I read a really instructive blog this past week, posted by a local dog training school. Since it is winter in New York City, where both the Animal Medical Center and the dog school are located, the blogger created a list of 20 places to warm up with your dog this winter. The list includes coffee shops, bars, hotel lobbies, and books stores — all places where you and your favorite pooch can spend a cold winter afternoon as an antidote to cabin fever. But before you zip up your coat and put your dog’s winter wear on him, review these guidelines on pet etiquette in public places.
Basic Manners for Both of You
As the person responsible for your dog, it is your job to see that she is under control. Keep her on a leash at all times and don’t leave her unattended for a minute. Train her not to bully other dogs and to be quiet. No one wants to listen to a barking dog every time another person or dog enters the bar.
Take Only a Healthy Dog
To protect your dog against diseases they might catch from dogs they meet, check with your veterinarian regarding vaccination recommendations. Canine influenza and kennel cough are two respiratory illnesses rapidly transmitted in places where dogs congregate. A rabies vaccine is a must since in most states it is legally required, and protects your pet if he is bitten by a strange dog. If your dog is feeling under the weather, be polite and stay home to protect other dogs.
Clean Up Your Mess
While the establishments on the list welcome dogs, they might not be prepared for any dog messes. Walk your dog before going inside and be sure your handbag contains poop bags and a few paper towels to mop up any accidents.
Bring Dog Snacks
Even though dogs are welcome, these businesses may not provide water bowls and dog treats. A collapsible water bowl that fits in your backpack would be perfect in this situation. Take some dog treats too as a reward for good behavior. To encourage your dog to be patient, consider taking their favorite chew toy or a feeding toy to occupy him while you finish your latte.
Ask Before You Pet
If you are a member of the public and see the most a-dor-able dog in your local bookstore, please ask before you pet. Adorable, does not equal friendly and if you startle a dog, the dog may snap or bite. If you are the accompanying human, be honest. If your dog is not fond of strangers, then ask members of the public not to pet your dog. My friend Susan was bitten by the dog of a less than honest person.
The remote possibility of a bite injury to a person is just another reason your dog needs to be up to date on his rabies vaccine.
Not Every Dog
Some people are gregarious and others homebodies who would never think of spending an afternoon hanging out in a hotel lobby. Dogs are no different. The homebodies will be restless, anxious and miserable in an unfamiliar environment surrounded by strangers. Let them stay home and invite their favorite dog friend over for a playdate or sleepover.
I hope everyone finds a great winter hangout and makes new friends while hanging!