Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Pitlandia in Portlandia: Woodburn Company Stores

Not too long ago, our very wise flyball trainer informed us that the Woodburn Company Stores (about 30 minutes south of Portland) allow dogs.  As much as we love bringing Athena to Home Depot, we thought that the Woodburn Outlets would be a perfect place to practice for our upcoming Canine Good Citizen test (which, BTW, is on June 16th!!).

The Woodburn Company Stores are an outdoor outlet mall that features big-name stores like Nike, The North Face, Coach, Gap, and many more.  Because it's outdoors, dogs are allowed to walk around on-leash.  A bonus is that the majority of the stores actually allow dogs inside.

Dogs in human stores:

When we first arrived to the outlets, we weren't quite sure how to tell which stores allowed dogs inside.  So, before entering our first store, B went in and asked an employee if we could bring Athena in with us.  Their response was, "as long as she's on her best behavior and doesn't bark."  We knew this would be no problem for Athena, so we brought her in for a little human shopping.

After going into a few more stores, an employee at Columbia Sportswear so kindly informed us that stores that don't allow dogs inside have a special sticker on the door like this one:

No Dogs Allowed sign

Only a few stores had the "no dogs allowed" sticker in their window, so we were able to bring Athena into most of the stores that we wanted to shop at.

Helping mom pick out clothes:

During our trip to the Woodburn Outlets, our goal was to socialize Athena in a new environment and practice for our upcoming Canine Good Citizen test.  This meant that while mom and dad were paroozing the aisles, Athena was expected to sit or lay at our feet to practice her long stays.  I was very impressed with how well she did at this, but I will admit that the cheese and pepperoni in my treat bag probably helped a little bit.

I don't know about that one, mom!

This looks bea-u-tee-ful on the Bean!
We tried to be especially mindful of the other shoppers in the stores who may not wish to do their shopping with a dog laying in the aisle, so we always made sure to have Athena in a sit or a down when other shoppers were around.  We also made a point to leave lots of room for ourselves and others to ensure that Athena never felt trapped by the towers of clothes and people.

Positive pittie press:

While shopping at the outlet stores, many people asked to meet Athena.  Aside from the everyday shoppers, many employees in the dog-friendly stores were thrilled that we brought Athena in for some shopping.  In multiple stores, the employees would swoon over Athena and compliment her perfect store manners.  Athena received two AMAZING compliments from employees at two separate stores:

  1. "She's the sweetest dog that we've ever had come into the store!"
  2. "She's the most well-mannered dog that we've ever had come into the store!"
Maybe they say that about every dog that walks into the store, but it still made me proud!

Athena pretending to be the dog mannequin

Don't forget the treats:

Before heading out for Woodburn, I was sure to feed Athena a light breakfast and pack the rest of her food for training opportunities.  Not only did she practice her in-store behavior, but she was also able to practice some of her confidence building activities such as bench sitting.

Athena practicing her bench sit

Throughout the whole four-hour shopping trip, we only saw three other dogs at the mall.  We actually never ran into another dog inside of a store, just outside walking around.  Athena was able to practice her "leave-it"command when we did come across another dog.  We also found out that Athena is a bit distracted by birds...

Overall experience:

We LOVED shopping with Athena at the Woodburn Outlets and give it four paws up for its dog friendliness!  

Is there any dog-friendly shopping in your area?


  1. I wish I knew of an area where we could shop like tht around here. Congrats on such a great outing. I don't know if Ray has a full four hours worth of patience for shopping, but we'd have to build up to it.

    Oh! and your word "parooze" is just the cutest thing ever! :-)

  2. Sounds like a really fun trip. I've taken the dogs with me to the Woodburn outlets previously, but not since the pet store they had there closed. And it honestly never even occurred to me to go into other stores in the shopping center with a dog. We may have to go soon.

  3. Love it! Great job Athena. Our Portland is very dog friendly and many stores in the Old Port allow dogs inside. Nola needs to seriously practice her down stays, she's a bit of a shopaholic like her Mom and doesn't stay still when I bring her inside stores.

  4. What a great place to practice for Athena's CGC test! I have a feeling she is going to do really great :)

    We are very lucky to have a few outdoor shopping places that allow pups nearby. I really like them because there is so much to look at and a lot of really interesting smells. Plus I can usually sneak some tasty crumbs that someone dropped when mom and dad are not looking ;)

  5. So great and it looks like she did an amazing job! I think it is so good that she can practice in all kinds of circumstances. We found out the downtown mall was actually dog friendly and we took our pups while we were staying at a hotel downtown (though Miss M ended up vomiting in the hallway...but I guess that's a story for another day).

  6. How fun! Shopping is a great training practice. I brought the dogs into Old Navy the other day and it was funny because with all the manikins in the front there was a dog one too so Kaya and Norman had to go check it out and kiss it:)

  7. This is so awesome!! And the CGC...eek!! Our goal is to test Ed at the end of the year. We're working hard toward getting there...I'm not sure he'll pass, but at least we'll know what we have to hit hardest!

    We have an outlet mall about an hour away...I wonder if they allow dogs?!

  8. I wish this type of shop in near my area. i have a two dogs and some times when i am going to shopping for my pet i am facing little bit problem like Size problem. because pets are not allowed in shops.
    Adopt dogs near me