Two years ago my niece brought a Shar Pei puppy into her home–a bundle of wrinkles which she calls Digby.
At the end of the February 2020 he will be 2 years old. It was love at first sight which has grown stronger as they’ve battled together through an aggressive cat reluctant to share her territory with an interloping puppy; starting puppy school, a house move across to the other side of the country; a new job, a new puppy school and a transfer with work to a new region and another move–PHEW! Now they are settled in career and home and the cat has resigned herself to sharing the sofa, and her mum’s attention, with Digby. This alone is cause for celebration and with Digby turning two and now officially an adult, my niece has decided to throw a party. I was chatting to her earlier this week on social media and she asked if I had any dog birthday party ideas. After I sent her my suggestions, I thought why not share them with you here too. So here goes:
Choose a Venue
Choosing a venue for a party will depend on who you invite and how suitable the space is for the number of dogs you plan to have there, their age and how well-trained they are. If you have a large garden you may wish to hold the party at home, but be mindful of the other dogs who may not be as well-behaved as your own…do you want your flowers dug up or a hole in your lawn? It is much better to take the party to a neutral venue that is more suitable for a group of dogs and will give them ample room to play–the dog park, beach or even a community hall may be better places to go to. Wherever you choose, make sure you take plenty of water for your pooches to drink and poop bags to keep the area clean.
Who to Invite
If you dog has a regular socialization group, either at the dog park or at puppy training school, then you already know who you want to invite along to the party. If not, then use this opportunity to create a social group for your dog–find out which of your neighbours have dogs and send them an invitation or even create a Meet Up invitation. You may find a new friend for yourself too and a regular dog walking companion.
Make a Cake
No party is complete without a birthday cake. I found one I like on all recipes.com which is easy to make, looks great and will be a hit with your doggies:
- Musical Chairs: This is an adaptation of the game we all played as kids. You will need music (something doggie related like Who Let the Dogs Out or Who is that Doggie in the Window) and a hoop, rug or mat for each player. Every guest will put their dog on a leash. The hoops, rugs or mats will be positioned in a wide circle. As the music plays everyone walks their dog round the circle. When the music stops, the dog must sit on the nearest available mat/rug or inside the hoop. The person must also have one foot in the hoop or on the rug. Each round a position is removed and the winner is the last dog sitting.
- Agility Course: Dogs love a challenge and to show off to their owners so you can make a simple agility course to use indoors or outdoors at your party. Owners should go around the course with their dogs and encourage them to do the activity. The dogs can be on a leash or run free–it all depends on how well they have been trained to follow their owner’s commands. Don’t make this too competitive, it’s just for fun, but you could make a rosette to wear on the collar using left over ribbon rosettes from Christmas time–gold for 1st, silver for second and bronze for third, everyone else gets whatever colors are left over.
- Jump: Raise a lightweight plastic drainpipe onto at each end using bricks or small boxes–don’t raise it too high and make sure it will fall easily if touched. As you run around the course with your dog you will encourage it to jump over the drainpipe.
- See-saw: Create a fulcrum out of a box and rest a plank on it to create a see-saw. The dog will run up one side of the see-saw, wait at the top for it to tip and then run down the other side. If the dog remains on the plank the whole time it gains points and a treat.
- Weave Poles: Using lightweight PVC pipe, space 10 out in a row
and secure into the ground. Make sure they move freely if touched and space them out to allow a large dog to pass through easily. The owner weaves through the poles with the dog following. You can add color to alternate poles if you wish or tie a ribbon to them.
- Tunnel: If you have kids you may already have a tunnel that they play with.
If not you can take a sheet and using tent poles to frame it, create a low triangular arched tunnel for the dog to run through. The owner can crawl through with their dog if they feel agile enough, but standing at the exit with a treat and calling COME is better especially if, like me, your knees are becoming a little stiff with age and too much skiing when younger.
- Treasure Hunt: Hide some tasty treats around the area. Put them inside boxes, under paper cups or hiding in the branches of a bush. Make dog and owner form a team. Then write some simple clues for the owners to read. The idea is for the dog/owner team to solve the clues and search out the treats. Everyone can be a winner if you hide as many treats as there are dogs and give each owner a clue to a specific treat. Hide an extra treat somewhere just in case a greedy dog finds two treats.
- Chase the Bubble: This is a game your dogs will love to play and it will also wear off some of their energy. You need a kids’ bubble wand, the bigger the better, and a big bucket of soapy water.
Then just make some bubbles, sit back and relax to watch the dogs having fun.
Let Me Know How Your Party Went
These are just a few dog birthday party ideas to get you started. I hope you try them out when it’s your dog’s birthday. If you do, please comment below and share with us your pictures, any new party game ideas and delicious cake recipes.