Good Dog’s Guide: Keeping Your Pup Happy at Dog-Friendly Events

Photo: KME Photography

Dog-friendly event season is in full swing, and you can’t wait to leash up your pup and hit the patio party scene. We know you want your four-legged date to be comfortable, calm, and having just as much fun as you are! With that in mind, here are some tips and etiquette for making sure Spot is a happy camper during dog-friendly events:

  1. Know thy dog. Not all pooches are suited for life out on the town. Does your dog want to be there, or is it wishful thinking on your part? Make sure you’re bringing your dog because it would be fun for both of you. If you have a shy, fearful pup, they’re not going to love a crowded, busy place with lots of other people and dogs — and that’s okay! A one-on-one date with your doggo at a book store, dog park, or patio sans the party would be a much more successful way to spend time with your pal.
  2. Research the scene. Will the event venue you have in mind be a good fit for your paw-ticular dog? How big is the space and what kind of crowd is expected? How’s the spacing between tables? Some dogs can be successful at a more contained event, while others enjoy the energy of a giant bash.
  3. Check the forecast. Events with water dishes and shady refuge areas 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. Wear ’em out. 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.
  5. BYOB(owl). Not all pet-friendly events are all-inclusive. Play it safe and bring your own water bowl to ensure your pup has an ample supply of fresh H2O.
  6. Treats can be tricky. Watch how your dog and surrounding pets react to treats. If either one is getting snarky about snacks, stash ’em for later.
  7. Keep ’em close. Fur real — no retractables. Be respectful of your fellow partiers; 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 dog-friendly events. Paws on the table, whiny begging, excessive barking, and the like are major no-nos.
  9. Take five. Is your dog giving you signals she’s concerned or stressed? If she’s licking her lips, yawning, turning her back to another dog or person, scratching or looking at another dog and away, she is trying to calm herself. Take her to the periphery of the event and give her a break.
  10. Have an exit strategy. Sometimes a party just doesn’t go as planned. If your pup is making it clear it’s time to go, ask for a doggy bag (natch) and hit the road.
  11. Give thanks. Let your event hosts know you appreciate their dog-friendliness (and tell ’em Sidewalk Dog sent you!) Finally, be sure to share your pics with #SidewalkDog – we love seeing what you guys are up to.

We’ve all seen dogs who don’t seem comfortable at events, and even a well-trained dog can get angsty in a social situation. On the other hand, exposing your dog to people, other dogs, and novel experiences is not only fun for you, but it can be a great way to socialize your pup. Follow these tips and your dog will be navigating the summer social scene like a pro!

Have something to add to our list? Tell us in the comments!

KME Photography


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