BY: Laurie Brzostowski
Puppy play dates can be a great bonding activity for socializing your puppy and meeting other dog owners. Watching your puppy as they play with new friends is fun and offers a variety of benefits such as:
1. Social skills
Dogs are natural pack animals and learn appropriate dog behaviour from other dogs. Puppies learn by watching and mimicking other dogs’ actions and mannerisms. Puppy play dates are a great way for your new puppy to develop those essential social skills. A little bit of rough housing will also teach your puppy appropriate levels of playing such as bite inhibition and the need to be gentle. Building social skills will help your puppy grow into a confident and happy dog.
Puppy play dates are a great outlet for all that built up puppy energy (of which there is a lot!). During play dates your puppy will run around and wrestle with other dogs. This will help to wear them out so that you don’t have to. Puppies in a group tend to play and expend their energy to the max, so they will be all tuckered out and ready to sleep by the time they get home.
3. Mental exercise
A bored puppy is a sad puppy. Mental exercise is just as important as physical exercise and provides much needed stimulation of the brain. Puppy play dates will expose your dog to different and sometimes challenging situations. Playing games with other puppies and dogs will help to hone your puppy’s problem solving skills and keep them socially stimulated.
Play dates can be both fun and beneficial for your puppy. Although it can be relaxing to watch dogs play and interact with other dog owners, it is important to be vigilant about supervision. Always keep a close watch on your puppy as well as the other dogs for appropriate play behaviour. Take the time to reward them for positive interactions but always be ready to take action in case play gets too rough or aggressive.