Is your dog reactive, yet you’re keen to take him or her away on a Norfolk holiday with you?
As a dog lover (and owner of reactive dogs!), I understand how tricky it can sometimes be to go away and relax when you have a reactive dog. You want to be able to explore new places with your four-legged friends but also know you can find places to stay… and walk! And this is why, at East Ruston Cottages we make sure we know which of our Norfolk beaches and walks are suitable for reactive dogs. And we know which of our Norfolk holiday cottages, houses, barns and lodges are likely to suit you best!
They’re suitable because there aren’t a lot of people, traffic or passing dogs around. That means your dog can settle, become less anxious – and you can get some rest too (which is what a holiday is about after all!).
What is a reactive dog?
First up though, if you’re reading this and you don’t have a reactive dog, to fill you in, a reactive dog is one who reacts noisily or inappropriately to a particular situation or stimulus, such as a stranger walking past or another dog (and there are plenty of other stimuli – sometimes a mix of them too)
Many reactive dogs have had a poor start in life. They could have ended up in rescues for all sorts of reasons – and their reasons for ending up there can all have added to their fears and contributed to their reactiveness. Rescues or not, they could have been attacked by other dogs out walking, frightened by something that then triggers fear – loud noises, aggressive men, slamming doors and more; there are so many reasons. As such, they end up overly-anxious with behavioural problems (which can often be helped hugely with a dog trainer).
We’re also aware that not all dogs are reactive to the same stimuli. Some are fine with other dogs, for instance, while others can’t stand the sound of a motorbike, a person shouting or high-pitched noises, such as children’s screams. Sometimes its cars, men but very often it does seem to be other dogs and if that’s the case, it’s something you want to avoid at home …. and be sure you can cope with on holiday too.
Whatever the reason, we really do understand that reactive dogs need to holiday in an environment where they can relax as much as possible, away from their triggers. And that’s what we can help with!
Our tucked away holiday cottages
If your dog is reactive, then one of our more tucked away East Ruston Cottages might be more suitable for you and your furry pal to stay in. We have many options with very secure gardens which are isolated enough so you won’t get much passing ‘traffic’. Out of season the whole area is much quieter with less vistors (and the cottages are cheaper too! A definite bonus!)
But first, we’re happy to chat to you and find out what your dog reacts to in particular. We will then work out the ideal East Ruston Cottage for you to stay at and recommend the best places to visit. We understand that one size does not fit all! Let’s just give you an idea of some of most regularly recommended properties:
The Grove in Edingthorpe. A very well tucked away cottage in a tiny hamlet on a dead end road. Nothing can be seen from the garden (a good size and laid mostly to grass), little can be heard and the walks from the door are very quiet. You can easily get to some dog friendly beaches from here and nearby Bacton/Witton Woods can be very quiet on a weekday after the morning walkers have been. An easy walk to there via the designated quiet lanes.
Sleeps 4 and welcomes 4-5 dogs.
White Cottage in Happisburgh. Detached with a lovely big secure garden – good for zoomies and sniffing too! Solid high fencing and nothing can be seen and very little can be heard. A truly relaxing place for humans and dogs. Quiet walks inland or use the rural tracks to get to the beach. Happisburgh beach can get a bit busy but go early or out of season and you won’t see many dogs. Sleeps 5 + 1 and welcomes approx 6 dogs.
Brian’s Cottage, Honing – tucked well off the beaten track. There is only one neighbour and that’s the owners. They do have their own dogs and they totally understand the needs of reactive dog owners; so much so they have a ‘Reactive Dogs’ sign that they put up when needed. (PS You get very well fed at this cottage too!) Sleeps 4 and welcomes 4 -5 dogs.
Holmes House, East Ruston. A garden so secure and well fenced that it thwarts the most determined escapees! That means that nothing can be seen from within the garden so your dogs can freely roam around, safely, and not see another dog or human. You can park in the garden and lock the gate behind you. It’s at the end of a dead end track so there is very little passing by. Sleeps 4 + 2 and unlimited dogs are welcome here (for free of course).
Farthing Cottage in Trunch. At first it doesn’t look like it offers reactive dogs a good place BUT the garden is at the back, totally secure with a 6ft solid fence all round. The next door house is a second home and they aren’t often there (and don’t have a dog). There is very little to be heard and nothing to be seen from the house or garden that could upset a reactive dog. The cottage is set back off a very quiet lane in a very peaceful village. Time after time we get people telling us how happy their reactive dogs were here. Sleeps 4 and welcomes unlimited dogs for free.
Manor Barn also in Happisburgh is another perfect reactive dog location. Well away from any passing dogs, the only humans are the lovely Tracey and Dan who live on site and totally get what dog owners need on their Norfolk holidays. Secure courtyard and orchard too. Quiet walks from the door. Sleeps 6 and welcomes 5 ish dogs.
Seaview Cottage literally on the coast so the beach is a short walk away and very quiet out of peak walking times. Fully secure garden with nothing to see and little to hear apart from the sea. It’s motly grass and has a very high hedge/fence all round (approx 5ft and quite deep too) Has a hot tub! Sleeps 8 and welcomes unlimited dogs.
Thatch Cottage, Misty Meadow and Red Roofs are 3 of our family sized houses that also suit reactive dogs, with their fully secure, large grass gardens and nothing to be seen from the garden. All detached. Misty Meadow and Red Roofs are in the Norfolk Broads village of Hickling – a beautiful place to visit and watch wildlife, maybe take a day boat out from Whispering Reeds. Quiet walks from the door of all of them. Have a look at them on the website to find out more. All sleep 8+ and welcome very flexible numbers of dogs for free.
We have more; just email email@example.com to let us know what you need!
Best beaches to take a reactive dog
Now this is where the fun starts! Norfolk has many quiet beaches to take your reactive dog to, such as Eccles and Waxham (which are both excellent). They are peaceful because they aren’t as easily accessed as some of the bigger and more popular beaches. Of course, they are much quieter out of the main holiday season too. In winter you might be sharing them with just a small handful of locals and you can even have them to yourself!
Our top tip is to avoid the ones that have the most facilities. So Sheringham, Cromer, Overstrand, Cart Gap, Walcott, Sea Palling can all get pretty busy. Along the North Norfolk coast the beaches at Wells-Next-The-Sea can get busy and Holkham too…. but out of season you have a good chance of having them nearly to yourselves!
But our TOP TIP is to get yourself in between the popular beaches! Where it is usually a lot quieter. We are very lucky that Norfolk’s beaches run pretty much continuously round our 90 miles of coast. So sneak onto the beach at Trimingham, and head left or right for a quiet beach. Or down the ramp at Ostend near Walcott, walk right and enjoy seeing nobody else until you get to Happisburgh. Pop up the ramp there and walk back along the cliff top. Eccles – where ERC HQ is located, park at Cart Gap and turn right and you have SO much beach to explore until you get to Sea Palling! Try Waxham and Horsey too ( be careful during the seal birthing season – see here for so much more info on our amazing seal colonies!).
The Dunes at the back of Winterton beach (between Happisburgh and Walcott) are also ideal. They’re so expansive you can even see across to Horsey from there – so, there’s very little chance of meeting anyone unexpectedly. The Dunes are a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and are well worth a visit. There are also plenty of paths so you won’t get lost and you can use them to alter your route a bit if you do see another dog in the distance.
We would also recommend the sands at Bacton. You might have the gas terminal in the background but as it’s not a well known beach for visitors, it’s very quiet.
All these beaches are long, wide and you’ll be able to see other dog walkers coming from quite a distance, giving you plenty of time to move your reactive dog away.
My secret place!
Further up the coast, I am going to share a secret with you. It’s out of the ERC area but well worth the drive. One of my absolute favourite places to walk my dogs is Stiffkey marshes. Access is tucked well away and from the small and free car park you can walk out onto the marshes and then the sands. You will get muddy, you will get sandy but you will also experience a place like no other….with nothing to worry your reactive dogs and miles of sky and nature. Bird life here is wonderful too. Watch the tides, best go when its out…. but I have spent many happy hours here with my reactive dog, without a care in the world.
Has this helped you?
I hope this has helped you find a suitable holiday cottage here in Norfolk with your reactive dog but if not, why not give us a shout? You can call me, Sue on 077 6666 5684 (or WhatsApp/text) or email me firstname.lastname@example.org – I will do my best to try to help you find what you need!