Preparing Your Dog For Halloween
As a child I can remember my mother (American born and bred) having to mail drop instructional leaflets to all our neighbours so they were aware we would be trick or treating come October 31st. Nobody else that we knew seemed to be celebrating Halloween.
Nowadays the spooky holiday has been gaining popularity in Australia with each passing year. With an increase in the number of strangely dressed night time wanderers come Halloween night, you might notice disturbances in your dogs behaviour. Below are some simple tips on how you can help your dog cope this Halloween night.
If you live in a suburban area you can expect there is going to be an increase in foot traffic and general noise on Halloween night. People talking, kids screaming, perhaps your neighbours will have animated props in their front yard; all of these things are going to seem out of the ordinary and thus highly suspect in the eyes of your dog. One of the simplest ways to save them the stress of reacting to every little bump in the night, is to bring them inside with you.
It’s ok if you don’t want to participate on Halloween night. However, it doesn’t hurt to plan ahead and have some way to indicate to those who are out that they should save their time and skip your house. This will reduce the hassle of constant door knocking which can be a trigger for many dogs.
Crate Training & Enrichment
If you do want to be involved in the neighbourhoods trick or treating, have some enrichment prepared ahead of time. A meaty bone or frozen Kong can be great ways to keep your dog occupied for a while. If your dog has been properly crate trained, giving them their enrichment inside of this safe and familiar place not only keeps them busy, but helps reduce feelings of stress.
There is also the added bonus that a confined dog is kept out from under foot when you are opening the door for trick or treaters – a potential safety hazard if you live on a busy street and have a dog that lacks door manners.
Check your communities online notice board.
Halloween does not always fall conveniently on a Friday or Saturday night. Organised trick or treating events may be scheduled for more convenient times around the actual day itself. Keeping an eye out for this allows you to be prepared ahead of time.
Using training games to introduce your dog in a controlled and positive manner to some of the potentially scary things they may encounter (strangely dressed people, kids yelling boo etc.) ahead of Halloween night, can better prepare them to cope with these things when they happen unexpectedly.
This doesn’t just apply to Halloween, but to all sorts of everyday stimuli. We strongly encourage structured confidence building exercises for dogs of all ages.
We hope this year that you and your dogs have a safe and happy Halloween.