Views from the bar

Struan Logan toasts our four-legged friends and shares his tips for raising the perfect pub pooch.

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One of the best things about craft beer bars is that they overwhelmingly let in dogs; they give us something to stare at that isn’t our beer of choice. The other good thing about allowing dogs in is that it’s a sign the bar trusts you and your pooch to be well trained enough to be civilised in the bar. 

In fact, these days I actively avoid bars that aren’t dog friendly, as it is a clear sign that they don’t trust their clientele. Coincidentally, Weatherspoons is an excellent example of a non-dog-friendly establishment. Given how sticky the floors often are there, I don't think they really trust the human customers. 

Allow me to introduce my drinking companion. This is Maisie. She is a three-year-old Cardigan Corgi and has visited many bars with me. She is sassy, stubborn and full of personality. She has also seen the Beer52 offices back when I was working on the phone lines in customer service. As soon as she was house trained enough to sit in new buildings, our goal was always to make sure she could sit in a pub no problem. However we hit a slight snag. A generous dose of Covid-19 struck, meaning she was more stuck in the home. Her behaviour regressed into being more reactive in new environments and nervous about meeting new people. 


The other good thing about allowing dogs in is that it’s a sign the bar trusts you and your pooch to be well trained enough to be civilised in the bar

We've trained Maisie to be a lot better in pubs now but she is still occasionally nervous by some people, vehicles passing the bar and fills biggest dog cliche by barking at the postman. Specifically, she will bark at if they deliver to the bar. The vast majority of the time though, she uses the time in the bar to catch some beauty sleep. 

The thing is with Corgis is they are bred to be working dogs, they often need a task to keep them occupied. They were initially bred in Welsh farms to herd the cattle. The short legs are a dominant dwarfism gene and lucky means they are so short that a cow kicks too high to hit. The other job they were given was to protect the farm and warn of intruders; hence when she sees a courier, she’ll alert all customers of the potential danger. Even though they are likely delivering something delicious. 

Thankfully most of the bars we go to, the staff are patient with her and are just happy that you brought a dog to the bar. 

Since many people got dogs over the pandemic and as we get back to some normality, I thought it would be helpful to give some tips for getting your dog pub friendly.

Consider the type of dog: 

If you are thinking of getting a dog which is a pub friendly pooch, researching breed types will pay off in the long run. Fellow job dogs like Collies could also be tough to get used to the bar. However if you get a dog with low amounts of stamina like a Whippet or Chihuahua would be far easier as all they’ll be tired out quickly. 

Tiring out your dog: 

Taking the dog for a decent walk with a trip to a pub, as the resting place is a great way to get your dog started with being in the pub. If you are fortunate enough to be able to go in the middle of a weekday, it should be a very peaceful time to take them in, letting your dog get used to the new environment. 

Make it feel like home: 

Especially when they are new to the bar, it is great to take a familiar blanket, towel or toy. If the dog is nervous about the environment, something to help them associate with home will comfort them. 

Keeping them occupied: 

While playing with a toy like throwing a ball is not going to be the best idea in a pub, giving them some chewable treat will likely keep them busy. However be mindful of the smell some of these produce when being eaten. It may ruin the aroma of a light pale ale so you’ll have to move on to a dank IPA or imperial stout instead. 

Having a high threshold for embarrassment: 

When getting Maisie used to the pub again, she embarrassed me a few times and. One of the things to do is communicate clearly when she’s been nervous, instead of downing your beer and walking out. Thankfully staff are understanding and normally customers are too. 

Let’s toast our four-legged friends even if they aren’t always on their best behaviour.

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