Halloween is lots of fun for kids, but unfortunately dogs are often the ones that get spooked the most. Some dogs will be confused or upset by kids in strange costumes, and by lots of people coming to the door but never being invited in. Doggone Safe offers the following Halloween tips for dog owners, kids, and parents:
Secure your dog behind a closed door, or in a crate in a room away from the front door or the party, if children will be coming to your house.
Give your dog a stuffed Kong or other long-lasting chew.
Play music or leave a TV or radio playing in the dog’s room to help mask the sounds of the activity at the front door.
Close drapes so that your dog does not see people coming and going through the window.
If you have a dog that barks at the sound of the doorbell, disconnect it or watch for trick-or-treaters so that they do not have to ring or knock.
Instead of a costume,
try a fun collar or
Puppies and dogs that like to chase can get overly excited by costumes with dangly bits or streaming material. Supervise very carefully if you have a dog that may try to play with your children’s costumes while they are wearing them. Teach kids to Be a Tree and stand still if the dog does start nipping at their costume since the more they move, the more excited the dog will get.
Keep your dogs (and cats) indoors around Halloween. Pets have been stolen, injured, or poisoned as part of Halloween pranks or other rituals.
Dogs do not like to be dressed up! It makes them anxious and uncomfortable and adds to the stress of an already challenging time. If your dog licks his chops, yawns, shows a half moon of white in his eye, turns away, doesn't cooperate, tries to escape, growls, or puts his teeth on you or the costume, then you know that he doesn't want to wear the costume. Try a fancy collar or bandanna instead, or just leave the dog out of Halloween if he'd rather not participate.
Kids and Parents:
Avoid houses if you can hear a dog barking behind the door, you can see a dog behind a screen door, or you see a dog tied up in the yard or barking behind a fence.
Never approach any dog, even if you know him. He may not recognize you in your costume.
If an owner opens the door and there is a dog there, stay still and wait for the dog owner to put the dog away. Say that you do not want to come near the dog. Do not move toward the person and dog. Wait for them to come to you to give you your candy. Wait for them to close the door before you turn and leave.
If a dog escapes from a home, stand still and Be a Tree (hands folded in front, watching your feet). The dog will likely just sniff you and then move on. Wait for the owner to come and get the dog before you turn away.
If you meet a loose dog, Be a Tree and wait until it goes away.
It is best to ignore other people’s dogs on Halloween if you meet them out walking. The dog may be worried about all the strange creatures that are out and about. Even if you know the dog, he may not recognize you in your costume.
Karen Pryor Clicker Training and Doggone Safe wish everyone a safe and happy Halloween!