Tag Archives: dog park

How Your Dog Can Help You Make Friends and Meet People


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Owning a dog comes with many perks. There’s the unconditional love, health benefits and sense of security, just to name a few. But what you may not know is that your furry friend can offer you companionship from humans, too. Read on for ways to put your best paw forward and form new relationships with other dog owners.

The Classic Dog Park Interaction
Going to the dog park is an obvious choice for dog owners seeking to meet like-minded individuals. For one, at the dog park you’re bound to find other dog-owners who share the same love for their furry friend as you do. Also, since people frequent the dog park during their leisure time, you’re not likely to trouble another dog owner by striking up a conversation. Get the most out of your visits to the dog park by establishing a routine schedule for your visits. That way, you’ll be more likely to see the same familiar faces over and over again and eventually get to know them on a deeper level than just a simple hello. If your dog approaches another dog, or another dog shows interest in yours, use this interaction opportunity as an ice-breaker to converse with the other dog’s owner and ask questions. The owner will surely have a lot to say about his or her dog, and it shouldn’t be too hard to find something in common. Over time, you might gain not just a new playmate for your pup, but a friend of your own too.

Join a Meetup Group or Breed Club
There are tons of groups that are formed for the sole purpose of dog owners and their dogs to socialize together. Find one in your area through a simple search on Facebook, or even using an app like Meet My Dog, advertised as “a free, private social network for you and your dog.” Breed clubs are also a great way to meet people with an appreciation for the same breed of dog, and often organize events and activities centered around this shared interest. You can find a club near you by browsing AKC’s website.

Make Small Talk at the Vet or Groomer
Since a visit to the vet’s office or groomer can leave a dog owner feeling anxious, some words of reassurance to your fellow pup-parent in the waiting room can be a welcome mood-lightener. You can also exchange tips and tricks for caring for your pup from another experienced dog owner. Just keep the conversation casual, and you never know what friendship might develop.

Enroll in an Obedience Class

At an obedience class, the shared goal of wanting your dog to succeed in training gives dog owners something to bond over. A good conversation starter could be something as simple as a compliment on another dog’s conduct, or a question like “How do you get your dog to sit still like that?” To give you and your dog more time to socialize with others, come to classes early and stick around for a few minutes afterward. At the very least, the obedience training will hopefully help make your dog better behaved and approachable to new dogs and new people.

With your dog by your side, friendship opportunities can be found all over the neighborhood. Whether it’s a dog-based organization or just your local coffee shop, few can resist the lovable sight of a four-legged friend.

How does your dog help you meet new people? Comment below and share with us!

Scoping out the Dog Park: A Checklist


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Discovering and participating in new activities with your pup can be one of the most fun and gratifying parts of being a pooch parent. One such popular activity is bringing your furry child (once he’s received all of the required vaccinations and has been cleared by your veterinarian to be in close contact with other dogs) to the dog park. While some feel there’s nothing better than watching your dog play, run free and interact with his adorable peers, many dog owners dislike the idea of the dog park due to valid concerns such as cleanliness and/or potential dangers. Thus, to find out whether the dog park is right for you and your dog, and if it is, to find one that’s safe and comfortable for you and your pet, it’s important to do your research in advance. Start by answering these questions to first find out if your pup is ready for the dog park and if so, how to find that “pawfect park.”

  1. Is your dog’s personality a fit for a highly socialized environment?

If your dog is extremely anxious, shy or aggressive, you may need to undergo some socialization training prior to bringing your dog to a dog park. Be honest with yourself (and your pooch) and be patient if he’s not ready yet. The park isn’t going anywhere, so there is plenty of time to bring him once he’s better trained. You should also make sure your dog is spayed or neutered before taking him to a park – dogs who aren’t fixed can be disruptive and potentially dangerous amongst other dogs in a group setting.

  1. How much exercise does your dog regularly receive?

thumbnail-scoping-dog-parkIn order to make sure your dog is a good candidate for the dog park, make sure you’re not relying on the park as his sole form of exercise. Otherwise, dogs can become overly stimulated and excited by all the new dogs and smells. Among other dangers, this pent-up energy can lead to aggression and dog fighting. Make sure your dog is getting ample opportunity for walks outside and runs in the backyard so that he arrives at the park with a healthy, but curbed amount of energy.

  1. What’s the best way to find a good park?

Ask for recommendations! The best people to ask will be your neighbors as well as pet service providers such as your veterinarian, trainer or groomer. Trusted reviews are crucial to finding a safe park in your area visited by well-mannered pooches and courteous pet parents. Once you have a recommendation, look up the park’s hours and rules.

  1. What are the must-have amenities in a dog park?

Make sure the dog park has all of the necessary conveniences including a clean water source that’s available and/or large enough to accommodate many dogs at once, several easily accessible garbage cans as well as doggy bags for waste disposal, and benches or comfortable seating in a shaded area for pet parents to congregate and watch their pooches frolic.

  1. What safety measures are crucial to check for?

When visiting the dog park, make sure all enclosures are free of sharp points which could cause injury. The barricades should also be tall enough to prevent larger dogs from jumping over them. On the flip side, look out for any holes or gaps in fencing that smaller dogs could squeeze through. Most dog parks will have two separate sides – one for larger dogs and one for smaller dogs as an extra safety precaution. Size does matter in this case – pay attention to the weight limits or breed rules. Clearly mixing a Chihuahua and a German Shepherd is a bad idea.

  1. Is the park up to your cleanliness standards?

While all dog parks require owners to clean up after their pets, not all do unfortunately. Watch for piles of fecal matter to not only avoid stepping in them yourself, but avoid your dog getting dirty or worse, ingesting and getting sick. The best ground cover for dog parks is grass or gravel. The ground should be free of burrs or sharp debris that could get stuck in your dog’s coat or injure his paws.

  1. How do the other owners interact at the park?

When you arrive at the dog park, pay attention to the other puppy parents and see if they’re showing awareness and taking control of their pups. Oblivious or careless owners can make the dog park a dangerous place. And once there, if you’re ever worried about the other owners’ level of responsibility, don’t hesitate to leave. In an ideal dog park environment, the owners are interacting with the dogs, following and calling them when necessary. If you see a group of owners clumped around a bunch of picnic tables engrossed in conversation with no idea what their dog(s) are doing, it’s a bad sign.

Now that you’ve done your due diligence and know what to look out for in a dog park, you can let your pooch off-leash with confidence.  Be sure to capture those woofs, wags and games of fetch on video!  Oh, and be prepared for your pooch to take a long snooze after the experience. Playing and running around with other pups can be tiring!