Pet Store Etiquette in Berkeley, California
What to Know Before You Go
The experience with the pet store isn't suitable for all pets. A dog is a good candidate for a pet store visit if he is normally friendly and easy-going and is sociable around people, even kids, who could invade his room. But when that makes him (or you) uncomfortable, be prepared to ask people to refrain from petting or touching your dog.
Even your dog must be respectful to other animals. Although you might expect to see other dogs and cats in the pet-supply shop, your pooch might find a number of animals in cages like snakes, small rodents and birds. If he is not relaxed with these creatures, reduce issues by teaching appropriate behaviors prior to your visit, bypassing the parts of the store where those animals are housed or leaving your dog completely at home.
Finally, bear in mind that your dog can be terrified by the pet-supply stores themselves. For some dogs, who would be best off at home, the sticky surfaces, noisy area and shopping carts may be daunting.
How to Have an Ideal Shopping Experience
Keep your dog on a leash. Ideally, the dog should be clipped with only a little slack to a fixed-length leash to prevent him from disrupting the room of other dogs (or humans) or being a tripping danger. It may also be helpful to use a front-clip harness or head halter. And be mindful of other shoppers trying to see a shelf or show more closely — don't obstruct their path.
Greet politely. But not every other dog — or human — is nice to your pooch. Just allow your dog to greet people when they want to, and only as long as it keeps all four paws on the ground. Even if your dog is nice, remember that not all dogs are present, particularly in an enclosed environment and on leash. If your dog has an interest in another canine, consider asking the trainer to meet you later on for a play date at the dog park.
Minimize messes. Although your dog should be completely house trained before you take him to the pet-supply store, this new place's sights and sounds can cause your dog to forget about his manners. Make incidents less likely to happen by getting your dog out to potty before going into the shop. Watch your dog inside for signs of marking, such as vigorous sniffing of a specific area and siding up to vertical objects, and be prepared to shift your dog a short distance away from mark-worthy objects, and turn your attention to other activities such as heel or eye contact. If your dog is having an accident, don't cover it up or pretend not to see it. Instead, ensure prompt clean-up of all the messes. Many stores have poop bags and disinfectant available, but if not, alert a store employee for help (and politely offer to clean it up yourself).
Treat the merchandise with respect. Note that while the pet-supply store might be dog-friendly, it is a business and harm to the products is not appropriate. You are responsible for replacing the defective item if your pooch chomps down on a doggy snack or toy with gusto, leaving teeth or slobber traces. Training your dog to "drop it" or "leave it" will help you deal with this situation. Likewise, don't allow your dog to choose a new toy by making it keep various toys in its mouth. Finally, if your dog bumps (or jumps) into an object and destroys it, immediately warn pet store staff and seek advice on how best to react to the mishap.