It’s officially #SummertimeChi, and patios are in higher demand than ever due to COVID-19. If you’re bringing your pup along to dine out with you it’s important to be mindful of your space and those around you. This is always true, but especially important during these times. Dogs are a surface and can transmit diseases without being affected themselves. This means your dog — now more than ever — needs to follow the basic rules of pup patio etiquette.
Rule #1: Dog Should Hold a Down/Stay
Any dog dining on a patio should be capable of holding a down/stay for at least one hour, preferably under your chair or under the table so they are out of the way of staff and patrons of the patio. Working from home is the perfect time to practice this with your dog, so use this time to your advantage! Practice with your dog holding a down during a meeting, while you eat lunch, etc. Consistent practice and proofing of the command are key, so remember to practice both inside and outside with distractions.
Rule #2: Dog Should Have Impulse Control
A dog visiting a patio should have strong impulse control around food. If your dog lunges at dropped food, table surfs or jumps on people carrying food it is not appropriate to bring that dog to a patio.
Rule #3: Dog Should Not Be Reactive or a Resource Guarder
Patios are not the place for reactive or resource guarding dogs. Tight spaces and high-value items can escalate these behaviors, and you will not be in a good position to gain control of your dog when you are sitting at a table.
Rule #4: No Socializing
Your dog should not be allowed to socialize with other dogs or people. Dog to dog interactions in tight spaces is never recommended, especially around food as noted above. However, any type of socializing can stimulate a dog and put them into an excited state of mind when they should instead be calm and relaxed.
If your dog can’t follow the patio etiquette rules and must stay home, that’s ok! With everyone spending so much time at home these days it’s vital our dogs maintain how to be home alone to avoid separation anxiety when we go back to normal life. Use your outing to a patio as an opportunity to separate yourself from your pup so she can practice being home alone.