Your dog, your wingman

You want us to do what?

Meeting people is not easy. Whether you are looking for love, or just some new friends, it can be terribly awkward in today’s life where we often rely on social media for human interaction or to approach people. But if you are a dog owner, you have someone who in many cases would be quite happy to say hello to someone new!

At the park

Most dogs become ecstatic at the thought of a visit to the park! And who knows, you might just notice another park-dweller who catches your attention. If you play your cards right, your dog and his dog might just hit it off! Keep it casual. Dogs will be dogs and do what feels comfortable for them – don’t force wingman duty upon them! If you decide to casually stroll in the direction of the person you are intrigued by, make very sure that he and his dog are friendly and comfortable with meeting strangers. If one of the dogs isn’t very comfortable with other dogs, it might lead to a squabble between the dogs – mission failed! Only once you have established that all is good and friendly should you allow the dogs to sniff and make friends. Remember, your dog’s safety is your responsibility. If all goes well, a simple comment can get you on the road to a new friendship. Try something like: “Our dogs seem to like each other! We are usually here on Saturdays, perhaps we can let them play every now and then?”

Want to learn more about how you and your dog can be popular at the park? Click here to read more about park etiquette.

At the training centre

One of the most fun things about getting a puppy is attending puppy socialisation classes. While the puppies learn and play there is much laughter about the shenanigans they get up to, and laughing with others is a great way to break the ice and feel comfortable. After puppy socialisation you can continue with your dog’s training. Training does take practice, and a good idea could be meeting up with some of the people in your class to practise together, outside of your class hours. This could grow into valuable connections with like-minded people. A young puppy needs to be exposed to as many people and positive experiences as possible in order for him to become a well-balanced, confident dog. Your group can even do this together, for example with outings to a pet-friendly restaurant.

The full article appears in the February 2016 issue of Animaltalk.

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