Today’s forecast calls for sun and 60s — we’ll take it! You, like us, might be tempted to start the weekend early with poochie hour out on a patio somewhere. But taking the pup out in public comes with its own set of unwritten rules — now written! Here are our top 10 tips to ensure an enjoyable experience out for all.
1. Know thyself. Not every dog is a good candidate for parking out on a patio with lots going on — plenty of people, pups, smells, and sights to take in. Will this be an enjoyable or anxious experience for the pooch? And how about the other customers?
2. Do your research. Figure out if your patio of choice is a good option for your dog. How high-energy is the atmosphere? What’s the patio size and setup? How’s the spacing between tables? Is there any shady refuge?
3. Check the forecast. Shade can provide some respite from the heat, but if it’s a real scorcher, your pooch needs to be chillin‘ in the A/C rather than toughing it out with you.
4. Take a stroll. A worn-out pup is a great patio pup! Ensure you’ve given your dog plenty of opportunities to get out energy and take care of business before setting up camp. If your dog gets the urge to go mid-meal, attend to his needs (and be sure to clean up immediately after any accidents).
5. BYOB(owl). Not all pet-friendly businesses are all-inclusive. Play it safe and bring your own water bowl to ensure the pup has an ample supply of fresh H2O.
6. Stake your claim. Don’t be afraid to ask for something on behalf of your pooch: a corner table, a water bowl, etc.
7. Keep ’em on a short leash. No really — no retractables. Be respectful of your fellow diners; don’t assume they are comfortable with a visit from your pup.
8. Mind your (dog’s) manners. Public spaces like patios require you and your pooch to be on your best behavior. Take the time to work on obedience before heading out to your favorite eatery (and consult a trainer if needed). Paws on the table, whiny begging, excessive barking, and the like are major no-nos.
9. Have an exit strategy. Sometimes an evening out just doesn’t go as planned. If your pup is making it clear it’s time to go, ask for a doggie bag (natch) and hit the road.
10. Give thanks. Let your server know you appreciate their dog-friendliness and that they can expect your return business (only if it’s true, of course!). Oh, and tell ’em Sidewalk Dog sent you!