Dog-friendly Patio Tips

The weather is getting warmer and in the Twin Cities that means PATIO SEASON! Many of our local patios are dog-friendly but before heading out with your canine companion check out these 10 tips for making your patio experience enjoyable for you, your dog, and those sitting around you.

  1. Before bringing your dog along consider this: Will your dog be able to relax on the patio? Many dogs (mine included) are simply too excitable, social or high-energy for a laid back patio setting. If this is the case you may want to leave Fido at home or consider enjoying that beer with your pooch in your own backyard.
  2. Keep a short leash. Retractable leashes are not a good fit for a patio setting. Be sure your dog is on a relatively short leash and not getting in the way of servers or other restaurant patrons.
  3. Does your dog keep its cool around other dogs? If you’re going to a well-known dog-friendly patio, chances are another dog or two, or five, will be there as well. Will your dog be ok hanging out with you? Or will it be too excited and want to play with the other dogs?
  4. Bring treats! This is HUGE. You will likely be sitting in one spot for at least an hour. Bring treats and a favorite toy(s) to keep your dog preoccupied.
  5. Water is a must. Your server may or may not offer to bring you a bowl of water for your dog. To be on the safe side – be prepared to bring your own bowl.
  6. Know when to leave. Maybe your dog is usually great in busy, public settings but today he’s just having an off day. Be prepared to pay your tab and head home early.
  7. Have you been to this patio before? Generally speaking it may not be a good idea to bring your dog to a patio you’ve never been to before. Scope the place out before bringing your furry friend along. It may be “dog-friendly” but that doesn’t mean it’s a good atmosphere for your pup.
  8. Potty before patio. This is pretty self-explanatory.
  9. Puppies may not be ready. I know your puppy is adorable. Servers, your fellow patio goers, and other patrons will likely “ooo” and “awww” and ask to pet him. But let’s be honest: sitting calmly for even minutes at a time is tough for a pup! If your puppy hasn’t mastered basic obedience training (sit, down, quiet, heel etc.) then patio time may not be enjoyable for either of you.
  10. Before sitting down, be sure your aren’t barking up the wrong tree. If you’re about to take a seat next to another table, it’s polite to ask them if they mind sitting next to a dog. Yes, it’s a dog-friendly patio but it’s just common courtesy to check with your neighbors and server to be sure your dog is welcome.

Don’t know where to go? Check out Sidewalk Dog’s 100 patios in the Twin Cities that are dog-friendly.