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Have you ever gone to a restaurant hoping to enjoy a relaxed meal only to have your meal ruined by someone sitting next to you with a tantrum throwing child out of control?  A group of volunteers from the rescue group I work with decided to meet for lunch with some of our dogs at The Lazy Dog Cafe, a dog friendly establishment.  Not everyone brought their dogs because not all our dogs are well behaved in public.  The dogs that were with us though were perfect little angels. But the table next to us had two of those yappy, growly, lunging, ill behaved dogs.  What would you have done?

Last month I wrote about fake service dogs emerging as a new trend and fashion statement.   You have seen them.  They are wearing vests and patches and are at the supermarket or the movie theater but you can tell they aren’t real service dogs because well… They just do not behave well as a service dog has been trained to behave.  Some have been seen jumping on people, jumping up a table, grabbing food, barking, lunging at other dogs, etc.  The owners should be ashamed of themselves because this trend is making it difficult for people with real disabilities who do need their service dogs to get around to get the respect and service they deserve.

This past weekend at our lunch get together, the yappy dogs sure were representative of the kind of dogs that are spoiled and not trained but their owners are too stupid to realize that.   Every time a waiter opened the door bringing food out, those two dogs would lunge and bark as if claiming that area around their table and the waiters were invading it.  Every time new patrons came by to be seated, those dogs did the same thing.  I watched this going on for quite some time while we were waiting to be seated at the patio.  Unfortunately when our turn came to be seated, we were seated right next to this party with the ill behaved dogs.

We all took our seats and settled our dogs under the table or next to us.   Those two dogs that had been acting up all along just turned it on a notch higher and went after my sweet Sugar baby.  Sugar turned her back to them knowing not to engage with such antagonistic behavior.  It continued.  It would quiet down for a couple of minutes and if Sugar shifted her weight or lifted her head, those two monsters would start again.  It was becoming unbearable.  We were all rolling our eyes at them.   The waiter brought each of our dogs a small bowl of water with ice cubes.  Sugar had to stand up and move a little off to the side to be out of the waiter’s way so the yappy little neighbor dog went after her.  I couldn’t take it any more. I had to say something so I turned and shushed them as hard as I could and gave the owners a stern look.

The husband looked mortified and he tried to pull one of the dogs back.  The wife was holding the other one and she just laughed!  Yes! She just laughed!!  No wonder those dogs were so ill mannered. That woman thought it was funny that her dogs were acting up like that in public!  Good thing they didn’t have children with them too. I would hate to think how they would handle their children.  No discipline, no boundaries, no leadership, no manners.  Yup. That would be a lovely scene.

When taking your dogs out to public places, please use common sense.  I would love to take all four of my dogs out to a restaurant too but I know that only one of the four will be able to handle sitting quietly.  The other three are not reliably quiet and obedient all the time.  They get to stay home so that the rest of the world can enjoy their time at the restaurant as well.   Just like with the fake service dogs, people who take ill behaved dogs and inflict them upon others at restaurants and other public places are just plain rude and obnoxious.  I always think of that poster I saw once that said “Be the type of person your dog thinks you are.”  So show some respect.  Use common sense.  Be kind and considerate.  Don’t be an (bad word!).   Training your dog basic obedience commands only takes a few minutes each day and they will reward you with companionship you can really enjoy, be proud of, and share with others as well.   Be appreciative of restaurants that welcome your pooches to join you for a meal on their patio by teaching them basic manners just like you would with children.  You would not like it if someone else inflicted their little furry terrors on you and your dog, so if you have one of those little terrors, do them and yourself a favor and keep him or her at home.  Everyone will thank you for it.

Elena Flyer is a Californian owner and lover of animals: horses, dogs, birds – you name it! She is actively involved in the community whether through therapeutic dog visits to healthcare facilities, or volunteering at Labrador Rescuers.

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