Basic Guidelines for Pet Parents
Some basic guidelines for pet parents when taking your dogs out in public especially when you want to utilize a designated dog-friendly space in a restaurant are as follows:
Make sure your dog is quiet. Just as someone talking loudly on their cellphone in a restaurant is annoying, so is barking.
Training and Socialization
Invest time and, if necessary, money in properly training and socializing your dog to be in public and in a small controlled space like a patio or courtyard area.
Know Your Dog
If you know your dog stresses in public or around other dogs, think twice about taking them to a small confined area where there are people and possibly other dogs. Some dogs are not a good fit in these instances and its in their best interest to not force them into something they might feel is stressful.
Walk your dog before taking them to any restaurant. If necessary, get up a couple of times and take them out to do their business again. If you have an excited or submissive pee'r than a restaurant situation isn't suitable.
Don't take more than one dog per adult human being. Make sure that each adult is in charge of controlling the dog they have. Do not put children in charge of a dog in a restaurant situation.
Be cognizant that not everyone is happy to be in a restaurant around dogs. If your dog is well-mannered they will be better tolerated and more welcome.
Through Your Dogs Eyes
You know your dog. You love your dog. But, if I had a dollar for every time someone said their dog wouldn't bite/run/bark/fight/etc., I would be wealthy. You know your dog in your home and in normal circumstances. Taken to a loud, crowded situation which is not your dog's 'normal' means their response may not be 'normal' either. This isn't about how you see the situation, its about how your dog perceives it.
Don't assume or expect that your dog is welcome to sit on the chairs or other seating. If your dog is small enough to fit in a carrier, bring that. If the restaurant permits, bring a towel or blanket for the dog to sit on. Make sure your dog is tucked safely under your feet, under the table or away from other diners and dogs. Keep in mind that there may be food or other interesting-to-the-dog things on the ground so inspect that before you take a table.
No Table Feeding
Refrain from feeding your dog from the table and do not let them eat from the dishwater or lick the plates.
Leashes are Important
Regardless of how you feel about your dog being leashed or not, you are not the only one in that area. Plenty of people like to see some control in place so keep your dog leashed and keep the leash tied to you.
I always recommend calling a restaurant first to find out what accommodations they provide for a dog-friendly area, if any.
Remember that an exception is being made when any non-animal business is allowing your dog on their premises. Don't be rude, intolerant, demanding, threatening or unreasonable in any requests or of that business's policies.
Photo by Nicole Kahn Photography