How To Throw a Puppy Party – 11 Ideas For Socialising Puppies

Everyone knows cute little puppies are a handful, socialising and proper training early in their lifetime is essential to make sure you end up with a well-behaved dog. A puppy party is great way, early on, to start socialising your new best friend and we have some great puppy party ideas below.

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Some good some awful!

But a puppy party is a solid way to get your little pooches social skills heading in the right direction!

Read on to see 11 simple but great ideas to get your newest member of the family kick started on being a star pup.

Lets dive in: ​

Puppy parties are becoming increasingly popular not only for special occasions but also to help with socialisation and puppy training basics.

Here Dogs Barn look into why they are important, how to throw one and dive into a few different puppy party ideas that will make socialising puppies safe and fun.


A Puppy Party Is An Ideal Way For Your Dog To Socialise With Other Puppies

The Brain of a four-month-old puppy has increased up to 10 x larger than it was at birth and yet still retains the same number of cells, so what accounts for this huge increase in size?

Everything a puppy experiences in these first few weeks of life establishes connections between the brain cells.

He uses his senses to discover new smells, sounds, tastes and he learns what is safe and who is part of his family and social group. After sixteen weeks this window of learning begins to close.

Puppies that have not had socialisation and valuable learning experiences within this time either through poor breeding conditions or lack of stimulation by breeders in those vital first few weeks will always be playing catch-up or may suffer from behavioural problems in later life.

These can include separation anxiety, nervousness, phobias and aggression towards both other dogs and people.

Here's the deal:

It is so IMPORTANT to introduce your new puppy to different situations early in life.

Of course, you can attend puppy socialisation classes but one of the best ways for puppy socialisation is to attend a puppy parties so that your new furry friend has positive experiences of meeting both other puppies and humans.

Some vets and dog training classes throw puppy parties and typing "puppy parties near me" into google will show results in your local area. but these are usually after the dog has received its first immunisations. Puppy parties should ideally be for dogs that are between 3 and 12 weeks old.

A party brings to mind a large group, noise, food and activities, however, this should not be the case when initially teaching your pup how to socialise.

There have been reports recently that parties for really young puppies can do more harm than good.

Lack of discipline, too many attendees, lots of noise and puppies running around off the lead is not a sign of a good party. Yes, puppies need lots of positive new experiences but in a calm safe environment.


Here are some things to look for if you want to introduce your furry friend to some companions at organised Puppy Parties.

AGE

Puppy parties should be for puppies between the ages of 3 to 12 weeks old as this is the optimal time for dogs to learn to socialise.

Puppy training classes usually start after the first vaccination when significant time has already been lost in building their confidence around other dogs.

SIZE OF ROOM

This might not seem important but having 12 puppies crammed into a small vets waiting room is not ideal.

Puppies need space to come to terms with their surroundings in their own time feeling under pressure to interact with another pup right next to them can create a fearful response which can hinder the process.

For some puppies, this will be the first time they have left the safety of their mother or home it is bound to take time for them to overcome their nerves.

HYGIENE

Young puppies are very vulnerable and although initially protected by their mother's immune system it must be remembered that these tiny tots have not had their vaccinations, therefore, it is essential to have a hygienic environment.

If attending puppy parties at a Veterinary Surgery, it should be disinfected before use. Check if you are attending at a village hall or dog day care centre that it hasn't been used for older dogs without a thorough clean with proper animal disinfectant.

If you suspect any of the other pups are sick leave immediately.

CONTROL

All puppies should be kept on lead initially not only does it give the owner more control but it helps with two aspects of the pup's behaviour.

Whenever we see puppies in a group off lead there will be the timid ones hiding or avoiding boisterous play and the over-confident yobbos charging around bullying the less assertive. Neither of these traits is to be encouraged.

The timid puppy can't escape from the uncontrolled chaser making the whole experience terrifying this fear is embedded during the most important part of their brain development creating problems later.

3 pups playing and having fun

Source-Pixabay

One might assume that the chaser is a confident little fellow who loves interacting with other dogs. However, he is probably just as nervous but learning that he feels safest when bullying and asserting control over other dogs which can cause immense problems in later life when this behaviour is accompanied by biting.

Sometimes a nervous or fearful puppy can be let off the lead for a time this gives him the confidence to explore his space without the feeling stressed once confidence is achieved the lead can be returned.

Play is also important for a puppy and after a time, off lead activities can take place with supervision to make sure things don't get out of hand.

NOISE

If you walk into a cacophony of sound when arriving at the party leave! It will not be a good experience for you or your puppy. Well-run puppy parties should be a calm atmosphere and reasonably quiet. Of course, dogs bark when excited but if this is the case you should witness the owner, instructor or person in charge taking steps to settle the pup.

A socialisation Puppy Party should be a calm and pleasant experience for both puppy and owner where your pup can meet others both canine and human in a safe environment It should encourage puppies to relax and engage with their owner despite the presence of other dogs and build a good foundation for further training classes.


Socialisation with People

It is vital for a puppy to experience as many situations as possible in those first few months so, not only is it important for your new puppy to socialise with others of its own kind it is essential for it to get used to your family and friends too if you want a people-friendly dog.

This can be especially useful for single and older people who live on their own and where the puppy doesn't meet many strangers. The lack of interaction with other humans can make the dog become excessively protective and fearful of meeting new people as it grows older.

Puppy parties for kids can be a great way for your pup to get used to children too.

Puppies and kids have high energy levels but an un-socialised puppy can get into trouble later in life when a young child's antics can encourage over-excitement leading a pup to jump up, give chase or even nip. which can be a problem if you have family or regular visitors who have little ones.

Invite one or two children showing them how to interact with the puppy in a calm and relaxed manner.

Encourage them to reward the puppy with treats while getting them to sit or lie down not only is this getting the pup used to kids but also helping with basic training.

single puppy with girl

Source-Pixabay

Mix up the guest list invite a variety of people young old male and female lots of dogs are warier of men than women especially if living in a home where there are no males present so it is important for them to be comfortable with all sexes and age groups.

The start of the party should be calm so the puppy feels no pressure once he has gained confidence you can slowly introduce him to balloons, streamers and music rewarding with treats to ensure a positive experience.

While it is important for the puppy to interact with your guests and feel comfortable in a lively atmosphere always make sure the pup has a safe place to retreat too if he gets tired or has had enough handling. The more people your pup meets early on in life the more comfortable he will be around strangers as an adult.


11 Ideas for Socialising your Pup

1

Puppy training classes

These start once your puppy has been vaccinated and are a great way to socialise your new pup as well as teaching them to be good-mannered and well trained. If you don't want to pay for training classes the internet is awash with puppy training ideas and YouTube in particular has some awesome tips for training puppies. Start here

2

Visit Friends with Dogs

If you have friends with well-behaved dogs, try to visit on a regular basis so your pup can experience meeting new friends in unfamiliar surroundings

3

Other Animals

Puppies should not only learn how to get on with other dogs but all animals so try and visit friends who have cats, take a walk in the countryside, introducing them to horses, ducks, cows etc. This can save problems later on stopping them chasing livestock.

4

Public Transport

Your puppy should have lots of different experiences during their first few months and travelling with them on public transport is a great way to get them used to crowds. Take it slow, don't just arrive at a busy railway station, build up slowly so they don't become overwhelmed.

5

Group Dog Walks

There are hundreds of groups on social media that arrange local dog walks and get-togethers. This is a great way for both you and your pooch to make new friends

6

Volunteer at a Rescue

Helping out at a rescue centre or becoming involved in a dog charity gives your pup the chance to socialise while you are helping other canines. To find a rescue centre near you click the link.

7

Dog Shows

There are hundreds of dog shows across the UK every year, along with the Crufts type competitions there are Fun Days, Charities, Fetes, all opportunities to meet like-minded dog lovers and different puppies. Also, the stalls are perfect for the shopaholic dog owner.

8

Dog-Friendly Holidays

With so many pet-friendly hotels, self-catering accommodation, pubs and holiday parks it is no longer necessary to leave your faithful friend behind when you go on holiday take them with you and let them join in the fun

9

Therapy Work

Some dogs are more suited to this than others but the training can begin while they are still very young. Spending time with animals is incredibly beneficial both physically and mentally. More dogs than ever are being used in Schools, Hospitals and Residential Homes

10

Agility training

Fantastic fun and great for dogs of all sizes, there are local classes in most areas where you can meet other pups. Keeping active and socialising at the same time you could join a Flyball class or for example, if you have a Siberian husky consider joining a sledding group

11

Organise a Take your Dog to Work Day

National TYDTWD is an annual event which raises money for dog charities. If you work in a small office or somewhere bringing your dog to work is feasible organise a day weekly or monthly similar to dress down Friday where employees can bring their dog to work for a small fee which you can donate to a local rescue.

A properly socialised puppy is a pleasure getting it right from the outset will ensure a well-mannered, relaxed adult dog that you can take anywhere.


Your Pups Party - Celebration

More and more people nowadays and quite rightly so, are treating their dogs like a member of their family it is therefore only natural that we celebrate with them.

Puppy party theme ideas are becoming increasingly popular for birthdays, Christmas, Halloween even Dog weddings. and after all what could be more fun for your dog than inviting all his pals from the dog park or neighbourhood for a good old paws up.

The Venue

The best place for Puppy Parties is your own garden there will be no worries about the odd accident and your pup will be happier in familiar surroundings. These days there are many dog walking groups, local breed specific groups and doggy day-care centres that also offer facilities for doggy celebrations.

If you are lucky to have a park nearby this can also be a great location for your puppy to have fun with his friends. take a picnic and have some Frisbee fun in the sun.

Who To Invite

This is not the time to introduce your canine friend to new dogs so stick to ones he is familiar with and likes. Members of the family or neighbours whose pooches he knows and plays with.

A growing number of people have a dog walker or send their pups to day-care where they maybe have some special friends or perhaps from training or agility classes.

Perhaps you have kept in touch with the owners of their parent or litter-mates? Social Media has brought together dog lovers and there are numerous local and community groups that have regular walks and get-togethers perhaps this is an option too.

Be aware of how many dogs you can handle in whatever space you have and remember their owners will be there too so take into account how many children will be around and if you get along with your pup's doggy pals human parents.

Food and Drink

Having a plentiful water supply for the pups is essential. Make sure there are enough bowls to avoid squabbles and refill regularly especially if the weather is hot.

You'll want to provide snacks for the furry guests as well as your family and friends and there are so many dog bakeries offering dog-friendly birthday cakes and treats out there you will be spoilt for choice. For more puppy birthday party ideas try here 

dog birthday cake

Source-Notonthehighstreet

If you want to save some money and have the time, there are lots of recipes for puppy party cakes and healthy snacks online to choose from and you can even buy bone shaped tins and paw shaped cookie cutters.

If the weather is hot it is a good idea to prepare some frozen treats. Keep everything bite-sized it prevents the greedy ones trying to steal another guest's treat and fights breaking out.

Cheeseburger Balls
  • 1-2 Left-over cooked burgers
  • 2-3 Tbsp Grated Cheese
  • Low salt chicken or beef broth

Place the crumbled burger into a small muffin tray or ice-cube tray, with the cheese add the cooled broth and freeze

Peanut Butter Pops
  • Large tub natural yoghurt
  • 2 Tbsp peanut butter
  • Small pieces of fruit- Bananas, Strawberries
  • Rawhide sticks

Mix all the ingredients together and pour into ice lolly moulds, place a rawhide stick in each and freeze.

One thing to remember though keep the human food and doggy feast separate you don't want a pup accidently eating chocolate or next door's toddler tucking into the pilchard, liver and bacon dog biscuits.

Games

​Dogs and puppies love to play so entertainment is important at any party for canines. If you are providing toys make sure there are enough to go around, nothing spoils a party faster than quarrelling canines.

Safety is also important, take into account what dogs you are inviting what may seem like a perfect toy for your Chihuahua is perhaps not so much for the Neighbourhood Great Dane.

All dogs love balls so a paddling pool or sandpit filled with tennis balls can be great fun as can one filled with water make sure you place it out of the way though or you and your guests will end up getting wet.

Great party ideas and games to play include:


Musical Chairs - A variation on the classic when the music stops the dog's owner gets them to sit, last one to obey is out!

dog digging

Digging For Treasure - Dogs love to dig if you have an area suitable get them digging for treats they'll love it

Snoopy Says - Owners must get their pooches to do whatever Snoopy says with the commands getting trickier as the game progresses the last pup remaining is the winner​

It is also fun to have some competitions, perhaps buy some cheap agility equipment and build an obstacle course, have a mini dog Olympics or organise a treasure hunt with Kongs placed around the garden for the canine guests to sniff out.​

Theme

​It is a not essential but can be great fun to give your puppy parties a theme. You can get thousands of ideas for puppy party themes on www.pinterest.com and there are loads of companies online selling puppy party supplies, decorations, invitations and accessories including fancy dress.

Many people dress up their pooches and doggy fashion has become a massive industry with Burberry, Gucci and Ralph Lauren cashing in even Paris Hilton has her own designer dog clothes range "Little Lily"

Not all dogs like dressing up so don't force the issue. However, some pups adore showing off their latest duds and a Pups Party is the perfect occasion to push the boat out and dress-up for the occasion.

Safety

​There are also some safety issues to consider to make sure your party goes without a hitch

Weather

​The likelihood is that if you having an outdoor party it will be during the summer months. Therefore, it is essential to ensure your four-legged guests don't get overheated make sure there are plenty of shaded areas and a constant supply of water.

It is a good idea to ensure everyone brings a leash so if things do become a little chaotic. there is the opportunity to calm down. Ask everyone to clip a lead on though as if some pups are on lead and some not it can cause tension.

Pup-Proof

​Make sure your venue is Dog proof. Check the fence for holes and possible escape routes. make sure all gardening tools are put away, check there are no poisonous plants and remember puppies especially eat everything so keep all plastic cutlery, decorations etc.

If you are feeding are also feeding the human guests, keep all alcohol and things that could be dangerous to dogs out of reach and do regular sweep-ups to avoid possible choking hazards.

Health

​Check all the dogs you invite are up-to-date with immunisations and flea treatment. Dog diseases are very contagious and the last thing you want for your guests is to become unwell.

It is also a good idea to keep the ingredients of any food you are supplying simple and not too exotic to prevent upset tummies. Make sure you provide an ample supply of poop bags and or scoops for owners to clear up after their pup and keep an eye out for any unwanted presents.

Fights

​Even when dogs are the best of friends, squabbles are inevitable. It usually doesn't develop into much and is not a major issue. Ensuring enough toys and treats to go around avoids any sharing issues.

A good idea is to have a hose pipe connected in case anything turns serious and if you have lots of big strong dogs attending make sure there are strong enough guests to keep them under control.

Following these tips will ensure your Puppy Party is a howling success fun for both humans and their pampered pets.

FAQs

How to socialise an aggressive dog?

How to socialise an older dog?

Why is dog socialisation important?

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Socialising a shy/fearful dog?

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Socialising puppies before vaccinations?

John Devlin

Owner - Dogsbarn.com

 

Husband, father and avid dog lover. Currently the proud owner of George a pedigree Golden Retriever that barely leaves my side. However, cute this sounds a little break from the dog hairs every now and then would be nice!

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