B is for best bistro behavior

B is for best bistro behavior

Dining with dogs

Dining out with your dog in Los Angeles is a piece of cake, if your dog has been well socialized and trained to behave well in public.

Great weather and great food make L.A. a wonderful place to take Fido out while you enjoy a meal or a snack. Every dog out in public is an ambassador for his species. Dogs that bark, beg food from other diners and can’t quietly sit or lie down while you eat salt the stew of people who think dogs should be banned from restaurants.

Since 2012, when Los Angeles County health department rules changed, restauranteurs have had a choice about whether to allow diners with dogs.

“I love the dogs my customers bring to my restaurant,” said Vasek, the manager of Spumoni’s, 14533 Ventura Blvd., in Sherman Oaks.

The owner of two Malti-poos himself, Vasek says having customers with dogs is good for business.

“Just think of how many people have dogs.  When they see a place that is dog-friendly, what do they think?”

Here are five tips to help you have a pleasant time dining al fresco in Los Angeles:

  1. Dine out often. The more familiar your dog is with the process of dining out, the more comfortable and at ease he will be. If your dog is reactive to people, traffic noise or other dogs, go for a snack during off peak hours instead of a full meal.
  2. Business before pleasure. Walking your dog around the block not only helps take the edge off your dog’s excitement it offers a chance to take care of business before going to eat. Nothing makes you less welcome to other diners or a restauranteur than a dog relieving himself nearby.
  3. Positioning is everything. Depending on how busy a restaurant is, you may not have a choice where you sit. If you can, try to avoid tables that will put you close to the door going into the restaurant or on the outer edge close to traffic or people walking by. If you can sit so that you are a barrier between things the dog might react to or other diners, there’s less risk of a problem.
  4. Stay alert to what’s coming down the sidewalk. It is so easy to be having a relaxed conversation with a friend and lose track of the dynamic world passing you on the sidewalk. Skateboarders, other dogs, children, people in wheel chairs or using walkers can all set off a dog. If you don’t have a tight hold on a short leash, your dog can sail after that skateboarder before you can say “Cordon Bleu.” It helps to have a spotter checking what is coming up behind you.
  5. Bring your own treats. If you have a dog who never begs while you eat, we salute you! Fido uses mind-bending focus to gain samples of what I’m eating. Restaurant food can be rich, unfamiliar and upsetting to a dog’s digestion. Having treats at hand can help control a dog’s behavior without regrets later.

If you are looking for a dog-friendly restaurant, check out Fido’s directory of restaurants.

This is the second post in the 2015 A-to-Z Blog Challenge. Beginning with A and continuing on to Z, we’re committed to writing posts using the letters of the alphabet in order from Monday through Friday. Check back tomorrow for “C is for dogs in church.”

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