Shopping with your dog is definitely a growing trend. Some stores are quicker to get on board than others. Home Depot has been known to be dog friendly for quite some time. We frequent Marshall's too but those trips are shorter because the customers seem to find it odd that there's a dog walking around near by.
I think the growing dog shopping phenomenon is due to the increased awareness of the dangers of leaving your dog in the car. The Humane Society says that a dog left in a car could be dealing with temperatures of over 100 degrees inside the car, even with the temperature outside is cool. They also report that open windows appear to have little affect on the inside temperature of the car. You can read their whole article here.
Recently I needed to make a trip to Staples to print out color certificates for an upcoming training I was leading in Fishkill, NY. I thought this was the perfect shopping trip for Bella. I wouldn't be there long and the print center at Staples is open and spacious. If you Google, "Is Staples Dog Friendly" today, you get mixed reviews. In 2008, an LA Times article noted Staples as being open to service dogs only but it seems they Staples is loosening their grip on that rule, depending on the store...and likely it is at management discretion.
I have learned my lesson at Barnes & Nobel and called first. I made sure to speak to a manager - a lesson I learned at Kohl's - and asked the following question:
I worded it this way to assist him in giving me the answer I was looking for, which turned out to be quite effective. I could tell he was hesitant...resistant...leaning toward saying no.
He asked her size...if she would be leashed...if she was well behaved. I said yes. I also threw in that I would clean up after any mess she made. That was when he said (quite relieved) that it would be fine.
We went in and made a bee-line to the print center. I had her leashed and had treats with me to keep her occupied. Generally she was great. She got a bit bored and barked once...and on our way out she really wanted to sniff and say hello to a customer at another copier. But we made it out without incident or comment.
As the dog friendly store rules continue to unfold, my advice is to call and speak with a Manager to request permission. That way, you won't catch anyone by surprise and if an employee gives you a hard time you have a manager's name to refer to. Keep your dog leashed and happy (treats work best for Bella) and don't do anything to wear out your welcome. Most of all, clean up after your dog! A mess left in a store is the quickest way for a store to remove themselves from the dog friendly store list!
Where do you shop with your dog? What tips do you have to keep your dog on the "Welcome" list?