By: PuppyGirl Kate Whitney – April, 2010
Continuing on the same topic as last month’s article, I am going to talk more about puppy parties! Every party deserves to be the best it can be! Not only is the party a special day for the dog, it’s also a special day for every guest; human and canine!
Let’s talk about how to turn a boring party into an unforgettable party! First thing is first, time to decorate! Some things you might want to get are party hats, balloons (they have paw print balloons at iParty), a special doggy cake, and other dog themed decorations. Decorations not recommended are candles, flowers, glass, anything breakable, or anything that would be toxic for one of the puppies to ingest. Try to keep all decorations out of their reach (or bite)!
When I baked homemade cookies and treats for Dash’s party, I found some dog theme cookie cutters and used those to spice up the treat shapes. You can usually find these types of fun cookie cutter shapes in specialty dog stores, or online at www.GoodDogExpress.com or www.Amazon.com.
Also found at some specialty dog stores are dog theme cakes, but if you want to bake your own there are many cute and tasty recipes online. Just Google “dog cake recipe” or go to www.Dog-Treat-Recipe-Exchange.com, to view a few delicious recipes. Some recipes include pumpkin, peanut butter, and salmon dog treats. Yummy!
In addition to letting the dogs run and play in the yard or park, it might be nice to have some games for them to participate in. One game might be bobbing for tennis balls, or try hiding some yummy treats around the yard and have a biscuit scavenger hunt. Have a “best dog trick” event and let each of your guests show off their tricks. Good old tennis balls and Frisbees make for a good game of fetch. Make sure there are enough balls and toys for each of your guests, so no one gets jealous or feels left out. See if anyone can bring along agility equipment and if not, contact local dog trainers and see if you can rent or borrow some pieces for the afternoon. Speaking of trainers, why not hire one to attend your party? This would be a great opportunity to have a group dog lesson. Your guests can ask questions and learn techniques.
People (and dogs) most likely won’t show up to a party empty handed. Instead of putting gifts on a table or out of reach from your dog, put them in a pile on the ground and let the guest of honor “open” them. Like the decorations, you want to make sure to keep an eye on this so dogs don’t get a hold of string or other toxic items. My favorite idea has to do with making arrangements for gifts before hand.
On the invitation for your party let your human guests know that your pooch has more than enough toys and treats, and you will be donating any items to your local shelter. Also, instead of gifts, guests might want to make a monetary donation, in your pooch’s name, to a local shelter. Don’t forget, my shelter, One Tail at a Time, is still in need of donations (hard goods or monetary) to help us rebuild and keep rescuing dogs after the fire last year destroyed everything we had.
One thing you don’t want to forget at your party is your camera! There are going to be lots of funny and adorable moments that you will want to capture. A camera is a sure bet that you will be able to remember your pet’s party forever. Pictures also make great gifts for the doggie guests in the future, as well as great ideas for thank you cards.
Before your guests leave, don’t forget to give them their “doggie” favor bags! One idea is to get some cheap dog bowls (think Dollar Store, or clearance shelf at Target) and fill them with your homemade treats. Another idea would be to put a bunch of treats in a cellophane bag and tie it with a cute ribbon. Attach a note that says “$1* has been donated to the local shelter in (insert your pet’s name here)’s name.” *amount can vary of course.
If all this dog party jargon has you excited, with no party to attend, why not head to your local animal shelter? Many shelters are looking for volunteers to help with all aspects of the shelter. Many of the animals in a shelter just want to be touched and cuddled. Or, find out when a shelter animal’s “birthday” is. Often times this date is just a guess because the actual date is unknown. Find a pet whose birthday is coming up and sponsor that animal! Many times sponsors are needed for animals that need surgery or extra vetting. So why not do something good and help a furry friend in need? I promise you this is a great feeling!
Last but certainly not least, safety always comes first! Any decorations you use, keep a close eye on them so the dogs don’t eat or get tangled in anything. Remember not to overdo the food with your dog guests. A dog’s intestines often become irritated with a new type of food, or too much food. Also check beforehand with humans to find out about any allergies their dog may have. Keep a close eye on how the dogs are interacting with each other and make sure there is no trouble. It is common for one of two of the dogs to announce themselves as the alpha dog. If the “alpha behavior” goes on for more than a few seconds and is more than “playful” make sure to separate the aggressors in time out. I hope I’ve given you some fun ideas for your next party, enjoy!