Trick-or-treating is the most popular Halloween activity. If you have kids, you’re likely taking advantage of a night of free candy. Bringing your dog along for the fun is an excellent way for them to socialize and get some exercise outside. Preparing your dog for trick-or-treating is essential to ensure their safety, comfort, and enjoyment during this Halloween activity. Here is how to prepare your dog for trick-or-treating.
If you plan to dress your dog up, choose a comfortable and safe costume in which they can move comfortably. Ensure it fits properly and does not tug on their fur or restrict their movement or vision. Practice putting on the costume beforehand so your dog can get used to it, and don’t force your dog to wear a costume if they don’t like it. Periodically check your dog’s outfit during the outing to ensure it’s not causing discomfort or hazards. Ensure there are no small parts that your dog can chew or swallow.
Training and Socialization
Ensure your dog is well-trained and socialized before they go out and are around all sorts of people, noises, sights, and sounds. Your dog should be comfortable around strangers, especially in costumes. Practice basic obedience commands such as “sit,” “stay,” and “leave it.” You may need to train your dog to associate wearing and being around costumes positively. To help your dog associate costumes with positive experiences, reward them with treats and praise while they are around the outfit or wearing it.
Identification and Leash
Ensure your dog wears proper identification, including a collar with an up-to-date ID tag and a microchip. Please keep your dog on a leash during trick-or-treating to prevent them from running off or approaching other animals. Pay close attention to your dog’s body language. Taking a break or heading home is okay if they show signs of stress, fear, or discomfort. Watch for signs like panting, pacing, or avoiding eye contact and remember going home early is always better than your dog potentially running away from fear.
Familiarize the Environment
If your dog is not used to walking in your neighbourhood or crowded areas, take them for short walks in the area before Halloween to familiarize them with the sights and sounds. Additionally, give your dog plenty of exercise and playtime before trick-or-treating. A tired dog is more likely to be well-behaved during the outing.
Practice Doorbell Etiquette
If you’re giving out candy to trick-or-treaters, it’s essential to familiarize your dog with people coming to the door. Since trick-or-treating often involves doorbells or knocking, practice doorbell etiquette with your dog. Train them not to bark excessively or become overly excited when the doorbell rings. Or, sitting out on the porch and having your dog enjoy the fun outside may be best. If your dog shows signs of distress or discomfort, it’s better to let them relax in a quiet, safe space in your home.
Carry Treats, but Stay Clear of Candy
Bring treats with you to reward your dog for good behaviour during the outing is essential. This reinforces positive behaviour and can help keep them focused. However, you must keep your dog away from Halloween candy, especially chocolate and treats containing xylitol, which can be toxic to dogs. If you think your dog consumed any chocolate or candy, monitor their behaviour and take them to the vet immediately if any odd behaviour occurs.
Be Cautious with Decorations
Halloween is an exciting time for decorations with the abundance of choices available. As fun as the decorations are, be mindful of Halloween decorations that may frighten or hurt your dog. Some decorations can be scary or pose choking hazards if your dog consumes them. Other decorations can also harm your dog if they are made of glass, toxic substances, or are powered by electricity. If you have elaborate decorations, keep them out of reach or watch your pet so they don’t get hurt.
Stay Safe and Have Fun
Knowing how to prepare your dog for trick-or-treating can make for a fun and safe night out. Remember that not all dogs enjoy or are suited for trick-or-treating, and that’s perfectly fine. Some dogs may be more comfortable staying home in a quiet, safe space during the festivities. Always prioritize your dog’s well-being and comfort when making Halloween plans. If you need a dog walker before your Halloween festivities, contact Citizen Canine for all your dog-walking needs!