Want to shop with your dog? Well-mannered, leashed dogs are welcome in an increasing number of dog friendly stores–and not only pet supply shops! If you’d like to take your dog shopping with you, we’ve got you covered in this article with information on:
- how to know if your dog is ready for shopping
- the rules of shopping with your dog
- determining if a store is dog-friendly
- a list of over 100 national store chains that have many dog-friendly locations
Is Your Dog Ready for Shopping?
OK, we all know that shopping sometimes can be a little stressful–and that holds true for our dogs, too!
Before you get ready to hit the stores with your dog, determine if your dog is a good candidate for shopping right now. He might need additional training and socialization–or might be more of a hiking buddy than a shopping buddy.
- Is my dog OK with new situations? Will your dog be comfortable going to new locations and seeing new people (and possibly other dogs) without pulling at the leash or barking?
- Does my dog have basic obedience skills including sit, watch me, and leave it?
- Does my dog walk politely with me on leash? Shopping doesn’t require precision heeling but your dog needs to remain near you on leash, politely moving out of the way of other shoppers.
If you answered “no” to any of these questions, you’ll want to do some additional training with your dog.
Visit local parks and practice walking your dog near other people, on leash. Ask your dog to watch you or sit while distractions are occurring. And check out local positive reinforcement trainers who can help work on your dog’s training, socialization, and self-confidence in new situations.
The Rules for Shopping with Your Dog
Regardless of the store, you’ll need to follow some basic rules when bringing your dog to a store.
If your dog isn’t able to consistently do these activities, return to your training–and to a professional dog trainer, if needed–to work on these skills.
Stores are only appropriate for non-reactive dogs who are dependable in a public setting.
Once you decide your dog is ready for a store visit, here are some helpful tips to make those first shopping trips a success:
- Call first. Rules change. Managers change. While one store location might welcome you and your dog, another location of the same retail chain might have a strict no-dogs policy. Give your local store a call first and just ask: Is your store location dog-friendly?
- Potty first. Make sure your dog is walked and has had the chance to potty before entering a store.
- Pack a short leash. Stores are not the place for an extendable leash or even an long, fixed leash. I use a four-foot-long leash whenever entering a store with a dog, and often hold this leash even shorter .
- Start slow. Start with the easiest stores–pet supply stores. They’re accustomed to dogs in the store and, if your dog gets too excited and lets out a bark, it’s not going to shock anyone. From there, work your way up to garden centers, smaller hardware stores and feed stores, then finally boutiques and large (often noisy) home centers.
- Visit at a quiet time. On your dog’s first visit to a store, visit during off hours. You first visit might not even include any shopping–you might just practice entering the store (especially if your dog isn’t accustomed to automatic doors) and walking a few aisles.
- No barking. Your dog needs to be able to politely walk the aisles at your side without barking at other shoppers, merchandise, or another dog in the store.
- Give other shoppers plenty of room. Move out of the way of other shoppers and carts, keeping your dog at your side on a short leash. A good “watch me” command, accompanied by a small training treat, is really useful on crowded aisles.
- Remember that everyone may not love your dog. It’s hard to believe but, yes, there are those out there who don’t like or are uncomfortable with dogs. The goal is for your dog to quietly accompany you, stopping when you stop, not trying to greet other people.
- Clean up any accidents. To prevent potty accidents in the store, remember our suggestion above and walk your dog before entering–and keep a close eye, especially on male dogs, around columns or other features that previous four-legged shoppers could have potentially marked in the past. If your dog has a potty accident, clean it up immediately. Along with the poop bags in my dog walking bag, I also pack a YUCKY PUPPY wet bag for dogs with a few folded paper towels and hand sanitizer just in case an accident should ever occur.
- Watch your dog’s body language. Is your dog getting stressed? It’s time to cut the shopping short. Keep a close eye on your dog’s body language, looking for signs of stress like yawning, lip licking, stiffness, and more, especially when your dog is encountering new things (automatic doors, shopping carts, loudspeaker announcements, beeping sounds caused by loaders at home supply stores, etc.)
- Never, ever lie about your dog being a service dog. Please, please, please remember to only go to stores that welcome PET dogs. Never lie about your dog being a highly-trained service dog. It is illegal (and punishments are getting more serious in some states) and just plain wrong. You’ll find plenty of shops below that welcome pet dogs at many locations; if you need to visit a store that isn’t dog-friendly (like a grocery store or any store that sells food), please leave your dog at home for a good nap and surprise him with a goody when you return!
Determining if a Store is Dog-Friendly
Below you’ll find a list of over 100 stores that, in many locations, are dog-friendly. Note: we said IN MANY LOCATIONS. Typically companies do not make a company-wide policy about dog shoppers but, instead, leave it up to local store managers. Local ordinances may restrict dog policies or a store may have had a bad experience in the past. The only way to know for certain if your local store is dog-friendly is to make a quick call.
Typically, you will always find a NO dog policy at any store that sells food including grocery stores. (Farmers’ markets, held in open-air settings, often welcome dogs, however!)
Pet supply stores are almost always dog-friendly and a great place to start your dog’s public access training. We haven’t included pet supply stores on the list below because you can pretty much count on being able to bring your dog into your local PetSmart, Petco, Pet Supplies Plus and local pet supply store.
100+ Dog Friendly Stores
Fetch this list as a printable checklist of 100+ dog-friendly stores
in our Freebies Library!
Remember: pet policies vary from location to location, based on local ordinances, accessibility to an outside entrance (if located inside an indoor mall), and sometimes even on the store manager’s wishes. Give these stores, each of which has dog-friendly locations, a call to see if your local store welcomes four-legged shoppers!
- Bath and Body Works
- Crabtree & Evelyn
- LUSH Cosmetics
- MAC Cosmetics
- Barnes and Noble
- Half Price Books
- Abercrombie and Fitch
- American Apparel
- American Eagle Outfitters
- Ann Taylor
- Banana Republic
- Barney’s New York
- Bergdorf Goodman
- Designer Shoe Warehouse
- Foot Locker
- Free People
- J. Jill
- Kenneth Cole
- Knot Standard
- Lane Bryant
- Lululemon Athletica
- Nordstrom’s The Rack
- Old Navy
- Rye 51
- Saks Fifth Avenue
- Saks OFF 5TH
- Simon Premium Outlets
- TJ Maxx
- Tommy Bahama
- United Colors of Benetton
- Urban Outfitters
- Victoria’s Secret
HARDWARE + AUTO
- Ace Hardware
- Harley Davidson Store
- Lumber Liquidators
- Harbor Freight Tools
- Pep Boys
- The Home Depot
- Tractor Supply Co.
- Hobby Lobby
- JoAnn Fabrics
- At Home
- Bed Bath and Beyond
- Crate & Barrel
- Ethan Allen
- Home Goods
- Kirkland Home Stores
- Laura Ashley
- Living Spaces (small dogs only)
- Pottery Barn
- Restoration Hardware
- The Container Store
- Tuesday Morning
- West Elm
- White House Black Market
- William Sonoma
- Yankee Candle
- Alex and Ani
- Diamonds Direct
- Jared – The Galleria of Jewelry
- Kendra Scott
- Tiffany & Co.
PET SUPPLY STORES
- Both national chains and local pet supply stores generally welcome all leashed, well-mannered dogs.
SPORTS + OUTDOORS
- Academy Sports + Outdoors
- Bass Pro Shops
- Camping World
- Dick’s Sporting Goods
- Field and Stream
- Gander Outdoors
- Great Outdoor Provision Co.
- L.L. Bean
- Sierra Trading Post
- Sportsman’s Warehouse
- Apple Store
What’s YOUR favorite store to shop with your dog? Please leave a comment below!