I find it more and more frustrating and difficult to have days out with my dog, and allow him to be a full member of the family’s every day activity, when there are hardly any places in UK that canines are allowed access to. UK does not allow dogs entrance to shops retailing in any category of merchandise, supermarkets, shopping centre, and of course in food serving premises – not unless of course your dog is a service dog in their line of duty. Some pubs allow dogs in their courtyards or gardens, provided you consume and sit outside – which is not best conducive of custom, given the inclement British weather.
Yet, when I travel to Europe I cannot believe my eyes when I see dogs allowed in supermarkets, coffee bars, patisseries, and even quietly sitting down at their owners’ feet whilst their family enjoys a tasty meal in restaurants!
Why are dogs not allowed in shops?
The answer lays on health and safety reasons, for hygiene purposes. Also, I suspect, as dogs are of different size and level of excitement, the law cannot afford to risk attacks to humans or merchandise. It all makes sense. But then does that mean that many other countries in Europe at least, such as France, or Italy, are less health and safety conscious? Do more attacks on people take place, or does more stock get ruined as a result of your dog urinating on it?
Dogs love to be part of the family
I strongly believe dogs are best behaved when part of their big pack. It’s the rule of the pack that Cesar Millan centres his dog training on – we are our dogs’ pack, their family, and when surrounded by their family and made part of their family activity, our dogs will behave, regardless of age and size. The way I see it is like when you take your babies out to the shops – they are on their best behaviour, mostly as the curiosity of the surrounding takes over their attention and distracts them from playing up and showing off, as in fact they would do when in the house. With dogs it is the same – as much as some may find this offensive, I do believe dogs are like toddlers.
So, what’s the best way forward?
It is somewhat interesting what the Kennel Club advises with regard to allowing dogs in shops and food supplying premises – likewise, it is worth reading about their recommended ‘petiquette‘ before we embark on introducing our dog into society and in public spaces. What a lot of businesses do not realise is that there are a lot of dog owners out there who could join the ranks of their client-base, if they were allowed within their business premises. Every dog owner that cannot access premises is potential loss of business. Then again, possibly business managers could adopt the approach of allowing dogs in, unless they start misbehaving, in which case dog owners may be asked to leave. Remember, like with children, if a dog misbehaves, it is because the handler does not have the situation under control – it is never the dog’s fault.