It’s Halloween night and a fun time for children and families going trick or treating door to door! The otherwise quiet streets are full of kids yelling and playing dressed in spooky costumes.
The night is just full of excitement and inside your home your dog knows something isn’t right, he or she may even be pacing by now. For dogs that react to doorbells and noises, Halloween may be the worst night of the year.
At Home with Your Dog on Halloween?
Many of us prefer to stay home on Halloween night, rather than heading out to a party, clubs or bar. It certainly is fun to greet little monsters and superheroes at our door, eager for a handout of sweets and treats. However, while we may be certain we’ll have an enjoyable evening, your dog might not see it that way.
If you know your dog is reactive to visitors, hearing the doorbell all night may set him into a tailspin of excitement. This can mean excessive barking, jumping up, or even aggression if he feels he needs to protect his family. In addition, an open door to a frightened dog provides easy opportunity for him to take flight.
Plan now for Halloween night with your dog by considering these tips.
- If possible, disconnect your doorbell for the night. However, while this can help for the evening’s activities, to truly desensitize your dog to the doorbell may requires several weeks of dedicated training.
- Put your dog in a safe quiet place, such as his crate or a safe & secure bedroom. Keeping him away from the action can help him feel calm.
- Give your dog a tasty, long-lasting chew toy (Bully Stick) or treat-filled puzzle toy while in his safe place. This helps distract him from any commotion and rewards his quiet behavior.
- Turn on a radio or TV to create common background sounds and drown out noises that trigger your dog’s excited barking.
- If your dog is not contained in his crate or a gated room, keep a 6-foot leash on him in the house. This way you can gain better control of him and prevent him from running out an open door or jumping up on visitors.
- If your dog is visibly scared, resist the urge to overly-reassure him or give him extra attention. Doing so can inadvertently say to him that there must be something to worry about. It’s best to just be calm and act as normally as possible.
- When the kids put on their costumes, your dog may see them as strangers, especially if the costume includes a mask. So, allow your dog to sniff the costumes before the kids put them on, and simply leave the mask off when the dog is around. Let the dog see your children put the mask on, this can help your dog settle.
- If you anticipate that your dog may become very anxious to the point of distress, contact your veterinarian. In some extreme cases, medications can be a really big help for certain occasions. Sometimes herbs can help our dogs relax, again discuss this with you vet, leave plenty of time for you vet to get you the mediation.
- Finally, think carefully about putting your dog in a costume. While some dogs love being the center of attention, many do not. Experiment first to see if your dog likes wearing the costume pieces. If he shows any resistance, just tie a fun scarf around his neck. He’ll be happier and calmer, and so will you.
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