Just how introducing a baby or a young child to others the same age as them is important for childhood development, the same goes for puppies. Getting to know fellow canines is a crucial part of the development process and helps in conditioning them into becoming a confident and well-behaved adult dog.
It can be hard to teach a puppy what behavior is acceptable and that is why they learn a lot quicker when a fellow canine tells them in their own way (*respectfully).
Though puppy socialization is imperative to behavior development, there are a few things to take into consideration before setting up playdates;
Is your puppy vaccinated?
- For the first few months of your puppy’s life as their immune system is still fairly weak, there will be a series of vaccinations your puppy will need to get in order to protect themselves from infections (which can sometimes be quite deadly). It is important that your puppy and their playmate are both fully vaccinated.
Has your puppy had their tick and flea medication?
- Depending on where you live or where your playdate is set up, it is always good to make sure that your puppy is up-to-date with their tick and flea medication. You never know when those pesky pests may show up, so always err on the side of caution and protect your pup!
What about your puppy’s playmate?
- Before scheduling any playtime, make sure your pup’s playmate is up to date on vaccinations and medication.
How do I set up a fun and safe puppy playdate?
- Choose wisely
- Choose a dog that is appropriate in terms of temperament, size, and play style. If you have a dog that is 10lbs, it wouldn’t be safe to set up a playdate with a dog that is 100+lbs (even though they may be gentle giants), things can get ruff. You also want to make sure that the playmate’s energy and play style matches your pups.
- Location is key. Choose an area that is large and fenced in so the dogs can run around freely (good-bye tangled leashes) and you’re able to keep an eye on the dogs.
- Focus on the playdate. Things can go 0-60 real quick, so make sure you are always keeping an eye on your dog and look for signs that show your dog is uncomfortable. Check out your dog’s body language, what is their tail saying? Are they keeping distance from the other dog? Always be vigilant.
- If you feel like the play is getting a bit ruff, give the dogs a break for a few minutes till they cool down.
- Resource guarding is real and can lead to injuries if your dog is really possessive about their toys. Play it safe and keep the toys away.
- Chill break
- Playing can get very stimulating so make sure you give the dogs a little break to sniff and chill out for a few minutes before re-engaging in some play.
- Be prepared
- Playtime can get really tiring so make sure you bring enough water to hydrate your dog. *Especially if it is hot.
It is important to note that your pup may not get along with every dog and that is a-okay. If you feel like your dog isn't getting along with their playmate, break up the play date and head home. Always play it safe.
For more guidance on puppyhood, look to Super PawBox for puppy training and treats!