Rhetorical question. None.
While some cities are spoiled for choice, others might only have an option or two, but whatever the case may be, there are definitely restaurants with patios or decks that will allow your best friend to join the festivities. Hell, there are even restaurants that have “doggie menus” nowadays!
But we should remember that bringing your doggo along for the fun is a privilege and with that privilege comes responsibility. It’s important that all diners obey the rules of an establishment to ensure management doesn’t incur the wrath of other patrons, forcing them to make any tough decisions about whether dogs should or shouldn’t be allowed.
So we’ve put together some tips, tricks and friendly reminders about dining out with your four-legged friends.
A little preparation goes a long way...
Know your dog - Like any other activity you may want to enjoy with your dog, it’s important to know if your dog is a good “candidate” for the patio scene. Patios can often be exciting or overwhelming places for your pupper, so it’s up to you to do what’s best for them. Will your dog have the self control to contain himself every time a plate of nachos walks by? Will he really be enjoying himself if large crowds make him nervous? You know your dog best, so do right by him.
Do your research - This might seem silly, but having an idea of where you’re going beforehand will really help. Things to think about… Is your dog actually allowed? How’s the spacing between tables? Is there shade? How high-energy is the atmosphere? Understanding your dog and what kind of environments he’s comfortable in can mean the difference between a relaxing afternoon or stressful hour of your life you’ll never get back.
Weather - Checking the forecast is a must, especially in some places where the heat isn’t for the faint of heart. This goes back to knowing if there’s shade for you and your pup as well. Also remember that sometimes it’s just safer for your pup to chill out at home with the A/C then tough it out on the patio with you on those extra hot days.
BYOB (bring your own bowl) - Not all pet-friendly restaurants will provide drinks for everyone at the table, so it’s important to bring a bowl and plenty of water for your best friend, especially on those warmer days.
Tire them out - Restaurants can be really exciting places, so having a pup that’s ready to chill out can certainly help. Hitting the patio after a long hike is one of our favorites, but even a run at the park can help your pup relax for the duration of your meal.
Potty break - Please give your pup AMPLE time to do his business outside of the restaurant. People are there to eat and enjoy themselves, an accident can ruina lot of peoples meal.
Be confident - Don’t be afraid to ask your waiter for a corner table if that’s where you feel your dog will be most comfortable. He can’t speak up, so you should.
Etiquette, Etiquette, Etiquette - Your dog should have and understanding of basic commands such as “sit”, “stay”, “down” and “leave it”. Public spaces require you and your pup to be on your best behavior and it’s up to you to mind you AND your dog’s manners. Your dog should be comfortable with holding a sit or down for a long period of time. He should also be able to control himself around all those wonderful smells near and far.
Stay in your space - Your dog should stay on a short leash close to your table (this is a non-retractable leash zone). You love the crap out of your dog, but not everyone feels the same. Your dogshouldn’t be allowed to mingle with other dogs or diners unless invited to do so.
The unthinkable moment - Hypothetically you’ve pottied your dog beforehand and this isn’t going to happen. But! Accidents happen and your dog isn’t a robot. If nature calls while in the restaurant, clean it immediately and discretely. Fellow diners don’t want a play by play of your dog’s accident while they eat. It’s also absolutely NOT the responsibility of a server.
Tie your dog to the table - Not sure if this is a Marmaduke comic or not (probably is…), but if your pup is strong enough and the right distraction
...comes along, your dog may try to take off and end up taking the table with. Your chair (with you on it) is a better option, just remember it’s important to always have control of your pup in public.
Wandering - Remember how we told you to keep your dog in your space. Yea, other diners shouldn’t have to deal with your dog coming over to inspect everything they ordered. You’re not the only one the patio, so be respectful of the space of fellow diner and their pups.
The forbidden B’s - Begging, Barking, Biting. Again, these should all go without saying as they are basic behaviors, but they are some of the most common reasons that you and your doggo’s dinner could get cut short. Begging and barking are impolite and can ruin a night for your fellow diners. Biting is obviously problematic in any situation, so if your dog isn’t all that friendly, perhaps a patio dinner just isn’t for him.
Sitting on chairs - It’ll be tempting for a dog to checkout the table or want to sit in your lap or an empty chair, but this is a big no-no. Even though a restaurant allows dogs, they are still held to health department regulations and breaking these rules can result in dogs being given the boot all together. So no matter how tempting it is to let him sit at the table like a little person, please save it for home.
Forget - You might get swept away in conversation or dive into a blissful abyss of nachos, but it’s important to always be attentive to your dog. Bringing him along means you’re responsible for his manners as well as your own.
Like most things we do with our dogs, a little common sense and courtesy goes a long way. There’s no reason not to enjoy a drink with your best friend or bring him along for brunch. Just remember that bringing your dog is a privilege, so be kind, patient and courteous to fellow diners and your wait staff.