Do you ever bring your dog along to outdoor coffee shops or restaurants? Or do you wish you could?
It’s one of my favorite things to do with my dog Ace, but he’s had lots of training and practice. I know it’s not so easy for some dogs to remain calm when out and about.
If you like to bring your dog along out in public, please share your tips in the comments. The following are some suggestions from two dog trainers on how to make outings with your dog more successful.
Tips for Bringing Your Dog to Restaurants
1. Learn to read dog body language.
Knowing what dogs are trying to communicate is crucial for keeping the outing safe and fun, said Emily Strong, a dog trainer with Best Friends Animal Society.
“One of the biggest reasons that dog outings go awry is because dog body language is frequently misunderstood,” she said.
A book she recommends is “On Talking Terms With Dogs” by Turid Rugaas.
Also see our tips on socializing a puppy.
2. Keep your dog very close when walking in and out.
Tonya Wilhelm, a professional dog trainer with Global Dog Trainer reminds dog owners to keep their dogs very close while walking in and out of a café.
“Do not allow him to sniff other people, or be in their space,” she said.
I could not agree more! It drives me nuts when I see people allowing their dogs to barge right up to other customers while they’re eating. I think this is so rude even though I love dogs.
3. Bring a treat for your dog.
Wilhelm said she typically brings a rubber toy along that she can stuff with her dog’s food and freeze prior to visiting a café.
“Then when we get there, I ask him to lie down under the table or close to my chair as he eats his toy.”
This is one way to keep your dog out of the way and to make sure he’s not a nuisance, Wilhelm said. She also tries to ask for a spot in a corner.
4. Bring a mat or blanket for your dog.
Sometimes it’s helpful if you can create a comfortable space for your dog to relax, Strong said.
She suggested bringing a mat, blanket or dog bed and placing it in quiet area.
“That way, if your dog is getting too excited about their surroundings they have a specific place they can go to calm down,” she said. “It also gives you a place where you can reward them for good behavior.”
5. Make sure your dog actually enjoys these types of outings.
Not all dogs enjoy tagging along on adventures.
Just like some people love going to large festivals and some find them too overwhelming, some dogs might find a restaurant too exciting or too scary, Strong said.
“It's important to understand that there's nothing wrong with that,” she said. “We should be aware of their wants and needs, too. If it isn't enjoyable to them, we shouldn't force them to do it.”
Do you take your dog to outdoor cafes and coffee shops? What tips do you have?
Want more dog tips? Check out these blogs.