Dog Store EtiquettePublished April 25, 2011
Photo: Victoria Schade
I dare you to find a store serving the needs of the canine community that doesn’t allow dogs inside … it’s kind of a given that your dog is welcome to shop with you in a dog store. At Life on the Leash we’ve got a big sign out front inviting 4-legged shoppers in, and still people pause outside the door, asking if it’s okay if Fido comes in. By all means - come in and nose around!
That said, there are a few rules of polite behavior that both you and your dog should follow when shopping in any store. Here’s a quick overview:
Run on Empty: No matter how well trained your dog might be, or how trusty his bladder is, the many scents in a dog store might encourage him to let fly inside. Take a quick potty break before you head in to shop.
Mind your Mutt: It’s easy to get wrapped up in the unique merchandise on the shelves and not notice that Fido is getting wrapped up in the leash display. Check in with your dog every so often as you shop to make sure that he’s okay, and that he’s not about to lift his leg on the edge of the greeting card display!
Lock it up: I’m not a big fan of flexible leashes, particularly in small enclosed spaces. Add other canine shoppers to the equation and you’ve got a recipe for upended shelves and potential dog fights. Lock your flexi to a manageable 5 feet or less when in a store.
Mouth off: At Life on the Leash it’s perfectly acceptable to let your dog sniff a novel bone, and even put his mouth on it for a moment to make sure he likes it. The same goes for toys - there’s no "you drool on it, you bought it" policy here. What’s not acceptable is tag-annihilating, toy-drenching play that leaves the item in question unsellable. When in doubt, ask the person behind the counter what level of interaction is acceptable with the items on the shelves, policies vary by store.
Do you take your dog shopping with you, or is s/he too crazy to be trusted in a retail setting? (I hear that from people all the time, and I love it when the dog proves his person wrong by being a perfect canine citizen!)