One thing is for sure. If you have a dog you have no choice but to exercise it. That means getting up off the couch and heading out the front door. And depending on what age, breed and energy level your dog is will depend on how much exercise and stimulation they need. So here are 3 ideas to help you meet people while out with your dog:
Talk to people at the dog park
Dogs have a way of bringing people together! So take your dog to a dog park in your area. Then, strike up a conversation with another dog person. I’m a pretty shy person by nature, so I understand it’s not as easy as it sounds. But if you start with a compliment to someone’s dog, I’m sure you’ll get a positive response. Maybe point out how well behaved their dog is. Or you could ask them about what breed their dog is or where they got them from. People love talking about their dogs. So even if you’re a shy person, like me, all you have to do is say to someone, ‘wow, your dog is really well behaved, did you take them to training or did you train them yourself?’. I can almost guarantee you, that comment will result in a lengthy conversation about how wonderful their dog is.
Enroll in a fun dog training class
And by fun I mean fun! I’m not talking ‘sit, stay’ classes. I’m talking an agility class, or tracking. Maybe even fly-ball, rally-O or nose work. Some trainers even offer ‘dancing with your dog‘ classes. All dogs love to learn new things. So enroll in something. It doesn’t even matter what breed of dog you have. You’re not out there to win ribbons or compete professionally, and neither are the other people in the class. You’re out to meet new people and bond with your dog. I once had a Jack Russell take one of my protection training classes. It was awesome, and both the Jack Russell and his owner had a blast. Ok, they were no match for the German Shepherds but hey, they were out there having fun, learning new things and making friends! So google dog classes in your area, you might be surprised what interesting options are available in your area.
Here are a few things that are cool about enrolling in a class:
- It’s usually a weekly commitment of six to eight weeks. So it gives both you and your dog something to look forward to.
- Both you and your dog will learn something new. And for dogs, learning new things raises their confidence.
- It gets you both out of the house.
- Most classes aren’t very expensive at all.
- You’ll meet other dog people with similar interests!
Set up doggy play dates
And when you meet someone you might want to get to know better, set up some doggy play dates. Point out how well your dogs get along and suggest another day to get together. It doesn’t have to be a ‘romantic’ relationship you’re looking for. I, for one, would love to have more friends. What better way to make friends then setting up a doggy play-dates with someone you enjoy talking to at the dog park?
- Put your cell phone down! Do NOT stand in the corner pretending to txt or chat on your phone.
- I know it can be hard but make direct eye contact, smile, and say ‘Hi’!
- Circulate. Walk around and stand close enough to people to strike up a conversation.
- And finally, just relax and enjoy the day. If nothing else, you and your dog are out of the house!
- FYI: Owning a dog also improves your health, for more information read All You Need To Know About Pets Improving Your Health
Written by Brenda McBurnie, Certified Dog Trainer and Natural Nutrition