So you want to take advantage of your area’s wonderful outdoor eating and drinking places but you’d like someone to hang out with. Your best date may be right under your nose – literally. Of course, I’m talking about your dog. He’s probably a pretty great companion, attractive and doesn’t have a lot of emotional baggage, so why not head to your nearest outdoor café and change up your outings?
Before you embark on your date, there are a few things to keep in mind. This kind of outing really works best if your dog is social and already has some basic skills like sit, down, and most importantly, leave it.
Basic Dog Etiquette
_Leave it._This command teaches your dog to ignore something and look at you. To start, put a treat in your fist and present it to your dog. He’ll start by trying to get the food out of your hand but wait him out. As soon as he looks away, or even better, looks at you, reward him. Once he has the behavior down, add the phrase Leave It. Next put the food in your hand and cover it with your thumb. Repeat the process (although he might take longer ignoring it now that he can see it). Keep practicing.
_Start slow._Just like a real first date, coffee is often better than dinner. You can gauge how your dog likes this type of thing, it won’t take hours and you can leave if it gets annoying for you or your pet. You also want to be sure that you can order outside. You typically can’t go inside with your dog, and leaving your dog tethered outside is risky.
Finally, the best dates are relaxed with not a lot of expectations or pressure, so don’t expect too much the first time out. Just have fun and enjoy!
Jaime Migdal, CPDT KA, is the founder and CEO of Fetchfind, a talent recruitment and services organization dedicated to the pet industry.