Deciding whether to take your fluffy friend when go shipping or not, could be a really challenging task. Many pet owners, as well as their furry friends, are having a hard time when they need to be separated.
In this article, we will list some important things that need to be considered so that safe and comfortable shopping with your dog partner will be ensured. We also will mention some stores in the US that are considered very pet-friendly.
Shopping can be really stressful not only for us people but also for pets. When deciding to go shopping with their furry friends, dog owners need to check carefully their socializing and training skills first. There are a few things that can give you a clear view of your dog’s “ready-for-shopping-ability”.
If your dog walks calmly next to you, does not try to pull on a leash, and usually does not pay attention to other passengers, it might be able to manage different shopping situations. It is important to note that your dog partner should be able to stay calm when visiting new places and meeting strange people. If you are not sure if he/she will feel comfortable in a new place, you can try visiting the store in off-peaks in order to prepare him/her for this experience.
Another important skill that you might want your dog to learn is basic obedient skills. If your fluffy partner can fulfill commands like “sit”, “leave it”, “come”, it might be able to accompany you when you go shopping.
You can try training your dog in relatively quiet spaces first and expose him/her gradually to different distractions. You should monitor his/her behavior and ensure that there is no pressure or stress for him/her. Every negative emotion that your dog partner could feel during the training might cause the opposite effect and make the training difficult.
If your dog does not seem to be ready for shopping with you, we would recommend that you work a little longer on his/her socializing and obedient skills. You can do that individually at home or through a professional trainer. Of course, you need to consider the advantages and the disadvantages of both options. By choosing the first option you will be able to strengthen the bond with your fluffy friend. In addition, you are able to decide more accurately which skills of your dog partner need to be improved, so that he/she can go easily through different situations on a daily basis- to stay calm, to become less distracted, to not pull on a leash, to fulfill different commands... etc. Of course, you need to be committed to the final goal and not give up when difficulties occur. If you do not have much time to ensure a proper and a regular training, you’d better reach out to a professional trainer. In this case, the training will be provided by a skilled trainer who knows exactly how to handle your dog. Disadvantages of the second option are: you spend less time with your dog and can not create such a strong bond; professional training could be very expensive- about thousands of dollars.
We are getting to the point where your dog is skilled enough to accompany you when you go shopping. What should you do next?
You always need to be familiar with the pet policy of the store first. Are pets allowed on the store’s property or not? However, we already made clear in many of our previous articles, that service dogs are a subject of ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) regulations, and they are not considered pets. They are basically granted access to all places where their owner goes.
If a store does not enforce a specific policy in regard to the pets’ access, you need to contact the management of the local store for more information. You always need to keep in mind that regulations might change, especially during a pandemic.
Before entering a store with your dog you might want to ensure that he/she already went to the toilet. You need always to be ready to clean up after your pet.
You need to remember, that there might be people, who do not like dogs, who are afraid of them, or have allergies to dogs. Furthermore, you should give other customers enough space while shopping and never let your dog behave disturbing and disobedient.
It would be a good idea to start with the pet-supplies stores, as they are the most pet-friendly, then go to small feed stores and finally visit large shopping centers.
There two very important things you need to consider when entering a store with your dog:
It is really important that you keep your dog on a short leash, i.e. four feet long, in order to ensure safe shopping.
You have to monitor his/her body language. If he/she starts to feel uncomfortable and stressed (begin to stiffen up, shake or growl) it might come the time for you to leave the building.
It is not a surprise that pet supply stores are considered the most pet-friendly stores.
According to Petco policy: “Any domesticated, licensed, vaccinated companion animals are welcome to accompany you to your visit to Petco. All visiting pets are required to be appropriately restrained (leash, carrier, travel habitat). Please note that any pet found to pose a danger to other animals, customers, or Petco Partners will be asked to leave to preserve the safety of all pets and people in the store”.
PetSmart welcomes all well-leashed and vaccinated domestic dogs, cats, and birds on their property. There are restrictions in regard to some breeds like American Pit Bull Terriers, Miniature Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Bulldogs, Bull Terriers, or mixed breeds, that are not allowed in the store chain.
Another pet supply store, considered very pet friendly is Pet Supply Plus.
In some of our articles, we already took a closer look at the pet policy of two of the most popular home decor stores in the US- Home Depot and Lowes. Now we will mention only the most important things in regard to their policies.
Home Depot welcomes leashed dogs, as there is a lot of space for them to accompany you while you are choosing the best decoration for your home.
Similar to the pet policy of Home Depot, leashed dogs are also welcomed in most Lowes stores.
The home furnishing shop Pottery Barn also permits the presence of pets, like dogs or cats.
Dog owners will be happy to hear that all Tractor Supply stores are dog friendly. In addition, there will be treats for your puppy when you check out. Of course, you always need to keep in mind that your furry pet should be on a leash and well-behaved.
Some of the most popular fashion stores in the US are Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack. Well-behaved dogs on a leash are welcomed in the store establishments.
Tech fans will be glad to know that dogs (well-behaved and on a leash) are allowed in most Apple stores. If the local store is crowded you might need to pick up your dog partner.
One of the favorite places to shop for most dog lovers is Bass Pro Shops. Almost all stores allow leashed dogs. А Dog Day event takes place every year, in order to encourage clients to shop with their dogs.