Want to take your dog to pubs and cafes? Read this!
Updated: 4 days ago
Next time you see me, look me in the eye and tell me you never thought or are not thinking about a lazy Sunday brunch at your local cafe with your pooch next to you or a cheeky Friday pint at the pub. Dogs are such a huge part of our lives nowadays, so it's absolutely normal to want them by your side when you go to public places and, to be honest, most dogs don't really mind it. However, there are a few things you can do to ensure your pup is not only enjoying their visit but also learning calm behaviours in urban environments.
WHAT TO PACK?
Have you heard about the infamous pub mat yet? It's a thin mat or bed that you previously taught your dog to settle on at home and you can now take everywhere you go. This not only lets your dog know your expectations but also gives a more defined area to settle at. At the end of the day, we would all prefer to lie down on a wee blanket than the ground, right?
A filled kong toy or a chew your dog likes. This should be something that keeps them busy for a longer period of time and that way encourages calm behaviours.
I'd also have some high value treats with me which allow me to encourage desired behaviours from dogs such as calm sit when the staff is approaching, calm reactions to other dogs and more.
Don't forget the water! Most dog friendly places will likely have a bowl, however, it's always a good idea to have your own one.
WHERE TO START?
If you're getting ready for your first visits, it is recommended to start with short sessions instead of jumping to a few hour brunches. I always start with a short takeaway run and choose to visit dog friendly places at quieter times of the day, so a pup (and you) don't get overwhelmed.
It goes without saying that prior to your visit you want to have a walk to make sure your pooch doesn't need to toilet. This also helps to let some of the initial energy out. Since we want our dogs to associate cafes and pubs with settling, instead of playing active games, consider sniffing and chewing activities when you arrive at the place, don't get the pup too excited by letting every single visitor stop and play with them.
If anything, we want to let our dog watch the environment but stay calm as people approach. One of the things I highly encourage doing is, as the staff member is bringing you the drinks or food, give one treat after another to your pup and scatter a bunch on their mat when the person is at the table. This will prevent excessive barking, whining and jumping and teach your dog desirable reactions to strangers.
How would it look like in practice?
Watch this video to find out!