Doggy Play Dates: The Dos And Don'ts


As a parent, you know that your kids need to interact with other children so they receive the social development they need. This is why you set up play dates or enroll your child in school or activities.

Your dog also needs to learn how to interact with other animals, which is why it’s always a good idea to allow your dog to attend some doggy play dates or playgroups every now and then. Not only will your dog get the exercise he or she needs, but he or she will also have fun learning to play with other dogs.

As with any interaction, there are certain rules and general guidelines you should follow to ensure that the play date is successful. The following are common dos and don’ts for your doggy’s next play date.

Do: Have your dog current on his shots.

When your dog is playing with other dogs, it’s common that some roughhousing may occur, and your dog may become scratched or scratch the other dog. This is why it’s extremely important to be sure your dog is up to date on his shots and has all necessary vaccinations. If the other dog were to have a disease or illness, your dog would be covered from catching the disease or illness himself if their playing goes a little too far. Plus, since your dog will be spending time near the other animal, having them vaccinated and up to date on other shots will keep them from catching fleas or heartworm.

Don’t: Forget the water and treats.

Make sure that you bring plenty of water and treats for your dog (and the other dog) during the play date. Dogs will be spending a lot of time playing and running around, and they can become easily dehydrated if it’s hot. Make sure your dog and the other dog have plenty of water to consume on their date.

You will also want to make sure you have treats. This is a great way to get both dogs to listen to you during the play date, and it can be a great way to distract them if they start to misbehave.

Do: Give them room to play.

Doggy play dates are always more successful when there is ample room to play. Try to schedule the play date when the weather is nice so the dogs can be outside running through a yard, dog park or open field. When dogs are cooped up inside your home, their roughhousing may result in damaged furniture or injury to the dogs. If the weather is not cooperating, make sure you designate a large indoor area for the dogs to play that doesn’t have anything that could be damaged or cause injury.

Don’t: Ignore the dogs.

While you may use the play date as a chance to catch up with your friend or learn more about a new individual, it’s still important that you keep an eye on the dogs. It’s always possible that their playing may become too intense, which could result in injury to one (or both) of the dogs. Always make sure to pay close attention to the dogs and intervene if their play turns to aggression.


Danielle Nottingham is a vet tech and writer at who loves to write about proper pet etiquette for dog owners who are new on the scene.