6 tips for trick-or-treating with your dog
Halloween can be a fun time to enjoy with family, friends and the kids. But ever wonder how your dog can get into the fun? After all, dogs love tricks. . . and adore treats! Here are some tips for trick-or-treating with your dog.
First things first, ask yourself if your dog will actually enjoy trick-or-treating! We humans look at trick-or treating-as one big family walk night. Why not kill two birds with one stone by walking your dog while you trick or treat with the kids? But to dogs, trick-or-treating may cause stress. There are loud, excitable children running around, costumes, strangers approaching from every angle and stray chocolates that bypass a kid’s bag and end up on the ground.
If your dog becomes anxious or aggressive with boisterous children or people who move erratically; walk with canes and crutches; and wear hats, glasses, puffy coats or anything of the sort, then trick-or-treating may not be a good fit for your dog. Also, if your dog doesn’t have a strong “Leave It” command around high value food, then leaving your dog at home may be a safer option!
Instead of taking him out at “prime time,” leave your dog comfortably at home in a crate or in a room away from first floor windows with a high value treat that they can chew on (like a stuffed Kong or a Bully Stick).
If you think your dog can handle the crowds. . . then get the costume ready and take him out! But follow these simple guidelines for making sure that you keep your dog and your neighbors safe and happy.
- Keep your dog on a leash. We know that this seems obvious, but it bears repeating! Even if your dog is totally friendly and reliable off-leash, other people and their children may not be comfortable around your dog. So keep him on a leash, and respect other people’s personal space as you trick or treat.
- Keep your dog on public walking paths and sidewalks. Stay off of neighbors’ walkways and porches. Again, just because you love your dog like you love your children, doesn’t mean that everyone else loves your dog as much. In fact, people may have landscaping or yards that are not dog friendly, or they may even have another dog that isn’t friendly toward other four-legged visitors near their home.
- Scoop the poop! Again, this seems obvious, but is worth a mention. Bring everything that your dog may need on an extended walk. This includes treats for training, a bowl and a bottle of water and lots of poop bags.
Staying home to give out candy? This can be a fun and exciting adventure for your people-loving dog, but all of that doorbell ringing may be overstimulating. These tips should help you keep your dog safe and in control while ghouls and goblins stop by:
- Set up a quiet room or have a crate prepared for your dog if the excitement gets to be too much. Some dogs are fine for the first few visitors, but then get burned out if there are too many people at once. Keep stress levels low by giving your dog a quiet place to rest if the night starts to get too busy.
- Don’t force your dog to interact with people or children if these kinds of activities make him uncomfortable. If you know that your dog has issues with rough petting, multiple people approaching at once or strangers coming to your door, keeping him in a quiet room is a safer and less anxiety-producing option for your dog.
- Teach your dog to stay at doorways, and reinforce him for holding that stay instead of bounding through to greet trick-or-treaters. And start practicing now instead of on Halloween night when excitement and stress is at a high!