We love our family days out. Over the recent year or so we’ve been spending a lot more time at exhibition events. We find the facilities are good, there’s ample parking and it’s a great way to experience something different.
This weekend we decided to visit the Discovery Dog show at London’s Excel. I’ve always wanted a pet dog. My mum wasn’t a fan of pets so I was only ever allowed a fish! I’ve had cats previously but there’s just something about dogs that makes me want to add one to family life.
A Pet-tential addition to the family
I thought Discovery Dogs would be a great chance to go and meet lots of dogs and find out more about the different type of dogs out there. It was also a great chance for my husband to become more accustomed to the idea of dog ownership. He’s only really had bad experiences with dogs so has a very skewed view on what ownership would be like.
Parking and facilities
Parking and facilities were excellent as always at the Excel. We pre-booked our parking for a bargain £20 and found a disabled bay right next to the entrance.We opted to take Chases manual wheelchair as we were concerned about how busy it would be. Plus we knew there would be lots of dogs visiting too and some would be small and hard for Chase to spot.
As it was held at the Excel there were plenty of food venues and toilets available. The food outlets get extremely busy around 12 so consider grabbing some food before then or eating a bit later to avoid the queues.
Eukanuba Discover Dogs
We visited on the Sunday of the show and we were right to take Chase’s manual wheelchair. It was absolutely packed and very difficult to navigate in between the stalls with both the wheelchair and the pushchair.
There were lots of stalls selling pet related stock, several show rings with shows throughout the day and the main pull for us – stands showcasing all the different types of dogs with lots of information about different breeds as well as dog ownership in general.
Meeting the Dogs
Pretty much all of the dogs were able to be petted which the kid absolutely loved. Husband Dan was amazed at he different number of breeds there was out there. There were over 200 types of breeds of dogs to see at the exhibition!
It was quite difficult for us to get up and close at many of the stands due to the number of people visiting. If taking a young child who would usually be in a pushchair I would see if you could take a carrier instead. A carrier would allow you to move a lot more freely between the stands. A lot of the owner/handlers though spotted that we were having difficulty getting into see the dogs and brought the dogs out to see us instead.
The kids had such a great time meeting so many lovely dogs. Chase, Olivia and Abigail preferred the smaller dogs, whilst Brooke and myself absolutely loved the big dogs. I think my favorite dog of the day was a lovely Burmese Mountain dog. I couldn’t believe how big they were but they were so docile and friendly.
On all almost every single stand we spotted posters detailing about the Kennels clubs recommendations of having a dog in the family with children. It’s not a child aimed event but I thought it was great that the information was there for those who were looking to introduce a dog into a family with young children.
There was also hand sanitizer at every stand that was showcasing dogs. Another really well though out detail, especially when you’re visiting with kids!
A dedicated kids corner was available with face painting and an obstacle course too. It was so busy the day we visited we didn’t make it over. The kids were far too busy meeting the dogs to want to get their faces painted.
Several shows were on over the weekend included agility, competitions as well as a Met police dog display.
We stopped and watched a little bit of one of the competitions. This was held in the smaller of the two show rings. I was slightly disappointed that there were no areas set up for wheelchairs to watch but we managed to squeeze into a corner to watch a little bit.
What did we all think
Everyone enjoyed the day out and meeting all of the breeds. I got to ask loads of questions about family life with a dog. It was especially useful to learn which breeds would be better with children – and which would do better around electric wheelchairs. I realise that’s not something that every family has to consider but I was amazed at the knowledge people were able to give to me on this. This was a great family day out and something very different to our usual type of exhibition visits.
Did Discover Dogs change our mind on dog ownership?
After visiting the show we’ve decided that we are most definitely not ready for a family dog just yet. I knew a dog would be a lot of hard work and visiting the dog show and talking to the owners just made that more a reality. Also having very young children in the house and space implications means it’s something we are going to put off until our youngest Harper is school age.
We will be visiting the Discovery Dog show again though as it was a great opportunity for the kids to meet lots of different types of dogs and get some hands on cuddles with some of them too. I think when we are ready to look at dog ownership having lots of information about the different breeds will be really useful.
I’d love to hear if you have a family dog, what type of dog do you have? Did you get them as a puppy or adopt them from a shelter?