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With the start of October comes the beginning of the fall, but most importantly, Halloween! This holiday is a ton of fun for humans, but this time can be very confusing for many pets. So many different sights, sounds, and smells can overwhelm them and leave them in a very bad mood. So, think of your friend in advance and start preparing for Halloween with a few pointers.
In the weeks leading up to Halloween, there is a lot that must be done to help a dog feel comfortable with this holiday. First and foremost, doorbells are a concern in general but are more so with so many people coming over for a good time. Having so many strangers and sounds can stress a dog out to the point of not eating or reacting violently. To prepare them for the surplus of trick-or-treaters, teach them to become desensitized to the sound itself. Giving dogs a treat when they do not bark at the door is a good start and teaches them how to react. Associating the doorbell ringing with treats can help associate the sound with positivity instead of fear or anger. If it is too late to spend time training or your dog is particularly shy, having a safe room for your pup is a perfect alternative. Keeping them in their kennel or bed in the back of the house helps a dog relax and keep their distance from all the commotion. A safe space should include treats, favorite toys, calming aids, or anything else your dog might need to stay entertained for the night. Make sure that a family member checks on them often to ensure that they are calm and safe. As always, ensure that your dog has an updated address or number on their collar just in case they get a little too spooked by the constant opening and closing of doors.
One of the best parts of Halloween is seeing all the amazing costumes everyone wears. If you want your furry friend to join in the fun, however, a little preparation is in order. What matters the most is that the dog becomes accustomed to the costume, which can be easy or difficult depending on the dog themselves. To start with, pick out a costume that they enjoy. Pets need costumes with enough mobility, free of loose ends, and does not have masks or parts that cover the eyes. Once the costume is perfect, place it next to your dog and let them have time to inspect and sniff it. When they like it, it is time to put it on. If the costume needs straps, do not fasten them yet and let the dog adjust to the costume itself. Have your dog try the costume on for a few days and reward them with treats for the time they have it on. When it is time to dress them up, distract the dog with something else while strapping the costume together. As long as the costume is loose-fitting, they should not mind it. While your pooch may have their costumes ready, they are not necessarily ready to see you or strangers is odd outfits. To start, show them simple costumes such as funny sunglasses, a weird hat, or a strange coat. Put on these accessories in front of your pet so they understand more and start feeding them treats or give them compliments. Try slowly walking in the general direction of your dog while throwing treats to see if they will run to you. If they do, then they will be ready for the big day.
Halloween can be a fun time for you and your dog, it just takes them some time to understand what is so fun about it. Owners just need to be understanding of their pet’s needs and be patient while training them. After all, holidays are meant to be a time of bonding, so why not bond the right way with your pet on that exciting night?