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Halloween can be a frightening experience for your dog or other pets. From the constant ding of the doorbell, to the many people out and about, and all the little hands that inevitably reach for him, there are many things aside from ghouls and goblins that can frighten your pup. Compound that fear with the reality that some dogs are skittish or anxiety-ridden, and well Halloween is right up there with fireworks and thunderstorm.
Instead of dreading the day, use the challenges. With the proper training you can have a very festive Halloween – complete with matching costumes for you and your pup!
Ding-Dong, Trick or Treat!
A dog wouldn’t be a dog if he didn’t bark when the doorbell rings. But on Halloween when your doorbell rings 50 times, well… it’s not so cute any more. This is the ideal time for a little in home dog training:
Get your dog to sit calmly while you open the door and tend to your trick or treaters.
Once the doorbell rings, before answering it, make sure your dog is in a sit and stay position. As you open the door, keep your eye on your pup to make sure he doesn’t get up. If you are not sure about your dog’s reaction put him on a long leash. Your dog should be in your vision but not directly in front of the door. Chances are that the first few times will not be successful but your dog will get the picture. And when he does, click or reward him with treats or praise!
If your dog is confident and doing well, you can allow the trick or treaters to offer your dog some of his favorite snacks. Keep a few handy by the candy dish and when some willing children come to your door, give them a treat, parents permitting. Let them calmly put their hand out and allow your pooch to approach them to take it.
Tips to Help Your Nervous Dog on Halloween Night
If your dog is easily frightened of new people, then he might just be especially frightened of new people with masks on too. Matter of fact, your dog might also be afraid of yard decorations that stick out of the lawn and make noise!
- It’s important to not force your dog into confronting his fears. If he’s afraid and hiding let him. You must remain calm and in a steady voice reassure him and talk to him as if nothing is wrong. The more even and calm you are the better chance you have at calming your dog down.
- A trick .. so to speak that can help is to put a tee shirt on him. It mind sound silly but you will be amaze at how it can calm your dog down. You can use this on thunder and lighting nights as well.
- Take your dog’s mind off the noise and what else is going on out there. This is the perfect time for some in home dog training. Practice sit, stay or lay down with a lot of treats. Even if your dog knows all the commands by heart, practicing something familar is comforting. Go for tasty treats like pieces of ham, sausage or hot dog. If your dog is playful combine the training with some play time.
- Anxious and skittish dogs really calm down with classical music, massage or energy work. Simple dog massage techniques, touch or energy work can help nervous dogs relaxed and calm down.
A short note about candy … they are a no no for dogs.
It goes without saying that candy should not be given to a dog – ever, but just to reinforce the message, candy is terrible for dogs and chocolate can be fatal. Please keep kids treat out of their reach!
Catherine Potin is the editor of HappyDogConnections.com and offers free online dog training tips and resources from various experts so you too can understand and train your pooch better. From basic dog training to solving behavior issues, you will find solutions to get better result and create a deeper bond with you dog.