Dog owners worry about their dogs’ stress levels throughout the day. In 2000, nearly 40% of pet owners told survey takers that they call home from work during the day to check on their animals. In that same year, 75% of pet owners said they felt guilty about leaving their pets alone. Dogs in particular are known to get lonely. It has been estimated that a mere 20 minutes of social interaction do wonders for their mood. Out of the nation’s 55 million dogs, nearly 4% suffer from some degree of separation anxiety when their owners are away. For people who are really concerned about their furry friends, dog breeders recommend regular play dates.
Tips for Finding Play Dates for Your Dog:
- Talk to the people you know. You probably know people who have dogs. Start by asking them about play dates with their dogs. You know and trust these people and you can get to know their dogs before you throw them into a play date with your dog. When you have your friends and family over, invite them to bring their dogs along, too. Not all dogs are social dogs, however, so if your friend or family member balks or just says “no” do not force it. Just ask them why they think it is a bad idea. They might have concerns that you can allay or worries you can address.
- Take dog classes. Dog breeders say that even if your dog is the best behaved dog on the planet, they and you can use a pointer or two. Taking an obedience training or enrolling in a puppy preschool program give you and your dog a great chance to meet other dog people. These other dog owners might have an interest in setting up times to get your dogs together for play dates outside of class. If you are too shy to approach them yourself, you can talk to the instructor or other staff and ask them to make an introduction. You may be able to get the instructor to make an announcement or maybe they can help arrange the play dates with your and other dogs.
- Check with your colleagues. Look around the office for people who have photos of their dogs on their desks or office walls. Listen to water cooler chatter for mentions of people’s dogs. People love to talk about their pets so if you have colleagues with dogs (or cats), the chances are that they will bring them up at some point. Ask your dog lover coworkers to go on a doggie play date. If your offie plans out of work gatherings, talk to your boss about an office doggie play date. This may also give you the chance to better get to know your coworkers. If your company does not already participate in national “Take Your Dog to Work Day,” ask if you can. Dog breeders say that taking your dog to work is a great way for a socialized dog to interact with other dogs.
- Talk to the people in your neighborhood. It is always good to know the people who live in your neighborhood. Setting up dog playdates may be a great way to get to know the people who live near you better. You should have no problem finding who in your neighborhood has at least one dog. When you see someone walking their pooch, ask about setting up a playdate with yours.
- Check out the local dog park. Dog breeders agree that dog parks are the best places to find other people who might be interested in setting up a play date with your dog. You can tell from the way people handle their dogs at the park who would and would not be open to the idea. You can also get a good idea about what dogs would be good companions. You might be able to let your dog make friends with other dogs and then get to know the owners.
Setting up playdates for your dog may feel like you are running a dog dating service. It may seem strange to ask people about setting up times for your dogs to play but they will all love it.