Friday, May 23, 2014

Advice regarding stores that suddenly deny access to your dog.

Copper Whopper helping me in the shop.
As many of my readers know, I also own and operate a Lawn Maintenance/Handyman business.By the way, we provide the best and most reliable service available anywhere.

I often take one or two of the pack to work with me when weather conditions are mild.

Recently Copper and I went to work together. We were purchasing material an tools for a custom shelving job. Copper has done this with me many times before. We were in Harbor Freight Tools in Fayetteville, GA. This is one of our frequent stops. Copper was on leash (as he always is when we are out) and we were approached by an associate of the store who asked that I put Copper in a shopping cart or remove him. Well, as you can imagine, a shopping cart, for many reasons, is not an option for Copper. So, I did not cause a scene. We simply went to the check-out, paid for our stuff, and departed for our next stop.

I never suggest that you start an argument with anyone who ask you to remove your pet dog. Please comply with a business owner's ( or in this case their representative's) request. It is, after all, their property and this is a free country. They have the absolute right to deny service or access to anyone at anytime and I would not have it any other way.

I was however, confused. Copper had been welcome in that establishment for a long time. So, I contacted Harbor Freight Tools through their website. I sent them an email in which I respectfully requested clarification on their policies and explained my concerns regarding the safety of pet dogs in shopping carts.

I learned that this was simply an encounter with an employee who did not understand the policy.

This is an except from the email I got from Harbor Freight:

Good Afternoon Mr. Moore,

I am sorry to hear that you had a bad experience in our store.
I know who you are because I see you in the store with your dog.
It is not a policy nor is there a law that should keep you from bringing your dog into our store.
You and your dog is more than welcome in our store at any time. The only time that we may<sic> band a dog if customer’s felt threaten by a dog and I would confer with my boss and the office before making that decision.
If you will let me know who told you not to bring your dog back into the store, I will correct the situation.
The small business owner is the meat and potatoes of our business. We too are a small one owner company.
I am looking forward to hearing from you and seeing you and Copper in the store soon.
Thanks,
Bill

Bill Tesney
Store Manager
HFT352
1415 HWY 85 North
Fayetteville, GA 30214
Store Phone: 770-461-5521
HARBOR FREIGHT TOOLS
Quality Tools at Ridiculously Low Prices


I responded with a description of the employee whom I encountered along with further clarification of my concerns:

Hello Mr. Tensey-

Thank you for your response.

I was never told to not bring Copper back into the store. I was told to put him into a shopping cart.

My experience and observations of canine behavior, in my work as a professional dog trainer, has influenced my belief that a shopping cart can be a very dangerous place for a dog. The issue is two-fold. If a dog is stressed, for any reason, being confined is not a good thing. This makes the effects of the anxiety much stronger for the dog. It has been my experience that a confined dog is exponentially more likely to bite. The other issue with confinement to something like a shopping cart is that shopping carts were not really designed with our canine buddies in mind. The large openings between the mesh on the bottom can lead to injury. It is also difficult to get a dog larger than medium size in and out of a shopping cart.

The above is my concern. I simply want to know if dogs are allowed to walk on the floor, on a leash  in your store. The representative who asked me to put Copper in a shopping cart was a white lady I believe she had brunette or dark color hair. Probably about 5'6" - 5'9" in height (if I remember correctly). I was a little rushed on the day of the incident so, I did not really discuss it with her. I simply told her that we were on our way out and went to the register.

I work with many customers who are interested in pet friendly places to bring their dogs. I maintain an Internet Blog at http://fayettedogtrainer.blogspot.com. I would like to accurately indicate your policy to my customers. Are dogs required to be in shopping carts?

By the way, I completely understand and agree that you absolutely have the right to ban any dog that you consider to be a threat to safety. In fact, other that the case of service dogs, you, as a business, can ban dogs altogether. That is your company's decision and I respect that right. I am not upset, I simply want to understand Harbor Freight Tools' position and policy on pet dogs in your stores.

Thank you again, and Copper and I look forward to seeing you soon. We are in there quite frequently to pick up tools that we need for the Handyman business.

Have a good day!


-William Moore

This is the response I got back:

Good Morning Mr Moore,
Thank you for your response.
On a leash in the store is fine.
We have numerous dogs that come in our store all the time.
The managers that I spoke all know who you are and have no problem.
Let me know if you need anything else.
I will speak to <name censored> about the incident from the other day.
Thanks,
Bill

Bill Tesney
Store Manager
HFT352
1415 HWY 85 North
Fayetteville, GA 30214
Store Phone: 770-461-5521
Cell Phone: 770-359-8112
HARBOR FREIGHT TOOLS
Quality Tools at Ridiculously Low Prices

This, my friends, is the way that professionals handle this sort of situation. I asked for clarification and Bill Tensey provided the clarification I requested. I was never mad, simply concerned and a bit confused.

Now I can report that Harbor Freight Tools is a pet friendly business. Please be respectful of Harbor Freight Tools, or any other business, and do not bring your dog in unless they are properly housebroken and behave well on leash.

If you need assistance in training your dog to be a polite little guy or girl in public, or anywhere else, please contact me.

Till Next Time

-William-