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Identify a corner area for canine bathroom breaks (and provide plenty of poop bags!), as well as a game area and a refreshment station that's accessible to people but out of paw’s reach.
For a one-hour party, aim for two games. For parties that last more than two hours, offer four to five games. One of my favorites: canine musical chairs, which tests the power of sit among dog contestants. Music plays as people walk their leashed dogs around a line of hula hoops spaced three feet apart on the ground. (There should be one fewer hula hoop for the number of teams.) When the music stops, people must get their canines to sit in a hula hoop. Too-slow dogs are eliminated. Remove a hula hoop for each round until you have two teams competing for access to one hula hoop.
Consider gift certificates for wellness checkups at veterinary clinics or a local doggie wash, pet picture frames, healthy treats and safe toys.
Bottom line: Dogs learn best in a fun setting. Plus, pup parties give you a chance to live in the moment and truly connect with your dog.
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