A dog walk might not be everyone’s idea of a great first date, but if you have a dog you need to find someone who’ll love your pooch almost as much as they love you, right?
And I mean almost as much. It’s a special kind of rejection when your new partner falls in love with your dog, and your dog falls in love with your partner, and you’re the third wheel…
So, if you have a dog you have probably asked yourself a few times, ‘is a dog walk a good first date?’ If you ask me, I’d say absolutely!
Everyone can get to know one another on neutral ground, you can explore your local area, and you can hang out with dogs!
And if this great person you’re going on a date with also has a dog, all the better. Double the dogs!
So, yes, a dog walk is a great first-date idea. But why limit yourself to walks? You can visit the dog park, or combine a walk with a visit to a dog-friendly bar or café.
If I’m honest, I take my dog everywhere I possibly can. I know many dog owners are the same. So you and your new beau better get used to socializing with the pup (or pups) in tow.
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Should You Bring Your Dog On A First Date?
Bringing a dog on a first date is something you should discuss with the guy or gal you’re planning to show a good time. Don’t just turn up with a surprise dog.
I mean, what if they have allergies? Or hate dogs? Okay, the second one obviously needs to be weeded out early.
To be fair, if you met online chances are you have your dog in at least one of your Hinge/Bumble/Tinder/insert app here pictures with you, so the ‘your dog is so cute!’ conversation has probably already happened, and it should be easy enough to move that on to ‘would you like to meet my dog’.
In fact, maybe the dog chat to dog date pipeline is actually a really great way to ask someone new out?
Once a dog date is agreed, though, you need to work out good places to go with dogs. A dog walking date is the obvious first choice and could range from a park to a full hike.
Depending on the weather, you could also go to the beach or, if it’s chilly out, find a dog-friendly bar or brewery.
Most towns have plenty of options, but if you aren’t sure whether or not dogs are allowed to avoid awkwardness if you aren’t allowed in!
Why A Dog-Friendly Date Is A Good First Date
Having your dog on your first date with you not only allows them to help you with the initial assessment of your potential new partner (okay, this is half a joke… but only half) but it also gives you something cute to focus on.
If in doubt, you can chat about the dog. Play with the dog. Laugh at the dog. And if it goes badly?
You can say you need to take the dog home so he or she can be fed. Actually, it’s kind of perfect! Dog dates for all! Dog dates for all!
Additionally, dog-friendly activities are pretty much all good first-date activities anyway. Honestly, even a dog park date is a good date regardless of whether or not you have a dog with you.
I mean, not as your whole date, but I have definitely stopped at a dog park to look at the cute pups and come up with names and personalities for them while on a first-date walk in the park!
Everything else you might do with your dog is also a good idea for date number one. Hikes are fantastic first dates, in fact, they’re so good I’ve written about all about hiking first dates!
And walking around city parks and getting to know your area better is also really fun. And if your dog is fairly calm and won’t attack all your snacks, taking a picnic can always be a great way to make a first impression.
You could even find an online guided tour (or ghost tour) to make it more interesting, and pretend to be tourists on home turf!
Finally, dogs are welcome on restaurant patios, in some bars, and in pretty much all breweries. How well does petting pooches and drinking flights of fancy beer sound for a first date?
What To Wear On A Dog Walk Date
Your perfect dog-walking date outfit very much depends on where you live and what the weather is like, as well as exactly the sort of dog walk you’re planning.
You can throw pretty much anything on for the dog park, right? But not so much if you’re going on a long hike.
And then, of course, there’s the issue of wanting to look good the first time your potential one-day spouse!
Or, if you want to be less intense about it, the issue of wanting to look good the first time you meet someone you’re hoping to impress.
But don’t worry, there’s plenty you can wear on a dog-walking date that will look great and be practical.
Admittedly, you probably won’t get to show off your absolute best outfit but maybe you should save that for your second date at a fancy wine bar?
What Should A Guy Wear On A Dog Walk Date?
It’s likely that at least some of a dog-friendly date will be outside. I’m going to assume you’re going for a decent walk, if not a hike. That means you need to think of sensible shoes.
Sensible, but not necessarily boring. In fact, please try to avoid wearing bad shoes, the world judges people on their shoes and so will your date!
To make sure your feet are looking fly, wear a favorite pair of sneakers.
You will probably want to dress reasonably comfortably for a walk, but you’re unlikely to be working out so hard playing with your dog and wandering the local park to work up a sweat.
I really love these jackets – they look effortlessly cool with any outfit and they’re pretty affordable for outerwear. And if you’re honest, don’t you need a new jacket?
I swear I am always shocked at how ratty my mainstay jackets are by the time I think to replace them!
The Cross Town Bomber is lighter, it’s slim cut and classic but it has that bomber jacket edge. The Better Than Down Bomber is kind of a more stylish alternative to a down jacket.
And it just so happens to be better for the environment as well with its eco-friendly down alternative filling.
The good news really if you take your dog on a first date is that they will probably steal the show.
You can look better than you ever have before, but you just are not as cute as a pup is!
What Should A Girl Wear On A Dog Walk Date?
The same as for men, women on a dog walking date should put comfort over style or risk sore feet or freezing cold legs halfway through.
Plus, you may well get muddy paws all over you (you’ll be used to that if it’s you who’s bringing the dog, but maybe not if you’re meeting your date’s furry best friend).
For that reason, it might be a good idea to stick to darker colors. I really like the deep red of these maroon Everyday Joggers from Public Rec.
They’re also a good balance of cozy and trendy, with a flattering cut and a high waist. But really, any darkish and flexible pair of pants or leggings would work.
I’m not saying you can’t wear a skirt or dress, but there’s a pretty high likelihood you’ll be wrestling with a dog so do keep that in mind.
If you want to bring a little excitement to your outfit, I would advise adding practical accessories or particularly snazzy sneakers.
If you can get away with them (aka it’s bright enough) grab a stylish pair of sunnies like these Ray-Bans.
Sunglass Hut has a bunch of deals, so if you don’t love those you’re bound to find something else.
What To Bring On A Dog Walk First Date
Remember to bring things to keep the dog busy, so toys and treats are a good idea. Particularly anything interactive. So, a ball, frisbee, or tug toy could be fun.
That way your date can really bond with Fido through play! And maybe you’ll want to bring some treats for your dog – both so that the pup can make you look good by doing all their best tricks, and so that you can keep them in line if they’re acting out.
You really don’t want your dog to embarrass you on date no.1.
Finally, if you want to be able to enjoy yourself undisturbed for a long time at the brewery or coffee shop, consider bringing a portable sleeping mat for your dog so that they can have a nap under the table.
I have this one from OneTigris, and I just keep it rolled in the back of my biggish backpack so it’s ready when my dog and I need it. If you don’t have a portable sleeping mat, a blanket could also work.
If it’s your date who’s bringing the dog, you could also bring the pup a gift. I know I would be won over by a date bringing my dog fancy treats or a new toy – they say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, I say it’s via his dog!
In terms of what to bring for people – as ever remember a charged phone to take loads of cute dog pics you can exchange and joke about tomorrow.
And if you’re out walking remember water and maybe a snack, as well as a couple of extra layers if it’s chilly.
Dog-Friendly Date Ideas
Planning a first date with dogs coming along can be a little tough. You have to think about everyone’s needs – including the dog’s.
A great solution is to do a two-part date, with the first half a walk, hike, or trip to the dog park and the second a long and luxurious hang out at a bar or coffee shop, in a restaurant garden, or at a brewery.
That way, your pooch will be pooped out once you want to relax and have a drink or something to eat while you really get to know your date, and the ice will be well and truly broken because you will have spent time walking and chatting and petting the dog!
Dog-Friendly Date Ideas For Winter
In the winter you might want to make the walking part of your dog walk a little shorter than you would in summer. Unless you’re one of those people who just love the cold (and you’ve checked that your date is too).
Or you’re lucky enough to live somewhere that winter is more conceptual than actual.
If you live in chilly climes you could take a wander around a local park rather than going for a hike, or else plan a bigger walk that ends at a brewery or a restaurant with outdoor heating and blankets.
That way you can get a bit cold (keeping warm by running about with the dog from time to time) and then really enjoy warming up.
Really, winter dog-friendly dates depend a lot on how dog-friendly it is where you live.
Maybe your favorite drinking establishments have loads of visiting pups daily and roaring wood fires? If so, keep the walk short and go and get cozy asap!
Dog-Friendly Date Ideas For Summer
In the Summer, the world is your oyster. Or, the world is you, your date, and your dog’s oyster.
You can easily spend a whole day wandering from a dog-friendly bar to a dog-friendly bar on a Summer day, and many more than usual are good for dogs because of all the open outside space.
Your dog might want a little run about at the dog park, though, so do remember to think about the canine date participants as well as your enchanting new friend.
You can also do some close-to-home exploring in the summer if you live in a city, and it’s usually totally dog friendly!
Go on a guided tour or use an app, like Sightseeing Pass (trust me, this is really fun and will get the conversation flowing with a date) or even let your dog choose the route using their nose. That last option might lead you to a trash can to be fair…
If you’re a nature lover (or your date is a nature lover and you want to convince everyone you are too) then a date and a dog are a great excuse for a rural hike or even a day at the beach.
You could turn this into a picnic if you want to make a day of it. I’ve written a whole article on picnic dates, so check that out for more info, but basically pack some finger food (for humans and dogs), a blanket, and maybe some wine.
And if you’re not exactly a sommelier, you can get a FirstLeaf box in advance and make sure the booze is tasty!
Summer is the perfect time to go on dog dates, so just relax and have fun.
Look, it’s no secret, I love my dog. If you ask me, dates with dogs are the best kind of dates! They allow you and your dog to get to know a potential partner and a dog provides loads of fun and plenty to talk about if you’re a little shy at first.
Plus, you worry about your dog when you’re gone all day right? With the pup there with you, there’s no need to cut things short earlier than you would like so that you can get home to feed or walk your furry pal.
The only time things might get complicated? When you both have multiple dogs.
Although they might also do that cartoon staple move where they run around you and tie you in their leashes, and you are pulled into a romantic embrace! You won’t know until you try, I guess.