This next cafe is not for those who don’t like dogs. But even for someone like me, who is afraid of animals in general, I managed to survive and even enjoy the dog cafe at Myeongdong. For those interested, go to Myeongdong station, exit 6. Walk down the main shopping street and turn left at the Nature Republic at the first intersection. Go straight until you reach the first small alley on the right (should be across the SPAO). Heading straight through here, it’s not too hard to spot the sign for the Dog Cafe on the 4th floor.
The dog cafe has an entrance fee of 8000won for each individual, which comes with a drink to order. After paying, you are told the rules and given a chart with all the pictures and names of the dogs on it.
The dog cafe is set up so that there are tables and chairs lining the perimeter of the cafe with a big open space in the middle. The dogs go all over the cafe so it’s possible to stay seated and still play with a dog or two without having to sit on the floor. There were a lot more dogs on the floor but the cleanliness of sitting on the floor with them was questionable even with the staff’s diligence in cleaning up after the dogs immediately after they go.
We were lucky enough to have a little dog named 몽개 come and crawl into A’s sweater (while she was still wearing it) to sleep. She stayed with us for most of our time at the cafe. And she was the first dog here that I finally had enough courage to properly interact with.
My next dog friend I made at the dog cafe was not by my choice. 마빡이 the bulldog decided to come over to the seated area that I was at, jumped up, and plopped his head down on my right leg. He decided to take a nap here. For me, I’ve always believed that dalmatians and bulldogs were all nasty and vicious little things. I learned this day that, just like people, dogs are all different and unique in personality no matter what their breed is.
It’s clearly the nap area of the cafe.
A lot of the dogs seemed sleepy the entire time we were there. But I found that I was able to get over my fear here quite quickly because the dogs have been trained to not bark and overly react all the time. While their potty training could be improved, they seem to be quite docile.
While it was a really unique and at times, sweet, experience, I felt a little sad watching these dogs at the cafe. They sometimes ran about the place, barely noticing all the human attempts to play with them. They’ve been conditioned to be loved and played with so many different people a day that they don’t really seem to have any real attachments to people. With the exception of one of the woman who worked here. Her interaction with the dogs indicated that she’s spent the most time with them and most likely feeds them. They follow her wherever she goes and she demonstrated that she was the alpha in the room – even having a little face to face confrontation with a dog that we were warned to be careful around from because he may bite our face if we got too close.
It’s certainly worth a visit for those in Korea, especially for anyone who loves dogs. I think this sort of cafe really works in Korea because many families don’t have dogs of their own – living in apartments. I know for a fact that many of my students want dogs and this cafe will allow for that dog interaction without all the commitment.