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Festive fun fur everyone!

Updated: Nov 30, 2023

Spread joy and laughter playing these family favourites from Smarties Puppy Parties.

That's hilarious! Tell us another one.

Bored with the office Christmas party? Throw a dog party instead. Delight guests with a Dog and Spoon Race, games of Round Robin, and marvel at the madness of Musical Dogs and the Sausage Gobbler!

Have tasty treats and prizes ready for all the winners. Beware some participants might get over excited or possessive, so take breaks between games to ensure you don't start a riot! Single dog household? No problem. Take turns with family and friends to become substitute dogs and handlers. Grrr-woof!

On the 12 days of Christmas my pup played with me...

1. Fetch

Get the party started with an easy game everyone knows.

  • Handlers stand in a row with their dogs sat beside them

  • Have a master of games, start competitors "ready, set, go!"

  • Handlers tell their dogs to "fetch"

  • Then each tosses a ball or toy underarm for the dogs to retrieve

  • The first fur-ball to fetch their item and return it to their handler wins!

  • This games gets crazy fast, so let the first dog that brings back any item thrown, be the winner

Fetch! Get the pawty started.

2. Treasure Hunt

Dogs love hunting for hidden treasure. You can setup the day before so no one sees you.

  • Hide treasures, treats and toys, around home or garden

  • Use boxes with screwed up paper inside

  • When ready start the game by sending handlers and dogs off searching for treasure

  • The pair with the most prizes in the permitted time, wins the hunt!

Mine. They're all mine I tell you!

3. Dog and Spoon Race

No you don't balance your dog on the spoon. For a twist your dogs will love...

  • Handlers line up with a sausage balanced on a spoon

  • This game gets really bonkers when you have handlers holding the spoon in the same hand as their dog's lead

  • Games master starts the game and the first pair to cross the finish line with the sausage still on the spoon, and dog on lead, wins!

  • Make the game more challenging by setting up chairs or boxes for teams to race around

  • The real test will be getting your dog to cross the line without eating the sausage!

Rudolf had a very sensitive nose.

4. Catch the Treat

This one is nice and easy and can be played sitting down.

  • If any of the dogs can’t sit still pop them on lead for the handler to hold, or stand on

  • With about ten small treats to hand, and when everyone is ready, get them to toss each treat one after the other, for their dog to catch

  • The team with the most catches, wins the game

5. Muffin Tin Game

This sniffy game is the perfect way to let participants catch their breath. You'll need a large muffin or cupcake tin, with around a dozen holes, and the same amount of tennis balls to sit on top of each space.

  • Hide a nice smelling treat under one of the balls

  • Cheese works great to make it easier for the dogs to find

  • Have one dog play this game at a time

  • Pop the tray on the floor so the dogs can have a good sniff around it

  • Handlers can help their dog become interested in the game by pointing to the tray and encouraging them "find it"

  • Use a timer to get to keep track of which dog finds the cheese the fastest

  • Shortest time wins!

  • Top tip, don't let dogs see hiding the treats

What da-ya mean I've gotta work for treats?

6. Round Robin

Round Robin is a great game to get all your guests involved.

  • Have someone hold the dog back far away

  • Handlers get ready with handfuls of treats lined up across the far side of the room

  • Let participants take turns to call their dog’s name one by one

  • The dog that comes back the quickest is named the winner of Round Robin and gets to gobble up the treats!

7. Trick Contest

  • Ask a few guests to volunteer and judge the winners

  • Handlers must then get their dogs to demonstrate their party trick one after the other

  • Judges agree upon the winning performance, based on the dog's trick

  • Judges can award the smartest, most amusing or overall entertaining talent

  • Should any participants not have a party piece prepared, let them show off commands they're confident their dog can do

  • Judges can then award the dog that performed the most exercises in the allocated time

Reward me already. You know I'm the cutest!

8. Sausage Gobbler

The Sausage Gobbler game is guaranteed to entertain guests and delight dogs.

  • Chop up sausages or hotdogs into small chunks

  • Fill the largest container you can find with water

  • Float the tasty treats on the surface

  • The dog that gobbles up the sausages the speediest, wins the game!

Did someone say sausage?

9. Doggie Limbo

  • Rest a pole or broom handle over the top of two chairs set several feet apart

  • Better yet use an agility hurdle if you have one

  • Handlers must get their dogs to line up on lead

  • As the music starts to play pups take turns to crawl commando style under the pole

  • Handlers can drop their dog's lead at this point and encourage them through to the other side

  • See how low your dog can go!

Just making a few changes, you're gonna love it!

10. Musical Dogs

Everyone loves Musical Chairs, and Musical Dogs is practically the same thing, only way more fun with dogs.

  • With pups on lead handlers walk around in a large circle while the music is playing

  • When the music stops, handlers prompt their dog to sit

  • To make things even more bonkers use mats to simulate chairs for dogs to sit or settle on, and place the mats just a few feet apart

  • Begin with one less mat than the number of dogs playing the game and remove a mat with each round of the game

  • Not enough mats? Try playing with hula hoops instead

  • Aim to get the dogs to target the hoop and stay there when the music stops

  • Remove a hoop with each round of the game

  • The last dog standing, without a mat or hoop is knocked out (not literally) and the game continues until there's a winner!

You don't mind sharing, right?

11. The Cup Game

Your dog's nose is thousands of time more sensitive than your own. Get that snout sniffing with this pawfect nose work game.

  • Place various treats underneath several paper cups in a row

  • Handlers introduce the treat they want their dog to find, by letting them sniff a sample first

  • Then the dogs are sent to search for that particular treat hidden under one of the cups

  • The pup that finds their scent the fastest wins the cup game and gets the treat!

  • Make the game more challenging by mixing up the cups when the dogs are not watching

  • Make the game easier for the dogs by taking turns, or hide just one treat for them to find

12. Chocolate Drop Run

Use dog's chocolate drops only, and gather your bunch of dogs

  • Find a long corridor or hallway and setup lines of chocolate drops from one end to the other

  • Handlers cue up and take turns to race along the treat line with their pooch

  • The pup that hoovers up the most chocolate drops and makes it back to start line with their handler wins the race!

Now can I eat them?

Tips for Stress Free Fun

Practice and preparation will ensure your games go without a hitch. See our top tips to keep everyone safe while they're having fun.

  • Only let dogs owners handle their own dogs when playing the games

  • Have several leads spare incase guests bring retractable ones

  • Choose games that will work best for your chosen area

  • Prevent spills and breakages by puppy proofing the space beforehand

  • Setup food and drinks in a separate room from the games

  • Don't let dogs gain access to fatal toxins like dark chocolate, or xylitol sweetener

  • Request dogs to do their business before heading off and again on arrival

  • No party poopers permitted, if participants become aggressive send them home

  • Supervise children around dogs at all times, have a designated watcher and takes turns

Thank goodness you're here. The tree fainted!

Invite Friends Only

This may sound obvious but your party will only go without a hitch when dogs and handlers historically have played well together. Some pups may be overly possessive of toys or food if untrained, in this instance its best to exclude them from the festivities until resolved. It sounds harsh but it wont be fun for anyone when you need to break up a fight. Just three dogs off lead, creates instant arousal. Keep numbers low and balanced, boy, girl, boy, girl etc. And play games on rotation to contain the chaos.

Separate Areas

Space is your dog's best friend. Not in the cosmic sense, we mean dogs do better with room to move away when they need to. If you're holding your event outside, ensure you personally secure the perimeter to prevent escape artists from escaping. If you're hosting inside, clear the largest room you have, like you would a dance floor, and while you at it put up some decorations and make an effort!

Confirm Allergies

Most dogs have sensitive stomachs, and some may have allergies. Best check before and provide alternatives for all your guests, two legged and four.

Let Dogs Roam

Keep games short and sweet. Take lots of breaks and let the dogs move around freely, away from the games room.

Doggy Bags

Who doesn't love a doggy bag? Send your friends on their way with something they'll can cherish or chew, it's up to you. Balls and bandanas make great gifts for dogs, and save a slice of cake for the handlers too.

I'll take the lot! Have them sent home Susan.

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