On this blog, we’ve covered a range of topics having to do with our furry canines. We’ve talked about whether dogs have a sense of self, we’ve wondered what they dream about, we’ve explained why they’re so friendly and we’ve talked about the benefits of raising children and pets together (include links). And so much more! While there is still much to talk about when it comes to our four-legged friends (we’ll never get sick of talking about them), we wanted to explore something else today: how owning a dog can be a very social experience. Do you agree?

Sometimes, the easiest way to make friends is through the repetitiveness of life, where your routine requires you to see or interact with the same people every day. Enter dog walks. When you own a furry canine, you’re likely to frequent the same park every day, letting your pup stretch their legs and chase squirrels. Because of this, the same people congregate in the same areas every day, holding cups of coffee and sleepily throwing balls for happy pups. It’s during this time that friendships form. And, simply put, dogs are the world’s greatest ice breakers. This isn’t just anecdotal, it’s based in science: according to this article in the Atlantic, studies conducted on human interactions between people involving dogs found that strangers on the street “offer more smiles and friendly glances to people with dogs, and are more likely to approach and have a conversation with someone with a canine companion.” After all, strangers think of people with dogs more positively, and are much more likely to smile and make eye contact. For dog owners on the shier side, owning a pup can be a great way to ease into friendships. Because dog owners are always happy to talk about their lovable Fido, the initial awkwardness of conversation is replaced with dog pleasantries.

Walking Juniper, I’ve found many friendships to form naturally and gradually over time. Because I’m out with her so often, the companionships I’ve made through my dog offer a chance for me to socialize in a low-pressure way (while simultaneously giving Juniper the chance to see HER friends, a win-win!). And because I see these fellow dog owners so often, it’s especially nice to share the goings-on of my day-to-day. Just the other day, I got to the park, ran into my friend Heather and her furry child, Zeno, and the first thing she asked was, “How’d the date go?!” Walking a dog every day can feel tedious at times, but I’ve found that the amazing community of dog owners in New York City makes the experience so much more enjoyable and social.