I’ll start this by saying I originate from the suburbs of Delaware. Down there, it’s not strange to wave and smile at strangers as you pass by. However, in NYC that’s not the case. I’ve lived in NYC for 10+ years now and consider myself an official New Yorker, so this blog comes from experience!
In NYC you mind your business. If you wave and smile at strangers, you can almost always expect a dirty look or to be flat out ignored. It’s not to say that New Yorkers aren’t friendly, we are, there’s just a tough exterior to get through first.
Dog owners can have an easier time breaking through that exterior. Our dogs are essentially conversation starters on a leash, and they often force interaction because they want to say hi to other dogs. We are still New Yorkers though and conversations with strangers can still be awkward, especially as we watch our dogs sniff each other’s butts. What do you talk about though?
The following are a couple of my go-to small talk icebreakers when Ginger and I meet new dogs and dog owners.
Talk About Their Dog
The easiest way to break the ice is to ask about their dog! Dog owners LOVE talking about their fur-babies. They think they have the cutest pup alive and love it when others feel the same way! Questions like “What is your dog’s name?”, “what kind of pup are they?”, or “how old are they?” are simple ways to get the conversation going!
Our dogs are the most important parts of our lives. We want to keep them happy. Pointing out the efforts dog parents are doing makes our parenting validated! “Look at that tail wagging”, “Look at how happy they are”, or “their coat is so shiny” makes us feel amazing! Also, don’t hesitate to ask where we shop for dog products. We are happy to share where we got the cool new leash, cute bandana, or anything else our pups are wearing, (soon all the answers will be waggin.com!
Meet the Owner!
It’s easy to chat about our pups for as long as they are playing, but don’t forget to get to know the owner too! There’s been many times I’ve been referenced as “Ginger’s Dad” instead of Cesar. I’m guilty of this too! So don’t forget to get to know the owner, once the conversation has started, you may have more in common than just being pet parents!
Breaking the ice with other dog owners could lead to new friends to explore with, more puppy play dates, or could even lead to meeting your soulmate! Trust me, our dogs don’t mind being used to meet more friends!