5 Questions to Ask Before Setting Up a Puppy Play Date

Before your next play date, ask questions that will ensure the puppies will be BFFs.

The first three to six months is the most important time for puppies when it comes to socialization; this is the time they are the most impressionable. The more socializing you can do, the better, as you want a well-adjusted adult dog. More pet owners are realizing how important puppy socialization is and are setting up puppy play dates.

If you’d like to set up a puppy play date, be sure to ask yourself and the other dog owner the following five questions.

Do both puppies have all their shots?

It may be awkward to ask someone if their puppy has been vaccinated, but it’s critical for the safety of both dogs. By the time they reach four to five months of age, most puppies are up to date on shots—still, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If one or both puppies still need some of their shots, postpone the play date for a later time.

Is the other dog spayed or neutered?

Dogs that haven’t been altered can result in mounting behavior or aggression. And for female dogs that are intact, be wary of heat cycles, especially if you have a male puppy that hasn’t been neutered yet. Even if your dog hasn’t been fixed, you’ll want to be as safe as possible and choose a spayed/neutered playmate for your puppy.

What’s the age and sex of the other puppy?

Because some dogs can be a little more aggressive around dogs of the same sex, it’s good if the meet-up is a boy/girl date. And since puppies should be socialized to dogs of all ages, setting up a date with an older dog is okay, just be sure it’s a compatible match. Many older dogs don’t have the patience for puppies and will get snippy.

How does the other puppy play?

Puppies have different play styles—some are rambunctious while others can be reserved and shy. While it’s important to introduce your puppy to as many new experiences as possible while he is young, you don’t want to put him in a situation where he’ll be anxious. Choose play dates where the puppies have similar play styles.

Where will the play date take place?

Choosing the right location for a puppy play date is just as important as choosing the right play mate. If your puppy has already had some socialization, go over to the other puppy’s home for a play date. But if your puppy is still a little nervous, invite the new friend over to your home. Keep in mind that this could also go the opposite way—he might feel threatened to have another puppy visit his territory. Take your puppy’s temperament into account and make the choice that is best for him.

Meet the Author: Amy Tokic

Amy Tokic is the Editor of Petguide.com, the flagship site to over 70 different pet communities, which offers pet parents a one-stop-info-shop for all things dog and cat related. Amy's been with PetGuide since the beginning, guided by the wisdom of her Shih Tzu mix and furry roommate, Oscar. Together, this pet power couple has their paw on the pulse of the pet industry, sniffing out trends, advice, news, tasty treat recipes and other tail-wagging stories.

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