Want To Bring Your Dog to a Corn Maze This Fall? Read This First
Harvest season is full of wholesome fun and corn mazes are a classic activity. And who better to help you navigate through a dog-friendly corn maze than your pooch? "Your dog will probably find a way through the maze faster than you because canines seem to have a better sense of direction than people," says Jenna Stregowski, RVT, Daily Paws' pet health and behavior editor.
But whether it's safe, or even fun, for your four-legged friend is a different question altogether. Read on to learn whether you can bring your dog to a corn maze, plus a few dog-friendly corn mazes across the U.S.
Are Dogs Allowed at Corn Mazes?
Many farms with corn mazes don't allow pets other than service dogs. Canines could scare farm animals and some farms note regulations about animals being around edible crops. So be sure to check the farm's website before you pack up your pup. You can usually find pet policies on the frequently asked questions (FAQ) page or give them a call.
Scary Corn Mazes
Even if dogs are allowed at creepy-themed corn mazes, it's not a good idea to go, Stregowski says. "The unpredictability and the jump scares will stress your dog out. Even the most well-adjusted dog could feel threatened, and you don't want to put your dog in that position." Instead, opt for corn mazes that are family-friendly and go during daylight hours.
The other thing to ask about is if you have to go on a wagon ride to access the corn maze. Many farms don't allow dogs on wagon rides (and your dog might not be comfortable with it, either!).
Is My Dog Ready to Go to a Corn Maze?
Farms with corn mazes are often bustling hubs of activity with petting zoos, pumpkin patches, playgrounds, and all kinds of people running around. Even the corn maze itself can be busy. Here's what to consider before going to a corn maze with your dog:
Crowds can be stressful for dogs just like they are for people. Call ahead and find out when the farm is busiest and go during the off hours. That way you and your pup won't have to fight your way through a maze that's packed with people and other pets.
It's important to think about how your dog responds to new situations if it's your pup's first visit to a corn maze. Is your dog used to only going to the park or have you taken your dog to other less traditional places like a festival or farmers' market? Has your dog been around farm animals? And, does your dog do well with other dogs and kids?
Even if your dog loves children, having a group of them run up might be overwhelming. It's helpful to guide the kids through their interaction with your dog, Stregowski says. You can tell them your dog's name and show them where to gently pet your dog. You can also ask them not to crowd your pup. "You have to watch all the things in your dog's environment and be the bubble around your dog," she says. "Because the wrong touch or approach can spook canines."
Coming snout-to-snout with other dogs at the corn maze means your pup could catch an illness. Drinking from pools of water or snatching up food or trash tossed on the ground are also potential hazards. So make sure your dog is fully vaccinated and in good health before doing any public activity, including corn mazes. If your pooch has a health condition, it might be best to ask your vet before doing anything new.
The Bottom Line
Going to a pet-friendly corn maze could be a fun adventure for you and your pup if your dog:
- Does well around crowds
- Is easygoing in unfamiliar situations
- Is well-trained to respond to you
Once there, Stregowski recommends gauging how your pup is doing. If your dog seems anxious, take your pooch to a more open and quiet area so your dog can relax. Signs your dog is stressed include:
- Averting his gaze
- Licking lips
- Not responding to you
"A visit to a corn maze is more relaxing if you have a happy-go-lucky pup who's used to going different places. You can go to the farm and just keep an eye on your dog," Stregowski says. "But if you have a dog that already falls on the nervous side, it's probably not worth it to take your pup to the corn maze because it's not going to be fun for anyone."
What to Bring
Bring these doggy essentials with you to the corn maze:
5 Dog-Friendly Corn Mazes
Check out these fantastic corn mazes around the country that welcome two-legged and four-legged wanderers:
Cool Pumpkin Patch in Dixon, Calif.
Devine's Corn Maze & Pumpkin Patch in Harrodsburg, Ky.
This pet-friendly farm has a ton of family activities including three different mazes with the most difficult taking up to 45 minutes to complete.
Long & Scott Farms in Dora, Fla.
Bring your pupper to help you through the twisty trails of a seven-acre cornfield here. Just be sure to have your dog on a short leash—no retractable or expandable leashes allowed—and avoid food areas.
Richardson Adventure Farm in Spring Grove, Ill.
You and your pooch can traverse some or all of the 10-mile trail through the maze at this farm, which has several easy-exit points, no dead ends, and three land bridges to get your bearings.
Bella Organic Farm in Portland, Ore.
This dog-loving farm lets you explore the grounds—with the exception of the store and edible crops—including the 2.7-mile corn maze.