There are two tremendously rewarding feelings that can’t be beat when taking your dog to events. The first is the smile on their face as they run around and play with all the other dogs. The second (and even better feeling) is the sweet sound of silence as they nap the rest of the day. We take Bentley to dog events almost weekly, usually on the weekends, but sometimes during the week as well! Keep reading to hear my tips for finding these events in your area.
Social media is going to be your best bet for finding these events:
This is primarily how we find most of our dog-related functions. Accounts will often announce upcoming events in their stories and/or post about them. Sometimes you may receive a message letting you know about an upcoming event that you’ve been invited to! Here are some ideas of accounts that you can follow and search for to make sure you’re able to capitalize on all the fun!
- “Dogs of city”: Did you know that many cities have an Instagram account for the dogs in their area? Speaking for the doodle breed alone, you can search for “doodlesof” + large city name to find out if your city has one! Performing a quick Instagram search, I was able to turn up doodlesofatlanta, doodlesofatx, bmoredoods, and doodlesofboston. I’ve been to events and seen tons of other breed meet-ups as well; frenchies, pugs, weenies, chows, etc.!
- Dogs that live in the various cities: Once you start to know the dogs in your area (or have found them via social media), they will often post about meet ups as well. I am always sure to share upcoming events on my story so that other locals can join in the fun. You will certainly meet other dogs on Instagram at events, but you can probably do a quick search before your first event as well.
- Dog businesses that have events: If you run a dog business, it would be very wise of you to host these events! Several companies have caught on to their popularity, and have started creating new dog functions. Be sure to follow daycares, groomers, dog-friendly bars, and restaurants in your area to stay aware of what’s going on. If you regularly go to one of these and see that they have a great space for it, suggest to them that they hold a dog function!
Did you know that not everyone has and uses Instagram? Shocking, right? Facebook introduces a whole new world of opportunity to meet local dog owners in your area. Finding these groups is the biggest learning curve, but once you’re in them you are golden! There is a local group in my area that holds events every single weekend and has dog owners posting to get together for impromptu dog park meet-ups almost daily. My suggestion for finding these is similar to the Instagram guidance above. You can either start searching or ask other dogs in the area that you may know. Once again speaking for the doodle community, there are “Doodles of Baltimore” and “Wheatons, whoodles, and doodles of the DMV area” group that I belong to. Between these groups, we could be at a dog event every day if we wanted to! Local businesses often advertise their events here as well. Not to mention these Facebook groups are an excellent resource for all your general dog parent questions, concerns, and comments!
- Facebook event search: Open up Facebook, go to the “events” tab, and type in “dog.” You might be surprised that something this simple will turn up TONS of events in your area (or you can also filter to a specific area).
- Local dog institutions that host events (groomers, daycare, bars, etc.): I mentioned above in both the Instagram and Facebook sections that these businesses often hold events; however, not every one of them has social media. If your dog is a patron at one of these establishments, you could always ask about the possibility of setting up events and then even offering to share on your social media platforms.
- Host your own event: This might seem daunting, but it could range from anything to an informal dog park meet-up to a full-fledged dog birthday party. If you’re interested in hosting an event yourself, there are other blog posts and resources on the DailyBarker you could check out!
Now that we’ve talked about how to find these events, let’s touch on what to expect while there and how to be a good attendee. I have been to quite a few dog events in my day and they have ranged across a very broad spectrum. Some events include professional photographers, goodie bags, renting out an entire bar, or even blocking off the streets for a parade, while others might be held in someone’s back yard. Regardless of the scale of the event that you are attending, there is always one thing that can ruin it: irresponsible dog owners. Don’t be that person! Please take the following into consideration when planning on going to these events:
- How does your dog handle being in a crowd? Have they been socialized? If the answer to either of these questions is I don’t know or no, taking them to an event is not a good way to test it out! We took Bentley to several socialization classes as a puppy. Testing out how your dog does with play dates with one or two dogs is a great way to start and progress.
- Know your dog’s temperament and triggers. Are they food aggressive? Toy aggressive or possessive? These events usually have treats, dog cupcakes, toys, or balls at them. If your dog is going to be protective of any of these and aggressive toward other dogs, it’s best to avoid putting them in these situations until trained out of the behavior.
- Be honest with yourself and don’t be an irresponsible dog owner. If there is any doubt in your mind about whether your dog could handle themselves well in this situation, don’t put yourself, your dog, and other dogs at risk.
I hope that I’ve given you all of the information you need to find and attend your first dog event, or opened the door for you to attend many many more!
What tips do you have for finding pup meet-ups? Tell us in the comments!
I’m Kelly and I am the human that pretends to be my golden doodle on instagram all day (@minidoodlebentley)! I’m a math nerd and CrossFit enthusiast who has recently married the man of my dreams. My love for travel, dogs, and prosecco is unmatched and it would be a life dream to travel the world with Bentley!