. Dogs must remain on lead in the park, and I have found most locals do stick to the rule. On the odd occasion there may be a dog off lead, but it is soon leashed by the owner when seeing another person around.
Fagan Park spans over 135 acres, which gives everyone plenty of room to spread out. There are many benches, picnic tables and spots to stop and have a rest, including the picturesque jetty in the middle of the park. Make sure you have a wander through the bush walking tracks towards the bottom of the park. All of the tracks loop back around, so you can't get lost.
Fagan Park is one of my favourite locations for photo sessions too, each season brings with it a new bloom of flowers. The grounds are always manicured to perfection along with the 11 themed gardens scattered around the park.
Parking is $6 per car, but in my eyes it is very much worth it for the facilities and overall upkeep of the park.
The Local Shed Cafe - Rouse Hill, Sydney
I love this little cafe. Great food, great service and dogs are welcome in the outside seated area. I have visited 4 times in the past during the week for both breakfast and lunch, and only one time did we see another dog. The seating area is a good size, so even if there were a dog you can space yourself away and still enjoy a meal.
My boys are used to sitting and waiting for me, so I would suggest either bringing your dog in a crate (as long as it is not too hot), bringing along a bed/mat or have them used to sitting by you waiting. Archie and Chico will do anything for food, so I have a treat bag on me and every now and again reward them for lying down and staying.
The Local Shed Cafe is open Tuesday - Sunday from 7:30am - 3:30pm, located right near Rouse Hill Town Centre. I would suggest avoiding the weekend, I would assume there will be many more dogs at that time.
Budgewoi Dog Beach - Budgewoi, Central Coast
We have been visiting Budgewoi Dog Beach for over 3 years now, it is a favourite for both Chico and Archie. During the week it is dead quiet, but do note this is an off lead beach so dogs are allowed to run loose. In saying that, the beach is massive and you can see for a very far distance if another dog is coming. If I do see a dog, I leash Archie and Chico and we wait up off the water line for the dogs to pass. The majority of the locals get the hint and will call their dog to them, if their dog is not already by their side. Our favourite time is the hour before and just after sunset, when most locals have gone home for dinner, which means a free beach for us!
I am lucky enough to have a family member who owns a house on the Central Coast, so we spend a few nights and make a trip out of it. But, it is not too far of a drive to make a day trip out of it. We often visit The Anchor Coffee House which allows dogs in their outdoor seating area, but this can get very busy and can be hit and miss if there are dogs already there. Most times I find it is fine, especially if you can pick a table tucked away from the main road.
The Central Coast is bursting with beaches, just make sure if you do explore other options that dogs are allowed on the beaches. Other beaches we have visited in the area are Catherine Hill Bay and Norah Head Lighthouse, both have slightly more dogs than Budgewoi Beach.
These are just some of the locations we visit with the least amount of dogs around. There are more local to us, but can have high dog traffic and therefore are left out of this blog post.
Do you have a location you visit perfect for reactive dogs? Let me know, I would love to check it out! Either comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org