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Where is the safest place to ask my service dog to lie down in a restaurant?

Many ambulatory service dog handlers have found that requesting a booth to sit in at an eating establishment is generally the easiest place to park their dog. Once the hostess shows you to your seats, before seating yourself, ask your dog to go under the table and lie down. Then you seat yourself, with your service dog under the table directly at your feet, holding onto the leash at all times to ensure that your dog stays in position and does not invade anyone else at your tables seating space or doesn’t start to lick crumbs or other food off the floor.

If booth seating is not available or you find yourself unable to sit comfortably in a booth, then when sitting at most restaurant tables, it is advisable to take a table against the wall. Seat yourself at a chair with the wall on one side then either have your dog lie down between your chair and the wall, ensuring that he or she is not extending beyond your chair and into another patron’s table space, or if your dog can comfortably fit, cue him to go under the table and lie down under your feet. Again be sure to hold onto your dog’s lead, so you are able to maintain appropriate control of your dog at all times.

Another option for placement of your service dog, and many programs teach their dogs this, is if you are sitting in a chair, seat yourself, then ask your dog to sit in front of your between your legs, with his or her head facing forward. Then as you ask your dog to lie down, slide him or her backwards until their rear end is under your chair and their head and front end are between your feet. If you do this please be sure to watch where your dog’s tail is and ensure that it is not in a place to be easily stepped on by a waiter or other restaurant patrons. Teaching your dog a ‘tuck tail’ cue may be very helpful for dogs with longer tails or ones with feathering on their tail to prevent being stepped on.