Monday, June 20, 2011

City Dog: Dining Outdoors with Dogs


Living in Chicago, dining outdoors is a given. And having a dog in Chicago, I had always thought dining outdoors with your dog was a given. But I was wrong.
Just because you have a dog, doesn't mean that they will know how to sit nicely at the outdoor cafe. Especially with a dog like Miss M:
With tables packed closely together, the potential for food on the ground, passing dogs, and food on the table, bringing a dog to an outdoor cafe can be a struggle. Though we did have a successful experience bringing all 3 dogs out on a recent outing. What worked:

Choosing a table in the corner:
 This way the pooches could have room off to the side, and they wouldn't have problems with passing dogs. We've found that as we're walking by cafes we normally can't see the dining dogs and sometimes they'll pop out from under the area surprising both us and our dogs. By keeping our dogs in the corner, our dogs won't be tempted to play, and other dogs won't disturb our dogs.

Doing a Pre-walk and Practicing 'Down Stays'
Instead of just going out to eat immediately, we made sure to go on a longer walk before sitting down. Since the pooches were more tired, they were able to stay still longer. That, combined with their continual practicing of down-stays around the city, allowed the pooches to be calm and well-behaved. Miss M was even falling asleep in front of the water bowl.

Going to a Dog-Friendly Restaurant

The city passed an ordinance allowed all dogs to be able to sit with their owners, but dogs aren't always as well-received in certain restaurants. We absolutely love going to Five Star which is not only dog-friendly, but super pit-friendly. The restaurant keeps a huge water bowl, always filled with fresh water and ice, outside for passing dogs. We've also met so many nice servers and staff who come running out to meet the pooches when we walk by. When we dine there the pooches are so well-received they get their own well-filled water dish and people are always coming out to see them. I think this is going to become our summer mainstay.
And as we were sipping our drinks and enjoying some food above, this is what the pooches were seeing below:
Does anyone else have tips for outdoor dining with dogs?

25 comments:

Maisie's Mom said...

I wish Maisie was mellow enough to take with me to dine al fresco. she's still just too food obsessed at this point and I'd spend the whole meal putting her back in down/stay! maybe eventually we'll get there...

http://maisieme.blogspot.com/

Two Crazy Coaches said...

I can think of only one restaurant in town that is dog friendly. But, no way would I consider taking our two out to eat. They, especially Flash, are such attention whores and horrible counter surfers. I can only imagine the disasters that would occur!

goosie mama said...

I LOVE the pooch cam! It's so great to see what's going on at their eye level - gives a whole different (lower) perspective to the outing!

Maggie said...

Great tips!! I can't imagine taking three at a time! The only other tip I can think of is practicing a really solid "leave it" so that when they do discover food on the ground, they won't gulp up something they shouldn't have. I love the pics from Mr. B's camera! So fun!

jen said...

I have yet to try dining outdoors at a public place with the Newfs. I just have this image in my head of a big mess waiting to happen!
Thanks for the tips about cameras, I always admire you great pictures!

Faye said...

Lucky pitties! Smart to do the long walk ahead of dining. A tired dog is a good dog!

In Black and White said...

Maybe if Bilbo keeps improving the way he has been we could manage outdoor dining by the end of the summer. Luckily the hot weather wears him out quickly so that helps!

http://bwpaws.blogspot.com

loveandaleash said...

these photos are really excellent. you guys are improving so quickly and visibly. i am also interested to learn more about mr. b's new camera-- it looks to be kind of a fisheye? the photo quality looks great, too.

h(eather) said...

We take our pups all the time! Our favorites are Big Star and Irazu. We typically toss a few chips their way then they just stare at us the whole time... the only problem we've ever had was Rudie trying to chase pigeons on the Irazu patio and almost pulling the table over. We're going to try Five Star soon, thanks for the tip.

Kari in WeHo said...

LA has lots of dog friendly restaurants. Here in Vegas, no one eats outside in the summer when there is AC available

Kari
http://dogisgodinreverse.com

mayziegal said...

Well, I don't pawticularly like to go to outdoor restaurants. Mom thinks it's cuz the hustle and bustle skeers me. But really, it's cuz they should let us INSIDE with the air conditioning.

Brudder Ranger likes it, though. And mom and dad usually do all the things you suggested - specially the part about picking a corner table. Mom says that's Most Important.

Wiggles & Wags,
mayzie

rottrover said...

Great tips! Especially the pre-walk and the down-stay practice. Thanks!

-Gizmo, Bart and Ruby

ForPetsSake said...

You have an award waiting for you on our Monday morning blog!

houndstooth said...

I would love to enjoy more outdoor dining with our dogs. We haven't found a lot of places that are particularly dog friendly, but I do want to try it at least once this summer if it doesn't get too hot. Bunny is used to outdoor dining and would do fine. Morgan I'm not so sure about. Often, if I know we're going to be somewhere where I need them to lay down and be good, I'll take something along that they can chew on for a while while we're eating, and I have a roll up dog bed that goes with us.

Kate@TwentySixToLife said...

The pics just keep getting better and better! I love that you were able to manage all three while dining out. I need to find a dog friendly place to eat around here, I know Heidi and Nemo would love that.

brooke said...

Darwin's slowly becoming better at coming out to eat with us. There are a few dog friendly bars that allow dogs inside and she's slowly starting to actually lay down and relax when we're out. Most of the time she's standing, pacing, not being able to relax. But she's finally realizing it's okay to lay down! It helps if there's something for her to lay on too.

A Couple of Misfits said...

I've only done this once, and it was also in a very dog friendly location. The outdoor seating was completely packed though, and there were a couple close calls with Skye's tail. Like you, I made sure the dogs were extra tired out before going. I also brought a new rawhide for Skye to munch on to ensure that she wasn't tempted by all the smells on the table above her!

Benny and Lily said...

Always love exploring the city or area as you do. Mom laughed at your comment today about being "tour guides." Scary!! did you read her mind..check out the post for tomorrow.
Benny & Lily

Tucker The Crestie said...

We dine out with the dogs quite frequently as well, and the table in the corner works well for us also. And of course, the more they go, the better behave they are when they go, and the more likely we are to want to take them. A nice self-perpetuating cycle.

road-dog-tales said...

Unfortunately, last year Charleston decided to start enforcing an ordinance that apparently had been on the books for years, stating that dogs were NOT allowed at outdoor dining areas UNLESS the restaurant used only disposable dishes and utensils. BUMMER! Many restaurants refused to comply, so we are left with very few restaurants downtown that will allow dogs anymore. Some of the outlying neighborhoods are a bit more dog friendly. But we're giving Charleston a big paws down for this turn of events! And we say PAWS UP to Chicago!

The Road Dogs'

Two Grad Students and a Pittie said...

We ate outside twice with Havi, shes definitely getting better at it. The hard part is getting her to settle down and stop pacing. However, the long walk first definitely helps. I need to work on down stays though, like you said!

twogradstudentsandapittie.blogspot.com

Mr. Pip said...

Pip is not as well behaved as Miss M. and Mr. B. He likes to bark at us while we eat (this bad habit started when he was 10) so we are always nervous about taking him out to restaurants where he might bother others.

jet said...

That is great! We don't have a lot of dog-friendly places to dine where we live, there is only really a couple that I know of and one doesn't have a lot of room for the doggies to lie down. Usually we just get take away and sit in a park!

Mary said...

We have not braved taking both dogs to eat someplace since adopting Neptune. They are both such beggars (thanks to living with my mom who spoiled them and now Jason who spoils them), I don't know how enjoyable it would be. Maybe if we went on a long walk and then sat down, like you suggested. Of course now it's so hot, they would act miserable the entire time. High-maintenance!

Jacquelin Cangro said...

I, too, thought that I'd spend lots of hours hanging at Brooklyn outdoor cafes and picnics. No can do. It's hard for Reggie with all the passing dogs and food.

Good suggestion about trying to get an out of the way table.

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