Have you been looking for some new places to bring your dog? Try taking them with you to a dog-friendly restaurant the next time you go out to eat! Today, most restaurants with a patio allow dogs. This can be a great way to bond with your pop as well as meet others. However, there are definitely a few things you'll want to keep in mind before you head out on your first restaurant date, so keep reading to learn some tips!

PREPARING YOUR DOG

Before you even consider bringing your dog along with you to a restaurant, make sure your dog is properly socialized. You don't want your dog's first outing to be at a busy place with a lot of people (and potentially other dogs), especially when food is involved.

You'll want to prepare by training your dog at home. Have them practice sitting near your dinner table during mealtimes. If your dog begs for food, use this guide to help stop that. You can also try having them play with a toy stuffed with treats, like JW's Twist-In Treats Dog Toy, to keep them busy and entertained while you eat. Once they get the hang of this, try the same thing outside at a park where there are other people and dogs that could be distracting. You may need to practice a few times, but once your dog seems comfortable, they should be ready to give a restaurant a try!

It's also very important to be sure that you're choosing a restaurant that is dog friendly. Although a restaurant may have a patio or outdoor space, it does not mean that it welcomes pets. Be sure you check their guidelines ahead of time and make sure you also review any COVID protocols that may be in place such as wearing masks, social distancing, etc.

PREP YOUR DOG BEFORE YOU LEAVE

Prior to heading to the restaurant, there are some things you should make sure you do to ensure you and your pet have an enjoyable time and that everything goes as smoothly as possible.

First, you should exercise your dog a bit before heading out. This will help them to exhaust a little big of energy so that they aren't excited by strangers and a new environment. They may even take a quick nap while you eat!

Next, it's a good idea to feed them ahead of time (unless, or course, you're going to a restaurant that has a dog menu!). Making sure your dog is well-fed, though, will hopefully help them be a little less interested in your food.

Last of all, you'll want to be sure that your dog does their business before you leave. While you're at the restaurant, you should also stay aware of when your dog needs to relieve themselves, and be sure to bring along some waste bags so that you can pick up after them just in case.

WHILE YOU'RE AT THE RESTAURANT

Now that you're actually at the restaurant, follow some of these guidelines so that you can be sure that you, your dog, and everyone else at the restaurant is able to enjoy their time.

a dog in a harness waiting patiently for owner to eat
  • Restrain your dog properly: You don't want your dog wandering off, so be sure they are restrained and kept near you. Harnesses are a great option and keep your dog more secure than a collar. Also, invest in a lead – a shorter dog leash than tradition dog leashes. Doing so will ensure your dog doesn't venture too far. Always keep a sturdy hold on their leash, and try not to tie it to a table or chair. This is a good way to get broken dishes and spilled meals if your dog suddenly takes off!
  • Bring a water bowl: Some dog-friendly restaurants will have water bowls readily available, but don't expect it. After all, as the owner, it's your responsibility to bring along items that your dog needs, so be sure you bring a travel water bowl whenever you go out! Also remember that you should never feed your dog off of the restaurant's dishes. Petmate's Replenish To-Go Travel Bowl is the perfect portable water bowl that let's pet-parents fill it with fresh, cold water. Then when you get to your destination, the lid turns into a bowl for your dog to drink out of!
  • Keep your dog on the ground: Don't let your dog sit in your lap or on a chair where they have easy access to the table. It's best to leave them on the ground and sitting underneath or near the table where you can keep an eye on them and they won't be able to easily reach your food.
  • Sit away from children, if possible: Not all dogs are good around kids, and not all kids are good around dogs. Whether or not your canine friend has experience interacting with kids, its a good idea to keep some distance when you're out in public.
  • Be ready to leave: If your dog starts behaving inappropriately, whether they're barking or getting a little too rambunctious, it's a good idea to head out. Never hesitate to ask for a to-go box if you feel like your dog may need to go home.

Taking your dog out to a restaurant can be a great way for you two to bond and can be a great way to change up your daily routine! Remember, though, every dog is different, so keep your dog's specific needs and personality in mind before you decide to pay a visit to your favorite dog-friendly restaurant. Be sure you also follow these guidelines and etiquette tips as well so that you, your dog, and everyone around you at the restaurant has the best time possible! 

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