How to Take Your Dog in Public

3 Mins read

It’s increasingly popular to want to take your dog in public, and some people take their dog everywhere they go.

You’ll see restaurant and bar patios that are dog friendly, as well as retailers and other venues.

There are things you have to think about logistically before you take your dog with you in public, however.

For example, how is your dog with other people and dogs? You could be legally liable if your dog attacks someone when you’re in public.

You have to consider not just your dog’s level of possible aggression but their general behavior. Are they ready to go with you to certain places?

The following are things to consider.

Where Can You Go?

The first thing to do before taking your dog in public with you is to make sure they’re actually welcome there. Some venues and their customers can get really upset if you bring a dog when they aren’t welcome.

If you aren’t sure, call the place you plan to go and see what they say.

For example, while a restaurant might have a dog-friendly patio, the vast majority of restaurants aren’t going to let you have a non-service dog inside the restaurant around people who are eating.

Does Your Dog Understand Basic Commands?

Taking a new puppy in public probably isn’t the best idea. Your dog needs to be well-controlled and behaved at all times when they’re on and off their leash.

Before you take a dog out and about with you, they should have a grasp of basic commands like sit and stay.

Your dog should also be able to manage its behavior even in an environment with a lot of distractions.

If you haven’t done any kind of training with your puppy, you should before taking them out with you.

You can do some basic obedience training on your own, without a class or professional, as long as your dog is generally well behaved. To do this, all you’ll need are a collar and leash, treats, a treat bag you can slip on your belt, and a willingness to dedicate time and consistency to training your dog.

Pack a Supply Bag

Taking a dog into public can be like taking a baby or toddler out and about.

You’ll probably want to pack a bag each time you go.

Your bag should include a leash and a collar or harness.

You should make sure your dog is wearing an ID tag with your contact information, and you should bring a collapsible dog bowl along with a bottle of water. If you’re heading out for most of the day, you might also want to bring food.

Bring some plastic doggy bags, and if you’re going to be driving, you should use a car restraint. Dogs that aren’t restrained are at risk of being seriously injured or even killed if you’re in a car accident.

Not every dog is meant to be in a public or social situation, so be aware of this. For example, if your dog is fearful in public, then they should stay home.

If you aren’t sure how your dog will react, practice at home or in a contained environment. For example, maybe you have a friend with a dog come by so that you can see what your dog’s behavior is like. You can also visit a dog park and see how your dog does there.

General Etiquette Tips

Any time you bring your dog somewhere with you, make sure you’re respectful of the place you’re at and the other people around you.

Bring your waste disposal bags with you, and promptly clean up after your dog.

You might also want to bring a towel or blanket in case your dog slobbers or makes a mess on the floor in any way. Your dog can also rest on it if they want.

Your dog needs to be on a leash when you’re around other people. If you’re in a restaurant, keep them under the table or out of the main walkway.

Understand that not everyone is going to love having your dog around as much as you do. If they aren’t behaving or they’re barking or causing a disruption, leave the situation.

The goal is to not have other people even notice that your dog is there.

Some dogs love being out and about and thrive in social situations, while others don’t. It’s up to you as a responsible pet owner to know what’s best for your dog and to be respectful of others.