Column: Receive doggone excellent service when dining with your best friend


Commentary by Beverly Randolph

Few things are better than enjoying a delicious meal and great conversation with your four-legged family member in tow.  Fortunately, we have many restaurants offering dog-friendly outdoor seating, and we want them to continue to be pet-friendly.  Below are tips to ensure everyone has a doggone great time.

  • Call ahead to make sure dogs are allowed at the restaurant’s outdoor tables.
  • Take your dog for a walk prior. This will allow him to do his business and to wear them out a bit.
  • Bring distractions and necessities. Chew toys (non-squeaky) and tough-to-chew treats keep your dog distracted throughout your meal and elicit good behavior. Some restaurants provide water and/or treats for visiting pooches. Always take a travel water bowl with you to keep them hydrated and dog refuse bags.
  • Make sure your pooch is well-behaved around other people, especially children.
  • Leash your four-legged friend and keep him near your feet and away from socializing with other diners or employees, unless welcomed.  Make sure the leash is tucked next to you, firmly secured to your body, and not impeding any pathway to prevent anyone from tripping.  Bella may spot a squirrel, and there goes furniture and dishware.
  • Never leave your dog unattended.  If you have to use the “necessity,” leave Tucker with someone you trust with you to keep a watchful eye on your dog.
  • No begging at the table and don’t feed your pet directly from your meal.  Also, Oreo is not allowed on chairs or tables.
  • If someone comes up and wants to pet your dog, assess the situation.
  • If you decide to linger for dessert and coffee, excuse yourself for another quick walk.
  • Praise and pet Maggie to enjoy quality time together.
  • If your pet happens to have an accident, clean it up immediately and discretely.
  • Do tip your server appropriately for doggone excellent service. They have gone above and beyond to create an exceptional experience for you and your most loyal friend.

Do you have any etiquette dilemmas? Share them and any other etiquette questions you have.

Beverly Randolph, MA, is a certified etiquette and international protocol expert specializing in executive leadership and business etiquette training.  She is the Founder & Director of The Protocol School of Indianapolis and lives in Carmel. For more information, visit, call her at (317) 430-5696 or email Beverly at    

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