1) Get a puppy. Recognize that this is a lifetime commitment. It you can’t hack the 10-15 years of loyal companionship, you might want to try a computer dating service instead.
2) Teach the puppy some basic skills. Walking on a leash is essential. If you’ve chosen well, you won’t have to worry about timidity or growling and snapping.
3) Go for walks. An eager puppy will take care of the initial awkwardness of greeting strangers by laying back his ears, opening his mouth in a tongue-lolling puppy grin, and wagging his tail.
I know this works. I have a new puppy. Calvin is a regal four-month-old who loves to meet people and has developed some clever new techniques. He’s not afraid to amble up onto a front porch to see if someone will come out, or sit beside a newly parked car, waiting for the occupants to emerge and tell him how awesome he is. If I were to do that by myself, I’d be talking to police. With Calvin, it’s just an icebreaker.
Let the conversations begin!