Tips for Taking Your Dog to Public Places

Published: May 26, 2018

Academy Animal Hospital Greenwood

Does your dog have good manners? Dogs aren’t known for being prim and proper, but with a little training they can be ready for visits to pet-friendly stores, your workplace and other places that welcome them.

Many public places have become more pet-friendly in recent years. The nationally-recognized Take Your Pet to Work Day, which started 20 years ago, was part of a movement to celebrate the impact of animals on our lives.

Large chain pet stores like Petsmart, Petco, and others encourage their customers to bring pets along for a visit. In fact, many pet behavior experts suggest pet stores as great first places to socialize puppies. Staff tends to be understanding, and customers aren’t usually there unless they love animals.

All this visiting relies on your pet to behave well and truly enjoy it. Here are some tips for taking your dog to public places.

Call Ahead and Check the Web

First, make sure that the place you want to take your dog truly accepts pets. Friends and family, no matter how well-intentioned, might give bad advice about places where pets are allowed. Failure to follow the rules can result in unpleasant situations, plus fines in some cities.

Most restaurants don’t allow pets, aside from service animals, due to health codes. The ones that do welcome dogs usually restrict them to outdoor seating areas, away from food preparation.

Barkpost, the online dog community, keeps a list of 30-plus national stores that allow dogs, with a caution that certain stores in certain areas might still forbid them. A quick phone call can clarify for sure.

Clear it With Your Workplace

Some workplaces are more dog-friendly than others. Check your employee handbook and double-check with HR before bringing your pup in to play. It’s also a good idea to mention it to people who sit near your area, in case someone is allergic.

It’s important to puppy-proof your workspace. Cords, wires, plants, markers, and even stray staples on the floor can be hazardous to dogs.

Pet Sitters International, the group behind Take Your Pet to Work Day, advises having a quick exit strategy in place in case your pet clashes with your workplace. Maybe your spouse could pick them up, or you could take an early lunch break to whisk them home.

Pack a Bag

Bring along a bag of doggie essentials, like food, water, a leash, a favorite toy, and disinfectant/bags to clean up any accidents. If your dog has a favorite treat, pack it along. They’ll smell it right away, and good behavior will stay at the back of their mind during the trip.

For work, a baby gate or portable kennel can help control the zone where your pet roams. For a public place like a park or dog park, you might need a towel or wet wipes to clean up before getting back in the car.

Practice Socializing and Don’t Push It

Before you head out into the public with your pup, do some trial runs at home. Expose them to a variety of people, and give rewards only when they show positive behavior like calmness, not jumping, and not being skittish.

As you try public socializing, don’t force interactions with people or other dogs. Keep your dog leashed and away from people, unless they beckon you. Look for signs of discomfort in your dog, like excessive panting, yawning, or wanting to lay down.

When your dog seems “over it,” head home for the day and call it a success. Your pup is on the path to a lifetime of fun, social activities.

Need more advice about socializing your dog? Connect with Academy Animal Hospital today.