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Crucial Update

Tips For Picking Up a Stranger's Pup at the Dog Park

Successful day at the dog park!
Successful day at the dog park!

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Everyone knows the dog park is a great place to meet cute singles. But if you're serious about finding someone else's dog to hang out with, you're going to need a plan. Believe me, I've tried sitting quietly on the ground of the dog park smiling, and it's never gone over well.

Get on His Level

If you want to befriend this dog forever and ever and ever, you're going to have to think like a dog forever and ever and ever. Share some trivia with the dog that he might enjoy, even if he isn't equipped with a human speech mechanism and probably has no idea what you're saying. Speak in your signature, fool-proof shrill, I'm talking to a dog voice and try some facts like:

  • Once a Great Pyrenees was elected the mayor of Cormorant, Minnesota!!!
  • Once a Yellow Lab gained over a million Delta frequent flyer miles!!!
  • Three dogs survived the Titanic!!!
  • Dogs only sweat through their paw pads!!!

All of these and more can be found by Googling "legit amazing dog facts." You could probably also lie and the pup would be none the wiser, though trust is a key component in developing an honest and compassionate relationship with a stranger's dog.

Photo: Getty

Know Your Type

There's no use in hanging out in the small dog park if it's a stranger's slick weimaraner or a regal bullmastiff you'd like to pick up. Be definitive about what you want for yourself in a stranger's dog. The species responds well to assertiveness — for example, "Sit!" and "Stay!" and "Paw!" and "Good boy!!!!" and "Please come and live with me forever!!!!"

Mark Your Territory

The dog park is notoriously a place where single girls go to meet eligible dogs, so get in early and often. Make sure you catch his eye, and take cues from the canines themselves. Sniff other humans out. Train your mouth to produce pitches that only dogs can hear. Growl. Circle. Pee right there if you need to. Ensure your bark is worse than your bite, but don't be afraid to bite if someone else is eyeing that fluffy, fluffy shiba inu over by the far fence.

Photo: Getty

Smell Good

Dogs respond to smell — particularly meat smells. Borrow a trick from mother nature and amplify your natural pheromones with beefy scent. It's a secret weapon. If you're running out to the office after this, you don't have to bathe your entire body in a beef broth. Some other tricks might include keeping treat-sized pieces of a fragrant turkey jerky in your pockets, sucking on a bouillon cube, dabbing a little bacon grease on your pressure points, rinsing your hair in chicken stock for shine and smell, etc.

Avoid Eye Contact with Human Owners

Some are under the false impression that the dog park is a good place for single people to meet other single people. This is wrong. You're not here to waste your time. Nobody will ever love you as much as a stranger's dog can. If someone tries to chat you up in the dog park (especially someone whom biology determines could be a mate for you or even a low-key coffee date) keep your eyes on the prize. Answer his questions in monosyllables, while talking animatedly to the dogs around you. If he doesn't get the hint, be candid. Say, "I'm really just here to play with your dog, and that's not a cheeky or flirty statement."

Claire Carusillo lives in a bedroom in New York City. Follow @clocarus for an open discussion of books, bread, and eyebrows.