Making Bury St Edmunds Dog-Friendly!

Like many dog owners, I love to take my dog, (Loki the Lab – some may have seen him around town or on Instagram) with me where I can! 

As a dog owner, when visiting any new place, one of the first things I do is identify if there are enough (or any) dog friendly places to take him. Normally, this is no easy task. Through Google or a local search here and there, you can sometimes identify a few places. However, often it’s a case of chancing it and avoiding any places that aren’t obvious! There are a handful of national campaigns, but unfortunately, these are always driven by the businesses having to seek out, sign up and promote it themselves. 

Early on in my business venture (Camp Tails Doggy Daycare), I realised I wanted to help the Bury St Edmunds community with this and centralise a scheme which is easy to sign up to, show status and attract people. Operating a dog-focused business, I had a unique perspective and access to get things going, and so, Dog Friendly BSE was born!

To me it was a multi-beneficiary opportunity: to not only help dog owners, but also local businesses with additional footfall and customers and the local tourism board, bringing more dog owners to the town. However, my biggest motivator behind the scheme was to create something to aid dog’s development. 

Dog socialisation is a passion of mine and my motto is “a confident dog is a happy dog” and there are many ways to achieve this! One of the most important ways is socialisation. My daycare was born out of a desire to help dogs learn, grow and be happy through play, learning and socialisation. 

Now the word “socialisation” is generally used to cover a host of needs a dog requires, including socialisation with their own family, socialisation with other dogs, socialisation with other humans, and even socialisation with different environments. The more experience a dog has with a variety of elements, the more confident they become. Visiting new places and seeing new people also has an effect called “desensitisation”. Essentially, this is numbing a potentially reactive situation through exposure in a positive light. 

Have you ever wondered why your dog barks at a motorbike, for instance? The most likely answer is that they didn’t experience one in their formative years and, the first time they did, they may have been spooked and reacted. This would have then been followed by their owner not knowing how to react and, inadvertently, reinforcing the reactive behaviour and the dog’s subsequent fear of bikes! 


The same theory applies to a shopping environment… 

Dog Friendly BSE was a hard start: I visited various businesses one by one (in between the day job!), but the consensus was that it was a great idea and most welcomed the scheme. Of course, Loki was in attendance providing much needed posing and brand representation!

Shortly after, I was contacted by a local councillor – Clive Springett – who had experienced similar issues taking his dog out. We put our heads together and things started gaining traction, especially when we got additional support and help from Sue Warren (Bury St Edmunds and Beyond) and Mike Kirkham (Our Bury St Edmunds). This meant we had a handful of people reaching multiple

 businesses in different areas and we quickly gained momentum! Through the support of the council, we had custom, green dog bowls and stickers made and we have been painting the town green since. This small team of volunteers were critical to helping us reach out across Bury St Edmunds. 

I have also created a charter for owners and businesses to follow, to help make sure the campaign reaches its full potential. This includes sensible guidance and advice, such as keeping dogs on a lead and being considerate of your dog and the various types of environment (i.e owners of nervous dogs should avoid immediately taking them to a loud, crowded pub, for example). This guidance can be found on the town council website. 

Since inception, we are now over 200 businesses strong and we are continually growing! Of course, we’ve had a little quiet spell recently, thanks to a certain pandemic, but we are formalising plans to relaunch later this year! We want to remind everyone how wonderful and dog-friendly Bury St Edmunds is. 

Camp Tails will also be taking over the hosting of the webpage which we’re hoping will enable us to add additional functionality, such as direct links to supporting businesses, social pages and hopefully a map! 

Find out more about Dog Friendly BSE here: 

  • @dogfriendlyBSE on Instagram (and Twitter) 
  • @CamptailsBSE across all social media 
  • @burystedmundsandbeyond 
  • @ourburysteds 

Jon Kay 

Owner | Managing Director 

Camp Tails 

Doggy Daycare and Groom Cabin 

We Make Dogs Happy! 


Also, don’t forget to check out arc Shopping Centre’s list of dog-friendly stores HERE

Camp Tails has just moved location. Check out their new home on Eastern Way – a bigger and more fun daycare with huge expansion plans –