Are you and your dog ready to go shopping? Things you need to know and do ahead of time. Preparation and training is important. How do you know when your dog is ready for shopping?
Is your dog a good candidate for shopping or do you need training and positive exposure/socialization? He/She might be more of a hiking or walking partner.
Is my dog comfortable with new situations? Remember we are talking new situations, new people, new dogs/animals and your dog needs to be a good citizen.
Training history… Can your dog walk politely on a leash? If the answer is “NO” to any of the above, then you and your dog need more training and more exposure to different experiences…but you’ll need the training first.
RULES FOR SHOPPING WITH YOUR DOG. When you think you and your dog are ready, consider the following:
Call first—Rules change as do store managers and store policies. If a particular store ONCE allowed dogs, it may not now.
Potty First—Make sure your dog has been walked and all NECESSARY ELIMINATIONS HAVE BEEN DONE FIRST.
Pack a short leash—DO NOT USE AN EXTENDABLE/FLEXIBLE LEASH. A 4-6-foot leash is the best anywhere you go when among people or other pets.
Start slow—Start with an easy store, such as a pet supply store. Generally, people shopping at these stores are more tolerant. Then SLOWLY work toward garden stores, smaller hardware or feed stores before moving to bigger stores like home centers.
Visit at a quiet time—Visiting in “off hours” can be successful for you and your dog. You have to practice entering a store (being mindful of the type of door…automatic? The flooring…tile or carpet?) and whether there are breakables nearby? Ask yourself if your dog will keep “four paws on the floor” instead of jumping.
No Barking—Your dog needs to politely walk up and down aisles without whining or barking at shoppers.
Give other shoppers plenty of room—Be careful around children and people who are not comfortable about dogs.
Clean up after your dog whether it is inside the store or outside—It is impolite to get the dog outside the store and let them pee or poop where people would walk.
Watch your dog’s body language—Is your dog stressed? Do you know the signs? Look for signs like yawning, lip licking, stiffness, staring at a person, another dog, objects (shopping carts, boxes, check out furniture) without checking in with you.
NEVER LIE OR PASS YOUR DOG OFF AS A SERVICE DOG—Unless your dog truly is a service dog with specialized training. It is illegal and punishments are becoming more serious in some states. Besides…it is simply wrong. Determine whether the store is dog-friendly. Most stores, especially stores that have branches all over the country, leave the decision of allowing dogs in their stores up to the local managers. Also, local ordinances may have specific policies about dogs. Be sure to call first. Usually, stores that sell food do not allow dogs although a farmer’s market might be an exception.
Be sure to follow our blog posts as well list some stores that are typically dog friendly. BUT ALWAYS…Check with the store directly to verify their policy.