Six in 10 dog parents believe that their furry friends have social lives that are just as lively, if not more so, than their own, according to a new survey.
The new poll of 2,000 dog owners also found that 34% believe that their dog has an easier time making friends than they do.
Most dogs seem to form bonds that mirror our own as 62% of those polled said their dog has both friends and “frenemies.”
Moreover, 52% believe their dog has a best friend, and almost half (49%) say their dog has a boyfriend or girlfriend in their social circles, according to the results.
The survey, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of PetSafe, found that dog parks are magical places where dog friendships can blossom (43%).
Dog parks help not just dogs but also their parents connect with their community. Thirty-nine percent of dog parents feel more connected to their neighborhood through these spaces.
On average, dog owners have made friends with at least three people solely because their dogs met each other.
For some dog owners, going to dog parks has become a routine. On average, they take their pets to the park about four times a week.
Dogs find joy in dog parks in different ways, as 32% love the freedom of roaming around without a leash. Twenty-five percent enjoy meeting other dogs and 12% enjoy just cooling off in the water features.
Shade and plenty of space are two other things important to some dogs and their owners, as 28% said they wished their local park had more shade, and some pups prefer room to roam by themselves away from loud noises (44%) or fellow dogs (15%).
“One of the most rewarding experiences that dogs and their families can share at their local dog park is making new friends together,” Karla Attanasio, global director of PetSafe brand, said. “It’s so important that every dog park offers a place where both people and pets feel safe and comfortable. A dog park should be a place where strangers become friends, every day!”
Nearly half of the respondents (48%) have a dog park within walking distance, while 33% do not.
And while 75% visit their nearest park, 25% are willing to journey farther for a sense of belonging and for their pet.
This happens mostly because their dog’s friends are at the park farther away (66%).
About 40% believe the closer park is too small for their dog. Also, 43% feel that the nearest dog park isn’t kept in good condition.
Five in 10 (53%) wish for more dog-friendly parks where they can bring their furry companions.
Additionally, they hope that their local community can become more accommodating to dogs than it currently is.
“Dogs are naturally social, and often they can help us come out of our own shells, too,” Attanasio said. “Building and maintaining safe, enjoyable dog parks is critical to creating more dog-friendly communities where pups and their people can form new relationships to last a lifetime.”
Pet owners are ready to travel up to 18 miles for the best dog park experience.
Top places dogs make friends
- While staying with a friend/relative of mine – 61%
- While out on a walk – 58%
- At doggy daycare/at a boarding place – 48%
- At a dog park – 43%
- At the dog/pet store – 36%
Types of relationships dogs have
- Frenemies (in some ways a friend but also in some ways an enemy or rival) – 62%
- Best friends – 52%
- Boyfriend/girlfriend – 49%
- Friends – 43%
- Enemies – 40%
- Favorite playmate – 33%
Top reasons pet parents avoid the nearest dog park
- I go to another dog park where my dog is friendly with the other dogs – 66%
- The closest dog park is too small – 44%
- I go to one that’s more convenient to where I work or otherwise spend my time – 43%
- The closest dog park isn’t well maintained – 43%
- The closest dog park doesn’t feel safe – 36%
- My dog doesn’t enjoy the closest dog park – 18%