Canberra dog friendly cafés – doggie etiquette

Canberra has some great dog friendly cafés, but let's make sure our pooches continue to be welcomed. Here's some tips on doggie café etiquette and how to achieve it. And when you've finished reading this, check out our recommendations on the best Canberra dog friendly cafés. You can also follow us on Facebook to keep up with more Canberra Dog Walks news and advice.

»Keeping our dog friendly cafés 'dog friendly'

Let's make sure we can continue to patronise wonderful dog friendly cafés with our four-legged friends by heeding some sensible advice about doggie etiquette. Otherwise Canberra might become another Gold Coast where the Council once banned dogs at cafés. How backward! So here's our suggested rules:

  • Resist feeding your dog from the table. Your dog will never really settle if he/she is always begging for a hand-out, and some patrons find it off-putting (strange huh).
  • Prevent your dog approaching other tables to beg for food. Same reasons as above.
  • Don't let your dog approach other patrons unless invited. While it's hard to image that everyone doesn't adore your dog, some people are anxious about dogs or just don't like them sniffing around while they're eating.
  • Don't let your dog approach other dogs unless invited. Some dogs are nervous or reactive around other dogs, especially when they are on leash or around food.
  • Try your best to stop your dog barking, whining or otherwise creating a nuisance that could annoy other patrons. If you can't control your dog, cut your visit short and try again another time.

»Training your dog to be café friendly

It's important to train your dog to understand that visiting a café means quiet time lying by your side. We trained our dog by bringing a special 'café'  blanket each time so that she learned whenever it was laid by the table, that meant quiet time. When she was young, we also brought a chew or toy to help keep her entertained. We started with short visits, gradually making them longer over time. It also helps to walk your dog beforehand so they settle more easily.

Our tips for training a café friendly dog are to:

  • start your dog young so they learn to be calm around a lot of people and distractions
  • walk your dog beforehand to get rid of excess energy and any toileting needs (check out our great Canberra dog walks that nearly all start and end at a dog friendly café)
  • bring a chew or toy to keep your dog occupied, especially when young
  • make sure your dog is as comfortable as possible - not too hot in the sun, not too cold in the shade, not lying on a cold or scratchy surface
  • find a spot away from foot traffic so your dog won't get tripped over or get in the way of chairs being pushed back
  • don't feed your dog from the table - ever - otherwise they will never really settle
  • reward good behaviour - remember to reward and pay attention to your dog when they are quiet and well-mannered not just when they misbehave.

You can learn more about socialising your dog with hands on help by joining one of Canberra's not-for-profit dog training clubs.


Got any questions or comments? Use our contact form.

The locations of our favourite Canberra dog friendly cafés are marked in the map below. Find out more in our Canberra dog friendly cafés blog.

»Dog friendly café location map

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