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.
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.
DON’T DO THESE THINGS:
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.
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.
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.
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.