One of the most wonderful things about living in a place like Los Angeles — AKA the great weather capital of America — is there are countless restaurants and eateries with beautiful outdoor patios to dine, sip cocktails, and socialize with your furry companion in tow.
In fact, L.A. is probably one of the more pet-friendly cities in the country. And it’s not just restaurants which have gotten on the pet-loving bandwagon. Not only can you let little Fifi tag along to Sunday brunch with the girls, but you can also find hair salons like Xylem Salon & Spa in Monrovia that allow you to bring your pooch to enjoy their beautiful patio space whilst you get your hair did.
“We welcome pets of all sizes in our salon,” says salon owner, Teresa Baez. “Whether it’s a little dog in a designer carrier or a large dog on a leash, we welcome all!”
Baez also allows her employees to bring their dogs to work and has even hosted “Yappy Hour” events. Yappy hour is like happy hour — but way better because a portion of the proceeds made from boozy sales goes to benefit an animal welfare organization like Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA. Who doesn’t love a good buzz for a great cause?
And once you’re quaffed and spritzed, you can seek knowledge and adventure in a good book or peruse the spring line in Vogue at Vromans Bookstore where your friendly dog is always welcome.
I would love to be able to take my dogs Madeline and Oliver on a fun doggy date like this, but alas, these two aren’t well suited for lingering champagne brunches, spa treatments and bookstores, which is too bad because they absolutely adorable. I’d love nothing more than to show them off like the cute little trophy pups I wish they were.
Trophy pups are usually friendly though — and Maddie is anything but friendly. In fact, she’s an elitist snob who’d sooner take a chunk out of your ankle as look at you. Her bark can be heard from space, and she’s never met another dog she didn’t want to attack for no good reason.
So as much as I’d love to sit at a quaint cafe with my little toothless demon, I don’t take her to public places like restaurants or bookstores because she’d no doubt cause a scene that would result in some sort of legal action against me. Seriously, she’s a mean ol’ bitty. And I love her.
Ollie, on the other hand, would make a perfect doggy date out on the town because he’s gentle, sweet and downright lazy. So he would have no problem sitting beside me while I gossip with friends over french toast and mimosas.
The problem isn’t with his temperament. The issue is that he’s been deaf and blind for the last few years, and as easy-going as he is, new and unfamiliar environments can be stressful for him.
For both my dogs, being out in public places is stressful for different reasons, so I avoid it when I can. But for folks who have dogs who thrive on new experiences, people and fun L.A. hotspots, this town is overflowing with awesome activities for people and their pets.
Do me a favor though, don’t ruin it for the rest of us by acting a fool or letting your pet run amuck. Here are some universal pet etiquette and ground rules we should all observe when taking our pets out to eat and socialize around town:
Get the wiggles out first
Before you settle in for your meal, take your pooch for a walk; this helps to get his wiggles out and gives him a chance to take care of any potty business.
A little detective work can help you find a park or green space near the restaurant for a quick outside break on your way to your meal. And be sure to scoop any poop.
Put a stop to begging
Not all people will be tolerant of your dog’s efforts to get a handout. Teach your dog alternative behaviors to begging, like a down stay and remain consistent about not feeding him from the table, both at home and in restaurants.
In fact, it’s a good idea to give your dog his meal before you leave home — this can help limit his interest in your food. And of course, it’s important to mind your own manners and not feed a begging canine — yours or anyone else’s — regardless of how endearing his tactics may be.
Four on the floor
You may be fine with your pup sitting up at the table when you’re at home, but, in most restaurants, letting your pup sit on the chairs is a no-no (so is letting him eat off your utensils or dishes).
Before you book a reservation for two, teach your dog to settle on his own mat space during meals.
Give your dog something to do
Ensure that your dog is on his best behavior by keeping him happily occupied with productive and acceptable activities like favorite toys, chews and stuffed food puzzles. Choose nondisruptive options that encourage your canine to peacefully enjoy himself in a stationary position.
Be sure toys are quiet as well, without loud noises or squeaks.
Don’t tie your dog’s leash to the table
Seriously y’all, attaching your dog’s leash to the table or chairs is a disaster waiting to happen — especially for larger dogs. Most furniture isn’t heavy or sturdy enough to restrain an excitable dog or one who is determined to move.
Your dog may be curled up next to your table, but if he sees a squirrel or another canine, the end result may be overturned furniture and injured patrons. Instead, hold onto the leash yourself or use a hands-free option like a waist-clipping leash.
And finally, if you and your dog encounter another dog, make sure to ask first before letting them interact. Not all dogs (or people for that matter) are comfortable with other dogs. Some dogs may have personal space issues, and when we let our dogs run up without the owner’s permission, we run the risk of a dog reacting badly.
Approaching the other dog’s owner saying, “My dog is friendly, may he say hello?” is the more polite (and safe) way to go.
With all that said, who’s up for brunch?