Patio Etiquette: Does Your Dog Pass the Test?

Before you bring your dog to any dog-friendly venue, make sure they are on a non-retractable leash, and always follow each venue’s particular guidelines when it comes to dogs.

 

More and more bars and restaurants are allowing dogs on their patios, which is great news for those of us who like to bring our fur kids with us everywhere. However, just because you can bring your dog doesn’t always mean that you should. As much as we’d all like to think our pup is the perfect companion, not all dogs have the manners to come along everywhere. Does your dog have proper patio etiquette? Let’s take an honest look.

 

Age

You want to keep your puppy safe, so you should make sure they are fully vaccinated before they spend too much time interacting with other dogs. Your puppy should also be able to follow basic commands like “sit” and “stay.” With this in mind, you probably want to wait until your puppy is at least six months old before bringing them with you.

Just because your young pupper is super cute and Instagrammable, that doesn’t mean you need to rush them into the public spotlight. You can create adorable Snapchats and Instagram posts from home until your puppy is ready for the big time.

On the other side of the age range, older dogs with arthritis or joint problems may be uncomfortable lying on the hard ground of a bar or restaurant patio and would be more comfortable at home in their plush bed. Use your judgment about when your dog would be happier left at home.

This lil pupper is probably a few months away from any patio action.

Behavior

As much as you probably don’t want to hear a screaming toddler when you go out to eat, other people don’t want to hear your dog barking or whining, and waitresses don’t want to worry about dogs jumping on them when they have enough on their plates already (see, our puns can be non-dog-related too) . Consider the following before bringing your dog on your next patio outing.

-Temperament. Does your dog enjoy being around other people? Are they calm around other dogs? Hyper dogs might not do well staying next to you, and anxious dogs might be absolutely miserable in such a foreign environment. Not every dog is suited to come with you everywhere, and that’s OK. It’s important for you to understand your dog’s limitations.

-Training. Does your dog reliably sit and stay when asked? Can you rely on them to “leave it” or “drop it” if something tasty lands in front of them? Will they try to wander from table to table and beg scraps from strangers? Poorly-trained dogs can cause bars and restaurants to start forbidding dogs on their patios, so it’s important to make sure your dog is truly up for the task.

You don’t want to be the bad guy whose dog makes the bar or restaurant decide to stop allowing dogs, so it’s up to us adventurous doggo moms and dads to show local establishments that well-behaved dogs deserve to be welcomed as enthusiastically as humans.

A good pupper chilling hard on the patio after a long walk.

Be Prepared

As much as it would be nice to just drop by any establishment with a patio when we have our pups in tow, it’s in your dog’s best interest to plan ahead. Here are some things you should do before bringing your dog along to your next lunch date.

-Call ahead. Even if most restaurants in a chain say they allow dogs on their patios, individual locations often have the final say and online reviews could be outdated. Always call ahead to make sure a patio really is dog-friendly before you drop by, and check our directory to see if a venue specifically welcomes dogs indoors or just on the patio.

-Bring water and a bowl. Don’t assume the restaurant or bar will provide your dog with a bowl of water. If the temps warm or you’ve been on a long walk beforehand, your dog will likely get thirsty while you enjoy your food or drink.

-Bring a distraction. Even the most well-trained dogs can get sidetracked by the smell of a steak fresh off the grill. Help your pup be a good citizen by bringing along a treat for them to enjoy like a bully stick or a Kong toy filled with peanut butter.

-Consider your dog’s comfort. A concrete patio could get quite hot under the sun. Think about bringing a towel or mat for your dog to lay on to keep them comfortable.

-Make sure your dog does their business first. Take your dog for a run or a long walk first to ensure they’re tired and won’t leave a mess in a place where food is served. Don’t forget to bring extra poop bags just in case.

-Don’t tie your dog to the table. Your dog should always be on a leash, but the leash should be attached to yourself or your chair. The last thing you want is for your dog to drag a patio table away when they decide to chase a squirrel.

-Try to find a corner table. Unless your dog fits comfortably underneath your table, choose a table near the corner of the patio area to keep your pup out of foot traffic.

(H/T: Animal Kind, Canidae)

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