Saturday, March 1, 2014

Training for a well mannered “café dog”

Would you like to have your dog calmly laying by your table at a sidewalk café, while you enjoy a coffee and good conversation with a friend?  You can train for this, and it does require training. 

While there are many restaurants with outside patios and tables where a dog would be allowed, in every case where the restaurant prohibits it, it is not because of the health codes (they’ll say it is because they don’t want to offend you).  It’s because dog owners who didn’t train their dogs ruined the dining experience for the other customers.  So let’s go on a campaign to create well mannered café dogs!

What is a well mannered café dog?  Let’s list the behaviors involved:


  1. Is calm and quiet in the presence of lots of distractions including:
    a.       Other dogs in the environment, including other dogs who are not well mannered.
    b.      Food servers walking up with trays of food that smell very tempting to the dog
    c.       Banging and crashing of dishes, glasses, plates
    d.      Food within reach and often under the table.
    e.      Food that is accidentally dropped on or near the dog.
2.       Able to “down stay” for long periods of time.

3.       Able to maneuver under a chair or the table—ie, willing to lay down where you want him to lay down, because as a polite customer you’re doing to make sure he is out of the foot traffic of other customers and the food servers.  This one takes a lot of special training and is very important.
4.      Able to stay in that position even as YOU carefully maneuver YOUR position.  You may scoot your chair out, move it a bit, etc.  None of this is a signal to your dog to get up.  

How would your dog do today against these criteria?  How would you set up a training plan to improve in these areas?  I’ll  address that in upcoming posts. 


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