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Dining with Your Dog: Dos and Do’s & Don’ts

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Thinking of new activities to try with your dog? How about dining with your dog at a restaurant? We’re certain your four-legged friend will agree that dining out is an adventurous idea worth exploring!

Intrigued but unsure of how to go about arranging it? Avoid the faux-pas by following our list of Dos and Don’ts.

Create an unforgettable experience for yourself, your pet, and the establishment so that you can enjoy the privilege for years to come!

Here’s how you can nail dining with your dog.

Dos

Pick A Corner Spot

If you’ve ever wondered, ‘How do you eat with your dog at a restaurant?’ Here’s the answer you’ve been looking for. Start small.

It takes time for your dog to get comfortable around strange people, especially when in such close proximity. Give them time to adjust.

Eat on the patio or pick a spot inside the restaurant that doesn’t have many people around. A corner spot is a great idea as fewer people will pass your table, thus minimizing the chances of disturbing your dog once it settles.

Your Dog’s Comfort Level Can Make Or Break The Dining Experience.

Use A Leash And A Harness

You should always be cautious when you’re out with your dog. There’s no telling what catches their attention or what has the potential to overstimulate them. Avoid retractable or long leashes as they can cause injuries, entanglements, and rope burns. Using a short leash will help you to control the situation better.

But why a harness, you ask.

With the right motivation, dogs can easily wiggle out of their collars. And while you and your dog might enjoy the moment of freedom and the quick sprint around the dog park, this accident is a no-no at a restaurant. A harness is impossible to wriggle out of.

Stick To A Leash And Harness Duo, And You’ll Be Good To Go.

Relieve Your Pet Before

Even if your dog is potty trained, they can still do their business on the floor of the establishment you’re dining at when they’re nervous or excited.

Soiling the restaurant will inconvenience the restaurant’s staff and restrict their movement and freedom to cater to other customers. It will also be a cause of disgust and concern for other diners and violate several health codes.

To avoid the possibility, have your pet relieve themselves before you enter the restaurant. And if you notice your dog squirming, take them to an appropriate place to relieve themselves.

Feed Them First

‘How do I stop my dog from eating at the table?’ That’s a question every dog owner has asked at least once while initiating dining with their dogs.

The thing is, restaurants have all kinds of delicious, mouth-watering food, which will tempt your dog to sneak food from your plate or the neighbours. To avoid accidents, ensure you feed your dog before you take them to a pet friendly restaurant. You can hardly expect your dog to act out of character and exhibit food envy when their stomachs are full.

Bring Pet Toys

If you have a strong-willed or energetic dog who can’t keep still, ‘How can I calm my dog down at a restaurant?’ will most likely be one of the questions you ask yourself and other dog owners you know.

The solution to that is pretty simple. If your dog doesn’t react well to strangers or hates keeping still, bring their favourite toy along with you. It’ll keep them settled and occupied. You can also pack treats to keep them distracted throughout your meal.

Wear Them Out

Dogs are full of energy. To expect them to sit tight until you eat your fill is like expecting cows to sprout wings and fly towards the horizon. So, how do you train a dog to sit at a restaurant?

To ensure your dog doesn’t bark, whine, pace, and exhibit any other undesirable dog behaviour, take them for a long walk or engage them in some hardcore exercise before you enter the restaurant. That’ll wear them out enough for you to have your meal in peace.

You can also teach your dog table manners to further simplify your dining experience.

Don’ts

Put Your Dog on the Table

Just because your dog is small enough to sit on your lap or the table, it doesn’t mean they should. When you go to a restaurant, find a table with plenty of legroom so your dog can sit on the floor.

Make sure they’re not sitting in the walkways, doorways, or any other place that inconveniences the restaurant staff and restricts the movement of everyone around.

Pet Friendly Restaurants

Attach the Leash to the Furniture

Attaching your dog’s leash to the furniture can be disastrous. Restaurant furniture, like tables and chairs, is not sturdy enough to withstand an overstimulated dog’s tugging.

Attaching the leash to a table, chair, or any other piece of furniture can cause injuries to your dog and those around it, in addition to causing significant damage to the furniture. You should loop their leash around your wrist instead to make dining with your dog safe for everyone.

Sit Near Children

Children are curious. They see a dog, and they want to pet it. However, some dogs don’t like being petted or interacting with strangers, and children fail to understand that.

Even if your dog is well behaved and good with children, this unwanted attention in an altogether new environment can spur the fight or flight reaction in dogs, which can result in uncharacteristic behaviour like nipping or growling.

So, when you enter a restaurant, pick a seating area clear of children.

Feed Your Dog From Your Plate

To promote good behaviour and etiquette, avoid feeding your dog scraps off your plate. It may be okay at home when done in moderation, but don’t promote that behaviour when you’re in a public setting.

When your dog sees they’re being rewarded for a certain behaviour, they’re going to repeat it. It’s how their mind works. So, if you feed them when they ask for it, they’re bound to repeat the begging behaviour every time you’re out dining.

Putting all the obvious discomfort of other diners aside, restaurant food is human food, and you need to know what human foods dogs can eat. Most of it is unsafe.

Wrapping Up

Should dogs be in restaurants? We don’t see why not. As long as you’re familiar with what sets your dog off, what they’re comfortable with, and their response to certain situations and people, you can dine with your dog in dog-friendly restaurants and patios.

Additionally, you could practice dining with your dog at a local dog park or a friend’s patio as well. Follow our do’s and don’ts and enjoy a never-before experience with your pet.

Happy dining!

Paul Andrews
Paul Andrews

Paul specializes in digital marketing and has helped many small businesses grow. But that's not his only expertise - he is an experienced dog parent and avid animal lover. Through this blog, he reaches out to and guides pet owners on various crucial aspects of pet parenting.

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