By Bianca M. Caraza, Global Animal

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When taking pups out for a walk, most people assume that they must drag their furry friends along the same tired path every day, as if routine were somehow required. While people often appreciate a steady routine, no one likes monotony, least of all the tenacious and curious mind of a household pet. Trainers are now recommending that you introduce your dog to new people and places to encourage comfort with strangers as well as stave off boredom. One way of introducing your dog to new environments, and give them a coveted car ride, is to bring them along while running errands and shopping.

This is, of course, easier said than done. If you thought it was difficult having kids along at the salon or drugstore, pets would be murder, right? Not necessarily. Pet owners everywhere are finding that, more often than not, stores are welcoming leashed pups with open arms. In the twenty first century, you don’t have to be a guide dog to enjoy a day at the mall or night on the town.

Stores like Petsmart and Petco have, of course, always enjoyed pets of all kinds roaming down their well-stocked aisles. But where else might a dog or cat stray? While Home Depot was once pet friendly, rules have changed, banning pets of all shapes and sizes. Chains like Starbucks and most restaurants won’t allow pets due to sanitary and health reasons, so a good rule of thumb is to never expect any establishment that serves food to accommodate your beloved pet.

There are, however, several pet-friendly chains. Barnes and Noble booksellers, for instance, welcomes dogs, despite animal illiteracy rates. Anthropologie, Bebe, Bloomingdales, Macy’s, Foot Locker, and Gap (in certain metropolitan areas) all allow dogs to help their caretakers select the most aerodynamic pair of running shoes or flattering dress. Crate and Barrel allows polite pups to shop, as does the Pottery Barn.

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Fifth Avenue and Fifty-Seventh Street’s Tiffany’s welcomes diamond-minded dogs to stop in for a shiny treat. And Bergdorf Goodman’s and Polo Ralph Lauren invite canines to accompany their humans for a delightful afternoon stroll through bags and blouse galore.

There are plenty of stores, chain and otherwise, that don’t mind a well-behaved dog trotting down their aisles. The important thing for pet owners who don’t want to leave canine friends behind is to call ahead and make sure that their dog is welcome in a store. Global Animal also encourages caretakers to be considerate—while an individual employee may enjoy your dog, it’s not nice to expect your local café to embrace the sanitary and safety risks that come with allowing animals on the premises.

Dogs are highly intelligent and friendly creatures. Along with love and affection, they need a change of scenery every now and then. Having your dog tag along on short trips will give him the experience he’ll need to stay happy and healthy.

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  1. thanks for sharing these tips with us.Before taking a dog on a long walk, consider if the dog is healthy enough and is trained enough to walk that distance at your side. You should get an OK from your veterinarian if you are looking for good pet sitter.

  2. I live in Cicero, NY. upstate NY and I have two pits. I walked around Lowe’s for 45 min and never was approached by anyone there. We even asked and they said they were pet friendly. Better than leaving your pet in a hot car!!!!

  3. My thought is a dog is a dog big or small and if little dogs are welcome so should large dogs. I believe in fair is fair and not to discriminate with size. The Lowes in Heidelberg little dogs are there all the time and yesterday a man placed is unleashed poodle on the floor while he paid. Well one day soon I will walk my weimaraner through the door! Lets see if she is welcome or does Lowes discriiminate against their customrs.

  4. My dogs go anywhere and everywhere with me, which gives them the broadest knowledge base they can have, for it teaches then to adapt to any given situation, and how to behave within these situations. It is good therapy for the people who meet them also, for all animals are natural Healers, bringing a sense of peace and calm which is rarely found on this earth plain. I call my dogs A & E Dogs (anywhere and everywhere!) Rosi Caswell Animal Whisperer Therapist