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The Local Woof: Dining Out With Fido

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Editor’s Note: The Local Woof is a column that’s sponsored and written by the staff of Woofs! Dog Training Center. Woofs! has full-service dog training, boarding, and daycare facilities, near Shirlington and Ballston.

One of the best ways to enjoy the warm weather in Arlington is to enjoy a meal outside at one of the many restaurants that offer patio seating. But what about bringing your dog along? Unfortunately, it’s not always a good idea.

In most cases, restaurants require that the dog be tied up OUTSIDE of the fenced area that defines the restaurants seating. This means that your dog is in direct contact with all of the sidewalk traffic. This usually includes men and women, toddlers, strollers, bikes, and other dogs, many of which may not be as friendly as your dog. Asking a dog who has no means of retreat to deal with this constant barrage of strangers may be asking too much. I personally never put my dogs in this situation.

There may be a new option however. Last September Arlington allowed restaurants to apply for a variance that allows dogs to be INSIDE the seating area. This means that your dog can now rest comfortably at your feet, under the table or next to you. At the time the variance was announced 27 restaurants had been approved (see the full list here). Hopefully there are many more by now.

So Arlington dog lovers, here’s what you can do. At the restaurants you frequent, ask to speak to a manager and encourage them to apply for this variance if they haven’t already. The more people who request it the more likely the restaurant manager is to look into it. Also, try out some of the restaurants on the list and report back how it went. We would love to hear from you. Finally, before you take your dog to dinner, please consider how the dog feels about the experience. If your dog is stressed, uncomfortable or if it’s just too darn hot, leave the pup at home. That’s what doggy bags are for.

The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com. 

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