“Dogga’live” opens today: Portugal’s first ‘four-legged festival’

It’s festival time – with musical happenings up and down the country as Portugal approaches the busiest tourist month on its calendar. But making history today in Vila Nova de Gaia is “Dogga’live” – the country’s first ever festival for dogs.

Powered by the “Dogga” Academy for Dogs, “huge crowds” are expected.

Dogga’s Manuela Vilas-Boas explained: “We opened pre-bookings, and had to close them after more than 400 dogs were signed up”.

The event, running today and Sunday, promises all kinds of family fun and shows dedicated to ‘responsible ownership’.

Around 50 French bulldogs of Santarém will be taking part, as well as “a lot of people” behind the growing movement calling for “dog-friendly hotels”.

Manuela Vilas-Boas told Lusa that she is actually “getting worried” about the thought of so many people and their four-legged friends turning up in the same space at the same time.

“There is a limit here for 3000 people and a 1000 dogs at once. That is why we have had to spread the event over two days”, she said.

Going ahead in the town’s festival ground that earlier this month hosted the Marés Vivas musical festival, Dogga’live includes restaurant areas open to families and their pets – with a gourmet choice for the four-legged (if not those on two legs).

There will also be a host of commercial outlets, selling everything responsible dog owners could want, or even need.

Banned from the event, however, are any owners who use strangle collars, collars with spikes (often adopted by owners who cannot control large dogs) and ‘electric shock collars’.

Specialist Dogga personnel will also be checking pooches as they file in for any signs of aggression that might pose problems to other festival goers, no matter how many legs they have.

As Lusa explains: “Dogga’live is supported by Vila Nova de Gaia council, Águas de Gaia and promoted by the Dogga Academy for Dogs, an institution dedicated to the canine training concept of “no pain, no force, no fear” – focused on stimulating animals’ cognitive ability”.

The scene is set, the doors have opened, we’ll let you know how it all went next week.

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