Public dog park alternatives are becoming more common as the rise in technology gives dog owners more options. There are health and behavior considerations when taking your dog out to play but, most of all, play date participation gives each dog’s owner opportunities to nurture long term friendships and provides a routine to look forward to.
Dog Play Date Peace of Mind
We have often explored the importance of socialization and how knowing what to expect provides your dog with self confidence. The contrast between a public dog park and planned play dates holds three key elements for your peace of mind.
- Becoming friends with other dog owners and their pets.
- Less unexpected illness exposure.
- Long term friendships.
- Age as well as activity and agility similarities.
Dog Play Date Ideas
A dog play date can be easy to schedule around each member’s busy lifestyle. Using services such as Meet-Up can keep members in touch with each other and provide an easy check-in system so coordinating is a breeze.
- Become a member of a Play Date Meet-Up or create your own local meet up group.
- Visit Meetup.com and search for or start a meet-up.
- Specify a breed and age category for your group.
- Have an initial meet-up date to discuss each member’s vision for the activity (goals, ground rules).
- Prepare yourself and your dog for a play date.
- If you have planned an activity bring along any equipment, water, treats, or supplies needed for the outing.
- Explore ideas with members and take cues from the dogs as they engage.
- As your group becomes established communicate about ways to enrich the activity by exploring each dog’s behavior and participation. Consider your play date as an opportunity to spend time playing, learning, and overcoming socialization obstacles.
When to begin Dog Play Dates — Some considerations.
- Ensure all participant’s have had their immunizations.
- Generally speaking play dates can be arranged at about 12 weeks or older. Give your dog at least 4 weeks to adjust to any changes in routine. For example our dogs join their forever families at 8 weeks at this is a shift in daily life. Give your puppy time to adjust to the newness of his or her forever home before beginning a new activity (such as meet-ups and play dates).
Enjoy your time with your dog adding plenty of love, patience, training & playtime opportunities and remember they depend on you.
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