Deciding whether or not to bring your dog on a first date can be a tricky decision.
On the one hand, bringing your dog can be an excellent way to break the ice, spice things up, and add some guaranteed cuteness to your date.
On the other hand, your dog might be too distracting or poorly behaved, or just make the date too unpredictable.
But there’s much more to it beyond that.
Let’s delve into the pros and cons of bringing your dog on a first date.
Pros of Bringing Your Dog on a First Date
1. Breaking the Ice
One huge benefit of bringing your dog on a first date is that your dog can serve as a natural icebreaker. Dogs have a natural gift for creating a relaxed atmosphere and bringing people together. Just a dog’s presence alone can facilitate more natural, upbeat conversations. The presence of your dog, and playing with your dog together, can help spark an instant connection between you and your date and provide a common ground to bond over. This icebreaking benefit can be particularly helpful during the initial moments on a first date, which often feel awkward and stiff.
2. Showcasing Your Personality
Another pro of having your dog with you on a first date is that your interactions with your dog will showcase your personality, interests, and lifestyle. Bringing your dog along may also signal your positive emotional and relationship qualities by demonstrating your commitment to your dog's well-being, which can be an attractive quality your date may appreciate in you.
3. A Sense of Security
Dogs, especially certain breeds, can also provide a sense of security during a first date and help reduce and feelings of nervousness or anxiety. Breeds like Golden Retrievers and Labradors are known for their friendly and nurturing demeanor, making the atmosphere more comfortable for you and your date. Furthermore, if you’re meeting someone for the first time, having a dog nearby can provide a sense of physical safety and protection.
4. A Unique First Date
Nobody likes a boring first date. And bringing a dog along is a surefire way to make a first date more interesting. Instead of a traditional coffee or drinks date, bringing your dog along may set the stage for more organic and active outdoor date activities, such as going for a walk in a park or going hiking.
5. Learn More About Your Date
An overlooked benefit of bringing your dog on a date is that you’ll get to observe how your date interacts with your dog. This will tell you a lot about their personality and how they interact with others and carry themselves. This information can be valuable in understanding how compatible you two are and for assessing your long-term relationship potential.
Cons of Bringing Your Dog on a First Date
1. Divided Attention
One major drawback of bringing your dog on a first date is that it may divide your attention, making you less focused on your date. Having your dog around might distract both you and your date from each other, making it difficult to create a genuine connection.
2. Potential Allergies
It is important to consider whether your date has any dog allergies before bringing your dog along. Some people are allergic to dog hair or dander, and bringing your dog on a date may make things uncomfortable or unsafe for your date. Before brining your dog, ask your date if they have any dog allergies.
3. Not Everyone Likes Dogs
Allergies aside, not everyone likes dogs. Your date may have a fear of dogs or simply not like being around them, and it's essential to respect those feelings. This is another reason why you absolutely must get your date’s input before deciding to bring your dog along.
4. Logistical Issues
There might be logistical issues with bringing your dog on a first date. At some cafés and restaurants, dogs aren’t allowed or their presence might not be appreciated or feasible.
Bringing Your Dog: Choosing the Right Date Location
When planning a first date with your dog, it’s important to put thought into selecting the right location to ensure a positive first date experience.
When you bring your dog on a date, you’re not just planning the date for you and your human partner; now, you’re planning for your dog’s enjoyment too.
You’ll want to choose a dog-friendly spot for your date. Look for parks, outdoor cafés, or restaurants with pet-friendly patios, and local attractions that welcome pets. Some popular dog-friendly locations that could work for a first date include:
Dog parks or public parks with off-leash areas
Open-air shopping centers and markets
Outdoor art galleries and installations
Beaches with designated dog zones or hours
Hiking or walking trails
Avoiding Crowded Places
To make a first date as enjoyable as possible while bringing your dog along, keep these guidelines in mind when selecting the ideal location.
On a first date, it's best to steer clear of overly crowded places, especially if you’re with your dog.
Having a lot of people and other pets nearby can cause anxiety, stress, or distractions for your dog, which may make it more difficult to manage your dog’s behavior on the date.
Opt for more relaxed settings that give ample space for your dog to explore comfortably and safely. This way, both you and your date can focus on enjoying each other's company without either of you having to be preoccupied with your dog's behavior and safety.
Preparing Your Dog for the Date
Before going on a first date, it's important to make sure that you’re well-groomed. And now that your dog is coming too, it’s important to have your dog show up well-groomed also.
Give your dog a thorough bath, brush their fur, and trim their nails. A clean, well-groomed dog will not only be more presentable during the date but will also help reduce any allergens your date may be sensitive to.
Basic Obedience Training
Only bring your dog on a first date if they already have a basic level of obedience training.
Your dog has to respond well to essential commands like "sit," "stay," "come," and "heel" to ensure they listen to your instructions when necessary during the date.
This basic obedience training will help you maintain control over your dog during the date so you can focus on connecting with your date. The last thing you want on a first date is for your dog to be jumping on your date, barking excessively, or disrupting other people nearby.
Setting Expectations with Your Date
Discussing Your Dog's Personality
Before bringing your dog on a first date, you should talk to your date about what your dog is like. Share information about your dog's personality and how they tend to act around new people. Ask your date how they feel about you bringing your dog, and make sure they’re truly comfortable with the idea of having your dog around. This transparency will help build trust and understanding, making the date more enjoyable for both you and your dog.
Planning the Date Activities
When bringing your dog along for a first date, choose an activity that would be enjoyable for both your date and your dog. Opt for dog-friendly date ideas that allow for bonding and interaction. Here are a few suggestions:
Outdoor activities: Choose outdoor venues like parks, hiking trails, or dog-friendly beaches, where your dog can roam and play with ease. These kinds of outdoor settings often provide more space for your pet to be comfortable and less stressed.
Pet-friendly restaurants: If your date includes dining out for a meal, then be sure you select a restaurant that is pet-friendly.
Have a dog playdate: If your date also has a dog, then it can be a great idea for them to bring their dog along too for a dog playdate. If your dogs hit it off, then that will improve the odds of you and your date hitting it off too.
Managing Your Dog During the Date
Supervision and Control
It’s your responsibility to make sure that your dog is well-behaved and under your control during the entirety of the date. This means keeping your dog on a leash if necessary, bringing water for your dog, and bringing any other supplies your dog needs.
Balancing Your Attention
While having a dog can be a great icebreaker and a fantastic way to bond with your date, you can’t let your dog become the sole focus of attention. Make sure to show genuine interest in getting to know your date and have meaningful conversations with them, while still spending time tending to your dog's needs.
If you can find the right balance between giving attention to your pet and focusing on getting to know your date, you’ll be on your way to having a great first date the three of you are sure to enjoy.
How to use dating apps to land more first dates
Hopefully these tips give some insights into whether or not you should bring your dog on a first date.
When planning a first date with someone you met on a dating app like Hinge, Tinder, or Bumble, it’s important to plan ahead and do what you can to make it go well.
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