Tips for Finding Dog-Friendly Businesses
Shopping with dogs, working with dogs and traveling with dogs present special problems as you try to negotiate retail and business activities with your dog in tow. But for those of us who want our pups to accompany us while we complete everyday tasks, finding dog-friendly retail and professional outlets is a challenge. Some of us would even like to take our dogs to work with us on a daily basis.
While most retail outlets do not have a dog-friendly sign on the door, many will allow you to bring your dog inside if you follow the rules: no barking, no running, no accidents, no biting. The better your dog can behave consistently, the more local businesses are willing to bend the rules, look the other way or even welcome your dog with open arms.
While finding a dog-friendly business may be the result of a lucky accident, creating and cultivating dog friendliness in the business world is a diplomatic art.
You can assist the business world in a shift toward being more tolerant of dogs by following a few behavior modifications to train local businesses you patronize to accept dogs:
Patronize dog-friendly businesses consistently and tell your friends about them. It is your responsibility to reward good behavior with your patronage.
Work with your dog to make sure he is business friendly: gentle, clean, quiet and charming. You cannot blame a business that doesn't enjoy hosting your growling and leaping animal.
For service businesses such as salons or cafes that allow you to bring your dog, tip generously. It is very hard for somebody to prohibit visits from a good tipper.
At work, should you be allowed to bring your dog, make sure you have a comfortable spot for him in your work area, cubicle or office. Bring his food, keep water for him, and use your breaks to take him on short walks. And remember, if you really want your dog to be allowed at work, demonstrate that a happy employee is a very, very productive employee. It is very hard for good bosses to take steps to de-motivate a good worker.
Recently, a more tolerant shift toward dog-friendly dining in cafes and patios and dog-friendly shopping in retail outlets has occurred. Businesses seek customers and will not turn away customers with four feet as they had in the past.
Inspired by the trend toward pet inclusion in all aspects of modern life, many local dog groups have begun to reward local businesses for being pet-friendly. Behaviors like this help take the stigma away from pet visits to retail outlets.
Nevertheless, some local businesses will always be off limits to dogs and some major retail chains will always prohibit dogs. An angry dog off leash at just one Home Depot store created such a stir that all Home Depot stores now forbid pets inside.
The best way to address whether dogs are welcome or not is to try to take your dog inside. Most of the time, in fact the vast majority of the time, you and your dog will be welcomed and assisted. Consider a "No Pets" sign to be a clear indication that the gates are shut. No sign means you should give the business the benefit of the doubt and take the opportunity to change the world for the better by shopping with your pet.
About the Author: Helen Fazio and her dog Raja blog on pet travel and related topics at www.traveldogbooks.com. In their first book, "The Journey of the Shih Tzu," Raja tells the wolf to woof story of the development of this amazing breed. They are working on forthcoming titles.
Related Advice from Other Dog Owners
Dog Laws to be Aware of
There are many laws pertaining to dogs, however they will vary depending on where you live. Many places have laws such as -
Dogs must be leashed
Fines for not cleaning up after your dog
Fines for excessive barking
Breed Specific Laws
City or Town License requirements
You also may not allowed to bring a dog into many places such as restaurants, some stores, etc. You will usually see signs on the door when a dog is not allowed, otherwise you may want to ask if it is okay to bring your dog into an establishment.
The best bet is to go to your city or town website and search the laws there, or visit city hall for the specifics of being a responsible, law abiding dog owner in your town.
~Tracey G., owner of Sato
Your Legal Rights If Your Dog Bites Another Dog
You have the right to know the procedures you are paying for. What is to keep them from having all sorts of things done to their dog on your dime if you don't know what is being done. It's not like you are asking for the dogs health records. The owners need to work with you since you are taking responsibility.
If this turns into an issue, you can call Legal Aid. They will just give you some advice at little or no charge, and a course to follow.
This will show you are trying to be responsible for your dogs behavior, but the owners are refusing to allow you to know what you are paying for.
I wouldn't pay for anything until I was handed an itemized bill. So until the owners contact you, I wouldn't shell out a dime, but I would consult legal advice for my own protection.
~Theresa H., owner of Breed Unknown
Your Rights When Your Dog is Injured at the Dog Park
I was involved in an incident at our local dog park last year, and while my own dogs were not involved, I ended up with broken skin on my wrist and hand, as I reached in to stop a mastiff puppy from killing a poodle puppy (yes, I know, I should not have jumped in the middle, but... it's hard not to intervene and help out in a scary situation like that!)
The poodle owner's dad kept angrily insisting that the mastiff owner pay for the pup's surgery, and (to try to defuse the situation) I called my trainer for her opinion. She has a lot of experience with this kind of thing, and she said: "Dog owners enter a dog park at their own risk. If their dog is injured, they are legally obligated to care for their injured dog. If the other party (the owner of the dog that inflicted damage) offers to pay, that's great! But there is no legal obligation."
~Wendy D., owner of German Shepherd
Tips on taking photos with your camera phone
For best results with a camera phone, take the photos outside, in the sunlight, shooting away from the sun. i.e. Have the dog facing the sunlight but you face the camera away.
~Jayj G., owner of Labrador Retriever/Jack Russell Terrier
When you rescue a dog from a shelter, it's ok to change its name
Changing his name from the name assigned at the shelter is fine and it's a good way to get your dog to learn his new name. Get a handful of yummy treats. Feed them one at a time, saying the pup's new name in varying tones and volume as the food hits his mouth. This helps create a positive association with their name, and ultimately helps with recall too.
~Karolyn W., owner of German Shorthaired Pointer/Boxer