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How to Host Your Own Dog Meetup Event

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Dog meetups are a grrreat way to expand your pup’s social circle, whether you and Fido are new in town or longtime residents. Some dog meetup events are breed-specific, while others are more activity-oriented and welcome canines of all shapes and sizes. Regardless of format, the purpose of these events is to allow dogs and their parents to meet other canines and people in their local area.

Searching dog meet-up events in your area can help you find a furbulous community of pups and their people, but sometimes you may not find exactly what you are looking for. That's where hosting your own meet-up event can be a fun and exciting new venture for you and your pooch! Read on for tips on how to host your own meet-up, but first, let's look at why you may want to create your own event.


Why host your own dog meetup event

Many pup parents host group playdates and walks with other dogs and their humans in their area, so a meet-up in a new locale may be just the thing for canine pals and their humans to explore. Here are some good reasons to host your own dog meetup event:

  • No one else is doing it. If there’s no dog meetup group in your area, why not start your own?
  • More control over the activities. Hosting your own dog meetup event lets you make decisions about the what, when, and where. 
  • Bring the community together. Regular meetups provide social connection and a sense of belonging for all. Plus, friends make life a lot more fun!
  • Expand your social circle and knowledge. Dog meetups aren’t just for canines; they benefit humans too! Hosting one allows you to meet other dog parents, who can be a puptastic source of support and education on dog parenthood.


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How to host a dog meetup event for newbies

If it's your first time hosting a dog meetup, you may not know where to begin. Just follow these steps for a successful event!


1. Choose an activity. The format of your meetup will depend on your objective. For example, if you want the members of the community to get to know each other, you can host a super chill get-together. If you want the dogs and pup parents to explore a new place with new friends, then you can organize a walking or hiking meetup. You can also decide if you'd like a breed specific meet-up or an all breeds event.


2. Select a venue. In turn, the venue of your meetup will depend on your chosen activity. A chill get-together where everyone’s just mingling with each other can be held at a dog park or a dog-friendly bar, while a walking or hiking excursion should take place on a pooch-friendly trail or around a walkable neighborhood. Be sure to get permission if needed ahead of time. 


3. Set the rules. Rules ensure safety and organization before and during your event. Having some basic guidelines about behavior is always a good idea to get ready beforehand and can help other pet parents decide if the event is right for their dog, or if they may need some training before they attend. You may also consider asking participants to:

  • Register or RSVP prior to the event.
  • Arrive 10 minutes before the start time to check in.
  • Bring their dog’s vaccination records.
  • Be sure their dog is friendly and ready to mingle with new pups.
  • Chip in if the venue is paid. 
  • Follow COVID-19 safety measures, if any.
  • Bring their own clean-up bags and water.


4. Get the word out. After finalizing the details of your event, it’s time to let people know about it! Get the word out by creating an event page on Meetup or Facebook, sharing it on social media (and asking your friends to do the same), adding it to an online neighborhood app or community board where you live, and posting a flyer on the bulletin board at your local dog park. If you and your pup frequent the dog park, you can personally invite other dog parents and their furkids as well.


three chihuahuas sitting on a beach together

Starting a dog meetup group

Congratulations on hosting your very first dog meetup! If you’d like to turn your one-off event into a full-fledged group that gets together regularly, here’s what you need to do:


1. Create a new group on Meetup or Facebook if you haven’t already, and come up with a name that describes your group. The name doesn’t have to be long; in fact, the more succinct, the better. Think something like SF Dog Meetup Group, Poodles of Denver, or Beacon Hill Walks With Dogs. 


2. Plan in advance. Plan and post upcoming meetups a few months in advance. This gives your group members something to look forward to and a chance to schedule the events in their calendars. Having regular events also keeps people interested. There’s no rule on how often a group should meet, but most do so once or twice a month.


3. Gather input or feedback. Asking for feedback from the pup parents who have attended your past events can help you improve future ones. They’ll likely have pawsome suggestions you haven’t thought of yourself! 


4. Consider other activities or venues. If your group always meets at the dog park, you may want to host the next event at a dog-friendly bar. Or your hiking group can try a beach day or even kayaking. If you’re not sure whether switching things up is a good idea, you can always ask the other dog parents what their pups may enjoy, or for other new and exciting event ideas!


Soon, you'll be creating your own community of fun-loving dogs and their pawrific pet parents to support each other and have a blast in your area! Let the adventure begin!

Does your furry pal need to brush up on their manners? Book an in-home dog training session with Wag! before hosting your event!


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