How To Plan A Unique (Dog) Holiday Party

‘Tis the season isn’t it, where it seems that it is one party after another. And they all start to run together, don’t they? So why not plan a holiday party with a theme that is likely to set your party apart! Your guests will appreciate your thoughtfulness in having invited their “family” and with just a bit of planning the four-legged attendees will enjoy it just as much as their owners.

Decide On Your Location

If you have a fenced yard and the weather permits, your backyard may be the best location for this party. Consider a tent in case of inclement weather. Before your guests arrive you will need to:

  • Check the gate and fence for security and safety
  • Puppy-proof the yard. Remove all toys paying special attention to hooves, rawhide, pig ears and antlers as these products are likely to elicit aggression
  • Pick up all poop and standing water. Indicate with rope or squeeze chalk the “bathroom.”

If you decide to have the party indoors:

  • Have adequate cleaning supplies on hand
  • Provide pick-up bags for your guests as they will want to pick-up after their dogs. Providing bags is a good reminder that they need to take care of their dog’s business
  • Block off rooms as necessary
  • Remove rawhide, bones, antlers, pig ears and other items which are likely to be cherished by some dog

If neither yard nor house are appropriate consider a dog friendly park.

Invitations and Invitees

When you are creating your guest list follow your instincts. If you have second thoughts about inviting a particular dog, don’t. Be sure all your guests are in good health and vaccinated. Mail or email the invitations a month in advance which allows time for people to double-check on their vaccinations and update if necessary. Also state clearly that all dogs need to be on leash as they arrive.

Atmosphere and Activities

There is a wealth of dog-related music available. “Who Let The Dogs Out,” “Ain’t Nothin’ But A Hound Dog,” and “Doogy Dog World” by Snoop Dog spring immediately to mind and help to set the mood.

To kick your party off be sure to have an activity to get started on as soon as your guests start to arrive. A fun activity for all concerned could be the stuffing of a Kong of the appropriate size with a variety of treats ranging from small carrot pieces, to kibble and semi-moist treats.

Have a variety of games and/or contests organized.  A spoon-and-egg race with the dog leash in the hand that carries the egg and spoon is great fun. Dogs who do not mind being dressed-up might participate in a dress-up contest, the object being to grab from a pile and put on your dog as many clothes as possible ranging from scarves, to hats and socks. Whoever can get the most clothes on their dog in 30 seconds wins. This also provides a great photo-op.

Other contests might include a look alike contest or the best trick or best stupid dog trick.

Another fun activity is to provide each owner with a stack of newspaper, scissors  (blunt ended), crayons  and both duct tape and scotch tape. The object is to be as creative as they can be in creating a costume or disguise for their dog. I have done this activity several times and it is always one of the most popular. The best costume I have seen was a snorkel and mask that the owner created using tightly twisted newspaper and tape.

A prize for the winner that is always appreciated is a gift certificate  for a Petsmart, Petco or other pet supply store, a picture frame for pooch, or a dog calendar.

Don’t Forget The Punch

Hopefully you have been inspired to take a somewhat different tack on the holiday party scene. Don’t forget the punch for the parents!

Choose A Rescue or Charity

At this time of year and in this economic climate, it would be very much appreciated by your local rescue groups if your guests made a small donation or gift for those dogs who are less fortunate than theirs. Many rescue groups are overwhelmed at this time of year and donations of supplies (such as bowls, collars, beds and leashes) as well as food and toys will be appreciated.

2 Responses to “How To Plan A Unique (Dog) Holiday Party”

  1. Amy@GoPetFriendly 07. Dec, 2010 at 5:53 pm #

    What a fun idea! And, I love the idea of having the party benefit a rescue.

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