I’ve heard many times that while a dog parent is loving and proud of their pup, they get overly stressed when they host a party. All the negatives start running through their mind. Will my dog behave? How do I have a party and a calm dog?
While I’ll leave having a great party up to you, I can give you amazing tips to remove your dog stress and let you focus on your epic party.
Budget tip: The idea of a party is to have fun and enjoy your guests. You don't want to worry about your dog or pets stressing you or your guests out. Needless to say, you certainly don't want your dog to cause harm to any guest. So, a bit of preparation and caution is critical and really can cost no money. And that's a super win-win for your budget with a party hat on top!
1. A tired dog is a happy dog.
Of course, this is the old go-to standard of exhausting your dog. This also lets what would normally be excitement energy of guests arriving be subdued.
If you don’t have time to exercise your dog before guests arrive, call on a dog walker, or someone from your dog community, or even take your dog to doggie daycare. I know my dog, Henry always comes home from daycare thoroughly exhausted.
2. Stick with the regular routine.
While it might be tempting to give your dog lots of extra treats during a party, avoid it. Provide your dog with his or her normal dog food and lots of water. Additionally, let your dog do what he or she normally would do such as a nap after a walk. This will help keep your dog calm rather than completely disrupting a comfortable routine.
3. Keep your dog entertained.
Your dog might be inquisitive with all the excitement and want to investigate. However, if you want to curtail this action, then provide your dog with toys and mental games. A DIY snuffle mat is great or even a ball pit with treats at the bottom works well.
4. Give your dog a safe place.
Your dog needs a place to safe place to retreat from the excitement during the party. Providing it with a comfy bed, a favorite toy, and even a chew toy is a good idea. Your dog’s safe place be a crate or kennel in an isolated part of your home or a closed-off room. The key is that your dog feels safe there in that spot. Additionally, make sure only you, your family that lives with you, and your dog enters this safe room or area during the party. Give this space to your dog for the duration of the party. It will help aid in providing a calming effect for your dog
5. Groom your dog.
Don’t forget to groom your dog. A good brushing is helpful and make sure your pup is smelling good. If you need to bathe your dog you can do that a day or more in advance. Or you can call and book an appointment with the groomer. You certainly don’t want to turn your guests off by your dog looking untidy or smelling a bit, well “natural”. Especially, if your party list includes people with allergies or asthma.
6. Alert your guests that your dog will be attending.
Prior to your guests arriving let them know your dog will be in your home. While a dog may seem second nature to you, not everyone is comfortable around dogs or pets. Some people have allergies and some people have dog phobias.
7. Stressed dog?
If your dog tends to be stressed or have anxiety from any change to the environment or possibly a loud noise or unfamiliar noise, then you can try a calming aid, cbd product, or even an anxiety shirt. Or you can talk with your vet prior to the party for assistance.
8. Give your guest dog guidelines.
While these don’t have to be written formal or stuffy guidelines, they can be very helpful for those that aren’t familiar with dogs. Remember your dog or puppy will see many of your guests as a stranger. Keep in mind that disability aids such as walkers, canes, or wheelchairs, can often be frightening to dogs who aren’t used to them. Or even those that have children, if your party list includes children.
What should you tell your guest dog guidelines?
Dog needs. Any specific needs your dog has such as a teething puppy, an arthritic dog, a senior dog, an anxious dog, or even a blind or deaf dog. And let them know how to properly interact with your furry friend.
Food and drinks. Also, tell your guests to not feed your dog any human food or alcohol as it’s very toxic to dogs and you don’t need an emergency vet bill.
Dog play. Teach children how to play with your dog. Some young kids may think that pets are toys and want to play with them like a toy. Show them how to gently pet your dog.
Door dog rules. Ask guests to keep doors closed if your dog will be loose and could run outside and get lost. You may even want to put up a sign to remind guests.
9. Greet guests with your dog leashed
There are a few reasons why you will want to leash your dog prior to guests arriving.
First, you’re in control of how your dog greets guests.
Second, you can prevent jumping, which is essential to prevent if you have elderly, disabled, or even children on your guest list.
Third, your dog can have a gentler introduction.
How do I do leashed greet with your dog?
It doesn’t matter if your dog is trained or not, it’s honestly best to have your dog leashed. Once guests have all arrived and your dog is settled then you can decide about unleashing him or her.
Trained dog greeting method
If your dog is trained, then have him or her sit and let the guest come to your dog showing the back of the hand (fingers curled toward the palm). Allow your dog to sniff the hand. When you get a wagging tail, ears up, or other happy responses, then let the guest pet your dog. If there’s any aggression response (pinned ears, exposed teeth, hairs on back up, growling), then ask the guest to back off. This is especially good for children who can be overly excited with dogs.
Untrained dog greeting method
If your dog is untrained, still leash your dog. You may have to step on the leash to prevent jumping or lunging in excitement. However, the process will remain the same for all the guests to come toward your dog showing the back of the hand for sniffing. If a positive response, then allow your dog to be petted. If any sign of aggression, then back off. However, since your dog is untrained, be prepared to step on the leash or shorten it so that your dog cannot proceed further than you desire.
10. Don’t ignore your dog.
While you are entertaining your guests, keep an eye on your dog. Or have a family member assigned to keep an eye on your dog. Sometimes an ignored dog will find ways to entertain him or herself. It’s not necessarily that your dog is a naughty dog, it’s more likely your dog is a bored dog. I often equate it to the child that needs attention. Thus, just make sure someone has eyes on your dog throughout the party’s duration.
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Summary of how do I have a party and calm dog
Hosting a party can be stressful as a pet parent, especially if you’re worried about your dog. But with a few simple steps, you can pull off a great party and a calm dog.
Don’t forget that your dog’s presentation is key too. I always like having a good dog grooming wipe on hand like these, because I know even with a good bath, Henry will get dirty in quickly. Also, if you have a teething puppy, don’t forget a good teething toy, like this one. It will save your guests from being used as teething toys. And finally never underestimate the power of a good cuddler dog bed. Henry loves his!
Yes, it may take a bit of preparation and diligence to host a party with your dog at home. However, after you’ve done it, you’ll want to be hosting more parties with your dog and pets in tow. Enjoy celebrating your party successes. Just remember – don’t let the dogs out!