A puppy party can be a fun way to socialize a new puppy with other puppies of about the same age or a few well-behaved older dogs. Socialization, a vital part of the development of a healthy puppy, should be done frequently in a way that exposes the puppy to a variety of experiences. This doesn't come without rules, however, and these rules are meant to keep everyone safe and healthy.
All puppies and dogs that are brought to the event should be healthy and up-to-date on their vaccinations. some puppies being socialized may not be old enough to have had all their shots yet, so it is crucial that older dogs not only be vaccinated but healthy to keep from spreading any illness to the delicate puppies. This also includes having been given worming medication, flea and tick preventatives and heartworm preventatives. Puppies and dogs should also not be recovering from any injuries, as this can make it more likely they will get hurt again. Nails should be trimmed to prevent accidental scratching.
Behavior not Tolerated
Make the guidelines clear from the beginning, and indicate what behavior is not to be tolerated. Each person should be responsible for their own dog and know the rules. Be sure that older dogs are friendly and well-mannered, and will not approach a much smaller puppy in a threatening manner. Puppies that are pushy, threatening or in any way aggressive toward the other dogs will need to be removed from the group. Biting, growling or aggressive body language will need to be stopped. Puppies and dogs should only be allowed to roughhouse play if they are of similar size and strength to ensure that no one gets hurt accidentally. Owners should always stay in view of their dog and be able to correct any negative behavior before it escalates.
Items to Bring
Each owner will need to be responsible for his own dog, and that means bringing everything the dog will need. This includes leashes or harnesses, collars and identification tags. In addition, owners should be instructed to come prepared with treats and a water dish, as well as any toys. Be careful bringing toys, and ensure that the dog is capable of sharing so there will be no fights over said toys.
Puppy owners should all clean up after their own dogs. This means bringing bags to clean up any messes, as well as towels to clean up any potentially dirty puppies if the party is to be held outdoors. Owners should be prepared to get dirty and clean up as well.
Be sure to specify which puppies can participate in which activities to make sure no one gets hurt. Just as a young puppy wouldn't be able to compete in an agility course, a dog too large for the equipment should not be allowed to play, either. If there is a plastic pool or other water source, be sure that everyone knows in advance -- not just because of the potential mess, but in case there are puppies that haven't been exposed to water or haven't grown into liking it yet.
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