Most dog lovers/owners/trainers would probably agree that the number one factor is having a calm animal is exercise. Or, as the saying went in one of my obedience classes, "A tired dog is a good dog."
Steve walks the dogs two miles almost every morning of the year. Intermittently - and certainly now - I walk them for one more mile in the late afternoon or early evening.
This morning Youngest Grandson and I took all three dogs to the dog park. We have three parks with cordoned off dog areas close by and others not far away. Today we went to Glen Ellen, just ten minutes from home, to the largest park where dogs can run freely off leash. We brought a Frisbee and Chuck-It just in case no other dogs showed up and, for a brief time that was helpful. One puppy was playing alone when we arrived, but soon left because her handler was off for a day at the Sonoma County Fair. Later a three-legged German shepherd came in and immediately outran all of my dogs. Then a malamute mix showed up with beautiful white fur and a pink collar. Brix wagged his approval.
"Does your mom talk to strangers?" I was asking YG. Yes. I used to watch in awe as my grandfather struck up conversations with anyone at any place when we were out and about in Chicago, where I lived or New Jersey, where he lived. Then I got old and started doing the same thing. I figured YG would think I was not only old, but weird as well, but if his mom (my daughter) does it too it probably seems normal to him.
At any rate, a dog park is an obvious place to chat - about dogs, of course.