By Tim Falk
Published: 06/15/2021, edited: 10/05/2021
What makes a good party great? Getting to celebrate with your dog by your side, of course! When you and your pup get to party hard together, sharing food, drinks, and good times with friends, life is very good indeed.
But if you’ve been invited to a dog-friendly party, don’t start popping the champagne just yet. Before you and your fur-baby can raise the “woof” together, you’ll need to make sure you’re both familiar with the ins and outs of dog-friendly party etiquette.
These are the 10 common faux “paws” you and your pup need to avoid making at your next party.
Never assume that your dog will be welcome at a party unless they’ve been specifically invited or the invite says “dogs welcome”. Sure, it might be a party in your dog’s favorite park where there’s lots of space for canines to explore, but unless you know for sure that dogs are allowed, don’t bring your pooch along.
And if you’re in any doubt, check with the host to find out whether your furry friend will be able to don their party hat and celebrate with you.
No matter how cute and cuddly your dog may be, there’s no getting around the fact that they can also be quite messy. They can roll in smelly things, put out a doggy odor, leave hair everywhere, and sneak out farts at the most inappropriate times.
While there’s not much you can do if your pooch decides it’s time to drop a silent but deadly stink bomb, you can ensure that they’re looking (and smelling) their best for the start of the party. So give your pup a thorough bath and blow dry before the festivities start, and give their coat a brush to remove as much loose hair as possible.
That way, they’ll not only attract plenty of admiring glances all night long, but they'll also make minimal mess in your host’s home.
Even if the host has told you not to bring a thing, it’s always polite to show up with something. This could be a plate of food, a gift for the host, or maybe even a treat for their dog.
You’ll also need to bring along any essentials your dog needs for the party. For example, you might need your dog’s leash, a few treats, and a travel water bowl. Depending on the length of the party and your dog’s needs, some bedding and even a crate may also be required.
You wouldn’t just waltz into someone else’s home and start treating it like your own, so don’t let your dog do the same either. When you arrive, keep your dog leashed and calm until you know exactly what rules apply to dogs in the home.
For example, are there certain areas where dogs aren’t allowed to go? Are pups allowed on the couch? Is your dog allowed off-leash? Where should Fido go for potty breaks?
Once the host has run you through the ground rules, you can let your pooch start enjoying the party atmosphere.
If you’re taking your dog to a party, it’s essential that they’ll be on their best behavior. With this in mind, there’s a lot you’ll need to work on before your pooch can party with you.
Most importantly, you’ll need to make sure your dog knows the polite way to behave around new people. That means staying calm when greeting people, not jumping up, and learning to accept strangers. Tiring them out with a nice long walk or run before the party starts will also help minimize any unwanted behavior.
And if you really want to take things to the next level, why not teach your dog a few party tricks they can use to endear themselves to other guests?
It’s enough to make any party-going pet parent blush with embarrassment: just as your host has finished dishing up a gourmet dinner, your pup plants their front paws on the edge of the table and sinks their teeth into a tasty-looking morsel on a stranger’s plate.
If your dog is a known counter surfer, or if they just struggle to control themselves where food is concerned, you’ll need to put in some training before unleashing your pup at a party.
It’s also important to stop your dog begging other party guests for food. While it may be cute at first, it can quickly become annoying and quite rude. But if you train your dog to understand that begging doesn’t work, this is another party faux paw you won’t have to worry about.
If you’re going to a dog-friendly party, it’s safe to assume that there will be other dogs joining in the fun too. So if your dog is going to have a good time without disgracing themselves, they’ll need to know how to play nicely with other dogs.
Socialization is a crucial part of teaching your dog how to get along with other pets, while they’ll also need to know how to play without being too aggressive. Finally, don’t forget to keep a close eye on your pup’s interactions with other dogs at all times, and intervene if play looks like getting out of hand.
Let’s face it, no one likes a party pooper. And as dog-friendly party faux paws go, this one is a big no-no.
Quite simply, as a pet parent, your dog is your responsibility. So if they overdose on party treats and decide to answer nature’s call in the middle of the host’s pristine lawn, it’s time for you to step up. Bring along some poop bags and clean up after your dog whenever necessary. It’s not always pleasant, but it’s just what you have to do.
It’s a party and you want to kick back and relax, but don’t forget that a pet parent never gets to clock out completely. You’re responsible for your pup, so keep a close eye on them at all times to make sure they’re not doing anything they shouldn’t.
Even if your pup is usually a perfectly behaved partygoer who never puts a paw wrong, all the excitement and new sights, smells, and sounds of a party can lead any dog to give into temptation. But if you supervise your dog closely, you’ll be able to nip any potential problems in the bud early.
Another important part of dog party etiquette is being able to read the room. If all has gone well, this means paying attention to the signs that the host is preparing to bring the party to an end. Thank them for their hospitality and for making you and your dog so welcome, then make an early exit.
But this is also an important skill to have when things don’t go to plan. So if your dog keeps jumping up on guests, stealing food from the table, or just won’t get along with other pooches at the party, don’t hesitate to pull the plug. The host and the other guests will appreciate your courtesy, and there’s always tomorrow to start working on your pup’s party manners.
So if you and your pup are invited to a party, keep these simple etiquette rules in mind to ensure a fun and safe celebration. And remember, if you play your cards right, you and your pup will get invited back again and again.
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