By Leslie Ingraham
Published: 06/22/2021, edited: 10/04/2022
Dinner parties are tons of fun, and if yours includes your dog’s pupper pals, they can be simply furbulous! With great food and pawrrific pooch entertainment, your human and canine furiends can finally enjoy an evening out together. If you’ve never had a dog-friendly dinner party, don’t worry: Wag! will guide you step-by-step for a dinner party everyone will be barking about!
Most people don’t plan a dinner party far enough in advance to get their pups fully trained, so it’s important to teach overall good behaviors from the time you get your dog so they play well with others. Simple commands like “sit” and “drop it” are useful for pups to have under their collars well before party planning begins, as well as lots of socialization with people and other pups. And always have a supply of treats on hand to help puppers remember their best behavior.
When it comes time to extend invitations, be sure to let your guests know that their puppers are invited! It’s wise to include only people and pups you and your dog know well. This is not a meet-and-greet party, so you’ll want to choose familiar canines, doggy daycare pals, or dog park furiends and their humans. Behavior obedience classes provide a furbulous source of dog and people guests, too. This strategy will prevent marking and scuffles over territory. And be sure the people on your guest list know this isn’t a stop-and-drop doggy party, and that the humans are invited too!
If the weather is fine, and you have a secure yard, outdoors is the perfect place for a dog-centric soiree. Hanging lights from tree branches and around the dinner table makes for an inviting atmosphere, and guests will have an easier time finding their doggo among the others. It’s a good idea to place the dinner or buffet table near the house entrance for easy serving if you’re planning to eat outside. If your dinner is buffet-style, have chairs placed in clusters around the yard or the dining and living rooms.
Plan to have a few crates available for those moments when a pupper has just had enough activity and needs a time-out. Leashes should be removed immediately upon entering the house or yard to prevent leash reactions. Water spritzer bottles are furmazing for interrupting spats or unwanted behavior, and old mattresses, blankets, and dog beds in various locations give pups a place for a break.
It’s a good idea to serve foods that are delicious for humans and safe for your pupper, in case a dog “accidentally” finds a morsel within reach.
Examples of people foods that are safe for pups include:
Salmon or whitefish, in cuts without bones
Dog-safe vegetables like string beans, carrots, or broccoli
Rice or potatoes
Beef, pork or poultry without bones
Be sure to plan a menu for the pooches as well, and set in several feeding and watering stations scattered around the area to prevent competition for food and dehydration. Dog-safe food ideas include:
Homemade dog cookies with peanut butter
Plenty of water
Have some toys and balls available for the doggos to play with while people sip their cocktails and nibble on appetizers before dinner. Balls, frisbees and rope pulls are irresistible when people and dogs get together. Dog-and-human play is a pawsome way to occupy the puppers, if they aren’t wrestling and chasing each other!
Physical barriers like gates could be good tools for separating sparring pooches for a time. Doors into and within the house can be kept closed to prevent nosy sniffers from invading places you don’t want them to explore.
Supervision is the name of the game when several dogs get together, and a dinner party is no exception. Request that your guests keep an eye on their own puppers and their activities to avoid conflicts, and help keep food and drinks from falling to the floor. If a dog’s ears are back, their back hair is up or their teeth are bared, it’s time to step in and break it up. Remember that a wagging tail doesn’t always mean a pup is happy and feeling friendly.
If your dinner party is outdoors, watch out for poop and remove it as soon as you see it. Keep some rolls of clean-up bags or scoops handy for people to use if they see their dogs doing the deed. A bucket with a lid and a trash bag inside is a convenient way to make disposal easy during the party and after.
Making a dinner party a success for both humans and dogs is a challenge, but with a little forethought and preparation, it can be a blast for both humans and canines. For more hints about behavior modification to make get-togethers even better, check out Wag!'s dog training guides!
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