5 Mistakes That Can Get You Kicked Out of a Dog Friendly Restaurant

We are lucky to have a lot of dog-friendly restaurants in Seattle.

Not only are there restaurants where you can sit on the patio outside with your dog, but there are a few that allow you to actually eat inside with your dog!

I love taking Gretel with me to a local pub or cafe on the way back from our hikes.

I admit she is not always the best behaved dogs though.

I see some dogs in restaurants quietly laying at their owner’s feet just minding their own business. They’re obviously well socialized and well trained.

Gretel, on the other hand, can be grumpy with strange people and dogs sometimes. Once or twice, we’ve almost been kicked out of a dog friendly restaurant.

Dachshund Eating at Norm's Dog Friendly Restaurant in Seattle

The worst experience was when I invited 12 of our Dachshund friends to meet at a restaurant that had a sign out front that said “dog friendly”. I didn’t call ahead to ask if I could bring a large group of dogs in and but they begrudgingly accommodated us.

UNTIL all of the dogs started barking at once. It turns out that some of the dogs in the group thought every bang in the kitchen (it was a small place so they could hear it) was a knock and would bark.

Once one dog barked, the rest chimed in. Each time, it would take us a minute or two to get everyone quiet again.

After the second time, a really pissed-off waiter stormed over to our table and sternly told us to leave if we couldn’t keep our dogs quiet. We had just started eating so we finished but felt his eyes burning into the back of our heads the whole time.

It was very uncomfortable. Unfortunately, it’s not the first time I’ve come close to being asked to leave due to the behavior of my own dogs or my friends dogs.

You can learn from our mistakes.


Show Up with a Bunch of Friends without Giving the Restaurant Notice

What’s more fun than dining out at a restaurant with your dog? Inviting a few friends to meet you there.

However, showing up with 4 or more people and dogs (4 is an average “large” table setting) unannounced probably won’t make any friends with there restaurant staff. In fact, they may be wishing you were leaving the moment you step in the door.

Instead, call ahead to make sure they have a table big enough to accommodate you or can push a few tables together before you show up.

Also keep in mind that some restaurants do allow dogs inside on the down-low but don’t want a whole crowd coming in and attracting attention.

Calling ahead gives the restaurant staff the opportunity to tell you they aren’t cool with that many dogs showing up and once.

Photo Credit: Depositphotos/budabar

Let Your Dog Bark

Dogs bark sometimes. It’s impossible to completely stop them from barking 100% of the time.

However, most dog friendly restaurants state that only “well-behaved dogs are allowed”. This refers to many behaviors but it definitely includes barking.

Basically, dogs are allowed in the restaurant if they are seen but not heard.

Instead, teach your dog the “quiet” command, and get them used to hearing a lot of strange noises, before you bring  your dog into restaurants.

If  your dog does accidentally bark, make a visible effort to quiet them and act apologetic if the neighboring restaurant patrons look at you or the waitperson comes over.

If you can’t keep your dog from barking, you may need to have your food packaged to go and leave.

You Must Follow These Rules if You Bring Your Dog to a Dog Friendly Restaurant

Let Your Dog Wander to Other Tables

Most people who bring their dog to a restaurant know to keep them on a leash so they don’t roam and bother people. Unfortunately, some restaurants are cramped and seating is close together, so a leash doesn’t always solve the problem.

Even if your dog is leashed, it might not be short enough to keep them from sniffing other tables or trying to lick or paw other people at the restaurant.

Remember that not everyone likes dogs in restaurants.

One would hope they would expect to have encounters with dogs if they go to a dog friendly restaurant but the truth is that they may not be tolerant of others’ dogs.

They may not have known the restaurant is dog friendly so they may not have expected to see dogs. Also, even people who like dogs probably don’t want some dog they don’t know bothering them while they eat.

If you can’t shorten your dog’s leash enough, you might need to use some kind of dog treat to distract them. Some good options are Leanlix lickable dog treats or Cloudstar Tricky Trainers (these are affiliate links so I get a small commission of you buy them).

The nice thing about something like Leanlix is you don’t end up with beef or chicken or whatever flavored crumbs on your hands. Personally, if I am not careful, I end up eating the crumbs it with my fries.


Let Your Dog Sit on the Table

This is probably a moot point if you don’t have a small dog. However, many people with small dogs sit at a restaurant with their dog on their lap.

It’s really easy, and tempting for a dog, to take that extra step from your lap to climb up on the table.

Some small dog owners aren’t bothered by that and some don’t really notice because they are too busy chatting with friends. You can bet that other people at the restaurant, and restaurant staff, notice though.

By letting a dog into a restaurant in the first place, the establishment is likely risking a health department violation. Dirty dog paws, or a dog butt, on the table would be a health violation for sure and may result in other patrons reporting them.

Dachshund Hanging Out in a Dog Friendly Restaurant

Be Rude to the Restaurant Staff

Being able to dine at a restaurant with your dog is a privilege. In most cases, the restaurant is ignoring the law to allow you to do so.

Be kind to the staff or they may ask you to leave. Saying, “dogs aren’t allowed in the restaurant” is a quick and easy way to get rid of you.

If, for any reason the restaurant staff does ask to you leave, be polite, ask them to box up your meal to go, wait outside until they bring it out to you, and find somewhere nearby, like a park bench, to finish eating.

Your experience will be much more enjoyable if you make sure your dog has good table manners. Do you have any tips for eating at restaurants with  your dog?

You may also be interested in this guide to dog friendly bars in Seattle.

5 Mistakes That Can Get Your Kicked Out of a Dog Friendly Restaurant

About the Author

Hi, I’m Jessica. I’m a Dachshund sitter, President of the largest social Dachshund club in Washington State, a dog trainer in training, and I’ve been a Dachshund owner for 20 years. I have over 150,000 hours of experience with the breed. When I’m not working, you can find me hiking, camping, and traveling with my adventurous wiener dogs.


  1. Barley and Rye know that when I’m eating, they need to be in a down beside me–even at home (that’s the only way they have any hope of getting a little nibble!). They think it’s even better at a restaurant because I always order something with fries to share or pizza so they can have some bites of crust and they know they aren’t getting any of that if they aren’t doing what they’re supposed to 🙂

    1. That’s great that they are so well trained. Gretel knows two things: No staring at eye level (which means off the couch) and, at a restaurant, to sit on a “target” like a little blanket I bring for her. It’s not 100% fool proof but, generally, she stays under the table and doesn’t beg other than looking at me sometimes.

  2. Dog friendly restaurants are rare here (other than outside obviously) but we went to one in Minnesota and I felt suuuuuper exposed every time Robin even clinked his collar or shook. I expect him to basically turn into a stuffed animal while I’m eating. He’s generally very polite but sometimes he will try to say catch the eye of someone at a nearby table for pets and attention and I’m always embarrassed haha.

    1. I am sure Robin is VERY well behaved as dogs go. Most patrons of true dog friendly restaurants are very forgiving of dogs that want to say hi. However, I’ve been to many that claim to be dog friendly but encountered other patrons that were rude or angry about me bringing Chester or Gretel onto the patio. I leave if I can, or try my best to stay far away from them, but I definitely know what it feels like to be self conscious the whole meal. Thanks for stopping by and commenting BTW! I hope you guys are well.

  3. One of the best things I ever taught Honey is that she doesn’t get a morsel unless she’s lying down. Everyone thinks she exceptionally well behaved in restaurants. But I know she’s actually just begging. 🙂

    One other bad behavior I’ve witnessed in restaurants is people letting their dogs lick the plates. That’s the kind of thing that really freaks out dog-haters and is a huge faux-paws.

  4. Oh how I wish I was at that restaurant when All those Dachshunds started barking❤️
    I have one and my little girl will start out with a little What’s up bark and if not acknowledged, she’ll start getting squealer until it’s a high ear piercing annoying loud squeaky bark. She gets her older brother, Beagle mix to chime in also.
    I have no problems with it, most the time unless I need to answer phone calls, home business. My husband finds it most annoying for the dogs to bark. Dogs are Supposed to bark, it’s their Duty to protect us 🙂 he’s always shushing them, which is more annoying.
    I haven’t witnessed more than 2 Dachshunds barking at once. Were they barking in harmony? ?
    I don’t know, but a True “dog friendly “ establishment Should be used to dogs barking. My dogs & I have been to pet stores where one dog will bark & it starts. Employees & customers all start laughing. I myself like a little doggy chaos.
    I Hope the food & company was enjoyable!

  5. I have a bigger dog (65 lb lab mix) so some of this didn’t relate to me, but overall great info! We’ve taken Kermit out since he was 12 weeks old (he’s currently 3) so he knows pretty much how to behave. He does loooove attention though so keeping him from begging off other tables can sometimes be a challenge. Great reminders for everyone! If more people were polite with their dogs (or taught their dogs manners) there would be more dog friendly places! Luckily we have a lot of dog friendly restaurants with patios near us, and some dog friendly shops too! Loving this blog! 🙂

  6. Ha-ha, a “mute point” ?? If you are going to attempt to write an article, please learn the language.

    1. Everyone is allowed a typo now and then (thanks for pointing it out). Going through life being critical of strangers and unforgiving of such things is sad to me.

  7. Great information!! Sadly, my Dachshunds think they are German Shepherds trapped in Dachshund bodies 🙂 and feel the need to bark at every dog, biker, or jogger that passes by. They’ve gotten better about it, especially when at a restaurant but I certainly don’t want to be “that person” to other patrons. These are definitely good tips to get asked to leave.

  8. I enjoyed this article. Finding a restaurant that allows dogs around here is pretty rare. But, these tips will be good to keep in mind if I do find one to take my two dachshunds with me. Nice Job.

  9. Why do you need to bring a dog inside a restaurant? Why is it that you have to take them to places where food and drinks are served? No matter how much you clean them, dogs shed and dogs carry germs. Why is it so important that we take dogs to the same places where others are eating?

    1. Hi Nyla. I certainly don’t NEED to bring my dog inside of a restaurant. 99% of the time I go to restaurants, I don’t take them. However, if I am just going out with some fellow dog friends, who also see their dogs as family and favorite companions, and the establishment has decided to allow dogs inside (almost all of those don’t actually serve food on premises), it’s cool to be able to do so sometimes. I’ll end with the age-old rebuttal to your “carry germs” argument. Children often carry more germs that dogs and they are allowed in restaurants. They are also allowed to sit and the table, put their hands on the table, and drool everywhere, and cough (expelling germs). My dog does not drool nor sit on the table so I argue, even inf the germ density was the same, that they are being spread around less by my dog. And I won’t even get into how many adults don’t wash their hands after using the restroom.

    2. Why are dirty babies full of germs, runny noses, sticky fingers, screaming, dirty diapers, bothering other diners allowed in establishments? GROSS! LEAVE THEM AT HOME! I’d rather have a dog as a neighbor, cuter, cleaner, friendlier, nicer.

  10. My little dog was allowed in a bar, reluctantly at first. He sat on my lap while my companion and I chatted and had a couple of glasses of wine. My little boy was quiet and took in the scenery. He was so well behaved that people were so surprised that a dog was in the bar. He was so much better behaved than the patrons. He didn’t bark or make a peep. The bartender rewarded him with pastrami! Everyone LOVED him. He’s the BEST hands down! People were gushing on him and he loved it. The life of the party. It was too hot outside for him and I appreciated that the bartender allowed him to sit inside with me. He was at the bar with me.

  11. We have showed up to a couple restaurants with the boys, and have had two of them actually tell us they would be happy to prepare our food to go but we couldn’t dine on the patio where 2 other tables had dogs, the reason was that our dogs were too big. Both are Great Danes, and the staff thought it would be too hard to get around. I guess I kind of understand but our dogs generally just sit or lay next to us While we eat. They will stand up if a patron walks towards them to a) let them pass, they understand they are big or b) hopefully get some attention. We bring them to outdoor bars or restaurants with beach area dining and they always attract a lot of attention, we have some local places that seem disappointed when we show up without them.

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience. I guess I can see that due to size but it’s unfortunate. At least they offered to make you food to go instead of just saying no.

  12. That makes sense that letting your dog go from table to table would be a bad idea. I could see how that would be especially annoying to the people that don’t like animals at the restaurant. I’ll have to keep that in mind and make sure my dog is well behaved if I decide to take him to a restaurant.

  13. My husband and I lived in Colorado where dogs were allowed to be in restaurants with you. We moved to West Texas and there is one that allows a patio serving only!! That’s with restrictions of the breed of dog too.

    The furry friends (we have 3 – 1 small, 2 large) don’t need to be on the table at all. The large ones need to just be watched closely, but they all need to be trained properly.

    If you don’t have them trained, something can happen and then it’s your fault, no one else’s.

  14. You made a good point that the tables should be off-limits in a dog-friendly bar. I’d like to start taking my dog to one frequently because I my pet gets nervous in the presence of other dogs. Maybe it would be great if she can work on her fears by trying to interact with other dogs.

    1. Hi Alice. Throwing a dog into a situation that makes her nervous and expecting her not to be is setting the dog up for failure. I suggest you look into desensitization exercises to get her more comfortable with other dogs first before taking her into a dog friendly restaurant.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.