Dog Cafe Etiquette: A Dog Owners Guide

Dog Cafe Etiquette: A Dog Owners Guide

Dog cafes like Charlie + Co have become increasingly popular in the last few years and it's easy to see why! These establishments have quickly become the ultimate hangout spot for dog owners and their furry friends, and naturally we absolutely love it!

At Charlie + Co, we’re blessed to have the responsible and well-behaved customer base we do. However, the line “We couldn’t bring our dog here they’d wreck the place” is something we hear regularly from customers who come in without their dogs! With so many people worried about how their dogs might behave in a public space like a dog café, we thought it would be helpful to explore “Dog Café Etiquette”.

It goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) that ALL dogs are welcome at Charlie + Co.

We don’t discriminate.

We don’t care if your dogs a barker, if they want to sit with you on the sofa, if they do an excited wee or if they jump up at us. If we did care about these things, I don’t think we’d survive as a dog café for very long.

Although we don’t care about these things, other “dog friendly” establishments may have different rules and expectations. So, it’s certainly worth brushing up on these dog café etiquette tips before you and your pooch pop out for a coffee!

So let's start with the basics


1. The Leash
Firstly, most dog friendly establishments will want you to keep your dog on a leash. We know it can be hard to resist those puppy dog eyes begging to be let off the leash so they can explore the sniffs of the next table and beyond, but trust us, it's for the best! Not only is it safer for your pup, but it’s safer for everyone including the staff and it also prevents any unexpected incidents between dogs.

It’s sometimes hard to hold a leash whilst trying to enjoy a coffee or a cake, which is why we’ve got ‘pooch parking' at most of our wall side tables. This allows you to park your pooch up so you can enjoy a coffee ‘hands free’ knowing your dog is secure.

An image of pooch parking facilities at Charlie + Co Dog Cafe in Nantwich

2. The Furniture
Now.. let’s not get things confused we LOVE nothing more than seeing dogs sitting like humans on the chairs at the table and/or getting all comfy on our sofa, so for us this next point is not a problem… for us.

An image of a white dog eating a puppucino at Charlie + Co Dog Cafe in Nantwich

However, it is worth noting that some dog friendly establishments will not allow dogs on the furniture.

I’m always impressed by the number of customers that check with us first before allowing the dog on our sofa, or those customers that naturally put a blanket on the chair before their dog gets on it.

You guys are real ones!

It’s always a good idea to bring a blanket or mat for your dog to sit on! If they are allowed on the furniture GREAT, the blanket protects the furniture and if they’re not, then leave then the blanket can be a comfort for them on the floor.

Not all dogs like to sit on hard surfaces, (little lord Charlie being one of them!). Many of times, we've been out for food or a coffee and I’ve been caught out and not brought a blanket for Charlie, so have ended up with my coat on the floor so that he will settle.

Don’t be me. Be better than me!

3. Being Responsible
When visiting a dog café, it’s also important to remember that not all dogs are created equal and that’s not my polite way of saying “my dog is better than your dog” I promise.

Some dogs and owners are more social and/or more tolerant than others. Just because your dog is well-behaved and social, it doesn't mean they'll get along with every other dog in the café.

If you are the proud owner of a socialite, make sure you check with the other owners before your pooch goes bounding over. It’s music to our ears when we hear owners ask, “are they ok to say hello?”. 9/10 the answer is a resounding yes, and their dog has also been waiting excitedly for your dog to come over.

However, sometimes the answer is no and that’s ok! Like I said, we don’t discriminate. We certainly get a mix of furry customers, some who are extremely socialable and others who are not. Some who are well socialised and some who are not. Some who are fearless and some who are nervous. Some dogs will need their space so respect for personal boundaries always goes down well.

4. Keeping Them Entertained
Dog cafes are all about enjoying the company of your furry friend, but if your pooch likes your undivided attention, and you’re worried they might start to get up to mischief if they get bored then you can keep them entertained by getting them something from our doggy menu! You can view our dog menu here.

Many dog cafes and dog friendly establishments will offer special treats for your pooch to enjoy, here's a few of the treats on offer at Charlie + Co.
Dog Afternoon Tea at Charlie + Co Nantwich
The Dog Menu at Charlie + Co Dog Cafe
The retail section of dog treats at Charlie + Co Dog Cafe in Nantwich
An image of the Sir Woofchester Dog Treats available at Charlie + Co Dog Cafe in Nantwich Cheshire

Equally, you can bring their favourite toy or chews from home!

In our experience, dogs are rarely as difficult as their owners think they are going to be; most first-time customers are pleasantly surprised by their dogs behaviour!

However, if you find yourself in a situation where your dogs behaviour is not what you expected, try not to worry! Dogs are only going to get better at being settled and well behaved in public places with practice and there is literally NO place better for your dog to practice their behaviour than an environment specifically catered towards dogs, dog owners and dog lovers. If you feel you need some help with this particular behaviour we host regular 'Settle Training Workshops' with Clinical Animal Behaviourist Rachel from Nose To Trail. You can find our next Settle Workshop dates here

Here's some images of some settled pooches at our last Settle Training Workshop.
A Black Labrador Puppy at a Settle Training Evening at Charlie + Co Nantwich
A Cockapoo Puppy at a Settle Training Evening at Charlie + Co Dog Cafe in Nantwich

In conclusion, dog cafes are a great way to bond with your furry friend and enjoy a nice cup of coffee whilst practising settling in a public space. There are some things you can do to help your experience like, keeping your dog on a lead, bringing a blanket or mat, being respectful of the space and boundaries of other customers and being well stocked in treats and chews. But above all else, enjoy the company of your dog (jumping up on the furniture, barking, excited wee’s and all) because that's what it's all about!
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