Over the years I've met some wonderful pub and hotel dogs. My own dog, Martha (that's not her!) is a silver-lipped 14 year old now and enjoys nothing more than a trip to her favourite Alpine Coffee Shop in Betws y Coed, where dogs are welcome and even have their own loyalty card. There are plenty of dog-friendly, and dog-free, pubs and cafes around here, but what should you consider when deciding on your own policy?
You should know by now that one of my pet hates is the mis-use of "health and safety" as an excuse for everything (as in "we don't let dogs in because of health and safety"). If you decide that you'd like to run a dog-free business of course that's absolutely fine, but if you want to allow well-behaved dogs into some of your public areas there is no legal reason why you shouldn't.
Food Safety regulations mean that pests and domestic pets must be excluded from food storage and preparation areas, but not necessarily from dining areas.
I was chatting to licensed trade journalist Phil Mellows about this the other day, and he sent me a copy of his excellent article on dogs in pubs. There are some great examples here of licensees who have developed sensible policies to keep their dog owning customers happy, as well as those who prefer to be in a dog-free environment.
There's a long tradition of taking dogs to the pub, but it's less common to find a dog-friendly restaurant, cafe or guesthouse. There's an understandable reluctance to allow dogs into rooms where people are eating, but you might be able to set aside an alternative area where food can be served to people who have a dog with them.
And it's worth remembering that the Disability Discrimination Act means that you can't deny entry to someone with a guide dog or other assistance dog, as this is directly related to their disability. Guide Dogs UK have some brilliant advice on their website about how you can create a dog-friendly environment for assistance dogs and their owners.
I'd love to hear what you think about this - and whether any of you welcome pets OTHER than dogs!
I've been working in hospitality and training one way or another for over 25 years. I love helping small hospitality businesses to develop. Follow me and my continuing training adventures here...