Watch Acme Canine’s Coffee Char on YouTube every two weeks. Here is the script for October 21.
GOOD MORNING AND WELCOME TO ACME CANINE’S COFFEE CHAT
The place where you gain tips and advice on caring for your dog
HAPPY October 21 (10 days before Halloween)
I’m Laura Pakis and your host for Coffee Chat
Halloween is right around the corner and take it from me; many dogs find it scarier than you’d think. I’ve made a list of things to think about to help make it a fun holiday for everyone, including our furry friends.
Anticipate potential hazards and prepare your dog for them.
Some areas of concern are things we might eat, interactions with children, and the general tone of the holiday, which could cause us to be on edge. Remember, dogs don’t understand that Halloween is a holiday. All they see are loud, excited, oddly clad children, which can be frightening and cause us to want to escape or have irritable behavior.
You can reduce their anxiety by working on socialization techniques.
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.
Please be sensitive to your dog’s stress level and safety
Please don’t leave your dog out in the yard on Halloween. Some vicious pranksters feel they can tease or injure us.
Always make sure we have proper identification. That way, if for any reason we may escape and get lost, a collar and tags and a microchip with our current address definitely will increase the chances that we will be returned to you.
No tricks, no treats!
That bowlful of candy is for trick-or-treaters, not for any of us dogs. Chocolate in all forms can be very dangerous to us. And when we eat tin foil and cellophane candy wrappers, we might choke on them if swallowed. If you suspect your pet has ingested a potentially dangerous substance, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.
Here is a video from Volhard Dog Nutrition on making pumpkin treats for your dog Volhard video
A carved pumpkin is perfect for Halloween, but please exercise caution if you choose to add a lighted candle.
I’ll admit it, sometimes we are clumsy or get excited. We can easily knock a lit pumpkin over and cause a fire. Puppies especially run the risk of getting burned or singed by candle flames.
Dress-up can be a big mess-up for some pets.
I know how cute we look in costumes, but some of us don’t like them and stress us out. Please don’t put us in a costume UNLESS you know we love it (yup, a few of us are real hams!).
If you do dress us up, make sure the costume isn’t annoying or unsafe. It shouldn’t constrict us from moving around or impede our ability to breathe or bark. Please keep a lookout for small, dangling, or easily chewed-off pieces on the costume that we could choke on. (I’m saying this for Penny’s sake)
Be sure to take a close look at the costume when it’s on us. Make sure it does not obstruct our vision in any way. We can get snappy when we can’t see.
Too many strangers can be scary and stressful for pets
When opening the door for trick-or-treaters, make sure you know where we are so we don’t accidentally dart outside. It would be best if you kept all but the most social dogs and cats in a separate room during peak trick-or-treat visiting hours.
Practice now with your dog… teaching him that he will not run out even if the door is open. 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. Here are the steps:
Turn Your Dog into the Perfect Greeter
if you’ve got a multitude of ghosts and goblins coming to your door asking for treats, we suggest you plan on using these visitors to your advantage and schedule an evening of training sessions to help strengthen your dog’s greeting skills. To ensure success for everyone, we highly encourage you to rehearse during the days leading up to the big night.
We’ve divided the entire door-answering scenario into specific behaviors, each of which can be taught and practiced independently.
Holding a Sit
No doubt your dog already knows how to “sit.” All you need to do is practice a “sit” while using a leash and adding distractions using a scale of 1 to 10. Once your dog knows that he needs to hold the “sit,” and you’ve rehearsed together with throwing a ball, treats, etc., in various locations, you can then move near the front door and practice there.
Make Your Way to the Door
Again with your dog on a leash, practice opening and closing the door, asking your dog to “sit” until you give a release cue, such as “Go say hi!” This allows your dog to leave the command to greet the person at the door. If you don’t give the cue, your dog will need to stay in a “sit.” Use loads of praise to encourage your dog to stay in a “sit”; this will help in the long run.
Now it’s time to add in the doorbell or knock. This will no doubt make it a little more complicated, so you’ll want to make sure you give extra praise for staying put.
Before the big night, we suggest you run through a few dress rehearsals to help set the stage for success!
Set the Stage
On the big night, place a small container of your dog’s treats outside the front door. When the little goblins come to the door, have your dog “sit.” When the door opens, tell your dog, “Go say hi!” and have the kids give your dog a treat. So, your dog gets treats for “saying hi,” and the kids get goodies for helping you train your dog — it’s a win-win! Be sure to put your dog back in a “sit” before giving the kids their treats (please make sure those treats are for humans).
When I had a facility, we would have an annual Howl O Ween party for dogs (and their owners). I will leave you with a video we made. Hopefully, it will spark some ideas of your own for a dog-friendly Halloween.
For now, I wish both you and your dogs a very happy Thursday. See you in two weeks.
All the best!