How to prepare your dog for Halloween

How to prepare your dog for Halloween

Halloween can be a scary time for our dogs. Many children and adults enjoy dressing their dogs up in costumes, but some pups are not at all comfortable with this idea. 

It’s a good idea not force your dog to participate in anything that goes against his or her sense of well-being. It’s also wise to keep some dogs away from the front door on Halloween night. Remember that candy, especially chocolates, can be deadly for dogs.

Halloween is also a good time to help your dogs to understand strange looking objects. Many dogs are afraid or uncomfortable when seeing yard decorations such as a ghost hanging from a tree. 

Try to always make positive associations for your pups with anything that is loud, big, new or scary. Work with the concerns listed below during the day before you attempt a walk on Oct. 31.

  • Move away from the object until the dog is comfortable with it. You need enough distance so the dog will respond to his name. Say his name and give him a treat when he looks at you. This is a great way to distract a dog and also teaches him that good things happen when he looks at you.
  • Begin giving tiny, yummy treats as you and your dog slowly move toward the object.
  • Do not be predictable. Take a few steps to the left or right, or perhaps even go back the other direction. When you continue to move closer and closer to the object it can add a degree of stress to the situation. By changing directions once in a while, the dog has something else to concentrate on. 
  • Stop moving forward if the dog shows any sign of concern.
  • This is also a good strategy on trash day when you see something strange on the curb.

It may take a day, a week or longer to accomplish your objective, so plan to be patient!

About this Angie’s List Expert: Anne Davis is the owner of Rudy’s Friends Dog Training, Inc., providing animal training services in Vienna, Va. Since 2000, Davis has specialized in private in-home training sessions as well as small group classes. She is a member of International Association of Canine Professionals and the Association of Professional Dog Trainers.

As of October 9, 2013, this service provider was highly rated on Angie's List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check Angie's List for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie's List.


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