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Dog About Town

  • Heidi

DOs and DON’Ts for visiting Dog-Friendly Places

Who doesn’t want to take their dog everywhere they go? Fortunately, the list of dog-friendly places keeps growing every day, from big box stores to local coffee shops and breweries.

But there’s more to visiting dog-friendly places than meets the eye. We’ve put together a handy guide to help you plan the perfect dog-friendly visit every time.

Here are five simple DOs when hitting the town with your dog.

  1. DO check first. Some chains may say they’re pet-friendly but leave final decisions to individual locations.
  2. DO your research. Thinking of taking your dog out and about? Scout the location in advance to see if it’s a good match for your dog’s personality and training.
  3. DO brush up on basic training. You don’t have to put your dog through boot camp, but they should have basic manners – think sit, stay, and come. To help them put their best paw forward, practice these behaviors in a variety of environments before heading to a dog-friendly destination for humans. Once you arrive, work on those skills some more!
  4. DO consider your dog’s personality. Does your dog enjoy new environments? Or do they seem stressed or out of control? You may like the idea of bringing your dog, but it should be an enjoyable experience for both of you. Not sure how your dog will react? Plan your first visit during the location’s least busy times to gauge their response.
  5. DO be a good doggie ambassador. Have you seen the signs “Well-behaved dogs Welcome”? There’s a reason for that, and it starts with being a responsible owner. Always pick-up after your dog and use appropriate equipment – like short leashes instead of retractable devices – so you can keep them under control at all times.

In addition to DOs, there are plenty of DON’Ts when it comes to visiting dog-friendly places.

If you want to make sure doors stay open to our four-legged friends, keep these five things top of mind.

  1. DON’T ignore your dog. If you bring your dog along, you have to keep an eye on them too – especially in dog-friendly environments. After all, inattentive handlers can miss dogs jumping on people and licking, chewing, or urinating on merchandise. Plus, dogs require extra supervision when around other dogs to ensure positive interactions.
  2. DON’T allow too many vocalizations. It’s important for dogs to express themselves, especially with sounds that share their discomfort or excitement, like growling, whining, and barking. However, these sounds can also disrupt, annoy, and even frighten others in the area. Try to keep your dog’s vocalizations to a minimum and leave if they become noisy or disruptive; you may be having a good time, but your dog could be trying to tell you something.
  3. DON’T make assumptions. “Dog-friendly” isn’t the same as “doggy daycare.” In fact, just because someone has a dog along doesn’t mean they want to have an interaction – and neither does their dog or Respect their boundaries, watch canine body language, and ask before approaching.
  4. DON’T ignore the rules. When entering a dog-friendly establishment, be sure to follow their rules. For instance, certain areas of the location could be off-limits. During your outing, watch for “no pets” designations and other dog-related information.
  5. DON’T pretend your dog is a service dog. Finally, when your dog isn’t welcome, don’t pretend they’re a service dog to “sneak” them in. Vests and harnesses with these designations may be available online, but service dogs are specially trained animals who perform specific tasks or work for a person with a disability. This Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) definition does not apply to therapy dogs, emotional support animals, or companion animals.

Following these simple rules will guarantee the best experience for you and your dog, even if that means they stay home.

And it just might help the list of dog-friendly places continue to grow in the future.

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