With Halloween around the corner, it is important to think about how we can keep our Dog happy and safe with all the unusual activities at Halloween. Here are some things to consider as we get closer to that spooky night.
Not every dog tolerates wearing a costume. Ensure your pet is comfortable by trying on the costume before their big night. If you notice your dog is showing signs of stress (stiff body, lowered head, pinned ears, lip licking, whale-eye, etc.), please remove the costume. Don’t force your dog into anything they are uncomfortable with. If wearing a costume is an absolute must for you and your dog, speak with your trainer about desensitization and counterconditioning. Please note these techniques take time, so they may not be able to wear anything this year, but perhaps, over time, your dog will learn that costumes are not so bad.
If your pet enjoys putting on their costume, remember to supervise them while they wear it. If you may need to leave or cannot be attentive, remove your pet’s costume to ensure they don’t get hurt or ingest any smaller parts of the costume.
Candy is in abundance during the Halloween season. Make sure you keep your candy bowls high and out of your pet’s reach to avoid emergency trips to the vet. Practice that handy “leave it” cue as we get closer to the holiday season. It can be a literal lifesaver when it comes to pieces of candy or other food accidentally dropped around your pet. If you are having trouble with the “leave it” cue, use management to avoid your dog being in areas where food might be dropped. Have a puppy room for the night where your dog can stay comfortably, and prepare a fun toy that can keep them busy while guests finish eating their candy or meals.
If your dog has trouble staying calm when guests arrive or there’s a knock on the door, try to prepare some enrichment items that will keep them busy throughout the night. Frozen Kongs or Toppls, Yak chews, or other digestible chews are some of my favorite entertainment sources for these occasions. Click here are some ways to help your dog relax
Keep yummy dog treats on hand to reward good behaviors, or use it as a redirection tool if your pup is getting too worked up. Use “find it” as a redirection cue, as trick or treaters knock on the door to help your dog associate the visitors with fun games for yummy treats.
If you plan to leave your dog home alone, try creating a sign asking trick or treaters not to knock on your door. This is a great opportunity for the kids to get creative.
Trick or Treating
If you are bringing your dog along for the festivities, please remember to be mindful of their body language. With all the costumes and house decorations in the dark, Halloween can be a stressful night for your pup. Practice taking night walks throughout the month to see how your dog responds. If you notice any body language that shows they are stressed, don’t bring them out on trick or treating night. Talk to your trainer to learn more about body language and stress indicators!
If you have a specific issue that was not covered in this post, or would like to know more about training some of these behaviors, please contact our trainers to help you and your dog find a solution before the holidays arrive! Call us at (786)-299-1552