Traveling Dog Lady: 18 Steps For A Successful Dog Birthday Party

Saturday, November 12, 2016

18 Steps For A Successful Dog Birthday Party

Yesterday, November 11th, was my dogs' 5th birthday.  As you probably know from the last few years, we get together with their siblings every year on their birthday.  I'm so happy that we stay in touch with the other dogs and humans.

"Group photo" -- Simon, Cooper, Katie and Charlie get some treats
Their birthday just so happens to be on Veterans Day, and so most of us had the day off from work, which was convenient.  I offered to host the pawty, instead of us all getting together at the ocean like we normally do.  Everyone said yes, and I was thrilled to host everybody at the Pink House in central Massachusetts just west of Worcester.

This year, the pack had some changes.  Franklin moved far away with his human parents, and now actually lives closer to their other brother, Copper (not to be confused with Cooper!).  Maybe I'll get to see them the next time I go to the southern states for a visit.

Simon, who previously never attended any of the pawties, was adopted by "our" foster mom!  So, now the foster mom actually has one of the pups!!  It was so nice to finally meet Simon!

Charlie and Cooper's brother, Simon

The part that struck me was that Charlie, whom I call a member of the "huge" family, is actually smaller than his brother, Simon, and his sister, Molly!!  "Charlie, they are bigger than you!"

Molly was definitely the alpha female of the bunch.  She promptly took Charlie's spot at the top of the stairs (I call it "the power spot" -- all my alpha dogs have hung out there).  And Charlie let her have the power spot.  He didn't even try to challenge her.  Cooper, on the other hand, was not as nice.  He had to go into time-out over that one.

 Sister Molly at the top of the stairs!

Here are some steps for a successful dog birthday party:

  1. The first thing I did was email back and forth with individuals to see if they'd be interested in coming here, instead of going to the beach. 
  2. Once I had their tentative "yesses", I suggested dates and times.  We settled on November 11th, the actual birthday (yay!) because we all had the day off for Veterans Day.
  3. I went onto a e-card website, and created a dog-themed invitation.  This took me less then 5 minutes to create, and it was free because I already have an account on that site. After creating the invitation, I put everyone's email addresses into the platform and hit "send".  It's that easy!
  4. After they all responded, I grabbed my purse and headed to PetSmart to get doggy treats for the pawty.  I found three Happy Birthday-themed items and a bunch of smaller, grain-free treats.
  5. Next, at the mall, I went next door to the craft/party supply store, and got gift bags and stickers. The plan was to make a gift bag for every dog that attended, including those who were not celebrating a birthday (we had two non-birthday dogs on the guest list!). 
    The finished gift bags, as Tux looks on.
  6. The night before the party, I went to the grocery store and picked up bottles of water, cookies for humans, and a fruit platter.  No one ended up eating the cookies or the fruit, but that's ok.  
    Treats for the humans.
  7. Clean the house!  My only screw-up here was, I had envisioned that if we needed to go indoors, we would be in my basement.  I cleaned the basement from corner-to-corner, and set up the basement bathroom all nice with extra toilet paper, and everything.  Somehow, we ended up in the main part of my house, NOT the basement!  And folks used my main bathroom that is "under renovation".  That is embarrassing enough (you should see the place!), but I had inadvertently left it nearly devoid of toilet paper, towels and soap, thinking no one would be using that bathroom.  There was one teeny tiny roll of t.p., and a dirty towel on the rack!  I realized this after everyone had left.... to my horror!  Oops!  Not bad if that was my only oops, I suppose... but really embarrassing.  You only get one chance to make a first impression. 
  8. Give everyone your exact address and your cell phone number and land line number (if you still have one).  Two of my three guests did contact me using the cell phone when they were on their way.  Very important!  Almost everyone has GPS or Google Maps nowadays, but be willing to give directions if you have to. My house is very remote ("you can't get there, from here!") so it was important that they all knew the exact address.
  9. Put a time limit on the event.  I chose two hours.  This worked out well because my guests all arrived at different times.  So, it was more like an "open house" than a party. Dogs can only take so much socializing.  It can be overwhelming.  If you have a time limit, everyone knows their dog will have chill-out-in-the-back-seat time soon enough.   
    Charlie takes a breather, mid-party.
  10. Pick up all toys in the yard and the house.  Put away your regular dog bowls (I bought new bowls so the dogs could share water).  Dogs are territorial, and will fight over toys or another dog going near their bowl.  I picked up all the toys and bowls and put them out of sight, smell, and reach.
  11. Put your cats away in a safe place where they can't escape, and where the dogs can't get to them.   
    Kitty, Newman, safely locked in the upstairs bedroom.
  12. Upon arrival, try to walk the dogs together as a pack, if possible.  This didn't go exactly as I had hoped.  My guests all arrived at different times.  The first guest and I did walk our dogs up and down the road, to the lake and back.  We managed to introduce the rest of the dogs easily enough after all, but this part stresses me out because Cooper can sometimes be a little inhospitable.  Plan B was to isolate Cooper and bring him out after everyone else had arrived.  And that's what I ended up doing. It wasn't perfect, but it worked well enough.
  13. Take pictures!!  Take more pictures!  Take video.  I can't stress enough that you should document your event.  Just like any party for humans or children, document your event in photos. It turns out one of my guests' photos came out better than mine!  And that's ok! ** Make sure you share on Facebook and email directly to any attendees who don't have a Facebook account!
    Cooper & Charlie playing with their mother, Katie!
  14. Don't feed too many treats to the dogs during the party.  They could get over-excited and get an upset stomach; they could fight over the food; and you're going to send them all home with a gift bag anyway.
  15. If a dog fight does happen (and it very well may!) separate the dogs.  In my case, Cooper was the bad dog, and I had to send him into "time out" twice yesterday!  Naughty Cooper!
  16. Send everyone home with their gift bag and extra treats and water.  Check the house for belongings left behind.  Despite my doing that, and asking everyone to check to make sure they had all their stuff, someone did leave behind a pair of sunglasses!
  17. The next day, go back onto the e-card site and send a Thank-You card.
  18. Stay in touch with your guests so you can do it again next year!

Pawty guest, Gizmo, watches from the porch in disbelief!
"How did they multiply?!"

The closest thing to a group photo.  Two sets of twins!

Do you celebrate your pet's birthday?  How?  Tell us in the comments.


1 comment:

  1. What a fun party! And those are some great tips! (At the shelter where I volunteer we keep a water bottle handy for squirting dogs who get into it. Luckily that has always helped. I've never seen them get into such a big fight that that didn't work.)

    Glad the boys had such a fun birthday!


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