Resources For families with dogs and babies!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Halloween and hounds


Keeping Halloween SPOOK-FREE 
Halloween is "fright night" for humans not dogs.  Screaming, running, spooky children in masks make many dogs uncomfortable, nervous and frightened.
Halloween costumes are fun and are meant to disguise our normal appearance. Dogs do not understand this change in appearance and may become frightened. 
Costumes that change the way a person walks, stands, or general appearance may cause a dog to react differently than usual even with those they know.
Keep in mind that children on Halloween night are excited and doing their best to be scary. This is not a fair or safe situation to put even the best of dogs in. Even the normally terrific tolerant family dog can find this night hard to handle.
Along with costumes being frightening to a dog there are some that may become interesting too. Swords, tails and dangling things may be fun for an excited dog to chase and toddlers certainly won’t appreciate that.

Every child and every costume is a new opportunity for different reactions from the same dog.

I recommend setting up your dog with their own private Halloween bash in a safe quiet spot with a yummy treat of their own. Here are some tips to help make this safe haven most comfortable.
  1. Stuff a food dispensing toy with yummy mush and freeze it until it is "Halloween" time.
  2. Use a fan or radio for white noise. Something consistent is best.
  3. Be sure the blinds are down or the dog is not watching kids coming and going by the window. This will only frustrate him and allow him to practice barking and carrying on at the window.
  4. Keep your dog on leash with you.
  5. Put candy in a bowl on your front step and allow trick or treaters to help themselves to save you from having to get the door.
  6. Use this time to "teach" your dog what you want.  Leave the bowl of candy outside so you can work uninterrupted with your dog. Sit with a large amount of high value doggie treats inside with your dog. When your dog barks at a trick or ready to reinforce him the moment they stop and look at you.  Repeat. 
Chocolate is toxic to dogs.  Put candy in a safe spot.  

*****Sometimes dogs and cats (especially if they are black) are stolen, poisoned or injured by Halloween pranks.  Keep your companions safe inside your home.
Be safe and aware and have fun!*******

Here is a short clip I took several years ago with my daughter.  Windsor had been with us 6 months.  We practiced alot with the various looks before taping so don't worry, spider man was already a bit familiar to Windsor by the time we taped this.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The main thing I do on Halloween is stand at the end of my sidewalk with the candy. (This gives me a really good excuse to dress up, by the way!) This way, there is not continuous racket on the porch to disturb the furry kids in the house.

Since I am a single mom, one of the reasons (the main ones being love and bed buddies) I have my furbabies is for protection, and not allowing them to "get used to" the constant racket of Halloween, even for just that one night, insures that they will NEVER be comfortable with strange noises on the porch and close to the door of the house.

The one time that someone tried to break into my house back several years ago, just the noise of unfamiliar footsteps and doorknob rattling was enough to alert my doggies into action, who immediately began to bark LOUDLY and wake me up so that I could call the police. Needless to say, they found a man trying to break in the house next door, and scratches on my doorknob from where he had THOUGHT about coming in mine until he heard the pack letting him know that might be a REALLY BAD idea. :)

Having my babies used to meeting "strangers" that I introduce them to in our house is one thing, but constant doorbell ringing and noise on the porch, like what happens on Halloween, is something that they should never be used to.

It's worth it to me to take the extra step to hand out candy from the end of the driveway in order to insure that my furry kids aren't disturbed or become any less protective of their territory.

Now, I'm going to go climb on the couch with 3 of them, curl up in a big pile, and watch a video.

GREAT post! You have touched on something that a lot of people don't think about! I will spread it around! THANK YOU!