This article was reviewed by professional dog trainer Shelby Semel, an advocate of Positive Reinforcement Dog Training.
Fall is quickly approaching. We can smell the pumpkin spice lattes already. With every new season, it’s time to evaluate safety concerns for your pooch, especially regarding the holidays. Howloween is meant to offer a fright, but not to unsuspecting Fido. If you’re celebrating the holiday by inviting trick-or-treaters to your door, follow these tips to train your dogs to be ready for the night.
1. Doorbells or knocks
Your dog is probably used to the doorbell ringing or guests coming over, but probably not to the degree it will happen on Halloween. Have someone ring your doorbell and practice sit and stay while you answer it. Increase the amount of times you do this a day leading up to Halloween.
2. Put up a gate
Consider setting up a gate to keep your dog from darting out the door. Don’t wait until Halloween to do this though. A sudden change in environment might make your dog nervous. Put up the gate about a week in advance to give your pup time to get used to it. Feeding your dog meals behind the gate and providing treats and fun toys will help your pup warm up to it.
3. Make a safe spot
Your dog likely has a favorite hangout in the home. Make it the ultimate pooch pad for Halloween night so your dog has somewhere to go to get away from the noise and excitement. Put a dog bed, some toys and maybe even a bone for nibbling. Play some classical music in this area to put your pooch at ease.
Just like with the gate, you’ll want to get your dog used to the space. You can give meals and treats here so your dog will have a pleasant association with being in this location. If your dog seems scared or nervous on the big day, make sure to let the pup unwind in this space.
4. Get used to kids
If your dog will be greeting guests at the door with you and isn’t used to kids, this could be a problem. Take walks outside around dog parks and playgrounds where you’re likely to run into all kinds of people. Make sure you work on greeting manners before the big day.
5. Costume safety
Don’t leave your pet in a costume if it seems to make them uncomfortable. If the pup doesn’t seem to mind dressing up, make sure the costume doesn’t restrict movement, hearing or the ability to breathe and bark.
Look out for small, dangling pieces that could easily be chewed on and choke your pup. Try on the costume a few times before the big night to get your pooch used to it.
Be safe and have a doggone good Howloween everyone!
Featured image via Mugs Of Pugs