10 tips for dining with your dog

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We live in Chicago with our Rottweiler, Tessa. Tessa has been dining out with us for years, but it was bit of challenge when she was a puppy. We have developed 10 tips for taking your dog out to eat with you. Some cities, like L.A., have made it illegal to ban dogs from outside cafes. We really like that idea!

1.  Outdoor venues are the best. There are a few restaurants that tolerate dogs inside the building but keeping the canines outside works best.
2.  Make sure your dog is trained, at least to the point of being able to perform simple commands like “sit” and “down.”
3.  Make sure your dog is on a leash and has all appropriate tags and licenses. And don’t forget pick-up bags.
4.  Take your dogs on a little walk to be sure they don’t pick a nice spot in the restaurant to relieve themselves.
5.  It makes a big difference if you feed your “friend” before going to a restaurant. We have found that if Tessa ate something at home she is less likely to put on her “starved dog” look to try to garner pity.
6.  Bring a bowl for water. Some of our favorite dog-friendly haunts bring out a bowl immediately for Tessa. Dogs get very thirsty, particularly in the warm weather.
7.  Try to find a table that is not in the main traffic flow. A table in a corner, alongside a wall or near a planter is best. Getting a tail stepped on by a busy waiter can be painful–for everyone!
8.  If your dog is not very friendly, it is probably not a good idea to bring them to a restaurant. People will come to your table, pet your dog (the smart people ask if it’s okay first), and inevitably tell you stories about their dog.
9.  We like to bring treats from home for Tessa so she participates a little bit in the dining experience. The issue of feeding from the table is tricky. Treats from the table offend some people, so, in an effort to not be offensive, we slip Tessa a few morsels on the sly!
10.  Have fun and try not to be nervous. Your dog will pick up on your mood.
It is quite likely that your town or city has a list of dog-friendly bars and restaurants. If you’re not sure if an establishment is dog-friendly, just call first. We find that when we have Tessa with us when eat out, we tend to take a nice long walk after dinner. And that’s good for all of us.
Do you have any tips for dining with your dog? Share them in the comments!

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