Dog Ownership Etiquette Series: Dog Friendly Basics at Patios
With so many more restaurants and breweries opening their patios to dogs, it’s important that dog owners know how to make the experience enjoyable for everyone involved. It’s essential to plan ahead and always leave the house prepared before hitting up a pet-friendly patio. If you don’t, it could be quite chaotic for you, your pup, the servers and others trying to enjoy the patio. To help, we’ve compiled a list of dog-friendly basics when visiting patios.
Ask yourself if your dog is ready
You might have just discovered that you have dog-friendly patios in your neighbourhood and you can’t wait to bring your dog out! But, before you even plan to go on an outing with your pooch, you need to ask yourself if they’re ready because sometimes the answer is no. Firstly, if your dog is a puppy then you should wait until they’re fully grown before taking them to a patio. Puppies are extremely high energy and they can become overstimulated very quickly so bringing them to a busy patio with lots of unfamiliar people is a very bad idea. Some other things to think about include if your dog is aggressive, does not get along well with other dogs or small children and if they become anxious around lots of people. All of these reasons would indicate that your dog is not suited for a patio. Instead, try enjoying the warm weather at home on your own patio with your pooch and some friends.
On the other hand, your dog will do well on patios if they are well-trained and can maintain obedience in new environments. Ensure your pup knows basic commands and have some treats with you at all times to reward good behaviour. If your dog sees other dogs and doesn’t get overstimulated, this is a good sign they will remain calm when faced with stranger dogs at a dog-friendly patio. The same goes for other humans and smaller children. If they can resist the urge to jump up, bark or run around, you shouldn’t have any hesitation when bringing them to a patio.
Tire them out before going
If you come home from an eight hour work day and take your dog directly to a patio, they’re going to want to run wild to burn off all the energy they’ve had pent up all day. Don’t do this! Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise and mental stimulation before entering a pet-friendly patio. Do this by ensuring they’ve eaten plenty of food, take them on a long walk and let them play with some toys first. If they’re all tuckered out by the time you reach the patio, there’s a higher chance they’ll just want to lounge beside you the entire time without needing too much attention.
Never leave the house without these things
It’s a really good idea to create a checklist of items to pack before leaving the house. My first recommendation is bringing a leash that doesn’t retract. Having a shorter leash will give you more control over your dog especially if they become over stimulated when you’re on a patio. If your dog is smaller in size, you can bring an outdoor doggy bed which will help persuade them to lay down (obviously this isn’t an option if you have a large dog). It’s also a good idea to bring a chew toy to keep them occupied. This doesn’t include squeaky toys as this would disturb other people. Always have poop bags, water and treats packed and remember to take your dog for a potty break right before entering the patio.
Settle in and consider others
Once you’ve arrived and before you are seated, check in with other tables surrounding you and make sure that everyone is okay sitting near a dog. You have to remember that not everyone loves dogs (I know right!) but reasons for this can be very serious including fears of dogs and allergies. If everyone says yes to being around your dog, take a deep breath and relax! Get settled in with your dog and make sure all of their needs are met including everything I have listed above. Find a comfortable place for them to sit and enjoy yourself! This means finding a shaded and spacious area for your dog to hangout. While some patios claim to be dog-friendly, they might not have a comfortable layout so consider finding a different place to visit. And, if it is extremely hot outside, you might want to skip the patio all together and go a different day.
Always be ready in case you have to leave
Lastly, sitting on the dog-friendly patio you must be prepared to leave at any given moment. Something could spook or upset your dog which could result in unwanted barking, growling or other signs of aggression/fear. You want to avoid your dog becoming stressed out so if you realize that your dog isn’t ready or the specific place is just too busy, that’s okay! Time to grab the bill and remove your pooch from the situation. Just like humans, dogs can have bad days. When it comes to pet-friendly patio experiences, each time will be different than the last. It’s all about finding the right fit for you and your dog and understanding that some pets just aren’t meant for patios. We hope these tips will help you when you’re planning your next outing.