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Bring Fido, Dog Friendly Restaurant Etiquette

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Bring Fido, Dog Friendly Restaurant Etiquette for Fido

Terie Hansen


As the weather warms up, with it comes opportunities to bring Fido along for the ride. Taking your dog out for social experiences is a great way to bond with your dog as well as put into action those commands you’ve been teaching him. When you bring Fido to a dog friendly restaurant, etiquette is a must.

Picture yourself, hanging out on the patio of a great restaurant, sipping Mojitos while your dog lounges calmly at your side. Nice right? However, if your dog is not well mannered enough for such an experience it can be less relaxing and more stressful for you, your dog and those around you. Just because a restaurant is dog friendly, doesn’t mean any behavior is acceptable.

Proper etiquette to keep in mind if you are thinking of bringing Fido… When you bring Fido, dog friendly restaurant etiquette is a must.

Friendly, Social Dogs Welcome: Don’t bring your dog if they are nervous around other people or dogs. You won’t have a good time, and neither will they.

Keep a Leash On It: Always keep your dog on a leash, preferably a standard one (no retractables). 4’ length is great as it is just long enough.

Silence is Golden: Barking dogs are distracting and disturbing to others. You may be asked to leave. When you bring Fido, dog friendly restaurant etiquette is a must.

Come Prepared: Water and a portable bowl are a must. Many dog friendly restaurants will offer such, but best to be prepared just in case.

Choose Low Traffic Seating: While you love your dog (and anyone else’s) others may not. Just because you are visiting a dog friendly establishment does not mean that everyone there wants to be greeted with a wet nose and a crotch sniff as they walk by. Sitting in a low traffic area helps your dog remain calmer overall.

No Begging Please: Even if you allow your dog to do this at home, it is not appropriate behavior at a restaurant. Feel free to save a bit of food to share with your dog after you leave. A reward for good manners.

Four on the Floor: Do not allow your dog to sit in a chair, on your lap or jump up with front paws on the table. Remember, others have to eat at that table after you! Dog hair and dirty feet are not appetizing.

Potty First, Pizza Second: Even if your dog went potty at home, ALWAYS have them go potty just before you go into the restaurant. Thus, minimizing the chance for accidents or marking (boys). No one wants to see that while they are eating! When you bring Fido, dog friendly restaurant etiquette is a must.

Take a Hike: Taking your dog for a walk prior to your eatery outing will burn off excess energy which will result in a calmer, more well mannered dog.

Sit Means Sit: Restaurant visits with Fido are a great time to reinforce learned skills such as “Down/Stay”. This gives your dog something to do, burns off energy and keeps them from tripping a server. If your dog doesn’t know these commands or isn’t well versed in them, hiring a Professional Dog Trainer can get you there!

You’re on Dog Time: If you are still in the training phase with your dog, then start with places where you can just have a drink, like a coffee house or tavern. Go there with the intent to work with your dog for 20 minutes. Don’t plan on an entire meal. Work up to that! When you bring Fido, dog friendly restaurant etiquette is a must.

Bringing Fido can be enjoyable for you and enriching for your dog. Just be sure to be courteous and respectful of the establishment and other patrons around you. This ensures they continue to welcome back dogs for years to come.

If your dog is not comfortable or well behaved enough to bring to a restaurant, hire a pet sitter to visit him while you go out to eat!

Terie Hansen is Owner of Good Dog! Coaching & Pet Care. Visit for more information.

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