Training Your Dog To Behave At Pet Friendly Restaurants

Before taking your dog to pet-friendly restaurants, teach him some good manners. This will make dining out a more enjoyable experience for both of you!

Golden Retriever dog and man sitting at a table in a pet-friendly restaurant

One of the biggest challenges people face when traveling with their pets is knowing where to eat. Leaving pets in cars – especially in the summer – can be dangerous. But the idea of ​​taking a dog that acts more like a dingo to pet-friendly restaurants isn’t ideal either.

Whether you have a puppy learning to eat or you’re working with an older or reactive dog, these tips will help you teach your dog restaurant behavior.

Start training at home

The first rule of being a good dog owner is to know your puppy. So if your pooch isn’t ready for prime time, don’t put him on the main stage! Start by working with your dog at home.

With our puppy, Myles, we started by teaching him to lie on his mat while we ate. A toy, stuffed with his food and frozen overnight, caught his attention as we finished our meal.

Puppy eating food from a toy indoors

Once he figured that out, we took the stuffed toy and froze outside, where there are more distractions. Then we added some friends for even more challenge!

Puppy lying on a rug on a patio with a stuffed toy in front of him and people eating at tables behind him

Asking your dog to lie on his mat while you eat is something you can practice at home several times a day for his entire life. This is a great skill to have when you’re hosting a dinner party or your house is full of holiday guests.

Tips for Dining at Pet-Friendly Restaurants

Once your dog is doing well at home, it’s time to move up a gear. But, you can’t one day decide to take your dog for brunch to the new hip spot with people lining up around the block! With each new experience, the most important thing is that you prepare your dog for success.

You can start by going for a cup of coffee when traffic will be slow. If this is going well, choose a quiet restaurant at a moderately busy time of day. Before you know it, your dog will be happy to lie down under your table for a multi-course meal during prime time.

Woman and two men on the pet-friendly porch at Custer Beacon in Custer, SD

Find the right restaurant

Choose restaurants that are really Pets will have a better experience. When it’s time to sit down, hosts at pet-friendly restaurants will ask you where your dog will be most comfortable. They will understand if you ask for a shady spot or a spot that limits your dog’s view of other diners. And they’ll bring a water bowl for your pup.

You’ll also want to consider whether your dog will be comfortable given the restaurant’s seating arrangement. Some restaurants say their sidewalk seating is pet-friendly, but trying to squeeze even a small dog under your table away from foot traffic would be tough.

Other restaurants that claim to be “pet-friendly” have a fenced-in seating area and require pets to be tethered outside the fence. We do not consider pets welcome and avoid these establishments.

The ideal dining room for dogs has some shade, enough space between tables for dogs to lie down undisturbed, and something to protect other diners – like potted plants or a lower level.

LEARN MORE ⇒ Is it illegal to leave your pet alone in the car?

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Be a good ambassador

Having the ability to eat at pet-friendly restaurants is a privilege, and we all have to take responsibility for making sure our dogs don’t ruin things for everyone else. do something that may offend other customers or doing extra work for staff could cause a restaurant to change its pet policy.

So make sure your dog relieves himself before arriving at the restaurant, keep him away from chairs and the table and do not feed him with restaurant plates or utensils, unless they are intended for this purpose .

Toby the Bulldog enjoys dishes from the dog-centric menu at Lazy Dog Restaurant

stay alert

Patiently training your dog and choosing the right pet-friendly restaurants is a good start. But even if you have the perfect dog, eating together means you’ll have to share your attention. While enjoying the meal and chatting with your companions, you will also need to keep an eye out for any problems.

Another dog might pass. The server can deliver a particularly tempting dish to a nearby table. Someone’s toddler might throw food on the floor. A dog lover might decide to pet your pup. It’s your job to be alert and avoid problems before they arise. And make sure you have a few special treats to reward your dog for not reacting to something that would normally upset him.

Dog Friendly Restaurants in Chicago

Be ready to go

We all have bad days. Dogs included. And you can’t predict everything. A squirrel may appear looking for treats. An exuberant football team might show up for pizza.

If something happens and your dog starts to react, get up and leave. It’s best if you have a friend who will foot the bill and have your take-out food prepared. But if you’re alone, leave enough money to cover the check and retreat quickly.

Brindle dog, woman and two men on the pet-friendly patio at Custer Wolf in Custer, SD

Tips for people who dine near dogs

Pet-friendly restaurants, even if you don’t have a pet with you, are always appreciated. And don’t forget to thank the management for its pet policy! If you’re in this situation, there are also a few things you can do to help pet owners who dine with their dogs:

  • Ignore the dog. Yes, I know it’s hard. But if you see someone enjoying a relaxing meal, their dog lying peacefully at their feet, please do not approach them. Disturbing the dog is no different than walking over to a family’s table to give their child a good tickle.
  • Ask permission. If you just can’t resist, please ask permission before you get to pet the dog. And don’t let your feelings be hurt if the answer is no. The dogs are at different stages of ability. Maybe it takes all that dog’s willpower not to leap up and shower you with kisses. Lying calmly by the table could be very difficult work, and something as simple as a quick scratch could set him back in his training.

LEARN MORE ⇒ 11 tips for greeting a strange dog

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Sitting quietly under the table in a busy restaurant is an advanced skill for any dog.

What to do if your dog is not ready

Let’s face it… being a well-mannered table companion is an advanced skill. It takes practice and doesn’t always go well. Maybe your dog is still learning or too reactive to succeed in this environment. Does this mean you can never eat out with your dog?

Absolutely not! Picnic style is the way to go when your dog isn’t up to the challenge of pet-friendly resting places. Look for a deli, a grocery store with a ready-meal counter, or a pizzeria and prepare your meal to go. A picnic table in the park could be the step your dog needs to transition from your backyard to a pet-friendly patio.

Man and dog sitting on the grass with a glass of kombucha at the pet-friendly restaurant, Kebaba, in Bend, Oregon

Whatever your dog’s abilities, don’t be discouraged. Your puppy is doing the best he can. The most important thing isn’t where you eat…it’s that you do more together.

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