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How to Meet New People with Dogs: A Guide for Introverts

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Overview

If you enjoy quiet environments, low-key social situations, and spending time alone, you might consider yourself an introvert. People often think introverts don't enjoy social situations, but this isn't the case. In fact, introverts enjoy socializing but often find it hard to meet new people. 

Regardless of whether your fur-baby is a social butterfly or a bit shy, dogs can help introverts make small talk, meet new people, and make lasting bonds with fellow pet parents. 

But making new "fur-iends" isn't always a walk in the park. Struggling to break the ice with other pet parents? Or maybe you're not sure where to meet other introverted pet parents? Check out these tips on meeting new people with dogs if you're an introvert.


Where to meet new people with dogs

Sometimes it can be tough to know where to start when trying to meet new people as a pet parent. Luckily, these days there are lots of places, both online and offline, where you can meet other pet parents.

people and dogs sitting in the grass at a dog park

Dog parks

The most convenient place to meet fellow pet parents is your local dog park. If you visit an off-leash dog park regularly and your pup enjoys playing with other fur-babies, you'll no doubt get chatting with other pet parents eventually. Plus, you can always try to arrange a playdate if your dog gets along well with another pup after frequent visits to the park.


Dog training and activity classes

Dog training and activity classes will help keep your dog's tail wagging and help you build a stronger bond with your barking bud. Not to mention they're an excellent method for meeting new people. 

Doggy playgroups, obedience classes, agility classes, and flyball events are all examples of classes that will help you and your pup meet new people.


brown chihuahua dog standing on a table against the blurred background of a pet store

Pet stores

Many pet stores in the US welcome doggos inside, which means your dog can help you meet new people even when you're running errands. The toy aisle is always a great place to find other pet parents to hang out with, and you might be able to drum up a conversation if your pets love the same toys.

If you happen to visit Fido's favorite pet store on a slow day, chat with staff members about dog-friendly events happening in your community. Many pet stores host their own events, like pup playdates, while others may have bulletin boards where the community can post flyers and announcements.


Dog-friendly bars and restaurants

Dog-friendly bars and restaurants may not be for everybody, but they're a fun way of meeting new people. Across the US, in major cities like New York, Chicago, and San Francisco, thousands of eateries welcome woofers with open paws. What are you waiting "fur"? Book a table for you and Tucker, strike up a conversation with other pet parents over a couple of drinks, and let the conversation flow.

Related: Etiquette Tips for Dogs at Restaurants


Dog shows and events

If you've been practicing your dog's training, why not enter them into a local dog show or event? Whether you're competing or simply attending as a spectator, dog shows and events are a handy place to meet new people with adorable doggos. After your dog struts their stuff on stage, take some time to chat with other pet parents about training techniques and routines.

Dog shows like Westminster and Crufts are busy events with thousands of competitors, which could be a little overwhelming for introverts with a limited "social battery". Introverts might like to start with smaller, local events instead — check out the AKC's Event Finder to find a dog event near you.


Volunteering at a shelter

Volunteering at a local shelter helps dogs in need and is a great way to meet other dog lovers. People who volunteer at shelters tend to be super compassionate and easy to talk to. 

You'll be working closely one-on-one with other people, it's easy to make friends while working to help stray and abandoned animals.

Related: A Day in the Life of an Animal Shelter Volunteer


person in a hospital bed next to another person and white therapy dog wearing a nametag

Pet therapy programs

Therapy dogs provide essential support to people in hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities across the US. When you and your pup start working together as a therapy dog team, you can help people in need and give yourself the opportunity to branch out and meet new people.

Getting your dog certified for therapy work is a more straightforward process than you might think. With the right training, your pup will ace the AKC Good Canine Test (which is required by most therapy programs) in no time!


Online communities

Online communities and apps are an increasingly "pawpular" way of meeting other pet parents. Apps like Nextdoor let you arrange doggy playdates in your local area. 

While these playdates aren't guaranteed to work out, you may make a new friend or two through the app. Facebook groups and Reddit communities are other good places to find dog walking groups and playdate opportunities.


Icebreakers for pet parents

For introverts, breaking the ice is one of the hardest parts of meeting new people. First impressions are important and can help you develop lasting relationships, but try not to put too much pressure on yourself. With your pup by your side, it's best not to overthink an icebreaker and instead let your doggo do the woofing!

If you get nervous talking to strangers, you can always try addressing their dog before turning to talk to their pet parent. This method of communication is called "triangling" and is ideal for people who fear rejection. 

Examples of icebreakers for pet parents include:

  • "What breed is your dog?"
  • "What's your dog's name?"
  • "How old is your dog?"
  • "Does your dog know any cool tricks?"
  • "Aw, your dog is so cute!"
  • "Can I pet your pup?"
  • "Is your dog friendly?"

Are you an introvert with a dog? Know of any helpful tips for meeting new people with dogs? Share your experiences with us in the comments or on social media @wag!



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