How to Conveniently Arrange a Playdate for Your Dog
Have you ever heard of Koko, the gorilla? She was raised separately from other gorillas and taught sign language, among other simple tasks. Her caretakers realized one day that Koko was lonely, and so they began searching zoos and protected animal habitats to find her a friend. To put this into context, a group of scientists devoted quite a lot of time trying to find a gorilla a date. Probably not what they envisioned they would be doing with their degrees, but animals are social beings. They need members of their own species to keep them company.
We like our pets for the companionship they provide, but just as we go out to socialize with other people, so should our pets. Dogs especially are pack animals. Now, of the roughly 55 million dogs in the U.S., only about 4% are actually diagnosed with separation anxiety. But what pet owner has not experienced their dog’s full-body excitement when they return home from work? Perhaps their reaction to our return is what causes about 75% of pet owners to feel some guilt about leaving their dog alone, according to a 2000 study conducted by the American Animal Hospital Association, or AAHA.
There are some options if your dog does have separation anxiety, or if you are feeling particularly guilty (the same study found it does drive about 38% of pet owners to actually call their pet from work– how do they pick up the phone?). Socializing your dog is incredibly important, as it has a direct impact on how they will react to strange dogs when they are older. But if there is not a dog park nearby, or you work odd hours, it can be difficult to get them the right level of socialization.
Just like the scientists did for Koko the gorilla, so you can do for your puppy. Yes, there are “dating” sites for dogs. Now, it is up to you if it is a playdate, or if you are looking for a dog of the opposite sex to breed with your dog. Let us focus on the sites for playdates, because there are a few things to know for the date to go well.
First, decide what is your dog’s play style. Is he a couch potato, who flinches at sudden movements? Or is she jumpy and energetic? Putting two dogs with different temperaments together may not be best for either. Secondly, try to match the ages of the dogs, as a puppy may need to be watched closely with a larger dog, again depending on play style. And lastly, does the other dog have all their required shots?
If you keep these points in mind, the pets should have a great playdate. It might sound strange to some, but dating sites are convenient because you can research on your time. Although you are the most important being in your dog’s life, everyone needs company sometimes. Do your pet the favor of finding them a friend. They will thank you.