Dogs Trust

The Big Paws

Should I bring my child?

Should I bring my child?

National Walk

Already got a child ticket? Click here for our advice!

The Big Paws with Dogs Trust national walk is family friendly and is suitable for children to attend once you have booked a child’s ticket. Please be mindful that there will be other people and dogs at the event also, and so may not be suitable for children who are anxious around dogs or who find large groups of people overwhelming. If your child is anxious around dogs, we have resources available which may help. Check out for more information.

If you feel that your child wouldn’t be comfortable on the bigger walk, why not check out a regional walk in your area, or organise your own family walk?😊

Regional Walks

Please contact the regional walk organiser to see if their walk is suitable for children to attend.

Advice for attendees who are bringing children to The Big Paws in Malahide Castle

As this will be a magically busy event with lots of people and dogs, we thought we would send on some little tibbits of advice for you and your young people to keep everyone safe and happy.

If you are bringing children and a dog (or dogs) we ask that an adult is always holding onto the dog’s lead.

If a child would like to help walk your dog, why not have a second lead attached to a harness that they can hold onto.

For children who really love dogs - please remind them not to pet a dog without asking the owner’s permission first. In fact, it might be kinder for all the lovely dogs that they may see if they don’t interrupt their walk at all, even if they really want to pet them! There may be dogs there who aren’t used to children, or who would prefer just to be left alone with their owner- and that’s okay.

If they are meeting a dog (perhaps it’s a friend’s, or someone they know) – there are a few simple steps they can follow if they want to pet them in the safest and kindest way:

If your child is a little worried by a dog nearby, the best thing they can do is stay calm and quiet and wait for the dog to pass by. Check out Sir David Attenbarker in the link below who will show the best way to respond if someone’s anxious around a dog.  

Watch the video here