By Laura Pakis, Certified Professional Dog Trainer and Blogger,
Halloween can be a fun time of year. With all sorts of fall festivals, costumes, trick-or-treating and candy, most households will join in the festivities to some extent.
While this can be a fun time of year for humans, it is not always fun or safe for our pets. There are many problems that may occur with dogs this time of year, and now is the time to begin working on them… ahead of time!
Chances are on Halloween, trick-or-treaters will be ringing your bell and you’ll be opening the door quite regularly. Practice now with your pet… teaching him that even if the door is open, he is not to run out. You may have to use his leash at first and it’s a good idea to practice at times of day when there are many distractions outside.
Also, an important thing to address is very thorough socialization.
Remember, while we know that the adorable little Darth Vader or Princess Witch is just a cute kid in a costume, our dogs may not realize. Work on socializing your dog with hats, masks, strange noises and anything else you can think of so he won’t be overly suspicious comes Halloween time. You don’t want your dog to become overprotective or extremely fearful which could result in a dangerous situation.
Supervision is another good idea on Halloween.
Many people choose to sit out on their porches and wait for trick-or-treaters and a properly socialized dog can join in the fun by staying with you on a leash. Also be sure to keep your dog safe by not leaving him outside in your yard unsupervised for long periods of time. Cats, especially black ones, should be kept indoors to protect them from the rare (but occasionally real) cruelty that could occur.
Do not leave your bowl of goodies anywhere the dog might reach it and be sure that children know where to keep their booty as well.
Anticipate potential hazards this Halloween and prepare for them. Particular areas of concern are things that dogs might eat, interactions between dogs and children, and the general level of excitement or fear, which might cause the chance for escape or encourage touchy behavior. Remember that dogs don’t understand that Halloween is a holiday, and they may find loud, excited, oddly clad children frightening and traumatic. Be sensitive to your dog’s stress level and safety,
By doing some training and taking precautions ahead of time, our dogs can be safe and enjoy Halloween along with the rest of us!