How Do I Have A Party And A Calm Dog?

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 the stress about your dog and let you focus on your epic party. Today, let’s dig in and discover 10 tips for a calm dog at your next party.

cute dog hugs dog mom as she hosts a party and a calm dog
disclaimer note

*Updated: June 24, 2024

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. Thus all you really need is a bit of preparation and caution. Truly most times this can be done with 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, there is the old go-to standard of exhausting your dog. This also helps release the normal excitement energy of guests arriving. 

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, I encourage you to 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 can 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.

Need more details on how to create a safe place for your dog? Henry has several and uses them in different ways. They are really a valuable asset for him. In this article, I share that creating one is free and critical for your pup.

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.  

If you’re like me with a bad back, then you need to bathe your dog with your back in mind. In this article, I share tricks I learned from my physical therapist that allow me to safely bathe Henry without hurting my back.

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 while other people have dog phobias. I know, it is shocking that not everyone is a dog lover. But being a good host is letting your guests know about your furry friend.

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. 

Surprisingly heartbeat dog toys and mushroom calm treats like ones from Real Mushroom work amazingly well for my dog, Henry.

This heartbeat toy is very similar to the one I have for my dog.

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 who 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 about your dog’s 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. 

Want to learn how to train your dog on your time schedule for free? In this article, I share some tricks you will love!

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 bored. 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. 


How to calm a dog down when guests arrive?

Honestly, the best way is to have your dog leashed for initial greetings. Then let your dog get used to the strangers and slowly let your dog explore. However, also keep in to provide your dog with toys, a safe place to retreat, and lots of exercise prior to guests arriving. Also, you’ll want to make sure your dog knows basic commands such as sit, stay, down, let it go, and wait. These will be very valuable to you for your party and guests.

Although, if this doesn’t work, you may want to try a calming aid, when it’s super windy or there are fireworks.

How to train a dog to be calm when visitors come?

The key will be for you and your dog to know basic commands. These truly do help keep your dog calm as you let him or her greet your guests on a leash. I always tell Henry to sit, stay, and then have the person come to Henry to greet him. He may want to “boop” their nose if they get overly excited about greeting him.

But the leash allows me to have control. So, I can re-sit him and tell him to wait while they pet him. Honestly, at least for Henry, it’s the initial greeting and then he’s calm. Often that is aggravated by the person getting excited to see him. I can’t control their reaction nearly as well as I can him.

I’ve got an overly excited dog. How to have a calm dog?

Honestly, this is a lot of daily practice. That includes teaching your dog basic commands, making those commands routine, and letting things like a doorbell, be background noise. I admit, that doorbell thing can slip by Henry every now and again. But it does take practice. Remember you didn’t learn to drive or make a cake the first time. Plus, if you weren’t driving every day and someone asked you to drive on the most crooked mountain road, it would be a challenge. Don’t challenge your dog that much. Make it routine!

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Summary of how do I have a party and a 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. Additionally, never underestimate the power of a good cuddler dog bed. Finally, a heartbeat dog toy can work miracles! 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!

happy dog helps hosts a party and a calm dog

Have you had a party with your dog at home? How did you keep your dog calm? 

About Terri Rodefer

Terri Rodefer is the founder of Tail Wag Wisdom, a blog focused on affordable pet care. She likes to say helping pet parents afford and love their animals even more, makes her tail wag. As a lifelong lover of all animals with a background in economics, biology, and marketing, allows Terri to bring a unique spin to pet care. 

10 thoughts on “How Do I Have A Party And A Calm Dog?”

  1. These are perfect tips for holiday entertaining! We just adopted a new pup & she is super excited about visitors. Thanksgiving was a challenge so we need to plan for Christmas entertaining. I love the idea of leashing the dogs indoors as guests arrive. I should have done that!

    • I’m so glad I could provide some helpful tips as you look forward to your holiday entertaining. I think you’ll find leashing your pup very helpful for her, you, and your guests. Happy holidays and happy entertaining!

  2. These are all very good tips! I love how you think outside the box of the usual, too! I used to keep my FiveSibes behind a baby gate so they could greet everyone who came in safely for both them and the guests (can you imagine five excited huskies jumping on you? Or, heaven forbid, someone left a door open and that is a fear of Husky parents because that means a night spent running around the neighborhood trying to get them back!) I really, really like the idea of giving guests who aren’t familiar with your dogs, or dogs in general, some guidelines. How helpfu! And, I love the don’t ignore your dog…so important! All such great preventatives especially with the holiday party season upon us. Sharing with my FiveSibes followers!

    • Awe, thanks, Dorothy! You’re absolutely right a baby gate is a great tool for dog parents. I thought about adding it and then thought I would try to keep the costs down. However, I think I should do an update and give my readers this option.

      I’m always surprised at the number of folks who aren’t familiar with dogs or how to interact with dogs. So, giving them so guidelines (especially if they have children) is actually very much appreciated.

      I know as a child when I’d be forced to attend one of my parents’ “grown-up” parties, I never enjoyed being ignored. The same goes for our pets. That is when our fur kids search for ways to entertain themselves like chewing on something they shouldn’t or some other undesired behavior.

      Thanks so much for your continued support! I really appreciate it.

  3. I liked the give your guest gudelines idea. Sometimes even your best friends can be remarkably silly whem it comes to behaviour around pets!!

    My biggest surprise has been people holding birthdyar parties FOR their dogs!!!

    • Guidelines are really easy and actually appreciated. It’s surprising the number of folks that don’t know how to properly interact with dogs or have kids and are uncertain of how to let their kids interact with a dog. It’s a very good step to take when entertaining with your dog at home.

      Oh, my yes! Lots of folks will celebrate their pup’s birthdays. Some will do parties. While others will just have gifts, special cookies, and a fun activity like a hike. I fall into the latter category. It’s always fun to see Henry enjoy his birthday. Although, it’s really his adoption day or gotcha day. I think that’s worth celebrating.

      Thanks for the continued support, Marjorie! I really appreciate it!

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