Dog friendly vs. dog ‘friendly’?

In a recent discussion the topic of dog friendly holiday accommodation arose. Dog friendly lodgings vary enormously from ‘dog tolerated’ all the way up to ‘dog treated like royalty’.

The problem at the moment is that there’s no common set of criteria: anywhere can advertise themselves as dog friendly even if it’s just one grotty room out the back they use for people with dogs.

Given the wide scope and the potential for misunderstanding amongst accommodation owners and guests alike, I propose an agreed set of standards that constitute dog friendly accommodation. In an ideal world, I’d like to see something akin to a star rating for dog friendliness:

  • 1 star: more dogs tolerated rather than dog friendly – dogs allowed in some rooms, but not in the public areas of the hotel / B&B; extra charge often made for them
  • 2 stars: dogs allowed in rooms and in a subset of public areas of the hotel (e.g. bar area)
  • 3 stars: dogs treated exactly like people and allowed everywhere without hindrance; also no extra charge for having dogs.

At the same time, I can also see this from the other side: perhaps certain hotel/B&B owners have been on the receiving end of inconsiderate owners who’ve brought wet/muddy dogs into nice clean rooms, jumped all over the beds, etc.

I find there’s also a huge variation in longer term accommodation (cottages for 3-4 weeks). The owner of the place I’ve been staying the last couple of weeks just south of Aviemore, for example, is quite happy for dogs to roam the house without restrictions. No problem about dogs in bedrooms/living room, on the furniture, etc.. That’s dog friendly.

By contrast, I’ve stayed in places that have much stricter rules about dogs: not allowed in the bedrooms is a common one, as is not on the furniture.

Not on the furniture is one I can live with (even if the dog is a bit upset at first – she gets free reign over the sofas at home :) ), but not in the bedrooms isn’t acceptable to me: she’s an elderly rescue with attachment issues. If I tried to put her to bed in the kitchen none of us would get any sleep…

In the meantime, a good way of determining how dog friendly a place is by substituting the word ‘dog‘ with ‘child‘. Watch the parents go up in arms when they find they have to lock the children in the car whilst they go to dinner… :-)


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