Thursday, April 5, 2012

'How-to' Dine Outdoors with Your Dog

 With the weather warming up in Chicago, all the restaurants are starting to pull out their chairs for outdoor dining. So in the spirit of our "How-to" week, here is what we learned about dogs and outdoor dining (complete with cameo from former foster dog Bella!).
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 when your dog is as weird as 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?


Kate said...

Great tips. I love how dog friendly Chicago is. We don't get to take our dogs to many outdoor restaurants like this and I wish we could do it more often.

Rebelwerewolf said...

Great advice. As the weather warms up and outdoor seating returns, I'll definitely be calling a few of our favorite restaurants to ask if they allow dogs.

K-Koira said...

I generally bring along one of my crate mats, so that my dog has a designated place to hang out. That way, she doesn't have to be in a down stay, as long as she hangs out on her mat. I find it a little less restrictive for her.

I also always bring along my own water bowl for the dogs.

Unknown said...

I don't live in a dog friendly area, but when we're eating on the deck, I like to give Buster a Kong with frozen peanut butter in it. That gives him something to do besides bathe in his own drool. (super food motivated, this one)

Anonymous said...

Can not agree more with the "pre-walk" part! We also like to bring a Very Special Toy, or something that Oscar only gets on special occasions (like an antler, they're his favorite), to keep him occupied.

Patty said...

Great post! I usually bring a nylabone or something for Sophie to chew on to keep her occupied.

AJ said...

What my husband and I learned during last summer when we took Roadie out with us to meals was not to be afraid to walk him out if he started to act up. We always bring treat stuffed Kongs and chews for him to stay occupied. But occasionally he can get a little antsy, especially if he sees another dog. So like parents with a fussy child, one of us stays at the table while the other does a 30 to 60 second "reset" walk away from the distraction with him to help him calm down again.

Anonymous said...

Great advice! Knox had this down, but it's a struggle to re-train each new foster (but it's great exposure for them!) When they are still learning, we often bring a bully stick or something to keep them busy and help them 'stay' in their down stay for a while. Makes eating dinner for us a little bit easier since they are distracted!

Two French Bulldogs said...

we bring a towel to sit on some times and the best real meat treats to keep our attention. Are you guys always well behaved
Benny & Lily

Anonymous said...

That FiveStar restaurant sounds like a great place! Picking a corner table to avoid surprise visitors is a great idea! :) Mom likes corner tables too. Likes to keep her eye on who's comin or goin. And to make sure noone can steal her food. BOL ;)

Waggin at ya,

Unknown said...

I used to put Vegas is sit/down-stays and reward with treats. Extended time between treats little by little. Now he knows he will get a yummy special treat once I'm done, so he just hangs out. If he gets distracted by an excited dog or something like that, I'll run through a quick series of commands he's got down and treat for his attention and response. Helps him remember to ignore the chaos and focus on me (cuz I have the yummy stuff)

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