When I host doggy playdates, I always tend to bring a little doggie treat bag filled with some yummy treats and toys from my neighborhood Big Lots. And I make it a point to gift it to the playdate’s owner, not the doggie itself, to keep it from being distracted and territorial.
Then once all signs point to calm, relaxed canines, and we feel comfortable with the situation and everyone’s body language, we let them off leash to explore each other and their new surroundings. We just make sure to remove any toys and/or food (treats), and offer up enough water and shade for breaks.
This doesn’t mean we’re now free to head off with our friend(s) to chat or get lost in our phones. I know I still need to keep an eye on how they’re interacting with each other and if I notice anything but happy panting and/or low, wagging tails (which are all good signs) I call my dog over, access the situation, and decide whether they just need a break or it’s time to call it a day.