Lowe’s no longer allows dogs

For years, at least seven, I have been sending our clients to walk and socialize in our local hardware stores. The employees love it, our clients have loved it, and it seems to have been a win win. People bring their dogs into a store for kind and considerate socialization, they do some shopping, and then leave. We have even held classes in these stores.

Yes I am the trainer who calls stores at 7am to check store policy, I usually catch a new manager off guard, they scramble for a bit to find out what is and what is not OK, and then almost always we have received a yes.

It is safe to say that in our area, even though we have leash laws, the dog community operates off leash, sometimes responsibly, most of the time irresponsibly. The only managed places, truly managed, are our local hardware stores. All dogs on leash. We have five to choose from, big box chains to locally owned. This has been a bonus for puppies, fearful dogs, shy dogs, and dogs needing this type of management in order to be successful.

Our smaller locally owned stores have had irresponsible dog owners in and out, and most have a sign in front, ‘Please come shop with YOUR DOG ON LEASH’, and there is almost always a free slip lead available if you don’t have one. Awesome!

This past winter one of our clients took her dog shopping at Lowe’s. This dog was a smart and spunky thing, and was very successful as long as other dogs did not charge at her face. Fair enough, I don’t like things charging at my face either. This eliminated parks, dog parks, trails, and neighborhoods, none of them are managed in our area. The only managed areas have been our ‘dog friendly stores’ where dogs are on leash.

Her dog was sitting politely at the check out register, she was paying, items being put into a bag, and then, in thru the out door romps an off leash dog that ran right over and jumped on this dog that was sitting politely. They scrapped, and believe it or not, my client was made out to be the ‘inappropriate’ person/dog owner in this scenario. Not the off leash dog owner, who not only didn’t apologize, but walked away to go shopping with his dog still off leash. The person at the register proceeded to tell my client that her dog wasn’t very friendly and shouldn’t be in the store, and all the while, this sweet spunky dog was made to feel like a criminal, while doing everything right. How seriously messed up is that?

AND IT HAPPENS ALL OF THE TIME.

My client was upset, rightfully so. Such great progress had been made to find a manged environment, and now that was not even safe enough.

So I called Lowe’s, or local store. After being transferred about four times I finally had someone on the line who took a managerial tone with me, this would just have to do, whether they were or not.

I was told that Lowe’s only allows service dogs. My jaw dropped and I almost started to fall off my chair, laughing. When I explained that our group puppy classes had been in their store for years, and all of our clients who shopped their regularly, and my dogs who have grown up in this store, they said that has always been their policy. When I asked how they justified off leash dogs in their store, the reply was that if they passed the sign that said ‘service dogs only’, then their dog must be a service dog. This time I did laugh out loud.

I tried to explain that ALL stores and places of business had to allow service dogs, there was no answer. When I explained that a real service dog would be identified with a vest, collar, and leash so there was no confusion, and FOR SURE they would not be off leash, there was no answer. When I explained that my clients dog was jumped by an off leash dog in their store, there was no answer. I asked why there was no sign, large sign, in their front window stating, NO OFF LEASH DOGS, the answer was that they had no way to monitor that. Oh My God!

Well two weeks ago there was an incidence in another Lowe’s store involving an off  leash Rottweiler, another dog on leash, and a child. It didn’t go well for anyone, especially the child. This was so sad and so very preventable. Irresponsible and off leash in a public store screams EGO to me, and this time a child paid the price.

This story came up in our class last night, so I called Lowe’s at 7am, and asked again what their policy was. I received the exact same answer as I did this past winter, there must be a ‘policy sheet’ above the phone. When I asked if there was a link to their ‘pet policy’ for their store, because I couldn’t find one, they said “oh we don’t post it on line, but I can print you out a copy”.

There are a catrillion ‘I hate pets in stores’ articles on line. People who are fed up with dogs in stores, off leash dogs in stores, dogs lunging at their children in stores, dirty dogs with fleas in stores, etc.

There is a huge difference between responsible and irresponsible dog ownership. Off leash in stores and public places is irresponsible, period. Managing your dog, kindly and considerately socializing in your space, and on leash in public is responsible.

Once again, irresponsible and off leash has lead to another venue/opportunity being closed to those who really benefit from it. And really those who have earned it through their efforts to be responsible.

So the next time you hear me say, ‘put a leash on your dog’, it isn’t to be unfair to your dog, in fact all of my dogs love when the leash comes out, it is to be fair to those around you and to show the world that you care enough.

As for Lowe’s, your wishy washy way of having a policy is lame, I just can’t wrap my head around how you have allowed dogs in your store for years, and ‘assumed’ they were all service dogs?

Love your dog, train your dog, train yourself to be better at management, and please be responsible. That is the complete package, and in my opinion, totally worth it!

Cheers, Nancy

81 Comments Add yours

  1. mtwaggin says:

    Do you suppose they’d let you come speak at one of their management meetings about this topic? Maybe a little letter writing campaign by some of your responsible clients that do go in with their dogs and spend money there?

    1. Nancy Tanner says:

      Sherry, I don’t know. It would be interesting to know for sure where everyone stands, but there are so many different answers from everyone.

      1. David Demario USN Diver says:

        I bring my animal into lowes at all times. I am a handicapped service connected veteran. Dogs are real intelligent it seems owners are not to bright.
        I was in lowes the other day when people who had a german shepherd approached me and my animal. when I was not looking. They thought it was cute their dog jumping all over my animal and me, knocking me over… The person was apologizing and helping me up. When I reached over and pepper sprayed the animal and owner, Police were called and the other person and I were ticketed to show up to court. When I showed up in court I had all the necessary paperwork, and asked the judge to drop the charge of “interference with a service animal”. I followed up and filed federal charges, state charges dropped. I filed with the federal courts and the department of justice. The person was not happy they had to retain a 20,000 dollar lawyer who kept on telling them to settle. At the end of the story the person has to pay court cost and my lawyer, about 30,000 dollars. They also had to pay 55,000 dollars in fines for firet offense + 30,000 dollars = 85,000… Is it worth it!!!! lol

      2. Sam says:

        This is in response to David Demario. I believe dogs should be well-behaved and on leash if they are brought into a public place…regardless of whether it is a store, park, whatever. It is unfortunate that they knocked you over, but pepper spraying them AFTER they APOLOGIZED and helped you up? That is just taking it too far. They apologized first, so obviously they realized they had made a mistake. Generally, people who immediately apologize realize they have done something wrong. The people who don’t care a tad that their animal is misbehaving, won’t apologize and will often get nasty at you for saying something. They definitely should’ve had the dog under control and they should’ve asked permission before approaching; however, you crossed a line as well. I can see pepper spraying an AGGRESSIVE dog that is intending to do harm, but spraying the owner who is attempting to make it right??? Sickening. Plus, continuing on with court hearings. It seems to me that you are just as bad as they are. They had a one time issue with you and tried to make amends and you not only punished them immediately, but also tried to drag it out as long as possible. Some dog owners may be irresponsible, but you sir are vindictive.

      3. David says:

        Agreed Sam….you David Demario are a very vindictive person that takes things to the extreme! They made a mistake, they apologized and helped you up. You then pepper spray the animal and owner?!?!? You sir are the one that needs help!

    2. Bigdogmom says:

      I think everyone needs to think about it from the business’ perspective. The Mgmt staff must balance the complaints on both sides especially in our sue happy country. At the heart most customers don’t want dogs in stores especially food stores and are very vocal about dogs in carts. While they must follow all ADA laws it is a fine line to skirt to say the least. I am a huge dog lover and owner and that makes it my responsibility to be sure my dogs are not bothering others. I agree an off leash pet should never be allowed but the frustration at these situations needs to be directed toward those owners not the businesses……and no I don’t work for Lowes!

      1. Hi Nancy.
        As I was googling about Lowe’s policy on dogs I ran across your article.
        Intrigued, I read it.

        As a fellow dog trainer I say hell yes! to the remark on “put your dog on a leash”.

        However, as a Service Dog owner/handler, I must correct your wording of a SD “of course, not being off leash” as that is incorrect.

        A SD does not have to be physically tethered if it interrupts their ability to perform their tasks for their handler.
        As for the remark on being harnessed/vested/collared; a SD also does not legally have to provide a special collar, leash, vest, or any type of “Certification” (as there is no certification nor registry for SDs nor ESAs. {Emotional Support Animal} anyone that claims to have paperwork is a fraud, or a highly misinformed team)

        So, what can you do to keep the mangy mutts out of your well-behaved pooch’s way?
        You can’t.
        Not without banning yourself as well. :/
        But, to prevent the dogs in OTHER stores, inform the facilities the are allowed 2 questions: 1.) Is that a service dog? and 2.) What TASKS has the dog been trained to perform for the handler.

        Keep on the training!
        -Bella

      2. Nancy Tanner says:

        Hi Bella, while not required, fully recommended as there can be no question. All of my SD clients that have dogs from professional organizations, and are supported by them, do have to wear vests, collars, leashes ID’ing their dog.

        Owner trained SD, depending on the legitimacy, range from NOT to ID’ing their dog so there is no question. A person, from my experience, who goes through the effort to ID their dog, and take the path of least resistant, is generally the one who really needs their dog. It is the one who does nothing, and doesn’t care, and then throws out the ‘SD’ that is the real problem.

        In our area we have more people shopping with their dogs, than SD handlers. And in our area, we have had more SD handlers told, “you may stay but your dog must go” because they were owner trained, poorly at that, and caused disruption to the place or people in the area.

        So 6’s at times really.

        We have 27 stores in our town that allow dogs, all dogs, Lowes was one of them. Sporting goods, hardware, outdoor cafes, book stores, clothing stores. It makes taking your dog out and about a good thing, and hopefully a good social experience for the dog.

        Two of our stores, thankfully have signs, LEASHED & Well MANNERED DOGS WELCOME. I think honestly, that is all it would take.

        If confusion is taken away, it helps make people responsible.

  2. Sherry LeNeve says:

    As always, it is about the owner(s), not their dog(s). And…the “rules” created for the “many” are always created due to the lack of safe or prudent actions of the “few”. This goes for just about any subject you can think of….whether it is speed signs, texting rules, etc. etc. There are rules for everything! Wouldn’t it be nice if common sense prevailed? But no, the ding-dongs that insist on “pushing the limits” of every “freedom” cause the rules to be made and then “held by all”. And, again this time, it is the responsible owners/animals that get to suffer the consequences. I did see where Lowe’s had posted a little notice at the cash registers that “their policy had changed”. I also over-heard a sales person politely telling a responsible pet owner that “their policy had changed”. So, I am thinking it has not ALWAYS been their rule that there are “no pets allowed”. So, Nancy–“THEIR POLICY HAS CHANGED….IT HAS NOT ALWAYS BEEN THEIR POLICY–per their notices and customer service rep’s information. I am not sure about shopping at Lowe’s any longer, not due to the “change in policy”–but for the manager’s mis-representation of “their rules” when questioned about it. Home Depot is still good!–and right across the street! 🙂

    1. Nancy Tanner says:

      Sherry, I agree. If they can’t seem to understand their own policy’s clearly, and then they wait for a large incidence to happen with a child and off leash dogs (which never should have happened if they had enforced ON LEASH ONLY, or simply NO DOGS) it makes it all very confusing for everyone. We have been allowed to hold classes in there, send clients there to socialize, and all this time they maintain that they ‘assume’ anyone walking in with a dog is a ‘service dog’ is a bit non committal.

  3. Susan says:

    An excellent post, Nancy. And an unfortunate situation where a few irresponsible people ruin things for the many responsible pet owners. For all of us to let Lowe’s know (in a calm and rational manner) that many shoppers will now choose to spend their dollars elsewhere is a good idea.

  4. Ollie's mom says:

    Nancy- what a bummer! Ollie and I have been going there on a regular basis since he was little for the exact reasons you have stated. The employees are always very respectful and don’t bum rush the dog and he oddly enough loves walking next to the cart! We have had some issues with other dogs there, both on and off leash with other folks who are pretty oblivious to what is going on but nothing significant. Hopefully they will get their act together!

    1. Nancy Tanner says:

      Martha, I think whatever happens with the court case involving the recent incidence at another store will dictate their store policy, and hopefully a bit more clearly.

  5. Bree says:

    It is the same policy here, “service dogs only.” I wish that irresponsible owners didn’t ruin it for the rest of us 😦

    1. Sherry in MT says:

      I don’t mind a service dogs only policy IF it is enforced. The irresponsible owners just ignore it but the responsible ones obey.

      1. Nancy Tanner says:

        Sherry our Lowes here has a service dog only policy, but what they are saying is “we assume any dog walking in is a service dog that is why they brought their dog, whether it is on leash or off leash” it is a very passive aggressive way of having a dog policy, and not terribly affective.

  6. Pam Smith says:

    I’m so tired of the irresponsible people making it difficult for us to do things in public with our dogs! I often go to the local Lowe’s with my dogs on leash ALWAYS. I can’t imagine doing otherwise. This makes me very sad!

    1. baylee says:

      I agree! My local Lowes changed to due to dog fights and accidents = irresponsible dog owners.

  7. kristin says:

    I was in Lowe’s not more than a month ago with my dog, EDI, who was behaving extremely well. In fact, I felt like the day was an incredible success for her, being polite and walking on a loose leash consistently. I was actually asked to leave, though, when all we were doing is standing and looking at a product. I was a little affronted by this. Wishy-washy is right. They should consistently enforce rules or not at all. As an aside, by law they can’t ask you whether your dog is a service dog, or which service your dog might offer. Regardless, I left politely but I don’t plan on going back. There are other good LOCAL stores I can frequent with my dog.

    1. Nancy Tanner says:

      Kristin, I think this is in direct correlation with the attack at the other store, but their policy is wishy washy and randomly enforced.

    2. Lee Padgett says:

      Hi,

      As a person who has a service dog, I am pretty well versed in the legalities surrounding public access. By federal law, legal a service dog handler can be asked if the dog is a service dog, and if the handler is disabled. They can not ask what the disability is! There are state laws in some states that extend access to trainers with in-training service dogs. Federal law also does not require that a service dog wear a vest, a specific color or even be on a leash. Some states have laws requiring vests or even specific ID, however this is not upheld by federal law and I believe under legal review. Generally state laws can expand rights given by federal law but may not restrict those rights beyond what the federal law proscribes.

      Thank you,
      Lee

      1. Nancy Tanner says:

        HI Lee,
        yes this is great information, but I think what Lowe’s has done, just to cover their bases is ‘say’ that since they post a sign every dog entering they ‘assume’ is a service dog, yet they all know that most if not all are family pets. And for sure a service dog is not going to be off leash running around the store, because if they are they for sure are not providing a service to anyone.

  8. My Border Collie who is the sweetest little girl after being mauled badly 4 times soing just what the sweet dog is your piece was doing minding her own business now reacts to BULLY LOOSE DOGS in the same way she will put them right down and they run with their tail between their legs BC are tough by nature but it breaks my heart that I go out of my way into the ocean even to avoid a loose dog only for them to keep coming at her and mine is looked at as the evil dog 🙂 every once in awhile we find a dog who forgot they hated water and her and I get to smile at the shock on their faces and run for their owners 🙂

    Dog park dogs run and chase each other and play rough mine is bred to be the BOSS and move large animals oh well I mostly go now in dead of winter when the wimps are home or at 3 AM till sunrise her play and my sunrise shots all done by the time the storm troopers begin to appear>

    She goes into Tractor Supply, Pet Smart, PetCo and local pet stores but they are all required to be on leash and picked up after so I control her and move her in and out and if she is the one snappy she goes back to the car like some kids I see wanting the upper hand 🙂 I say it’s OK I won’t let them hurt you and we get what we need and back home they all love her at the local places she is a great ambassador when it comes to meeting the store workers.

  9. Kathie Carden says:

    I have owned dogs for 30 years and go to AKC dog shows all the time showing and training my dogs. I worked at Home Depot Corporate offices for almost 20 yrs. During my years at Home Depot we grew from 135 stores to over 2,000 stores and during that 20yrs we never invoked a dog policy. It is up to the individual stores manager and weather the people that work there want to clean up dog poop and pee. The Home Depot closes to my house now has a dog friendly store manager and dogs are in there all the time. But once the store manager changes, this could change. Each store is different weather it is a Lowe’s, Home Depot or your local hardware store.
    The Corporate Offices do not want to be involved with this issue, they have a lot of work to do helping thousands of stores. To them, this is not their problem, and they don’t want to be involved in issues 100’s of miles away. Also in the retail business employee turnover is very high and any policy, good or bad would be very difficult to in force.

    Just make the current store manager your best friend and your good to go!

    I hope this helps…

  10. Kristen says:

    A few comments about service dogs, by law they do not have to be marked with a vest (this is why there is confusion, it needs to be changed- too many people pass off their pet). Also, due to some disabilities not ALL service dogs are necessarily able to be leashed depending on the tasks it must perform to mitigate the person’s disability. However, a service dog who is trained in the off leash capacity would be under voice control at all times (per ADA requirements). My concern and experience as a service dog partner is the influx of pets being okay in stores, with no guidelines, owners not correcting inappropriate behavior, etc. and causing massive access issues for someone who has a legitimate service dog. Per Federal Law, my dog does not have to be marked and does not have to have a certification ID, businesses are allowed to ask two questions: 1) is that a service dog? 2) what task does it perform? The fact that service dogs are not required to have identification makes it much easier for someone to “pass off their dog.” Regardless, my dog does have a vest and “papers” through our training programs because it makes access much easier for me. I have read so many articles as late on complaints on dogs in public settings
    That frankly, I’m surprised so many businesses allow it at all. I did not know dogs were allowed into stores other than petstores specifically, until I’ve had access issues with my service dog and realizing many irresponsible dog owners are paving this difficult road for me. I frustrates me and as a SD partner it seriously stresses me out!

    1. Nancy Tanner says:

      Kristen I totally agree. While ID for a working service dog is not law, the one legitimate service dog trainer here in Montana requires his clients to mark their dogs in three ways so there is no confusion to anyone around them and so they don’t have to go through 101 questions every time they enter or exit a store. It gives everyone knowledge and cuts out guess work. And yes, here in Bozeman we have had plenty of off leash dogs run up and interfere with service dog teams, and this is most unfortunate, and from what I understand, illegal. But because there is little to no enforcement in our area, this continues. I actually would think this is happening far and wide and not just here. I can imagine your stress.

  11. Well, I work part time at Home Depot and we not only allow all the different varieties of service dogs but regular dogs and cats as well…. and one person even brought in his pet raccoon on a leash! Responsible pet owners are the indeed the key to socializing your pet in a public place! Thanks Nancy for all your wonderful info!

  12. Carol Badger says:

    I see people bring their dogs in Lowe’s on a regular basis & just in the past couple of weeks. I am always surprised however when the dog is off leash. We take our dog with us on our shopping trips pretty much all the time. We are usually spending a lot of time looking for shade, we have a cooling pad & will kind of take turns checking on her. I would love to know if there is a list posted somewhere that list stores in Huntsville area that allow on leash dogs.

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  14. Dana says:

    Nancy, your part of the problem. You feel you can break the rules for your own personal selfish reasons and put others at your mercy because you’ve lost track of reality. Your getting people to gamble with others safty and well being. There’s a reason only service dogs are allowed. Stop telliing people to be bad parents by trying to socialize there pets in stores. If theres a sign on the door saying no dogs I should be able to expect that. Read the signs and stop manipulating management.

    1. Nancy Tanner says:

      Dana, I don’t think you read the article all the way through, or completely. In our city we have 30 stores that allow dogs on leash. Our puppy classes have been taught in many of them. Lowes, Home Depot, and our favorite while they were here, Borders Book store, all welcomed our classes. Dogs were very much allowed, not just service dogs, and almost all of these stores had dog treats behind the counter at check out. IT is only in the past year that stores are stopping ‘public dog access’, and putting up ‘service dog only’ signs. Out of the 30 stores, we still have 28 that welcome dogs on leash. There is a massive difference between a public access dog with a responsible owner and a dog person who is irresponsible. I am far from the problem, I advocate for well balanced teams, and teams that can travel with their dogs, which many of our clients do, and enjoy their time out together without interfering with others. If we do not teach and experience and explore, then we are left in ignorance.

      1. dana says:

        Nancy, with all due respect, the corporate policy in home depot and lowes is that only service dogs are allowed. So your argument that theres a difference between irresponsible and responsible has no merit. Its service dogs or not service dogs. There are also rules to be followed when it is a service dog. Oh yeah, I did read the whole article…. just one more assumption that your making. Ps I’m a dog lover who donates time and money to shelters. I rescue dogs but I cant rescue people from stupidity

      2. Nancy Tanner says:

        Our Lowes and Home Depot allowed and invited and encouraged dogs on leash for over 9 years. Their service dog signs in our city just went up this past summer.

      3. dana says:

        Great, so now that you know the rules play fairly and if I happen to be in a store in your city I will feel comfortable that l wont have to worry if the dog or the owner is the problem. Rules are not ment to be broken. If you have problems with them work on getting them changed. If you can’t accept it and play by them. If there was a big sign that said dog friendly policy then I would have to take my own risk and not leave it up someone like your self to decide if my rights should be ignored

  15. Sherry says:

    Nancy/Dana–this topic has continued for months on this venue, but as late as December 10th, I was in the Home Depot with both our pups, Mollie/Brew, and was welcomed by the employees there, who gave treats and welcomed us and the dogs. No one turned us away at all. We went to Home Depot because we “had heard” that Lowe’s had changed their policy. ( We didn’t know Home Depot had the same policy change).Earlier in the fall, I was in Lowe’s (without a dog), and someone had their very nice older Border Collie cross with him. The dog was very well behaved and on leash. An employee came up to the man/dog, gave the dog a treat, and politely mentioned to the man that he was sorry but their policy had “JUST” recently changed and dogs were no longer okay to bring into the store. The employee was very nice and the gentleman immediately complied. My whole point here is that Dana seems to have taken such a negative issue with “policies” etc and seems to be “accosting you” on this matter. I thought it would be helpful only to say I am new to this whole idea of taking dogs into any store environments…..but both Lowe’s and Home Depot seemed extremely friendly about this matter of “store policy” and that at least in our Bozeman area, has only RECENTLY changed. So, I guess I don’t care what the overall policy of these chain stores “IS”, but our Bozeman stores have evidently not always followed the policies of the chain in general. I am not sure I understand Dana’s point in being a bit rude in proving her point here. I agree with Nancy about “team” efforts (pet/owner teams) and as in anything else, we end up having rules all around us due to the fact that the “teams fail in some way”–causing rules to be made that we all have to then abide by. Dana, I am understanding Nancy’s message to be basically that if we had more responsible owners, we would still have more stores in our area “willing” to lay their “corporate policies” aside for our dog-friendly town. Nancy has encouraged the “teams” to work better together in order to keep these types of issues from coming up again where we stand to lose even more dog-friendly environments. I guess I just get tired of the “tones” in these public “debates”. I respect those who can state their opinions and facts without turning things into some sort of “mud-slinging campaign”. Thank you, Nancy for your efforts in helping us to know and understand the importance of responsible ownership in the team relationship.

  16. lynne amano says:

    I went to lowes torrance today, got my cart, but my towel in the kid seat, put my big orange rooster in it, proceeded to shop. He is loves going on errands with me, kellogg has proper etiquette with people around us. Train the people. Why punish responsible pet owners. I also have a 2 million $ liability insurance policy on my pets. Just in case i meet irresponsible people. Well, we will be shopping at home depot from now. I also bring my dogs, but bring the ones that fit in the cart.

    companion animals are allowed into petco, petsmart, centinela feed, banks, sidewalk cafes, anywhere food isnt sold inside.

    So long….lowes, hello home depot.

  17. baylee says:

    I saw a new sign at my local Lowes in Amherst NH “only service dog” on 1/3/14. I was shocked! I went to the service desk and asked why! They said it was always their policy…. really i’ve been bringing my dog here since she was 8 weeks old and she turns 3 in a few days. They said nation wide they had complaints about dogs fighting and having accidents (my dog never did, even as a puppy). The service rep even said ya people enjoyed giving their dogs ride on the plant carts..”ya I know, one of those is my chocolate lab” then I said “ill put a service vest on her:)” service rep said “oh ya people put bandannas on the leashes”!!!!!! Education moment about yellow bandannas and what they mean. Sad I have to blame disrespectful dog owner and other owners allowing their dog to approach another dog without asking. You should always ask to approach a dog!!!!!!ALWAYS!!!!!! And if your dog is not house broken keep it out of stored – unless the store has provisions for accidents and hardware stores do not. A few bad people ruin it for the rest!!!!

    1. dana says:

      I would like to fully respond to the comnents but if you check the following link it may help everyone see why I have to take this stand

      http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/Dog-Owner-Arrest-Lowes-Attack-Murrieta-238648481.html

      1. baylee says:

        Shame, on the owners. If your dog had previous issues, dont bring them to the store, if you need a place to socialize a dog put a do not approach vest on them or a yellow bandanna. This dog had prior aggression which common sense tell me this dog was no okay with kids approaching, which is a high risk dog. I know how my dogs act and which dog is appropriate to take to a store. A few ruin it for the rest.

  18. Sherry says:

    So, Dana, the article appears to be very recent (after your first posts on this matter, if I am looking correctly at the article), so your point that an incident has occurred and would support your position on the no-dog policy concept. So…that being said, it appears that you agree rather than disagree with Nancy’s first blogs on the matter…her point from the beginning of the blog has been that it is due to the irresponsibility of owners in one way or another that cause policies to be created, changed or “enforced”, if the rule was already there. I interpreted her blogs to be a statement of disappointment by the fact that policies are in place due to the lack of “team” or “owner responsibility”. I did not find her blogs to necessarily be trying to “stir up a pot” of one side vs. another side at all. With your referenced article, it looks like you actually agree with Nancy, so again, your “tone” was the part of your comments that was more disconcerting. I am sure we all agree that due to the actions of “a few” are what end up causing “all of us” to pay the price–Nancy’s point from the get-go. Here’s to a new year with more thought among all of us about the “team” between ourselves and our four-legged family members!

  19. Terence Williams says:

    It was mentioned a few times, but the issue is not the dog or the store. The issue is not with any store, it’s with the owner and not being responsible enough to know their animal. My animals behave well with me and my wife, but I would bet if they didn’t have that authority figure present potentially they could rowdy. The leash is not an excuse, if you can’t trust them without a leash, then you should not place then in a vulnerable place anyways. Don’t blame the animal or the store. It’s no different than if you were at a dog park. Whose to blame, the park, no the person. I understand that the article is about a dog not getting a fair outcome, but at the same time, knowing what is happening and going on around you could have eliminated a situation. Being a responsible owner also means being aware of your surroundings and taking control of a situation before it happens. If that can’t be done then don’t place yourself in that situation. I feel what happens to an animal is the owners fault and not someone or something like another dog in a store. Final option, know your surroundings, always. Take care of your pets and don’t allow this.

    1. Nancy Tanner says:

      We all agree with this. If you step out with your dog, you are responsible, and should be respectful of those around you. I think the issue we have with our store here in Bozeman, is that they never put up a sign, or enforced anything. There were off leash dogs, on leash dogs and everythign in between. Social norms predict that we will follow suit with those around us. So irresponsible handling in stores bloomed over time. If stores want to allow dogs, they need to spell out what they allow, and then be able to enforce it. We have another hardware store in town, locally owned’ that has a sign and a leash hanging on right when you walk in, and it clearly say, On Leash Dogs, under control, and well trained are WELCOME. And they have no problems, no confrontations, and lots of folks shopping with their dogs. But what they have done is set a standard and expectation for dog owners, no gray zone.

  20. What about a national organization that certifies your dog and start soliciting establishments about the certification process that allows those who have taken the course and passed to be allowed to come into stores.

    1. Nancy Tanner says:

      Hi Darlene, I believe AKC advanced Canine Good Citizen program is supposed to test for a reliable and public access dog in the real world. I am not sure what organizations/businesses recognize it. Portland Oregon has the CGC Chamber of Commerce, and if you dog is CGC certified through AKC, they can go into any store, on leash that has a paw print int he window. I think many cities have their own way of handling it, but it takes local organization.

  21. Carol says:

    My 3 pound (very friendly) Chihuahua and I were booted out of the Lowes garden center yesterday (5-3-2014)! I don’t usually bring her with me, but I needed to buy some wire garden edging and I wanted to test different types to make sure she couldn’t stick her head through the openings and get hurt. Peanut was on a leash sitting on blanket inside the shopping cart when a manager approached us and said we had to leave. He said only service animals were allowed in the store. He said they had recently had some incidents with aggressive dogs so they were no longer allowing any dogs (other than service dogs) in the store. He wouldn’t even let me stand in line and buy the edging I had finally decided to buy. I was so shocked. I left and went across the street to Home Depot.

  22. Lora Harney says:

    Personally I hope dogs will no longer be in any stores I shop in. I do not do business with negligent people. A boy was severely injured in a Lowes because a leashes dog bite him. I leave my dogs at home or I socialize them in appropriate places like dog parks and walks in the community. My dogs are not my children and not loved by everyone. Even though I love my dogs, I do not want to conduct my life around other peoples ill behaved dogs.

    1. dana says:

      I wish more people were as realistic as you are. The people that bring animals in stores are selfserving and ignorant. They are bad pet owners. These stores clearly have signs that pets are not allowed but they think because they are selfish that rules and policies dont apply to them.

  23. Erin King says:

    I have a slightly different perspective on this issue. My family and I foster and train service dogs for a non-profit SD agency; we’re currently working with our 7th pup. The most challenging part of SD training, in my opinion, has nothing to do with service tasks like turning on light switches. It is teaching the dogs to maintain basic obedience and manners, and especially to ignore distractions and stay focussed on their human partners, in all settings and under any circumstances. I’m sure you’ll all agree, for most dogs there is nothing more distracting than another dog, regardless of whether it’s threatening a fight, offering to play, or just coming up to “sniff hello”. The presence of another dog, even merely the left-over scent days later, is a distraction that SDs have to work hard to tune out. It takes hundreds of hours of carefully planned work. When I train in a public setting, I need to know whether or not to expect another dog in that setting, so I can judge whether my trainee is ready for it or not. I wish that every business had a sign in its window that said either “Service dogs only” or “Well-behaved pets are welcome”, and then stuck with that policy. If a store claims to only allow service dogs, but in fact allows pets unofficially, that store and the pet owners who take even their well-behaved pets inside do a disservice to any legitimate service dogs as well as to their trainers and their disabled partners.

    I recently read a blog written by a guide-dog handler that said, “Imagine someone yanking the steering wheel out of your hands while you’re driving. That’s what it’s like for me if my dog gets distracted.”

    1. Sam says:

      I think you make great points. Being able to take a dog into a public place is a great advantage to training! I don’t have a service dog, but I do have a young Labrador. Anyone who has Labs knows…they are chaos in dog form – stubborn as all get out, intelligent, easily distracted, but incredibly friendly. A huge problem with training dogs is that people only train in their house – sometimes only just one room of the house – then they go out into public and all training goes out the window. Every dog trains differently…some pick it up immediately while others need to be shown that the training still matters outside the home. Just going out into the yard can provide enough distraction for many active breeds.

      I take my dog anywhere I can…drive-thru pharmacy, the pet stores, the bank. If he acts up, we leave, but he gets the loving he wants from new people and I get to give him the public training he needs. He was incredibly timid when I first got him. He was afraid of EVERYTHING. Even airplanes flying overhead would make him jump. He still tries to run away from loud noises, but is now used to a lot of every-day objects that scared him previously. Taking him out in public lets him get used to things that he won’t see around my house.

      When I take him out in public, I do my best to make sure he and others around us are safe. He is a dominant dog, not aggressive, just extremely dominant (he is a humper) so if another dog is in the area, I will tell the owners that he is dominant and will walk away. If it is busy or crowded with other dogs, I will just leave and come back later. If it is only one dog around his size and they are okay with it, I will make him sit and stay and let them sniff and then walk away before he gets any ideas. He loves people though. If people will let him, he will just lean against their legs and enjoy being petted. If people aren’t okay with him being near, I keep him on a short leash and get out of the way.

      He isn’t a perfect dog in public, and needs a lot of training, but he’s still a puppy. Being able to take him to a store and letting him interact with people while making him obey me shows that he can follow my rules and still be rewarded with the attention he wants.

      One large part of the problem is when you tell someone not to approach (walking out on the street or even at the park) and they ignore you. I used to work for a shelter and was walking a dog that was aggressive to other dogs (to the point where an attack was the first option the dog used.) Someone walked up with their dog and I told them, “Don’t come any closer, my dog is aggressive and will try to start a fight.” They completely ignored me and let the dog run up to my dog. Before I could back away, the shelter dog lunged and took a chunk out of the other’s ear.

      Or, once I was walking my personal dog on a hiking trail and someone coming from the other side of the trail had a dog also. Normally, I will just step off the side, make him sit, and let them pass. We were in an area where a few paths merged so there was a large clearing, so I just kept walking towards them figuring we would just make wide circles around each other. The other person stopped their dog directly in the middle of the trailhead I needed to use, held up their hands, and said “Don’t bring your dog any closer.” I pointed out they were blocking the trail and they refused to move.

      It is unfortunate because taking your dog on errands can be so helpful in making sure they are socialized and well-trained. Even though an owner should have full control over their dog at all times, being able to correct a dog’s mistakes while in a public setting can be a huge advantage for the owner. At first glance, a lot of people probably think I shouldn’t have my dog in public because he gets distracted easily, but since taking him out to the store with me, he has gotten much calmer and much more obedient. I can practice sit/stay/come/heel/etc in a store while looking through dog toy’s or other items. The owners that let their dogs jump on people and act out without reprimand or without any concern for their dog’s actions are ruining it for the rest of us.

      Sorry, that was long-winded.

  24. Erin King says:

    I just saw Nancy’s post from March 30th, 2014. I guess my post is just a long-winded agreement!

  25. Linda says:

    The Lowe’s policy is probably correct. The problem comes in not being able to confirm which dog is and is not a certified service animal. All an employee can legally do is ask, and if the person says it is, the store and it’s employees can not say or do anything else. And a service dog is NOT required to wear a vest, leash or anything else to identify it as such. Obviously, so many people have been going into your local Lowe’s with dogs, everyone assumes it is the policy to allow them. At Walmart, only the greeter can ask if it is a service dog, no one else can.

  26. Russ says:

    I have been going to the SAME Lowe’s for years with my dog which has a tag that has on it “my owner is diabetic I will warn you if he needs help”, Today I was there with my dog and an employe who was putting some wood on the shelf see my dog SITTING next to me as I was kneeling down to looking at the size and price of a product, the employe never asked me about my dog just say “sir if your going to be in the store your dog has to be on a leash” he never looked to see if she was or not (and she was) I told him I have been coming here for years he just looked at me like I was nuts. Told him I’ll go somewhere else then, he said “oh well”. Went to Homedepot never had a problem, guess we wont be going to lowe’s in the near future. Oh by the way I spent 376.55 there could have been Lowe’s money.

  27. Peggy says:

    I called our local Lowe’s to see if they allowed dogs in their store. They said yes. Great!! He’s a big dog for 6 mos and very friendly. We went with him, on leash of course, and we were courteous when approaching people to ask if they were ok with the dog. Everyone was ok with him being there although we did get some puzzled looks and smiles. Got everything we needed and had a great experience. Thank you Lowe’s!

  28. Dennis says:

    I recently went to The Home depot in Buford Georgia with my 3 year old boxer named Ginger I was turned away and was told rudely you must leave the premises immediately with “that thing” the rude lady went on to say that a taco bell dog bit someone and the someone sued the home depot so dogs of any kind are no longer welcome, I walked away and was prepared to pay a bit more and shop at Lowes and now I see this article, what happens when someone’s child running in the store causes someone to trip and fall and sues the store? what then “no children allowed?” could you imagine the backlash that would cause? well dog owners need to provide some backlash for this injustice as well..

  29. Raina says:

    I’m not sure how many people will check back on this site for updates but I have good news!! Well, great news for me at least. I have been writing letters to corporate Lowe’s about changing their official policy to allow friendly, leashed dogs in their store. As of last week it became official!! I will quote the response I got from Lowe’s.

    “Good morning,

    Thank you for your emails. I do appreciate your business with us at Lowe’s.

    In regards to your inquiry, I would be happy to assist you. Lowe’s is now allowing pets that are not service animals in our stores. We are currently updating our site to reflect the new policy.
    Over the years, pets have become an integral part of the family unit and may be included in a family’s daily activities such as shopping. While Lowe’s continues the responsibility of adhering to the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements for allowing a service animal to accompany its owner or handler, being a pet friendly store is one a way to reinforce Lowe’s purpose throughout the customer’s experience in the store.
    Service animals and pets are allowed in all Lowe’s stores. The care and supervision of service animals and pets is solely the responsibility of its owner or handler. The owner or handler must be in full control of the animal at all times, as outlined below:
    The owner or handler must always have direct physical control of the animal by one or both of the following methods.
    The animal must be:
    Heeling or walking calmly beside the owner or handler
    Harnessed, leashed, or carried
    Service animals must follow the same guidelines as stated above, unless these means interfere with the service animal’s work or if the customer’s disability prevents such means. The service animal must be otherwise under the owner or handler’s control (e.g., voice control, signals, or other effective measures).
    The animal’s behavior must not disrupt other customers or its surroundings in the store. Disruptive behavior includes, but is not limited to, aggression towards other animals or people, jumping on people or surroundings, barking, growling, etc.
    Exclusion of a pet or service animal
    Reasons for excluding a pet or service animal include:
    The animal is not under the direct physical control of the owner/handler.
    The animal’s behavior is disruptive to its surroundings, other customers, or employees.
    The animal poses a direct threat to the health and safety of others.
    The owner/handler fails to comply with any of their responsibilities as detailed in this policy under this and/or the ADA governed policy.
    . If you have additional questions or concerns, please let me know and I’d be happy to assist you further. Thank you for choosing Lowe’s and I hope you have a great day.

    For additional assistance reply to my email or call Lowe’s Customer Care at 1-800-445-6937. Hours of operation: Monday – Saturday, 7:00 a.m. – 1:00 a.m. Sunday, 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

    Thank you,

    Claudia M.
    Lowe’s Customer Care”

    The individual stores used to “bend” the rules and allowed dogs into some of their stores but not others and since their policy used to officially be only service dogs employees rarely enforced customers who brought in dogs that misbehaved. Hopefully things will now improve as I have 7 large furry kids that so love being my shopping buddy.

    1. Nancy Tanner says:

      Thank you for posting this… THis particular article gets LOTS of attention, and I delete about 20 responses a day from dog hating people who say a lot of unsavory things. It is nice to final get a productive comment. So thank you, Nancy

      1. Raina says:

        You’re very welcome! I’m a strong believer in being a “responsible” dog owner by training and socializing my dogs to where I can take any of them to any “pet friendly” store/restaurant I choose and they behave very very well. I am always telling people that I don’t just take my dogs places because they are well behaved……but they are well behaved because I’m able to take them places as often as I can. I do however respect others rights as far as the people who do not like dogs or do not want to be near dogs. I personally believe they are heartless and mean haters for the most part but I keep my distance from these “people”. And just want to add to all out there who stopped going to Lowe’s to give them another shot because it took me and many others a lot of doing to get them to make this change. Cheers!!

      2. Nancy Tanner says:

        not sure if you are on our facebook page – but here are the others that thank you, https://www.facebook.com/pawsandpeople/posts/890533864401631

      3. Kaynhine Traynor says:

        Hi Nancy,

        Your blog posting says

        “When I explained that a real service dog would be identified with a vest, collar, and leash so there was no confusion, and FOR SURE they would not be off leash, there was no answer. ”

        My REAL SD does not wear a special collar, has no “Service Dog” markings on his vest, and FOR SURE does not use a leash, and he is quite “real”.

        In fact, the newest revised ADA guidelines for service dogs specifically mention off-leash SDs and their requirements.

        My dog’s vest is for him. His vest lets him know he is working, and when he has it on, he’s all business. We also sometimes go without it, especially if it is very hot. He doesn’t stop being a service dog just because there is no special collar, leash, or vest, nor is there a requirement for any special “service dog” marked anything.

        I realize you were just reiterating what you said on the phone to Lowes, but some non-SD people will read that and cause problems for those who operate without vests, special identifying collars, and leashes, as has happened to us, several times.

        Some handlers I know prefer to not have a special vest because they want to do their shopping without thirty different people asking why the dog is needed.

      4. anna says:

        To Nancy and Raina,

        Raina says ” I personally believe they are heartless and mean haters for the most part but I keep my distance from these “people”. ” So, will you delete her comment because she thinks people who are not comfortable around dogs are “haters”? To me that is a rather “unsavory’ thing to say. People who have been attacked by dogs, as I have while running, are not “haters”. People who have been driven out of otherwise good homes by barking dogs, as I have, are not “haters”. People who do not want dogs slobbering on them at their place of work are not “haters”. You can blame it on “bad” dog owners, but don’t be so quick to hate people who are simply not comfortable around your dog.

      5. Raina says:

        Like i said…..for the most part they are. Those who have been attacked usually lack the mental capability to overcome the past and actually see the friendly dog next to them for who they are. It’s the same mentality of a racist who had a bad experience with someone who’s black, mexican, or asian etc. And if you blame the owners…as do i of “bad dogs” also give credit where credit is due to responsible dog owners. Or keep the whining to yourself. But another shout out for stores like Lowe’s!!! 😄

      6. anna says:

        Wow. Another “unsavory” and very mean comment. Insulting someone’s “mental capacity” after they have been terrorized, and then comparing them to a racist? A racist? Seriously, a species of animal is not the same thing as a race of people. Then you call me a whiner? I had rather expected an apology rather than an attack on my character. Sounds like you really do “hate” people who are merely uncomfortable around you dog. Sad.

      7. Raina says:

        Whatever……and that’s why I love dogs more than “people” 😀

  30. Raina says:

    To Anna,
    I just wanted to add that how can you feel uncomfortable around my dog? You don’t know my dog. When you encounter a strange dog at any point you’re already absolutely closed minded about giving them a fair chance. You have it stuck in your head every dog out there will attack you. GET OVER IT! Stop living in the past. I’m sure other’s who love dogs as much as I do will agree they bring so much joy and happiness that you’ll be missing out on for the rest of your sad life. Sure, these may be “unsavoury” comments to some but as a responsible dog owner I firmly stand behind my beliefs. But thanks for your input and comments. Just goes to show me what type of people are out there that I may run into (and steer clear of)

    1. Anna says:

      You comment says more “hater” and un-empathetic, misanthropist things about yourself than I would ever say about you. “Just goes to show me what type of (dog owners) are out there that I may run into, and need to steer clear of.” So no need to “reply”.

      1. Raina says:

        Maybe some dogs pick up on the haters out there that deserve to be attacked. Animals pick up on these vibes better than humans do. Maybe it’s just karma. But my close bond I have with my dogs gives me such a great understanding of what true love is and I have more empathy that you could ever imagine thanks to them. Enjoy your life. Cheers!!

      2. Anna says:

        I don’t hate dogs. But I don’t like obnoxious dog owners. It’s not “karma” when you are running along, minding your your own business and a dog chases you and attacks you. It’s obvious why you can relate to a pack animal better than a human.

      3. Raina says:

        I agree. I don’t like obnoxious dog owners either. I do however RESPECT responsible dog owners, me being one of them. And you’re also correct, I relate much better to “pack animals” better because they look out for the good of the many and care for each other. Unlike some humans….out for themselves. I found out over the years that humans humans can hide who they truly are behind lies and deceit unlike animals. Is it such a crime to be more like them??? Cheers

      4. anna lias says:

        I don’t hate dogs. But I don’t like obnoxious dog owners. It’s not “karma” when you are running along, minding your your own business and a dog chases you and attacks you. It’s obvious why you can relate to a pack animal better than a human.

        ________________________________

  31. John Valby says:

    I was a customer in HD the other day and a guy walked next to me through the entrance, with his small dog in tow on leash, right by the sign on the door that says “No Pets Allowed”.

    I pointed out the sign to him “Did you miss the ‘No pets sign, sir?’ and asked ‘is that a service dog?’ “No.” And he immediately went on the defensive “I’ve been coming here for X years and never had a problem!” He turned really angry that I pointed out the policy that’s right on the sticker on the doors entrance. I turned to customer service right by the entrance “Why have a sign “no pets” if you allow pets?” Who does that protect? The person that’s scared of dogs? Allergic to them (as bad as peanuts)? Other dogs?” She just shrugged her shoulders. To me, it’s not a matter of socializing in a popular spot like Lowes or HD, but simply following the rules. If the business has a sign, follow the sign. You’re not a special flower. An exception to the rule that many others abide by. Or more specifically, thinking that somehow, those rules don’t apply equally to everyone. Yes, ADA service dogs are the exception. Understood.

    1. Nancy Tanner says:

      John, this is a yes and no type of thing … Every HD has a no dogs sign, and then at the other end of the store and GIGANTIC BULLETIN BOARD with frequent visiting dog client photos, and almost every employee carries treats in their pocket.

      And as far as allergies, if you are allergic to dogs you are allergic to dogs, even a service dog. A dog is a dog. There is no person allergic to dogs as bad as peanuts. As far as I know peanuts are not air born and in every yard. Dog hair has to be literally flying around in our air, on the ground, on clothes, in cars. While it might cause discomfort, it is not like peanuts.

  32. T says:

    I read your article with interest. My only question is, why do you feel anyone has earned the right to bring their pets into a retail establishment? ” And really those who have earned it through their efforts to be responsible.” I applaud Lowes for finally enforcing the rule to only allow service dogs. I have been in Lowes and Home Depot and witnessed people trying to juggle kids, carts and dogs rather unsuccessfully. I have seen tails get ran over, heard dogs barking obnoxiously and witnessed a couple dog brawls. I am a dog owner/lover myself but I fail to see why so many people feel it is necessary or their right to bring their dog into other people’s environments. If you are going to a dog park, or PetSmart, you fully expect to see and interact with dogs.

    1. Nancy Tanner says:

      not a right at all, the stores policy… If you scroll up to I think comments in February you will see a letter from LOWES, stating that they do allow dogs now after much public comment.

      Our town has about 20 stores that allow dogs on leash, all 6 hardware stores, some bookstores, sporting good stores, etc. Our classes train in stores, my advanced Teams use stores for varied training opportunities, and many of our clients do like to take their dog out for new and different experiences.

      So I don’t think anyone feels it is their right.

    2. Raina says:

      In response to you T……I really think you should actually read these post with a little more care. Lowe’s has changed their policy to ALLOW pets/dogs and is extremely dog friendly. I have fought to have them allow friendly well behaved dogs in their store and I’m very proud of their decision. You may in fact be a dog “owner” but that doesn’t define you as being a responsible dog owner. My dogs, all 6 of them, respect everyone’s boundaries and have earned the right to shop along side with me at Lowe’s. The Home Depot in my town let’s dog in their store but their company policy remains the same as it’s been for decades, service dogs permitted only. Which is why I don’t shop there. Lowe’s gets 100% of my business. My dogs also shop with me at Michael’s, Barnes and Noble’s and other dog friendly stores. I guarantee my dogs behave better than your dogs in public and better than the majority of kids I see in stores. Just so you know why you’re “APPLAUDING” Lowe’s for…….know your facts. Thanks all!! Cheers!

      1. Anna says:

        Anyone with six dogs is not a responsible person, ESPECIALLY if they think it’s fine to bring all of them into a store. You are a codependent consumer polluting the earth with dog waste and product consumption. A bleeding heart with a “I’m the head of the pack” and a “screw humans who are uncomfortable around my pack of hounds” attitude.

      2. Raina says:

        I’ve never brought more than 1 at a time with me. Because I shop I pollute?? WTF! I said before I am very respectful of other shoppers and even more careful around douche bags like you Anna who “fear” the dreaded domestic dog. HAHAHA Anyone who owns 6 dogs isn’t responsible?? How about the families with 6 kids who can’t manage even 1 responsibly??? Anyway, I’ll continue to be a “bleeding heart” who loves all of God’s creatures equally….even lost souls like you. ❤ Cheers

  33. Rick says:

    I was in the Home Depot, Tulalip Washington Store # 4726 and one of two large dogs jumped on me. The large dogs were NOT service dogs and were “pulling” a woman into the store through the “exit” door. I filed a written complaint with Home Depot corporate and they told me that some of their stores have a “pet friendly” policy. They have no intention of changing their pet policy, so I will no longer shop there. I understand and respect service dogs and their masters. However, “pets” should not be allowed in stores and other public buildings (RCW 49.60.40). I have rights too, including the right to protect myself (WAC 162-26-135). Keep your “pets” out of public buildings. Legal and well trained service dogs and their masters are always welcome.

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