A dog party can be a good, positive socialisation experience for all the dogs that attend if we plan to make it so.
Check out the fun Donna had at her Gotcha Day Party in this video! :D
A good portion of this blog goes on and on about Positive Training.
So of course, I wanted the party to be FUN for Donna. In fact, a dog party can be a good, positive socialisation experience for all the dogs that attend if we plan to make it so.
As the human of Life with Lycan Lexie puts it so well before in our chat
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
So let’s plan to succeed!
Here are my considerations when planning the party for Donna:
Five Ways to Make the Party Fun for Donna
1// What does Donna like to do?
She likes sniffing about and exploring.
She likes to zoomie.
She likes to play with @Kanon_boy.
She loves food.
Given these considerations, an outdoor venue might be most fun for Donna. There she could explore and zoomie as much as she liked.
I eventually chose Lower Pierce Reservoir Park because of it’s peacefulness. There is lower chance of complaints about off-leash dogs even though we were not in a dog run simply because of the low human and other dog traffic. That helps a lot to keep the party a private one, and easier to manage.
2// Keep the guest list friendly
It is tempting to want to invite every human who has been nice to Donna, but there are practical considerations not to do so.
Of course it makes sense to only invite dogs that Donna is known to get along with. With all the other details to manage that day, breaking up a dog fight is the last thing on my agenda.
I would also want the guests to have a fun time, so my guest list ended up with
– dogs that Donna would love to play and have fun with,
– dogs that Donna meets with on a regular basis and is comfortable with,
– dogs that have attended the same parties in the last year as us, who may not have played with Donna but are friendly with the other dogs we are inviting.
Basically, this boils down to dogs who have met one another at more than a couple of occasions in the past. This helps to ensure that most of the dogs will have friends to play with.
Or at a minimum, they will be with dogs that they have encountered before with no incident, and can experience the new environment without having to stress about other factors like dogs they have not met before.
This is something I paid attention to because some of the guests I was inviting can be shy or need more time/space.
3// Keep the venue spacious
Overloading too many dogs into a space can get too stressful for some dogs to handle, which may explain why some dogs stay frozen and remain in one spot when brought into a dog run crowded with dogs.
Just like humans, dogs have a need for personal space too. Some dogs need more space, some dogs need less. Add to the fact that each dog will have his or her own threshold when it comes to their ability to cope with stress. It just makes sense to either hold the party in a spacious venue outdoors or keep the guest list small if the party is held indoors. That way, the dogs will still have ample space to play or move around.
The main thing I want to avoid are dogs snapping or dogs growling at each other because they are unable to avoid each other in a constrained space like a dog cafe that is overcrowded. That’s not going to make the party fun for both humans and dogs.
4// Keep it safe
For outdoor venues, choose quiet places that are somewhat surrounded on all sides to keep off-leash dogs in one area. If this is not possible, you may plan to erect some form of barrier to create a temporary dog run. Escape artistes and dogs with bad recall should be kept on the leash.
For indoor venues, choose establishments that have safe-gaurds like a pet gate at all the entrances to prevent dogs from sneaking out when somebody is coming in.
In all cases, make sure all the dogs have their collars and tags on because accidents tend to happen when least expected.
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– Rubit The Easy Dog Tag Curve Shape Switch Clip, Small, 0.85-Inch Diameter, Silver
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– What to put on the dog tag
5// Going outdoors? Plan it for early in the morning or in the evening
As you know my personal preference is for an outdoor venue, not just because Donna is more an outdoor dog.
Early in the morning or an hour before sunset will also give you great light for photos. The temperature at those timings will also be cool enough for the dogs to want to be active, rather than heading for the nearest shade.
1. The venue costs nothing, so I spend less money and still provide better food for my guests.
2. Photos also come out looking great because the outdoors are brightly lit. Most dog cafes and shops would not be lit for great photographic results.
3. The dogs have fun running around exploring. And when the dogs have fun, the humans have fun too, haha!
4. No worry about mess or smell because this is in the open air. Humans just need to do due diligence to clear up after the dogs.
1. Pretty much at the mercy of the weather.
2. We had to do some heavy lifting of the food, utensils, etc items from the carpark to the grassy field where we intend to have the party.
3. I wanted to decorate, but it’s too much effort :P So no photo booth, no balloons, etc that you may find at a cafe party.
4. Venue may not be as accessible as a dog cafe in a more urban area.
These are just Five considerations you may find helpful to explore when planning your own dog party. Every human and dog’s situation is different so I’m sure you will have other considerations as well. I would love to hear in the comments below! ;)
More about Donna’s Gotcha Day Party
- Photos on our Facebook
- Donna’s Gotcha Day – somewhitecookie blog
- Donna’s Gotcha Day picnic – lifewithlycanlexie blog
- More photos – Mango the Sheltie Facebook
Get Supplies for your Party
Get Food for your Party
You can find more information about the party food here.
Meanwhile SomeWhiteCookie has this to say in this bonus video clip :P
This is how you score when you are supposed to share, guys! Eat the meat parts and leave the others the frosting. Haha!