Written by: Dr. Sarah Wooten
A 2002 graduate of UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Sarah Wooten has 16 years experience in small animal veterinary practice and over 10 years experience in veterinary media work, and is a certified veterinary journalist. She is a well known international speaker and writer in the veterinary and animal health care spaces.
Eating out on a fabulous restaurant patio with your dog can be great fun if you and your doggo are prepared and polite. To avoid leash tripping hazards, excessive barking and nuisance begging behavior, here are five must-know restaurant etiquette guidelines to help make any doggo dining experience go smoothly.
Do Your Research
When it comes to levels of pet-friendliness, not all restaurants are the same. Read their reviews or check out their website ahead of time to see if they welcome dogs. Casual dining restaurants with outdoor eating spaces are usually your best do friendly choice. Best practice is to call the restaurant beforehand to clarify policies, make reservations for the patio (ideally in a quiet corner). See if you need to bring support items, like a water bowl. Make sure to ask if the dog can sit inside the patio area versus outside, and when possible, choose restaurants that allow doggos to accompany you into the outdoor dining area.
Consider Your Dog
The choice for bringing your dog to a restaurant should include whether or not the experience will be fun for your dog and whether your dog has the manners and training to behave well at the restaurant. If your dog cannot consistently obey ‘sit’, ‘lie down’ and ‘leave it’, then forgo restaurant visits until these commands are mastered.
Not all dogs enjoy going to a restaurant, and the stimulation and excitement of restaurant dining may be too much for some dogs, causing them distress that can lead to unwanted behavior. Signs that your dog is distressed include excessive panting, pacing, not listening to commands, tail between the legs, drooling, hiding, lunging, barking and growling. If your dog is fearful of strangers, startles easily, is territorial, has high energy, needs a lot of attention from you, barks a lot, has special medical needs, or is very large, then consider carefully whether taking your dog to a restaurant is in everybody’s best interest. If there is any doubt, leave your dog at home. If you dog has good manners, obeys commands even in high stress situations, ad is comfortable around strangers, then your do is likely a good candidate for restaurant dining.
Don’t Overstay Your Welcome
Just like toddlers, dogs can get bored of sitting. Be mindful of this as you decide how long you will stay at the restaurant. In addition, timing is everything. If you can plan your visit for times when the restaurant is quieter and has less foot traffic, this will be more relaxing for everyone involved.
Use The Right Tools
You want to avoid tripping hazards, so make sure to utilize a short leash and collar or harness. A harness is recommended because a dog is less likely to slip out of a harness than a collar. Avoid using extendable leashes as these cause tripping and rope burn injuries and get easily tangled around chair and table legs. In addition to using the right leash do not tie your dog to chairs or railing. Instead, maintain control of your dog’s leash by looping it around your wrist. Additional tools are recommended are one comfort toy that your dog can chew on, treats to reward good behavior, and a collapsible water bowl.
Prefeed your dog and avoid handfeeding
As tempted as you may be to give in to those puppy dog eyes, do not feed your dog off your plate. Doing so will reinforce begging and table surfing, which is a big restaurant doggo no-no. Restaurant food is often high in fat and calories and not good for your dog to eat anyway. To further reduce begging, feed your dog a light meal before you get to the restaurant, and bring some treats to praise your dog for polite manners and good behavior. Avoid hand feeding any dogs that accompany other customers from your plate as well.
Now that you know how to have a great time dining out with your doggo, it’s time to eat! Greeley has several dog-friendly establishments that are happy to host you and your pooch – check out *this list* to see where to dine with your dog in Greeley. We’d love to see you and your pup out enjoying Greeley, tag your social posts using #experiencegreeley, #visitgreeley or #yourdestination for a chance to be featured on our social media and/or website. Stories can also be emailed directly to email@example.com.