Tuesday Topics #30 - Pet Dogs in Stores

Last week, Cabana and I were killing time while my daughter was taking an art class. We passed a Bath & Body Works, and I remembered that we were out of hand soap. So I poked my head in and asked the employee if I was allowed to bring Cabana inside. She said, "We don't have any food products in our store, so of course, you can bring your dog in."

I was pleased that Cabana was allowed inside, but I was also a bit surprised by her answer. She acted as though it was fine for pet dogs to come into any non-food store. I wondered if that was really true, so I came home and Googled it.

I didn't find a definitive answer, but I did come across some pretty heated conversations about the subject, like this one. Be sure to scroll down to read all the supercharged comments. The basic issues surrounding the topic seem to boil down to owner responsibility (is your dog safe to be around, under control, not being a nuisance or health hazard), as well as the rights and comfort of other shoppers (allergies, fear issues).

Cabana, having had a lot of practice being in stores as a puppy-in-training, was wonderful in Bath & Body Works. I kept her very close to me, and she didn't touch anything in the store--except some baby toes! A mother was shopping with an adorable 9-month old baby girl in a stroller, and she asked if she and her baby could meet Cabana. Cabana is great with babies, so I felt 100% confident in Cabana's ability to manage herself. She very gently nudged the baby's naked toes with her nose, making the baby laugh. The mother said that her older children are afraid of dogs and she hoped she could help this baby learn not to be, by exposing her at an early age. I was gratified that we could help by giving this baby a positive association.

Of course, not all dogs have the benefit of being a service dog dropout like Cabana, or have had as much opportunity to practice their baby socializing skills. I think it's great to have the option of bringing Cabana shopping with me, but I also am fully aware that even though she's well-behaved, not everyone will be happy to see her inside a store.

So how about you? Do you bring your pet dogs into stores?

Ally and Eclipse  – (July 27, 2010 at 10:57 AM)  

Wow! Intense comments with tons of generalizations! I don't take my pets in any stores other than pet stores, even the local farm stores where all dogs are allowed. I originally did this because Teddy hates being stores, even pet stores, and Kira is too 'special' to handle stores the way I would like her to. I don't subject Eclipse to stores partly because I don't want to stress him out (don't want him thinking he's going to be made to work again, which may change as time goes on) but also because I firmly believe in setting examples. I don't like encountering pet dogs in public when I have an SDIT with me, even in Lowe's where dogs are allowed, because most aren't in control. Most people around here are used to us having a SDIT with us and would allow Eclipse into their store but it's one of those things I can't do knowing that I get irritated with others doing it *grin* There may come a time where Eclipse accompanies us in public once, but for now, I don't take the dogs in stores with me because I'm anal!

Erin and Co.  – (July 27, 2010 at 11:10 AM)  

Hmm most of my pets aren't really "store worthy" one would be too stressed, and the other one too reactive. If they were ok, I'd be all for taking them into pet friendly areas.

We have a store in town called Mast General Store which is well known for being dog friendly and if I could I'd defiantly take my pets there. But since I can't we settle for taking the PITS.

Katrin  – (July 27, 2010 at 11:19 AM)  

As a general rule, no, except the pet store.

Heather and Ellie  – (July 27, 2010 at 11:36 AM)  

It certainly is a very tough call. I don't think that chain stores like Bath and Body works should have a dogs allowed policy--because then people with badly trained/aggressive dogs will ruin it for the people with well-behaved dogs, and then ALL the Bath and Body Works stores will completely ban dogs. I think what works best for them is to have no sign at all--and then the people like you will just ask to bring their dog in. Normally people like that have well-trained dogs. Not always--but I think it's more common.

I really wish that there was some incentive program to having a well-behaved dog. Maybe if stores put up a sign that said "Canine Good Citizens" welcome, meaning if your dog has passed their CGC, then they can come into the store. Naturally, you'd have to carry some i.d. that your dog passed in case they asked you, but I think it might work ok. I don't know....it's pretty tricky! I've heard that France has worked it out really well....dogs can go pretty much everywhere.

I always find comments like those you linked to on the PI interesting....they all get so worked up! People certainly do have strong opinions about dogs in stores. Basically, I think it's the store's choice (unless it's food store), they will probably get some new customers by a dogs allowed rule, and lose some.

Katlynn and Ryder  – (July 27, 2010 at 12:55 PM)  

That is such a heated issue everywhere because puppy raisers like us, we can guarantee the store owners that our dog will not disrupt their business and they will be well behaved.

I do not have an issue with people bringing their pet dogs into pet friendly stores. We have a pet friendly outdoor mall close by and they even have water bowls everywhere for all the dogs!

The only thing that concerns me is that while I am out socializing my puppy's in training is that I want to make sure that the other pet dogs that may be in the same store as me and my puppy, are friendly and not hurt or cause and issues to me and my puppy. I really like the idea of it, I would just hate to see an owner bring a non dog friendly dog into a store where service dogs are, but I also have to trust that the owner of the dog is responsible for their dog.

Overall I really like the idea of bringing pet dogs, because when I have Focus I love taking him shopping with me because he is so good and I would like to take any of my future CC's dogs shopping with me.

Maggie Mae  – (July 27, 2010 at 1:06 PM)  

Mom only takes me to the local pet store where she gets my foods, dad takes me to Tractor Supply.
Maybe when I am older and listen betters they will try other stores, but I am not quite there yet. :)

Woofs and Licks,
Maggie Mae

Lauren and Don  – (July 27, 2010 at 4:33 PM)  

I think it is great that there are stores that let dogs in (it is nice to be able to go places with a pet dog, and they seem to like it!), as long as the dog is well behaved and won't be aggressive towards service dogs (or puppies in training). I think it's also important that if the stores have a bad experience with a pet dog, they need to realize that service dogs or PITs are different. I agree with Heather and Ellie- it would be great if there was some way to allow only well behaved dogs in stores, but this would be tricky to figure out. Overall I like the idea of dogs coming in stores- it definitely helps with Don's dog distraction! :)

JackDaddy  – (July 27, 2010 at 4:56 PM)  

Now that is a smiley-story, especially the part about the toes. I don't think I'll be taking Jack into any stores any time soon - I can't afford to buy the inventory!

Denise  – (July 27, 2010 at 5:07 PM)  

Only store I brought my pet into is Picture People (per puppy rising)after I talked to the shop and found out the rule with the Mall. Our appointment was before the mall opened once another time was a hour before the mall closed.

I've been invited in to shops with Andromeda before but I always never felt comfortable to bring her in so the rest of the group would go in and I would wait outside

Kari in WeHo  – (July 27, 2010 at 6:59 PM)  

In some places in Cali, like the Grove, where it is known that dogs are allowed yes. Otherwise no

Becky  – (July 27, 2010 at 9:39 PM)  

The experience that popped into my head was a recent visit to San Diego to visit Natalie. We were in a shoe store and this lady had her poodle with her that was real growly with Cricket. . The store owner said I won't come between your dogs. We ended up leaving the store because this dog was out of control. So, I am fine with it if the dog is on leash and under control.

Cassie and Dagan  – (July 27, 2010 at 10:50 PM)  

In our local Safeway, I (my puppy) has been chased down TWICE by dogs that jump out of purses. One bit my dog's hock. My dog looked at him like he was crazy. My PIT didn't need to deal with that, nor did the other customers or staff.

It's frustrating that most of the people who bring their pets in stores are not owners that have well behaved pets. I've handed out countless poop bags to people walking away after their dog pooped in the mall, at church, in a friend's house... When a dog is not well behaved or is relieving itself, the owner is being disrespectful to other people.

It's a hard subject. I guess my bottom line is why does a pet dog NEED to go to CVS? Or Safeway? Hair salon? Home Depot? Old Navy? There is no NEED for a pet to be there. It's not for the dog's benefit. Sure, your dog loves being with you, but they would be just as happy with you at the park, etc.

If your dog is well behaved and you are responsible, I have no issue with pet dogs being at outdoor cafes, or on patios, etc. But, I don't believe they need to be in stores.

Alphini's Puppy Raiser  – (July 28, 2010 at 8:04 AM)  

It IS interesting, we're blogging on similar topics! :) When I had a pet dog of my own, before guide dog puppy-raising, I didn't take him to stores except the ones where you'd expect to see dogs (pet stores, etc.) If everyone who brought their pet dogs along were as considerate as you I don't think it'd be an issue! Sadly, not everyone is...leading to all kinds of incidents.

Mango  – (July 28, 2010 at 5:49 PM)  

Personally, I don't go into the dog store. I don't know why, but they put up a force field and I got scared to go in one day so now I just wait in the car.

Momma doesn't bring stupid PeeWee into the store because he is all pulling and choking and being a bad dog no attention which she says is very rude and inconsiderate of the other shoppers.

Problem as I see it is that the notion of a "good dog" is just too vague. And I really don't like those carry in a bag dogs who think they can sneak into stores that don't allow doggies.


The Thundering Herd  – (July 29, 2010 at 6:20 PM)  

In general, no, we do not go inside stores. However, our town is dog friendly and many stores welcome dogs (many store owners have their dogs with them). In fact, we have one store that every time they see me, they ask where the dogs are.

My exception is that we do go in that one store when ONE dog has a vet appointment. THe store is about a 2 block walk from the vets office, so we walk as a reward after the vet. If the store is not crowded, we will go inside. (And never Kiska, who does not enjoy the experience).

I never take the dogs inside pet supply stores because of a lack of faith that all of the other dog owners have their dogs under control - so I do see the point of people who do not want dogs in stores.

(I was shocked at the opening vignette in that story of the woman who allowed her dog to urinate in a store. WOW. The key, to me, is to alway be responsible for your dog's behavior - in a store, in your own yard, at the dog park, everywhere.)

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