Do you want some Halloween tips from your dog?
As much as the kids in the household are anticipating Halloween, I’m kind of dreading it. I get so excited when the doorbell rings and you freak out – rushing over to the door and opening it quickly while I’m rushing around in a panic! I get so excited I can’t stop barking! People keep telling me to calm down and be quiet, but no one else is calm so why should I? I remember from last year, this night is super hard for me because there’s even more going on than normal. And I never know what I’ll see when that door opens up – it’s crazy!
And while you’re preparing the candy and the kids for Halloween night, I wanted to remind you one thing:[tweetthis]Halloween night is tough for me, the dog.[/tweetthis]
I overheard this awesome trainer, Kim Greco, talking about some tips to help me out, and I wanted to share them with you.
1) Set me up for success.
If I can’t maintain my composure when the UPS man (or woman!) delivers a package, do you think I’ll be able to get it right when Anakin Skywalker shows up? I always appreciate being set up for success so I keep getting things right. If I’m not quite ready to impress the neighborhood with my impeccable manners, perhaps this night is not the right time to work me by the front door! If you have an extra person who can man the door, you can focus all of your attention on me. We may need to start the evening off in the kitchen (or the basement) working on staying calm when I hear the doorbell. Figure out where my threshold is so I’ll be well behaved when the doorbell rings and highly reinforce me! You can use my whole dinner for this training and some extra yummy treats, too!
2) Advocate for me.
What does that mean? Do whatever I need to make sure I know you’ve got my back. I’ll probably be overwhelmed with the extreme level of distractions Halloween night. Keep your energy calm so I can stay calm, too. Be careful not to accidentally reinforce me if I start to get worked up. Don’t try to pet me or talk to me in order to calm me down. But as long as I am behaving well, reinforce me with anything and everything I like, including lots of treats and calm praise. (See how the extra treats keep coming up over and over?)
3) Be smart.
Predict situations that could lead to trouble. Anticipate when the first trick-or-treaters will arrive by having my leash on and my treats prepared long before you think you’ll need them. Keep your candy stash up and out of my reach so I don’t help myself to some potentially dangerous treats! Remember chocolate can be extremely dangerous for me. Some families go trick-or-treating with their dog, including the trainer I know. When she walks around with her dogs on Halloween night, she’s always careful to keep them far back from people’s homes. She’s always anticipating the owner of the house may have a dog, and may not have their dog under control – leading to the possibility of a dog rushing out the front door and heading straight for her dogs.
The opposite situation is something to consider, too! When you open your door, you need to be prepared that another family may have their dog just outside your front door. They probably don’t realize the potential problem they’re causing by having their dog outside our house. You’ll need to be able control me under those circumstances, too.
Definitely have fun, but don’t forget that I may need some extra attention to help me out! Thanks Mom & Dad for listening!! Now how about those treats!
Share in the comments below your story of your dog on Halloween night. What do you do to set your dog up for success? Do you have any additional Halloween tips?