Dog-friendly etiquette: how to take your dog with you on errands

How to make running errands customer- and dog-friendly – tips and advice not only for dog owners

Today’s dog owners increasingly treat their dogs as best friends and members of the family, so it’s no surprise that more and more restaurants, malls and retail outlets welcome customers and guests with their canine companions. Yettel’s shops, for example, have been dog-friendly for the past two years, so you can take your dog to nearly 100 Yettel shops. However, you may be faced with many unexpected situations during your visits, as your dog is often not used to the new environment. How can you prepare for these occasions and what expert advice can you get before you set off? Judit Damásdi, head of the Hajógyári Dog School, will answer these questions and give you some useful tips. 

Start as a puppy

If you know you’re going to take your dog with you to run errands, it’s a good idea to be prepared, especially if they have never been out of the house before. Some dogs are particularly sensitive to sounds, lights and even floor surfaces other than those in their home, and they may also find crowds and new people unsettling. To help dogs adjust to these changes, it’s a good idea to start introducing them to the outside world when they are puppies. There are many programs available to help in this area. Owners can seek help from courses designed specifically for puppies, such as the Mirror Method’s soon-to-be-launched Online Puppy Program. Working with a professional can go a long way to helping your pet cope with stress and avoid panic.

Check the location beforehand

Even if your dog is prepared for the challenges, there may still be surprises in the mall or in the shop. There are different rules and conditions for pets, so check before you go. Yettel has nearly 100 dog-friendly shops across the country. A detailed policy with all relevant information is available for those wishing to visit. Please note that you should always have a leash and a vaccination book with you, and remember that a muzzle may also be necessary. Drinking water may not be available at all dog-friendly sites, so it’s a good idea to take a bottle or a collapsible water bowl and treats with you. Treats can reinforce good behaviour when your pet is doing the tasks you have already taught them (for example: sit, lie down, stay) and help them get through a difficult situation.

Your dog may run away even with the greatest precautions. So if you take your dog out a lot or just want an extra layer of security, it’s worth getting a collar-mountable tracker. Using the Blaupunkt GS02 tracker available from Yettel and the accompanying mobile app, you can keep an eye on your dog at all times.

A good dog owner is one who is perceived as such by their environment

The “dog-friendly” label does not mean that you can leave your dog unattended, so you should never let you dog go near other people without permission. The opposite is also true, of course. If you know your pet has a problem with strangers, you can ask other people in the shop not to approach or pet them. It’s important never to leave your dog alone, even if they are good at waiting in place. Leashing your dog outside is not a solution either, as you are responsible for your dog even when you are not around. Don’t put them at risk of coming into contact with other dogs or small children.

Warning signs to leave

Even with the most careful preparations, your dog may have a bad reaction to new stimuli. Some of the most common signs are heavy panting, frequent licking of the mouth, pulling in of the ears and tail, and crawling flat on the belly with a tense body. If you see any of these signs, leave the shop as soon as possible and help your dog relieve the stress with some exercise or play. If this is not possible, try to communicate in a calm, quiet but firm tone of voice, and use slow, spinal strokes to reassure them that the situation is not dangerous and only temporary. In such a case, it’s not advisable to hug your dog or tighten its leash, as this reinforces the idea that the circumstances are dangerous and unsafe.

Fortunately, more and more shops are becoming aware of the rules of dog-friendly operation, which go beyond simply allowing you to take your dog with you. In Yettel’s nearly 100 dog-friendly shops, customers with dogs are served at separate counters, and the number of dogs on the premises at any one time is limited. These shops also provide drinking water for dogs, which is offered to “canine customers” from a cleaned drinking bowl. This makes service both customer and pet friendly.

What can a merchant do to make their shop dog-friendly?

There are many aspects to making a shop dog-friendly. The first thing to check is whether the shop is based in a separate room with direct access from the street. In this case the situation is simple, as it’s mostly up to the owner to decide whether to allow pets in. Apart from the technical requirements (e.g. the provision a regularly cleaned bowl and fresh water), staff should also be prepared for the task. If the shop is in a shopping mall, dog-friendliness depends on whether the mall itself is dog-friendly. In this case, the mall’s own rules should be followed and it’s also a good idea to prepare the staff and inform neighbouring retailers of the change.