Pet Travel. Made Easy.

For Every Meltdown There Is a “Melt My Heart”

This post is being written at Ty and Buster’s request. They’re worried you might be getting the wrong idea about them because I only write about their behavior when it’s less than stellar. In retrospect, they may have a point. Focusing on the positive makes us all feel better about ourselves, so this post is about how well behaved our dogs can be.

Buster and Ty

Buster and Ty

You may recall that the boy’s didn’t have a great day in Key West. Yet, just one short week later, they totally impressed us! The opportunity came about when one of our Facebook friends suggested that we get together (Thank you, Rob!). Meeting up with people we’ve connected with online is one of the best aspects about traveling, so we happily accepted the invitation. We met for lunch at the pet friendly Woody’s Waterside in St. James City, FL last Friday.

I heard the rain tap, tap, tapping on the roof before I even opened my eyes on Friday morning, and it was still wet and chilly when we arrived at Woody’s. Since pet-friendly seating areas are almost always outdoors, we settled the dogs in the Winnebago and Rod and I headed inside to meet with Rob and his wife Terri. Imagine our surprise when we saw the dog bowl and treats at the table waiting for us!

Woody’s has an unusual design. Just inside the front door is an area that looks a bit like an enclosed porch. To get into the main part of the restaurant and bar there are large overhead doors – completely open while we were there – but I’m guessing that because the “porch” area can be separated from the “dining area,” it’s legal for them to allow pets inside. They also have a terrific deck, complete with tiki roof, on the canal with pet friendly seating when the weather is nicer.

Rob and Rod Woody's Waterside Tiki Deck, Uninhabited on a Chilly Day

The waitress and our friends encouraged us to bring the dogs inside, but I was hesitant. The difficulty we’d had with them in Key West was fresh in my mind, and I wanted to be able to visit with our new friends without being interrupted by unruly dog behavior. I also didn’t want our dogs disturbing any of the other customers’ leisurely Friday lunch. Luckily, Rod convinced me by promising that if Ty and Buster showed any signs of acting-up, he would take them back to the Winnebago.

THEY WERE FANTASTIC! Ty laid down under my chair and didn’t make a peep during the more than two hours we lingered over lunch. And Buster sprawled out on the floor next to Rod and smiled at all the people walking by him. He did pop up and get a little too close to the french fries on one occasion, but that was his biggest infraction. I couldn’t have been more proud of them.

Lunch at Woody's

Having Lunch at Woody’s Waterside

So, what changed during the week between Key West and lunch at Woody’s? No, we have not found a miracle training system. We simply set the dogs up to be successful. First, Rod was confident that it would go well, and we were both relaxed because we had a back up plan. Second, both dogs have had practice lying patiently at a restaurant while we eat. The only thing we changed was the length of time we asked them to hang out, and that was something doable for them. Finally, they didn’t see any of the distractions that put them over the top in Key West – namely, other dogs and free-ranging chickens. Because we didn’t ask them to do more than they were able, we all enjoyed the experience.

My tendency is to focus on the things that need work, rather than enjoying the progress we’ve made. It’s a vicious circle – as soon as we’ve met one goal a new one pops up and the horizon moves. This was a great reminder that the time we’re spending with the dogs is paying off – it boosted my confidence in them and us.

So … what has your dog been doing right?

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  • Hi Abigail,

    Yes, I think you guys will really like it. Watch out for the free-ranging chickens though – Pippi may decide he’s a bird dog. :-)

    Sorry we’re going to miss you in Florida. I’m sure we’ll run into each other eventually – though not literally I hope!

  • […] note #1: Buster’s great behavior continued at the dog park and beach. He did some super-long recalls, even with the distractions of the other […]

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