Updated: Jan 10, 2020
Didn't appreciate the whole birthday thing when I turned 1 year old. Just knew there was some sort of dog friendly cake thing and a hat. Oh and new dog toys. But this year it's different!
Since I’ll be turning the big 2 years old this month and officially leaving puppyhood behind, I’ve been leaving hints for my humans that I want a puppy party!
You know the usual hints…giving them puppy eyes, putting my head on their laps and giving them super puppy eyes and reminding them who my favourite dog friends are when we are out and about. Hope they get my hints. Sometimes humans can be pretty unaware of what we dogs are telling them.
Any way, planning a fun and friction free doggy birthday party means thinking about things from a dog’s point of view. Humans don’t have our natural doggy animal instincts for partying, and often they plan our parties with human needs in mind. Rather than keeping our doggy needs in mind.
So, here’s my doggy view from the other side of the leash about what things your humans should consider when planning a bark worthy dog birthday party.
Party Themes Are for Humans.
Reality is most of us doggies don’t really care about whether or not there’s a party theme. But sometimes our humans do. They like to post pictures of us online wearing a birthday hat or in party gear. It makes the humans happy, so we go along with it. However, your humans should understand that for us a Hawaiian Luau or a Superhero themed birthday party isn’t important.
In fact, sometimes party hats and costumes get in the way of us having fun, or worse become a hazard during play. We rather just play with our invited dog guests, enjoy the dog friendly food and hang out. But if humans want to hang stuff on the wall and get dressed up that’s cool too. We’ll love them anyway!
Your Dog Party Guest List is for You and Not Your Humans.
It’s important your humans invite guests based on your doggy needs. You know how humans are, sometimes they are friendly with another dog owner, but you don’t really like their dog. So, you end up having a play date with a dog you don’t like just so your human can meet with the other dog owner. Hey, we've all been there. But that's a dog's love, and just one of the many things we do for our humans.
But this is your birthday. This party is for you. Remind your humans that they need to invite your dog friends and not just their human dog owner friends. Your humans should also consider a dog guest’s temperament and whether or not you have played well in the past without incident. Also, they should make sure to tell invited dogs' owners, which dogs are invited as part of their preparation to avoid any possible dog drama.
How Many Dog Guests are Too Many?
This is a ruff question to answer. But a big dog pack party isn’t always the best. If your human invites too many dogs to your party and there is not enough space, this can overwhelm and stress dogs. Last thing any dog party host wants is stressed guests.
Also, there may be local city bylaws restricting humans from having too many dogs gathered in one place, unless the area is zoned for dog use like a dog park, doggy daycare or dog training and boarding facility.
Some humans suggest there is magic number for how many dogs can cohabitate together. According to Bethany Ramos’s article How Many Dogs is Too Many Dogs? for SheKnows, David Wright of iWorkdogs, thinks that the combination of 3 dogs is best. Yet, other dog trainers and canine behaviorists will say there is no magic number. While the whole magic dog pack number issue is something humans like to debate, the reality is us dogs are just as happy hanging out with one dog or ten dogs.
However, the key to a harmonious happy doggy birthday party is ensuring what ever your dog pack party size, that it’s a manageable size.
Choose Your Party Venue to Meet All Your Doggy Guests Needs.
Humans often pick a party venue that works for them. They sometimes forget what works for humans doesn’t work for us.
Things to Look for in a Party Venues that Work for Dogs
Does it have enough outdoor or indoor space to allow for dog play?
Is the location safe for dogs? Assess the location from a dog safety standpoint. Is the area properly gated (if next to a road)? Are there any toxic weeds or substances that are accessible?
Are there any structural barriers that may be difficult for smaller, disabled or older dogs to get around?
Will your dog be territorial over the space?
Other Venue Options for Dog Parties
A Doggy House Party. If you are a doggy, who is lucky enough to have their pwn fenced backyard, then your party venue is set. As long as you are a dog who is comfortable sharing your personal space. However, holding a dog party in your backyard or home isn’t always a good idea. Especially, if you are the type of dog who has strong territorial or resource guarding issues. If that's you, then your human should consider hosting your dog party in another neutral location.
Off-Leash Dog Parks are a good place to meet up, but be mindful of party crashers. If you don’t want random strange dogs crashing your dog party and eating all the pup cakes, then your human needs to rethink this venue. With an off-leash dog park, you never know who will crash your party.
Doggy Daycares are a great party space and resource. Some doggy daycares don’t operate 24/7, as the humans say, and instead have rooms available for rent outside of regular business hours. What’s great about renting a doggy daycare room is it already meets doggy needs. And rain or shine you can party.
Ensure Everyone Knows the Dog Party Rules.
No one parties like a puppy. But it’s important to ensure all your guests are aware of all the rules regarding the party space. If you are renting a dog friendly space, then your human may have to provide proof of up to date all required vaccinations and sign a standard waiver.
Your human should check with the rental facility about what’s required and ensure every dog’s human is informed.
Dog Party Menu, Consider Your Doggy Friends Dietary Needs.
Dogs, just like humans, have food allergies, medical conditions and specific dietary needs depending on age and breed.
It’s only polite and good human manners to ask all your pup pals’ humans if their dog has any allergies or dietary needs. That way they can ensure any dogs with medical issues, allergies or dietary needs can be accommodated and not end up getting “sick as a dog”... as the humans say.
Ensuring Happy Dog Play Means Putting Your Humans to Work Supervising Your Party.
All doggies know that our humans like to gather and gab. You see humans in the dog parks milling together and chatting while dogs play.
You can be walking your human, and then they see a human friend and before you know it…you’re stuck.
Although humans can’t help it, your human should be supervising and watching your dog guests play. Us dogs can sniff out no-no items on the ground or sometimes get carried away. Watchful non-intrusive human supervision helps ensure safe and happy dog party.
Make Sure Your Human Provides Doggy Poop Bags for Your Guests.
Where there arw dog safe goodies and birthday cake, there’s dog poop. Look, dog poop happens. Your human should be prepared and provide doggy poop bags for your guests.
Thank Your Guests with a Doggy Treat Bag.
Send your dog guests home with a Doggy Treat Bag as a thank you. It doesn’t have to be pricey or elaborate.
It could be a tiny bag filled dog healthy vegetables and/or fruits or a few of your favourite dog treats.
Those are some of my Toller Tips if you want a party that all the dogs will bark about!