Playdate ideas for your dog

A well-socialized dog is a happy dog. And it also makes for a happy owner. Playdates can go a long way in helping your pooch learn manners and stay friendly while out in public. From a romp in a public park to attending an event at a local dog club, explore your options for puppy play. Here are five easy ideas to give your dog a good time.

• A Romp in the Park

Dog parks are popping up all over the country and they're a great place for a doggy playdate. Whether a scheduled session or an impromptu visit, it's a good idea to keep canines well-matched in size and energy levels. Then allow the fenced area of a dog park work its magic with lots of grass to roam, frolic and play with a suitable furry friend.

• Backyard BBQ

A backyard BBQ can be fun for the whole family - including the family dog. Plan a day of play for the dog and the kids by inviting friends and family to a pet-friendly BBQ. You supply the fun - like balls, tug of war ropes and a few tasty treats cut up from the grill. Your guests will supply the play pals.

• Agility Competition

Agility competition provides structure for play and a chance for your dog to meet other well-behaved canines that are matched to his or her energy level. The scheduled events will keep you on track for a doggy socialization plan as well as provide a chance for them to perform and please you during this type of playdate.

• Summer Fun Pool Party

When the heat of summer turns up the temperature, you can turn up the fun with a playdate pool party. Invite your dog's favorite pals. Stock up on their treats and favorite toys. Then purchase a couple of kiddie pools to fill with water and cool off the playmates. It's easy summer fun for you and your dog.

• Join a Local Dog Club

Local dog clubs are an excellent source of play companions for breed-specific playdates. Most dog clubs arrange special events for dogs and their human parents to gather and socialize. By pairing your dog with others of the same breed, you'll have a greater chance of compatibility and success for matching play styles and energy levels.

Setting up a playdate for your dog doesn't have to be a chore. Parks, clubs and your own backyard can offer all you need for hours of entertainment and a chance to enjoy some quality time with your beloved canine.