How To Host a Puppy Playdate
By Kathy Santo
One of the best ways to socialize your puppy is to host regular get-togethers with four-legged guests. Here are seven ground rules that should be set in place before the parties (yes, plural) get underway.
1. Stick to quiet guests. At least initially. This eliminates your loud uncle, the overenthusiastic teenage girl next door, and your sister’s screaming toddler. Eventually your puppy will learn to tolerate these types of personalities, but for the first party, you want her interactions to be with people who are relaxed and calm.
2. Invite party animals. I’m speaking of the guests with four legs and a tail. They must be healthy, up-to-date on their vaccinations, have a generally calm disposition, and be friendly toward puppies. It’s important that your friends are honest with themselves about the dog they own and that they keep in mind what is best for your puppy.
3. Keep all dogs on leash at all times. Safety comes first. Also, keep the list small. One or two people are more than enough to start with, but after a few weeks you can increase the number of guests.
4. Location, location, location. Initially these socials occur at your house, but eventually you can take the show on the road and visit other people’s homes. As your puppy gets older, these locations can be revisited during busier times, building up to the park when a soccer game is in full swing.
5. Plan potty breaks. In the midst of all the fun, don’t forget that you have a puppy who you are still housebreaking. Set a timer for 20 minutes to remind you to take the puppy out for a bathroom break. Chances are she will be having so much fun that she’ll forget to ask to go out.
6. Let the party favors flow. As with any party, this isn’t the time to worry about diets. Any of the special treats that your puppy is allowed to have should be generously passed out by the humans. (Freeze-dried liver, anyone?) The idea here is that your puppy sees all people as human Pez dispensers! Just make sure that they are giving small pieces.
7. Time it right. Make sure your guests know before they arrive when your event will end. Initial parties should be no more than 20–30 minutes, but they can eventually go up to an hour.
Originally published in AKC FAMILY DOG. To read more from FAMILY DOG, click here. Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com/©CountryStyle Photography