GTPulse: Small Dogs Make Friends Through Weekly Playday

Friendship is one of the greatest aspects of life. Parents are encouraged to socialize their children through extracurricular activities and playdates because not only are friendships fun and necessary, human connection and forming friendships have proven health benefits both mental and physical. People aren’t the only creatures on Earth that live richer lives because of relationships, man’s best friend needs time with playmates too and The Happy Dog Paw gives smaller dogs the opportunity to make new friends at their Pint-Size Play Day.

Jennifer Seewald is the owner of The Happy Dog Paw located in Traverse City. Jennifer owns two adorable dachshunds Like many small dog pet parents, she wanted a time for her dogs to socialize without the fear of a bigger dog playing too rough with them. Pint-Size Play Day was created to give smaller dogs a chance to socialize and play with each other.

The playday is held twice a week on Wednesdays and Thursday from 8:30 in the morning to 3:30 in the afternoon. The weight restriction for the playday is 30 pounds and under and they are supervised at all times. The playdays are hosted at The Happy Dog Paw shop and allow the dogs to wander around the main floor that’s corralled off from the waiting area. The dogs wrestle and fall over each other. They run after each other and playfully fight over toys, the crowd favorite being a blue rubber chicken. It’s all fun and roughhousing, except for snack time and naptime. When Jennifer grabs treats, all the pint size pups are suddenly sitting angelically at her feet.

Meeting a lot of new dogs all at once can be intimidating for any dog, so for dogs going to Pint-Size Play Day for the first time, Jennifer takes great care to get him or her acclimated to the new atmosphere. 

“We introduce a new dog, if he’s not used to doggie daycare, one at a time. We monitor to see if there’s a particular dog that he likes to play with, then we’ll just stick those two together. If he’s doing well in the group, that’s fine too.”

When a dog’s temperament doesn’t allow him or her to be around any of the dogs, he will get separated from the group but will still get attention and playtime from a staff member.

“We still make sure they get human interaction, but we let the owner know that he’s not happy here so they know if they bring him, he’ll get attention but it won’t be dog attention.”

So how do the playdays differentiate from doggie daycare? The playdays are guaranteed, social interaction with other dogs. Doggie daycare will be time spent with Jennifer at the shop. Jennifer doesn’t keep the dogs caged up, they have free roam of the floor, but there may not be many other dogs there during doggie daycare. If Jennifer has her daschunds with her, she will have them play with the dog in daycare.

“If there’s not a ton of dogs in here to play sometimes I’ll put them in for interaction.”

People interested in having their small dog participate in Pint-Size Play Date can do so by contacting Jennifer directly at The Happy Dog Paw. She requires that dogs brought in to play have up to date vaccine papers and then she watches their behavior with the other dogs to evaluate if the playday is a good fit for him or her.

Friendships are formed at Pint-Size Play Day. Mabel, a sweet and playful terrier-mix pup is best friends with dogs Wren and Jack, who unfortunately weren’t there when I went to visit. They look forward to their weekly time together and have formed a bond.

“They are really good playmates and when one of them leaves at the end of the day the other one cries about it. It’s kind of interesting how they grow close.”

As for Jennifer’s favorite part of Pint-Size Play Day?

“The playing!” 


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Categories: GTPulse