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There’s a ‘Tinder for dogs’ that helps pups make new friends (Yes, really)

Have you ever wished your dog had a playmate or walking buddy? That wish can come true when you create a profile for your pup on Pawmates: The Dog Meetup App. Described as “Tinder for dogs,” this free app offers a wonderful way to find the perfect friend for your pooch. The app was created in 2019 by Colin Jarvis-Gaum of Toronto when seeking a suitable playdate for Pal, his parents’ older dog. According to an article by Andre J. Ellington in Newsweek, Pal has since passed away, but the app is still going strong, recently reaching 10,000 downloads.

Profiles on the app include photos, plus information on age, size, breed type, and personality traits. Pet parents can browse profiles in their local geographic area and modify settings to specify the types of dogs they believe would make the best friends for their animal companions. When a match is made users can set up a time to talk and meet in person. In addition to arranging doggy “dates,” the app offers a directory of pet businesses that can be searched by location.

Two dogs meeting.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Dogs finding perfect pals on Pawmates

While there are several doggy meet-up type apps, none have as high a rating as Pawmates. It has earned 4.7 stars on where reviewers rave about the benefits. One pet parent said he met his girlfriend and her dog through Pawmates. Now the couple uses the app to find new dog-loving friends. Several users said Pawmates offered a terrific way to connect with other pet parents when they moved to new neighborhoods. The app also helped users find compatible friends for their dogs and themselves during the pandemic. And many reviewers praised Pawmates for helping them find the perfect matches for their dogs. For example, 10-year-old Kylo found “gentle dogs to play with” and Gracie, who is “so small she is intimidated by larger dogs,” was happy to be matched with smaller friends.

Other ways to find a friend for your dog

Online apps are not the only way to find suitable companions for your dog. Following are a few other ideas when it comes to searching for puppy playmates.

Reach out to friends and family

While it might seem like an obvious choice to arrange playdates with family and friends who have dogs, you need to be sure it’s a good match. For example, if your dog is shy and reserved, and your friend’s dog is rowdy and outgoing, that’s not going to be much fun for your dog.  According to Modern Dog magazine, trainers often enlist the help of well-trained, confident, laid-back dogs to help shy dogs feel more at ease. Making a good match will ensure that playdates are fun for all involved.

Training classes

Group obedience training classes offer a wonderful opportunity to join other pet parents. If you’re currently enrolled in a group, ask the trainer to make an announcement that you are looking for a playdate or walking companion for your dog.

Dog Parks

While many dogs love to run and play with other four-legged friends at the local dog park, you do have to exercise caution when visiting. According to experts at PetMD, dogs should be current on vaccinations and have attended basic socialization and training classes before visiting a dog park. Unfortunately, not everyone follows these rules. Be sure to visit the park without your dog a few times to see if the regulars are well behaved. Many pet parents connect with other dog lovers at these parks and they arrange to go on walks or hikes together.

What to consider when choosing a good playmate for your dog

Play style

Some dogs love to chase and be chased, others like to wrestle and body slam, while still others bounce around without really making physical contact. Pay attention to your dog’s play style and take this into account while considering a playmate, advises Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and trainer Karen London in an article published in Healthy Pets with Dr. Karen Becker.

Size matters

While a Yorkie and an Irish Wolfhound can certainly be best buddies when lounging around or walking together, they may not make the perfect match when it comes to playtime. When dogs get overexcited a large dog can accidentally injure a smaller friend, so it’s safer to find dogs of similar size and weight when it comes to setting up playdates.

Two dogs playing.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Look for the same age range

As London notes, the energy and stamina of a puppy can quickly overwhelm even a playful senior dog. Playtime can become stressful when the older dog has had enough and the puppy keeps seeking out more action. Finding playmates within the same age range will help ensure that everyone has just the right amount of fun.

Do what’s best for your dog

As you discover new friends for your dog be aware of his body language and what he’s trying to tell you in each situation. If he seems anxious or stressed at meeting another dog, don’t force the interaction. And remember that not all dogs want new four-legged playmates. Some may be happiest when simply hanging out with their favorite people. As long as these dogs are getting lots of physical and mental stimulation, they can be perfectly content.

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Vera Lawlor
Vera was the pet columnist for 201 Family magazine and has contributed pet and animal welfare articles to Bone-A-Fide Mutts…
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