“Puppy Play Dates” are a great way for puppies to learn crucial dog etiquette and dog-to- dog social skills. They need to learn to recognize and respect cues from other dogs such as posture, facial expression, vocalization and bite inhibition. It is important for puppies to learn how to interact appropriately with other dogs so that they grow up confident and can make and enjoy the company of four legged friends (and that other dogs will enjoy their company!).
Here are a some tips for a successful puppy play date:
Don’t : Take your puppy to an area frequented by unknown dogs of unknown temperament, health and vaccination status such as dog parks, the board walk or public parks until they have received their full set of puppy vaccinations.
Do: Make play dates with known, good natured, tolerant, healthy dogs in a safe environment such as a private fenced in back yard. Friends, neighbours and relatives are usually delighted to have their dog meet and play with a new puppy!
Don’t: Force the interaction – let it happen naturally at the dog’s pace. Respect differences in personality.
Do: Be prepared to intervene if either dog shows any signs of being frightened, intimidated or just not enjoying themselves. If play gets too rough, it may be necessary to have some time outs to let them settle.
The most important thing is to make the play date a SAFE, PAWS-ITIVE experience for all involved!
Photo above: 9 wk old Labradoodle puppy, Carney and 1 yr old Portuguese Water Dog, Hudson having a GREAT time on their “Puppy Play Date”