Dogs and Halloween

Many of us love Halloween – the costumes, the candy, the parties, the fireworks. Some of us dress up our dogs for photo shoots and some of us might even have matching costumes.

However, for many dogs, Halloween is a frightful month, full of scary looking monsters, way too many people knocking on the door, and non-stop very loud banging in the sky .. fireworks.

Below are some tips to help your dog make it through this scary season.

Kodiak dressed as a Cowboy and Border Collies dressed as sheep

Some dogs tolerate getting dressed up, and others might even like it if it gets them treats and attention. Only dress up dogs who enjoy the experience. We don’t want to make Halloween any harder for the anxious dogs!

If you have time, get your dog used to people wearing strange clothes and masks. Wear a few around the house, play with your dog, and give them lots of treats for being brave.

If you or your neighbours decorate for Halloween, head out in the morning with lots or time to stop and allow your dogs look at the decorations. Don’t pressure dogs to go close if they are worried. If you have one dog that is particularly anxious, reassure that one and let the others explore ahead of them. If one if your dogs is likely to get the others riled up, walk them separately so you can focus on helping the more anxious or excited dog.

Small White Dog Happily Sitting Amongst Life-Sized Metal Art

Preparing for Visitors

You might have many visitors on Halloween night. The Relaxation Protocol is a great exercise to practice ahead of time to help your dogs stay calm during the evening. Set up a baby gate or ex-pen and practice with the barrier in place to prevent your dogs from rushing the door. On the evening of Halloween, the barrier will keep everyone safe and we are best to introduce the concept ahead of time.

Safe Spaces

Think about where each of your dogs feel safest and calmest. One might be in a crate, another in a bedroom with a bone, and another on the couch with their favourite person. Have these areas set up and give your dogs treats and some time in the spaces ahead of the scary night.

Talk To Your Vet

No matter how much preparation you do, no matter how many treats and safe spaces you have set up, some dogs will still be terrified when it comes to fireworks, costumes, and constant door knocking. If you are at all concerned that one of your dogs will not be able to cope well, talk to your vet. Ask for prescription medication. Medication helps dogs in many ways and is a kindness we can give them for this terrifying evening.

Halloween Night

Halloween is fun and exciting for many people and even for some dogs. Always consider the individual dog to determine what will be best for them. Some dogs might like to help give out candy! Others would like to curl up in a safe space and wait for it all to be over. Be safe, be kind, and have fun, remembering this is a special day designed for people, not so much for our dogs.

Published by

Positive Dog

I am the proud person of one golden retriever mix, two border collies, and a spitz. My goal is to create humane, effective, and realistic training plans for my clients and their dogs. More here: Certified Dog Behaviour Consultant - IAABC Professional Canine Behaviour Consultant - Accredited Licensed Family Dog Mediator - Working Division Acknowledges that she lives, works, learns, and plays on the unceded and traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples – Snaw Naw As, Snuneymuxw, and Stz’uminus Nations.

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