Tomorrow is All Hallows Eve and we’ve got some Halloween tips for pets to help keep them calm! The spookiest night of the year can unleash plenty of stress in even the most even-tempered canine. Think about it from your dog’s perspective. Most nights, no one rings your bell. Your family is most likely relaxing with no noisy outside interruptions. So, before the witching hour arrives, assess your dog’s tolerance for things like strangers in costumes and lots of door bell ringing.
Your primary objective should be keeping your dog safe and calm. If you have a dog who is overly protective or tends to bolt out open doors, keep them in a quiet room far from your front door. This is also especially important if your dog growls or cowers at people wearing hats, sunglasses or strange outfits. Inside that room, be it a bathroom or bedroom, provide your dog with toys, water and food, a comfy bed and turn on music or a TV to drown out the trick-or-treating noise. You can apply many of the same solutions used to calm your dog during the 4th of July.
Dogs are masters at reading our moods, so be confident and upbeat as you take him into this room. He should not regard this as a punishment, but as solo playtime. It’s even better if you have a family member or friend who is willing to spend time with your dog while in that room! Now, if you have a dog who eagerly loves greeting people and making friends, experts recommend these strategies:
1. Tether your dog
As the sun sets on Halloween, attach your dog to you using a waist leash. This allows you to have your hands free to hand out candy (and controlling your dog if necessary) while limiting your dog’s movement toward strangers.
2. Give your dog a workout
If possible, exercise your dog’s mind and body a few hours before trick-or-treaters arrive. Your goal is to tire out your dog. If you are unable to take your dog on a vigorous walk and then play some fun doggy mental games, consider hiring a professional dog walker or pet sitter to be your proxy for that afternoon.
3. Reward the parked position
Keep a bag of your dog’s favorite treats in bite-sized pieces. Only give him a treat when he plops into a sit on cue as you answer the door. By the fourth or fifth Halloween visitor, he will figure out he is rewarded for sitting politely.
4. Size up the visitors
By having your dog on a waist leash, you have the ability to body block him in case one of your doorbell ringers is accompanied by a dog. Some turf-protective dogs do not take too kindly to having a strange dog dare to come to the front door. You can’t always count on someone else controlling their dog, but you will have the ability to quickly pull your dog behind you.
We hope that these Halloween tips for pets help your furriest family members have an awesome night!