There will always be something coming up in your dog’s life and yours. This time, we are waiting for Halloween to come and you have only one month to prepare your pet for the scare.
You already know where to look for bargains on costumes, what candies will make yours a popular destination for trick-or-treaters, what route to take your kids, but have you given any consideration as to what your puppy or dog will go through?
Those extravagant, scary, wild costumes you want to check out this end of October may be a hard sight to endure for your pet.
Imagine yourself in the midst of familiar smells and noises, but suddenly everybodies face looks distorted and one of your kids’s face is bleeding or has grown fangs. Scary thought if you didn’t know that it’s all rubber and silicone.
So, there are two main approaches to facing a dog behavior challenge when you can foresee it:
Avoiding the scare. This is the simplest and quickest fix: just take your dog to a boarding hotel so your Halloween night will be a mini-vacation for play and fun with over-smiling humans and tail wagging dogs. Other varieties of this approach are locking your dog in a room that is far from the noises, growls, masks and crazy lights of the scariest of nights.
Desensitize your dog. The goal is to expose your dog little by little to all the sounds and sights of Halloween way in advance, so he gets to the point where he doesn’t care anymore.
Here is a simple step-by-step
- Place a mask in the living room and when your dog goes to investigate say “Trick or Treat” and give him a very good treat, a desirable and only-for-special-ocassions treat.
- Get a toy or decorations with Halloween sounds (like a creaking door, a howl, a growl, a witch’s laugh) and when your dog hears it say “Trick or Treat” and give him the best treat you have.
- When you are about to put up any decoration in or out of the house say Trick or Treat and give the treat.
- Take your dog on a walk and when you encounter a mummy, skeleton or anything Halloweenesque in a neighbor’s house say and do the Trick or Treat.
On the night of Halloween your dog is likely to get excited everytime someone asks for your Trick or Treat at your door. Be generous with your dog, next year you will have to use less treats and even less in the consecutive years.
Wether you want to just avoid the whole mess or go the dog training way, please, for the love of all that is worthy, do not use any harsh techniques or tough discipline on your dog. There is nothing worse than stress to make fear escalate to unbearable levels for you or your dog.
Do you have any other tricks to treat your dog to a nice Halloween experience? Please share them in your comments.