The Good Dog Guide: Patio Etiquette

Today’s forecast calls for a sunny 75—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 to enjoy that blissful weather comes with its own set of unwritten rules! Check out our top 5 tips to ensure your pup has pawfect patio manners, and some examples of what might get you kicked to the curb. 

5 Outdoor Pet Etiquette Tips

When you want to hit up a patio for dogs, you gotta be up to snuff on your manners. Read up on these top tips for bringing your hound out on the town!

1. Leash Up 

Keep your pup on a leash at all times, unless there is a designated off-leash area. Your leashed pup should be secured in your dining area, so make sure their leash doesn’t allow for roaming far from the table. Consider attaching your dog to your person either on a waist leash, to your leg, or in your hand. If you aren’t trying to hold their leash for an hour, hooking them to your chair, not the table, is a great alternative! 

Sidewalk Dog’s Patio Leash is a bit shorter than a traditional leash to keep pup from wandering, and has a handy feature that allows you to clip the leash almost anywhere. Arrive in style with a matching Patio Collar!

2. BYOB (Bring Your Own Bowl)

In the warm weather and sunshine, it’s important to make sure that your dog is staying hydrated. Always assume that dog-friendly patios are BYOB, so you know pup’ll have easy access to water no matter where you go. 

3. Be Mindful of Others 

While we know that your dog is the bee’s knees, some people are not dog people (how dare they). Only say “Hi!” when invited. Ask permission before letting your dog say hello to other people or dogs. On the flip side, other people should ask before coming over. If they don’t, it’s up to you to advocate for your pupper and their preferences. It’s OK to say no if your dog is unsure! 

4. No Begging

We are all guilty of giving into those puppy dog eyes while we’re eating. It might be cute sometimes, but when you are at an outdoor dog patio, that should be a no-no. Don’t allow your dog to go to another person and beg them for food either. 

5. Avoid A Mess 

A patio might be dog-friendly, but that definitely doesn’t mean other diners want to see or smell if your dog has an accident. When you gotta go, you gotta go, but make sure that your dog goes to the bathroom prior to coming onto the patio. Keep a roll of poop bags with you in case they get the urge while you are there, and immediately take them to a grassy patch away from the dining area. 

Always Be Prepared (For a Good Time)

Before you decide to bring your pup along for some good times, there are a few things that you should do to prepare them and yourself! 

  • Bring a mat or a towel for your dog to lie on so that they can avoid the hot deck or ground. The more comfortable they are, the more comfortable you will be too.
  • Try to grab a table with some shade. The heat and sun can be dangerous to pups! Learn more dog sun safety tips here.
  • Check the forecast. If the weather is going to be extremely hot, leave Fido at home, and plan to bring him the next time. 
  • Call ahead. Don’t assume that your pup is welcome to come with you to all establishments. Double checking never hurt anyone. 
  • Take a pre-patio stroll. Tiring doggo out before having to sit for a while is a good way to keep him calm (hopefully).
  • Keep them distracted. Bringing a toy or a bone for pup to focus on will help her not cause a disturbance. 

What Not To Do On A Dog-Friendly Patio 

Using patio manners when you’re dining out with your friends (both two-legged and four-legged) is important to the comfort, safety, and overall enjoyment of everyone! There are a few things that you should be aware of that are real mood killers for restaurant workers, as well as other patrons. Doing these things isn’t just rude and improper; it might even get you kicked to the curb!

1. Don’t Bring a Party Without Giving Notice

If you’re hitting the town with a large group of people and their pups, you should give the staff some forewarning so they can prepare a place for you, and provide guidelines. A good rule of thumb is if you have 3 or more pups with your posse, call ahead.

2. Don’t Go Barkin’ My Heart

Barking is most likely inevitable in social settings, but excessive and uncontrollable barking is a good way to get removed from a dog-friendly patio. If your dog does start barking, try to calm her right away. If you can’t stop the barking, taking pup for a short walk around the block might help settle her nerves. Worst case scenario: you may have to take your food to-go, and enjoy it on a park bench.

3. Don’t Let Fido On the Table 

This one might be for the small dog parents, but pawlease don’t let pup sit or walk around on the dining tables. Having dog paws and back sides on the same surfaces as food is just plain gross.

4. Don’t Disrespect Rules and Guidelines

The restaurant you are at might be dog-friendly, but that’s within reason. If you don’t follow the designated rules of the dog-friendly outdoor space, you can be removed at any time. 

Do you bring your pup out and about to pet-friendly patios? Let us know some of your best outdoor pet etiquette tips!

Featured photo: Kendell Victoria Photography

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