Planning on including your furry friend in your scary celebrations? A few tips to ensure everyone is having a good time…
1. Should I take my puppy trick or treating?
Nope! Excitable kids in shape-shifting outfits and masks (MASKS!) making weird noises, in the dark, with the potential for fireworks (more about them next week), calling on strangers’ houses where there may be less-than-friendly dogs, etc. etc. Yes, your puppy needs to experience everything – kids, dressing up, strangers, being out at night – but not all at once! Leave the pup at home, in a safe place (pen / crate) with a yummy stuffed Kong. Better still, someone stays with the pup to make sure (s)he is not frightened with all the neighbourhood shenanigans.
2. What about my adult dog? He / she loves people / kids / parties.
Well, you’ll have to judge this for yourself. My inclination would be to say that 98% of dogs probably won’t love it as much as you might think, but if you seriously have the world’s most chilled and friendly hound then you decide. You could always stay in and your (pre-trained) pooch could help hand out the candy, dressed as a pumpkin.
3. So it’s ok to dress my dog up?
Yep. As long as you’ve prepared your dog for being dressed up. Pair the outfit with treats, start putting bits of it on gradually, for a few minutes at a time and reward, reward, reward. Obviously if the dog starts to get stressed or panicky you should stop. Remember as well that if you’re staying inside, the dog is likely to be getting quite warm in their costume – make sure plenty of water is available and turn down the central heating. (If your dog doesn’t enjoy being handled much getting forced into an outfit is probably not their idea of fun so give it a miss.)
4. So, we’re staying in, handing out sweeties and some friends are coming over for a PARTY!!!
Great! A lot of dogs love human social gatherings. Even if your dog is the life-and-soul, you should still make sure that there is somewhere quiet for him / her to retreat to when it all gets a bit much. Ensure everyone in the house knows that the dog’s bed / crate is their safe place and they shouldn’t be disturbed when they are in it. Make sure any kids are not left alone with the dog and that your friends aren’t all slipping several sausages to your canine companion or you will be clearing up the results in the morning. Have some appropriate doggie-treats available so your dog can be rewarded for NOT eating all the human food! (Of course, if your dog doesn’t like guests, he / she should be safely tucked away in a quiet room with several chews / stuffed food toys and some relaxing music.)
Next week we tackle the tricky issue of how to help your dog cope with the firework season, so sign up now to get posts directly delivered to your inbox and that way you won’t miss a thing!