Scheduling dog playdates is a perfect way to help your dog get the socialization and exercise they need to live a fulfilling life. It builds good manners that are especially beneficial for younger puppies and unique relationships. Although, play dates suit some dogs better than others, whether they’re young and playful puppies or senior dogs who are a bit more reserved.
Many dog owners find their dogs have high energy levels or even separation anxiety that they need a solution for, which is why dog daycare and walkers are increasingly popular. However, spending time with another dog on a play date is also a productive outlet for excess energy, making your dog less likely to exhibit destructive behaviors and focus on obedience training. What’s even better is that you can keep your eye on them at all times.
Hosting dog playdates at your home can be nerve-wracking if it’s your first time. By taking safety precautions and getting to know the other dog and owner better, you won’t have to worry about any accidents. Start easy with a stroll together to build a bond, and soon enough, your home could be both dogs’ favorite spot to spend time together.
Here are some ideas you can try to make everyone happy and safe as you host a dog get-together at your home.
Gain trust and socialize your dog
The number one component of dog playdates is to gain trust, not only in both dogs but the owner as well. Thankfully, it’s still possible to stay safely socially distanced from each other and grow with the benefits of training your dog. It’s best to start slowly with introductions anyway, so go to a park, on a hike, or for a quick walk around the block. This way, both dogs will be safely leashed to test comfortability, and you’ll avoid the risk of territorial space guarding in your home.
If you don’t know anyone with a dog, you can make a post on social media or use apps directed to dog play and events to find local owners in the area. Another good idea is to bring your dog to pet stores and dog parks for more exposure. If you have a young puppy, this is an excellent way to help them learn how to behave around unfamiliar dogs and people. Take your time and find the right dog to continue seeing afterward.
If you prefer to have the playdate inside, or if the weather is just not working well with your plans, then the best thing to do is to have open space in your home. Consider clearing out an entire room if possible for maximum space. To be entirely safe, put toys, beds, and any food away that your dog could become possessive of.
Create a mind-stimulating agility course
An agility course is a highly effective way to tire out your dog both physically and mentally. Setting one up can be as easy as making jumps with your couch cushions or purchasing essential equipment like a tunnel or weave poles.
This activity requires them to think as it builds confidence and even strengthens their muscles and joints. You can be assured that both dogs will be napping away for hours after this. What’s more, it can even help you stay in shape as you keep moving beside them to guide them around the course. This way, you can easily remain active until the better weather returns. Your dog may learn to be the next agility champion too!
Room for relaxation
There’s nothing better than relaxing after an excellent session of games and play. Provide the dogs with blankets or cooling mats to help them relax. Get a little creative and set up a relaxation space by a window so that they can watch the outdoors together. Keep water nearby, and set up a fan on a hot day. Before you know it, they’ll be comfortable enough to snuggle up as if they already live together every day.
Transform your backyard space
One of many dogs’ most favorite activities is to be outdoors! Instead of bringing them to daycare and risking an accident, your backyard can be filled with endless ideas for play. This may be the perfect excuse for you to finally finish or even start a renovation project and clean up your backyard.
Specific pet-friendly updates that are more permanent can be borrowed against your home’s equity for quick action any time of the year in a lump sum. Pet owners often leverage this asset for projects such as redoing the landscaping, installing a fence, or remodeling a deck for peace of mind that the dogs will be safe on the property.
Add a pool to cool off
A pool can be an enjoyable summer activity and a different refreshing way to cool off in the warmer months. For a bonus attraction, you can set up a water sprinkler in the yard. Jumping in and out of the pool will entertain dogs for hours.
This idea could be as simple as adding a small kiddie pool to avoid upkeep. Or, it could be your final push toward getting an above-ground or in-ground pool to enjoy with family and friends.
Either way, as long as you’re taking safety measures for your pool to be safe for dogs, a pup pool party is always a productive activity to practice swimming skills and stay cool.
Create spaces for shade
It’s essential to recognize summertime safety for your dogs and you as well. Providing cool shade is one of the most crucial ways to protect your dog from becoming uncomfortable and overheating.
Consider getting a screened-in gazebo or adding an awning to your deck so that you will always be able to keep an eye on your dogs in the yard.
Besides, who doesn’t want to sit back and watch dogs play all day?
Remember to protect your dog
Small precautions can be easy to forget, but it’s necessary to ensure safe and fun playdates for your dog. Sometimes, a playdate may not always be about playing. It could be time well spent just sitting by each other to relax.
Here’s a checklist of what to keep in mind for dog playdates:
- Always keep water nearby
- Put toys away unless you trust both dogs won’t resource guard
- Have a first aid kit for dogs on hand
- Have cleaning materials nearby in case of any accidents
- Allow them multiple potty breaks
- Keep shade readily available when outside
- Never leave dogs unsupervised
It’s not a bad thing to always be prepared if there’s ever a scuffle. Usually, they sound worse than they are, but keep an eye on body language and know when and how to take action — having a can of compressed air to make a loud noise can be a great distraction in a pinch.
Talk with the other dog owner about why this happened and how to avoid it next time. You may want to consider putting extra money away into a savings account or look into pet insurance options to help cover unexpected vet bills.
Dog playdates are fun for you, too!
Dog playdates are a great way to spend more time bonding with your dog and boosting your health. Connecting and other dog owners can be just what some need to relax after a busy day of work.
Along with that, once you all get to know each other well, it may be a chance for you to rely on each other for dog-sitting if needed. Take it one step at a time, and enjoy all of the new memories that come with it.