Pets mostly welcome in stores, but follow the rules

It seems that the days of leaving your dog at home while you run your errands may be over. You can even forget locking them in the car - simply snap on a leash and hit the stores!

So, we set out to see how welcoming local stores would be to have a four-legged shopper inside!

To conduct our little test we enlisted the help of 6-year-old BooBoo. His instant cuteness factor was sure to wow all those who encountered him.

We strapped a camera onto his back and hit the streets of Center City Philadelphia and South Philly.

Fellow shoppers couldn't help but say "Hi!" and "He's so cute!" as BooBoo walked by.

We had luck right away at the Apple store, Athleta, and City Sports. We let him ride through Home Depot and, at Anthropologie, he was simply the hit of the afternoon.

"You're my favorite person in America," one shopper said.

People we talked to love the idea of having a pet go shopping.

"I think they should as long as the dog is well behaved," said Tegan Shainberg of Cornwall, United Kingdom.

"I think it's amazing. I know if I had a dog I know it would be my best friend - and I know a lot of people feel very passionate about dogs - so I'm all for it," said Virgil Addison of North Philadelphia.

The only hiccup we encountered was at Lowe's simply because BooBoo wasn't in a cart. That's the store's requirement.

While we had fun with BooBoo, Dana Vachon - a certified dog trainer with Philly Unleashed - said be sure you don't rush into shopping unless your dog has basic training.

"Our dogs need to learn how to behave in appropriate situation. Your dog should not be jumping on people, they should not be reaching for treats, they should not be jumping on counters and they should be generally focused on you," Vachon said.

Vachon says while outings can be fun they can also be stressful on your four-legged friend.

"If you're browsing and shopping and it's a lazy afternoon keep it short. A prolonged experience in a store is going to be overwhelming for your dog," Vachon said.

Plus: make sure you have the proper gear, pack treats and water, ditch that retractable leash for a standard flat one for added control.

And, of course, be sure to have poop bags.

"The biggest thing is to prevent an accident," said Vachon.

But if one should happen, the advice is to own up to it and ask for cleaning materials.

Vachon says be wary of crowded stores and realize that not everyone may enjoy your pet as much as you do.

"Make sure your dog doesn't go up to greet them," Vachon said.

Dana Vachon actually teaches a "dogs about town" class to help prepare you and your pet for these types of excursions.

Here's a list of pet-friendly stores:

Home Depot
City Sports
Kermit's Bakery
CVS (22nd & South)
Philadelphia Running Company
Urban Outfitters
Cosmic Cafe
Starbucks (9th & South)
Red Hook Cafe
Washington Crossing Vineyard
Peddler's Village

We encourage you to send us your pictures shopping with your BFF!


Philly Unleashed!

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