Shops And Cafés With Our Dogs Part I

Dogs left unsupervised are at risk. This dog is clearly not comfortable with me approaching, lucky I know enough about dogs to stay away, but the next person may not.

Dogs left unsupervised are at risk. I can see this dog is clearly not comfortable with me approaching, but the next person may not see what I can see.

Our dogs love us so it stands to reason that they would want to engage in as many activities with us as possible right? Wrong. Many dogs struggle with the expectations we place on them by taking them to certain places we find enjoyable and assume they would enjoy too.

Activities that include visiting the café and being tied up outside of the shops (or other places) can all be forced on a dog. Quite often dogs are taken to such places to ‘kill two birds with one stone’, a person can get some of their jobs done while at the same time taking the dog for a walk. Problems occur when a dog is not properly prepared for these scenarios and therefore finds them stressful so they serve no real purpose other than to reinforce unwanted behaviours and fears.

Many people want a dog they can take to the café, the ideal scenario is to sit and enjoy a meal and beverage with a dog quietly relaxing at your feet. The reality is more like the dog tangles the lead around the chair legs and tables, barks at every person/dog/car/bike that goes past and spends time begging for food. If your dog is unsettled, shifting around a lot and vocal while at the café the likelihood is that they are not enjoying themselves, likewise with dogs who are tied up outside of shops.

A dog tied up is a dog with no escape and is a dog at risk. Without supervision dogs cannot be managed so are left to their own devices to cry, bark and even practice aggressive behaviours. In this situation not only are the dogs not supervised the people they come in to contact with are also not supervised. It is dog park etiquette that you never let your dog out of sight, why should this be any different at the shops? Added to this is also the risk of a dog being stolen.

Visits to the cafe and being tied up requires periods of sitting idle in high traffic areas. Be mindful of your dogs temperament and think about how he would feel in these scenarios.  If your dog is generally fearful and anxious he would probably prefer being left at home and taken out later for a scratch and sniff walk that is suited specifically for him.

Human activities such as visits to the café and being tied up outside the shops are completely foreign to dogs so they need to be trained and socialised in preparation for them.  My next post will focus on how you can prepare your dog for such activities and reduce the risk of unwanted behaviours being practiced. At best they may learn to tolerate it but, depending on their temperament, some dogs may never be capable of sharing such activities with their human.


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