Trainer shares three-step process for a cafe-friendly dog (and it will have your pup patio-ready in no time!)

Couple sat outside cafe with dogs on their laps
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Who doesn't want their dog to be a patio dog? There's nothing better than having your canine companion accompany you to your favorite dog-friendly cafe, restaurant or brewery — and the good news is that all it takes is a little bit of preparation so your pup feels calm and confident.

Popping a few long lasting dog chews in your bag will come in handy with helping to keep your pup occupied, but there are a few other steps you can take to ensure your dog is patio-ready. 

In a recent Instagram post, expert trainer Piper Novick, founder of Happy Dogs Training, shared her tried and tested three-step process to help your dog relax when you're out and about in bustling environments. 

Novick begins by stating that preparation is key. "Plan your training session to occur near the end of the day when your dog is more likely to be tired and ready for a nap. 

"Stuff a Kong with something your dog really likes, like yogurt or peanut butter. Place your dog's bed on the floor next to your dining room table. Pre-place treats on the table near where you've placed the bed. Put your dog on a leash and approach the area with your treats and your dog's bed," says Novick.

You're then ready to work your way through the following steps:

Step 1: "While seated, ask your dog to lie down on the prep-placed mat. Mark 'yes!' and reward when they do. Reward three to five times and then release your dog with the word 'okay!' and a treat tossed away from the bed," says Novick. Repeat this pattern, gradually building the duration as you do.

Step 2: "Once your dog can stay on the mat in a down for 30-60 seconds, start to add in some distractions," Novick advises. This might look like wiggling your chair, crossing and uncrossing your legs, taking out your phone or looking away. "If at any point your dog breaks position, just ask them to return to the bed and wait a beat before rewarding."

Step 3: Once you've completed the first two steps, you want to take your training on the road! "Practice in different rooms of your house, in the front yard, back yard and more. You want this picture to be super familiar for your dog by the time you practice it in a public setting," explains Novick. 

It's important to remember that public settings are much more difficult for your dog because there are so many more distractions. Because of this, you need to increase the value of your food reward when practicing in public to match the difficulty of the situation — think of things like chopped up hot dogs and cheese as opposed to biscuit treats.

Spending quality time together is one of our favorite ways to improve your relationship with your dog, so why not have them join you on your outings to dog-friendly cafes, restaurants and breweries?

You'll get to spend more time with your fur friend (check out these other ways to make more time for your dog when family life is busy) and they'll get some all-important mental and physical enrichment by taking in new sights, smells and sounds. It's a win-win! 

Chewsday Bacony Sizzle Chew Bones 
$22.99 from Chewy

Chewsday Bacony Sizzle Chew Bones 
$22.99 from Chewy
These long-lasting bacon-flavored chews are rawhide-free and hard and durable enough to bring your pup hours of entertainment. Made from all natural ingredients, they're highly digestible and are great for aggressive chewers. 

Kathryn Williams
Freelance writer

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.