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Tips for Halloween with Your Dog

October 17, 2011

Halloween: A time for candy and costumes for us humans. As much as we may enjoy this holiday, Halloween can be confusing and scary for our canine friends. Have you seen some of those costumes out there? I can’t imagine what they look like to a dog. 🙂 Here are some safety tips and things to consider for Halloween with your dog:

1. Lots of door activity. If your dog is nervous and reactive to the sound of a door bell, this can be a good time to practice and desensitize if you have someone helping you. Have one person pass out the candy and you can practice with your dog. If you are just starting out, you can keep your dog on a leash for this training exercise. Every time the door bell rings and your dog acts appropriately (perhaps a bark and then quickly calms down), he gets something good. Start out several feet away from the door. By the end of the night, he might not even care who is ringing your door bell because he is already ready for that treat! This is an excellent desensitization exercise if done properly.

2. Scary sights and sounds. The door exercise may be too much for your dog and he may feel more comfortable in his own safe space. It is perfectly ok if your dog would rather be in another area happily chewing on a treat/bone instead. Make sure to observe your dog’s comfort level here and crate, or move him if necessary.

Children who are loud and excited in costume may scare your dog. Gauge how your dog responds and act accordingly. If your dog is showing signs of stress, remove him from that situation. If your dog is already nervous around children, this would NOT be a good time to try and socialize him around kids.

3. Costumes for Dogs. If you are dressing up your dog for Halloween, please make sure your dog can still properly see, hear and move comfortably. Other dogs may react poorly when they see dogs in costume. This isn’t out of the norm, so just be aware and observant.

4. Chocolate and other goodies. After the kids bring home their stash, it is very common for dogs to find their way into the candy. Encourage your kids to keep all candy away and properly stored, so your dog cannot access it.

We hope you all have a safe and happy Halloween! We look forward to seeing pictures.

Post Written By: Laura Neiheisel
Austin Dog Zone

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About Austin Dog Zone

Austin Dog Zone formed in 2011. We offer dog training for all breeds and temperaments. We are committed to staying up-to-date on the most current scientific research available for dogs regarding both behavior and wellness. Our methods are effective, dog-friendly and family friendly.

2 Comments to “Tips for Halloween with Your Dog”

  1. Jana Rade says:

    Our guys, Rottweilers are dressing up as – guess what? Rottweilers. I don’t even put anything on my dogs what doesn’t have to be there (collar, harness)

    Me and my dogs have a deal. I don’t make them wear embarrassing outfits; and they don’t make me roll in deer poop.

    • Austin Dog Zone says:

      Hi Jana! That’s what I do too. I’ve never dressed my dogs up before and do not plan on doing so. And that’s a great deal to have–do they hold up their end of the bargain? ;)—Laura

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