Over 48,000,00 households own at least one dog in the U.S.
As popular as these pets are, dogs are social creatures that can enjoy the company of their own species. This is why dog play dates have grown in popularity, and they could enrich your dog’s life too. But if you’ve never been on one before, how can you be sure you’re planning it right?
That’s where we aim to help! Keep reading for this guide on how to plan the perfect dog play date.
Know What Your Dog Likes
The first step to setting up dog play dates is knowing what your dog likes and dislikes. You should know how they react to other dogs and how he/she will interact with them.
You should also know what activities your dog enjoys and doesn’t. Does he/she like playing in the park? Do they like to go for long hikes or runs on the beach? Do they enjoy playing with dog toys, such as a dog frisbee or a dog chuckit?
If you want to choose a beach, make sure they accept dogs. For any Floridians, reading you can visit these dog friendly beaches without the worry of not being welcome.
Pair Your Pups with Care
When choosing a doggy pal to play with, try to get as close to size and age as you can. This way, one dog won’t get overwhelmed by the other’s size and energy.
Even if the larger dog is gentle, dog playtime can get intense and boisterous. It’s very easy for a smaller dog to get hurt by accident. While there are always exceptions, try to keep it as even as possible.
Pick a Location That’s Neutral
This tip can make a play date for a dog hard to plan, but it’s an important tip if you want it to go well. The best locations are:
- Safe for dogs to play off-leash
- Big enough for all play styles
- Don’t “belong” to one of the dogs
If it’s a place one dog goes often, they may feel territorial. So pick a location that’s fenced in and not big enough you could lose your dogs. Be respectful of any areas you hire, and make sure to clean up messes.
Set the Expectations Early
One of the best dog tips for a puppy play date is to set expectations early. No matter how much you research the other party and plan the location, things can go off plan fast.
Sometimes the dogs aren’t enjoying spending time together. This might be due to things like:
- Different play styles
- Different personalities
- Just not having that “spark” between them
It’s no one’s fault but if the dogs don’t want to play or aren’t playing in an appropriate way, end the date. It’s not ideal, but it can take time to find the right match, and patience is the key here.
Go At the Dogs’ Pace
Don’t try to micromanage these play dates. You want them to explore the location and each other at their own pace. You should only seek to intervene if they aren’t playing in an appropriate way.
Let them have a proper introduction, then let them start the play session without your help. Praise them when they play in the right way but give them their space to enjoy being dogs.
Planning a Dog Play Date You’ll All Enjoy
Don’t expect to get it right the first time, or even the second. It’s going to take patience to find the right doggy playmate and a space they both want to play in.
Start by knowing your dog’s likes and dislikes they try to pair up using that. Try to get the ages and sizes as close as possible and always pick a neutral space. Follow these tips and it’ll be a dog play date you’re all sure to enjoy.
If you found this article useful, check out our other blog posts. We’ve got tips and tricks to enrich your pet’s life and help strengthen your bond.