Cafe rules for city dogs

A New South Wales State-wide ban on all dogs at cafés and restaurants caused a tremendous outcry and has been overturned.

This has not been well publicised, however.

So, to cut through any lingering confusion, here’s the skinny on the current laws, and what to look out for when taking you pooch out to play at your local cafe…

1)    Dogs are allowed into designated (outdoor) areas at the manager’s discretion

2)    Dogs must be under control of a responsible human being

3)    Dogs must remain on leash and on the ground at all times.  This means you can’t pick the dog up and have it on your lap.

4)    Dogs may not eat, especially from a plate or utensils.  Common sense would dictate that treating your dog for sitting quietly is allowed within reason, but this would also be at the café’s discretion.

5)    Dogs may walk through a café to get to outdoor seating as long as they do not transit through a food preparation area (kitchen).

Cafes in off-leash areas have slightly different rules:

1)    Dogs may be off-leash but must be under effective control

2)    Dogs may be provided with food as long as it is on the ground and not provided using utensils that are used for human food consumption

3)    Dogs may sit on a person’s lap, but not on any table or chair or anywhere that it could make contact with utensils used for the consumption of food by humans.

It goes without saying that assistance dogs and police dogs may enter any part of a café or restaurant, and it is an offence not to allow this.

Wherever you are, please be mindful that not everybody loves your dog as much as you do, and may not be quite as impressed by their new trick of eating from your fork.  Believe it or not, some people are genuinely offended by eating in the presence of a canine and they are also paying good money to enjoy their experience at the café.  So if you are getting dirty looks, don’t sit there and wait for it to escalate into rude comments – or worse yet being asked to leave!

1)    Be considerate: ensure your dog is quiet and under control.

2)    Be courteous: even in the face of challenging or rude comments

3)    Be proactive: ask the staff what you can do to rectify the situation.  You may be able to move seats or just shift your dog to a better position to keep everybody happy.

Here is a great training video on how to train your dog to lie quietly at your feet. It’s using the free shaping method, where correct behaviour is caught and rewarded.  There is no reprimanding or punishment. Simply using calm and patience wait until the dog displays the behaviour and then treat. I love this kind of training as it really forms a strong bond between human and dog.  Enjoy. And please! Comment and offer feedback!

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