Miss Manner’s Top 10 Tips For Pooch Patio Etiquette

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With summer in full force, we’re all no doubt partaking in that favorite summer ritual – the patio. What better way to kill a lazy afternoon than sitting under a canvas brolly with the sun on your back, your bevvie of choice in hand, and your best friends close by. All of your best friends.

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These days most restaurants with patios or decks allow Rover to join the party with some even rolling out a special menu created just for him. Of course said menu is served up to coincide with the delivery of your own munchies thus avoiding the inevitable pleading/begging/puppy dog eyes that your little guy can be prone to when you’re eating and he isn’t. But what to do when the smell of nachos, burgers, and fries keep wafting past your table to the one next door? Enter patio pet-iquette. Yes, according to Open Table – the world’s leading provider of online restaurant reservations – it’s important that all diners obey the rules of al fresco dining to ensure management doesn’t incur the wrath of other patrons and have to make a tough decision about whether to preclude Rover in future. Here are our Top 10 rules, inspired by Miss Manners (the leading authority for all things manner-related) for ensuring all patrons enjoy the experience:

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  1. Our furry guys are curious about anything that smells like food so bring along some small, discrete treats you can use to take the edge off his appetite. This will make the food on your (and other diners’) plates a lot less appealing.
  2. Keep your pooch on a leash at all times, and ensure he is situated either under your table or on the far side of any entries, exits or aisles.
  3. What you do at home is your choice, but never allow him to eat, drink or lick any of the dishes at the restaurant. And it’s also a big nope to letting him up on the chairs or furniture.
  4. Concrete or stone can get hot/cold and is always uncomfortable, so bring a clean rug, mat or pad for your dog to lie on. This can prevent him from getting restless and ensure he is more likely to lie quietly. Note: leave bulkier doggie beds at home.
  5. Bring a calmer pup onto the patio by ensuring he has been walked and pottied beforehand.
  6. Missed point #5? If your pet has an accident, clean it up immediately and be discrete. Fellow diners don’t want to hear about it and you should never expect servers to deal with this. This means you need to bring wet naps, zip lock or poop bags bags, and a couple sheets of paper towel.
  7. Play fair or risk having dogs banished for good. If there are areas specified for diners with pets, that’s where you sit. Restaurants can be fined for disobeying health and safety rules, so make sure you’re not sitting in an off-limits area.
  8. You aren’t the only one on the patio so you need to be respectful of other diners. Keep Rover near you and under control (leashed). Other diners may acknowledge and pat your pet, but it doesn’t mean they want him table-side when they start to eat.
  9. If he’s being a good boy, be sure to tell him and offer him a little treat and a pat. If you ignore him, he may decide to get your attention and that just never ends well.
  10. In addition to leaving a tip for your server, take a moment to thank the manager for allowing you to bring your pup. Positive feedback can go a long way in ensuring the opportunity to enjoy summer dining with your pet continues.

Mary SimpsonMary Simpson is an animal-loving writer and communications professional.  A soft touch for anything stray, she shares her century home with an eclectic collection of rescues that include orange tabby Chico, tuxedo Simon, and jet black Owen. She enjoys running, politics, exploring local wine regions and is an avid supporter of the “shop local” movement.