Here at Holiday Barn, we are famous for our dog parties: Our Winter party in January, New Year’s Eve slumber party, Sprinkler party, Cinco De Mayo party, Founder’s day party, the list goes on and on… And of course, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention our Camper’s birthday parties!
Doggie parties are a big deal around the globe… People spend exorbitant amounts of money to lavish their dogs with gifts, costumes, cake, and all the makings of a great party. Do you ever wonder what dogs think of all the hoopla?
As I write this blog, we are having a Valentine Party and card exchange at our doggie day care in Richmond, VA! Everyone is feeling festive and there is excitement in the air! Camp Manager’s Heather in Richmond and Ashley in Glen Allen believe their own excitement trickles down to the dogs. Heather says, “I think the dogs know when there’s a special day planned, but only because WE hype it up. They feed into our energy and get very excited. They mirror our enthusiasm. Our campers definitely enjoy the special days, but mostly because the staff enjoy them too.”
“I’d have to say that Heather is spot-on with her answer,” says Ashley. “I think our attitude truly is everything out there, no matter the activity, so the more excited we are, the more special it is for the pups!”
Mixing fun and Safety
Having a dog party is not as easy as just throwing a bunch of dogs in a room and seeing what transpires. A well-trained staff is essential to the safety and success of the party. Holiday Barn training consultant, Melanie, states “With birthday/group parties, we are adding an additional level of excitement to an already loaded activity. It is important to understand that this can change the dynamic of the group drastically and our counselors are watching very closely for over stimulation or guarding behaviors.”
How do we make sure our dog parties are safe and happy?
- Party attendees are chosen carefully. They must be from familiar play groups… dogs that know each other. A party is not a good time to introduce a stranger to the group.
- Supervision is critical. We keep it calm, no major rough-housing. Snarling, growling, or snapping is a no-no.
- Likewise, we choose attendees who do not tend to be toy or resource aggressive. If toys are present at the party, we watch for any possible sign of a possessive response from the dogs. It is common for a dog to be possessive of toys and dealing with that type of aggression requires a skilled hand.
- Party food is served carefully. Generally we will separate the dogs into separate enclosures before serving birthday cake or treats. Pack order is respected and we assure that every dog is given their fair share.
Melanie says, “Because dogs are a living, thinking beings, we can not always predict to 100% certainty what the reaction [to a party] is going to be. However, that is why we’re constantly expanding our pack’s knowledge on dog behavior (purrsuing knowledge) and incorporating structure in our camp activities (boundary control at the gates).”
If you’re interested in having your dogs next birthday party at Holiday Barn, make sure they’re currently enrolled and registered for our dog day care services and we’ll be more than happy to plan a party you’re pup will never forget!
Contact us here if you’re interested in our dog day care services and birthday parties.