One of my favorite things to do is go to the breweries around Charlotte with my animals. I really enjoy the bonding experience with Alces when I take him out in public. So I wanted to share with you a few tips you can use with your dog when out at a brewery.
First, I find a table or spot that is positioned against a wall so that I can have Alces in a safe spot where he doesn’t get stepped on. So many people step on dog’s tails since they aren’t always watching where they are walking. Also when your dog isn’t out in the high traffic area it is less likely for people to randomly pet your dog. I hate it when I am out with my friends and all a sudden people run up to us without asking to distract my dog and have him break his down stay. I did not bring my dog out to entertain you, I brought him out to spend time with him in a social scene. You will normally see Alces in his “Do Not Pet” vest. You can order these on Amazon if you want to deter random strangers from approaching you and petting your dog without asking. I don’t mind if you pet my dog, but please ask first. This may seem like a small pet peeve that I have but there is a reason behind it. When people randomly approach your dog constantly, it can lead to a dog being hyperactive around people (jump on guests, pull towards other dogs/people on walks, etc.).
There are several reasons why it is important to ask to pet a dog. How do you know if my dog is friendly? He could be a service or emotional support dog working and performing a job without you realizing it. Similar to humans, not every dog wants to meet (or sniff) every person or dog they come across. My dog is extensively trained and well rounded. I can read his body behavior well, but I don’t know your dog and I’d rather not find out the hard way that your dog isn’t friendly or is aggressive. Be mindful that it can be a bit frustrating for dog owners like myself to have to correct our dog when they are on their best behavior because they are being enticed by someone who doesn’t know dog etiquette. If you have the courtesy to ask to interact with my dog, I will most likely be happy to release him to come greet you. But don’t be offended if I say “no, thank you” to you, your dog, or your child. Again, I know Alces better than anyone and while most other individuals wouldn’t pick up on it, I notice when he becomes tense or alert and that is a sign one cannot ignore.
In the likely event that I release Alces to greet you, it is important to know how to properly pet a dog. Most people make the mistake of giving nuggies and patting dog’s on the head. If the dog seems nervous, I would recommend petting them under the chin once they come up to you. You can also pet them on the sides of their body with smooth strokes so you don’t make them even more nervous. If they choose to not want to meet you, don’t force it. If there happens to be a bench or something that your dog can “place” on, I would also encourage that, to build their confidence. Even if the dog is hyper and friendly, it is important to be consistent and pet him under the chin so you don’t rile the dog up, helping to avoid having him jump on you. If the dog does happen to jump on you, I would stop petting them. Otherwise, you send the signal of praise which will cause them to continue this bad behavior. In my opinion, the only time a dog should jump on you or another person is if it is welcomed as a command. You can help the pet owner out because some people are inclined not to correct their dog in public because they don’t want to look like a mean dog owner. Alces looks very calm mannered in his down stay but even he can get overexcited if you pat him roughly with a high pitch voice. This will force me to call him out and redirect him so that it doesn’t escalate.
Another important tip is to find some shade for your pup during the warm months of the year. Make sure to pack a water bowl just in case the establishment doesn’t provide one. I am mindful of how long we are out in the heat to make sure Alces doesn’t get heat exhaustion. Remember that just because you’re comfortable doesn’t mean that your dog always is.
Due to health department restrictions, most breweries do not allow dogs to come inside. It is always good to have a friend who you trust to watch your dog should you need to go inside. This is why I like going to breweries with clients because they already know what to do should any of the above examples happen. Just like with any training program, consistency is the key and this allows for your pup to follow the same commands, regardless of the individual giving them.
I hope this gave some good insight into the proper etiquette when furry friends are in social environments. Feel free to come say hi to Alces and me in some of our favorite spots including Birdsong, Sycamore, Wooden Robot, Blue Blaze, and NoDa Brewing Company. Just remember to always ask before petting other peoples pups.
Cheers! – Ashley Rodriquez