People who love animals tend to bond easily even if they don't have a pet of their own. If you do have one, however, it can provide plenty of ways to meet new friends. The best part is, you'll already have something in common so conversations may flow a little bit easier in the beginning. Here are ten ways dogs make it easier to connect with a potential new (human) pal.
1. Show Off Your Best Side
Being with your pooch naturally puts you at ease and shows people you're open to meeting them. Dog owners tend to talk to their pets, which is actually an endearing quality. After all, how can you not adore a high-powered executive who is telling his canine pal, "good boy"?
2. Dog Park
If you've never been to a dog park, it's definitely an experience. They bring out a variety of people, from pet owners to those who just like to watch the pooches run around and play. You get to see how people interact with their pets, which can be a telling part of their personality. Hanging out at an animal park can be a great way for individuals and couples alike to make new friends.
Some things to chat about at the park include:
- The dogs! If you see someone you'd like to get to know, ask them about their pet. People love talking about their animals, so find out how long they have had it, what kind of breed it is, and tips they have for training.
- Frequency. Your aim is to make friends, so get a feel for how often others go to the park and how long they stay each time.
- Other animal-related events. You may learn about new doggie daycares, owner events, or even other parks while there.
- General questions. Ask about the best way to get your puppy potty trained, how to teach it to sit, where to buy flea medicine, or any other question you haven't found the answer to yet in relation to your pet. Hanging out with other dog owners can be a learning experience that makes you a better pet owner.
3. Coffee Shop
Many coffee shops have outside areas where you can hang out with your pet. Make sure your dog is socialized so if a stranger walks up and talks to you, it doesn't bark or snap. Remember, you're trying to attract people to you, not repel them!
Even the healthiest of pets need to go to the vet occasionally, and each time you do you'll have an opportunity to connect with other animal owners and even the staff. Each visit offers a potential friend connection.
5. Topics of Conversation
No matter where you are (online, at work, in a store), having a dog provides you a conversation starter with another pet lover. Just post a picture of your pooch sometime on Facebook to see how many people respond. People love their animals, and dogs provide a common thread for you to connect with friends.
6. Out for a Walk
Walking with your pet is great way to find friends right in your own neighborhood. Not only that, but you may connect with someone who wants to walk with you, giving you both health benefits and time with a friend. It's a win-win.
7. Animal Sitting
If you need to go out of town, you'll have to either take your pet or find a reputable sitter. One option is to connect with someone you might know casually and develop a deeper friendship. You could even trade offers to watch each other's dogs when you go out of town. This not only provides you with a new friend, but it also gives you peace of mind that your pooch is in a safe environment.
8. Special Groups
If you have a particular breed of animal, there is probably an owners group somewhere that celebrates it. Do a search for your dog breed combined with the term "dog groups" to see what pops up. There are groups on just about every available online site (such as Facebook, Meetup.com, and Yahoo), and several of these meet in person. You can also check with your local paper or chamber of commerce. The purpose of these groups is simply to share the love of a particular breed, giving you an instant connection with a potential new friend.
10. Obedience Class
Puppy training or obedience classes offer plenty of ways to bond with other people. Aim for the classes that are several weeks long, because it will give you an opportunity to get to know people slowly over time. Class instructors typically have you do activities with your pet to help it learn, and as each owner works with their animal it gives everyone a chance for conversation.
Want more ideas? Sign up for my free ecourse, 101 Ways to Have More Friends.