Dos and don’ts of dining out with your dog

Hear directly from a member of the service industry in Portland.

A woman poses with a cute small dog at The Rambler in Portland, Oregon.

Can I pet that dog? Seriously, John Jeffrey and The Rambler staff want to know.

Photo by @ramblerbar

As a dog-friendly city, Portland has many restaurants and bars where it’s permitted (and often encouraged) to bring your furry friend along. But to ensure that everyone has a pleasant experience, it’s important that pups and their owners are on their best behavior.

We asked John Jeffrey, a barback and occasional bartender at The Rambler on North Mississippi Avenue, about specific etiquette that staff members appreciate from patrons.

Top of the list? Always keep your dog on a leash. “Coming from someone who spends their shifts sometimes literally sprinting around the bar, it’s very important that patrons have a good handle on their dog’s whereabouts,” he said. “It makes my job exponentially more difficult when I’m having to find alternate routes or having to step over dogs in order to drop food at a table.”

Another im-paw-tant reminder is to take action if your dog is ever aggressive or reactive — which rarely happens, Jeffrey points out — “whether that means removing their dog or calming them down in some way. No one wants to drink at a bar where they’re actively being barked at or jumped on.”

Two golden retrievers smile for the camera.

With canine respiratory disease going around, it is important to practice doggy social distancing.

Photo by @ramblerbar

All of The Rambler’s outside patios are open to dogs; you’ll find fire pits in the front and heaters on the side and out back. “Not only is it fun to connect with our customers’ dogs, it’s a great way to connect with our customers themselves. People love to talk about their pets, after all,” he said. “The Rambler is a place of inclusivity, and that extends to all pets. Granted, if someone tried to bring their horse in, we’d have to have a chat.”

Plus, good doggos get a reward. “Don’t be shy when it comes to asking for water bowls or treats,” Jeffrey said. “We’ve usually got a stash of dog snacks behind the bar that we’re more than happy to share.”

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