Halloween is one of those holidays that brings out the inner child in many of us. There is only a short part of your childhood to enjoy trick or treating (I was told at age 12 I was too old and never went again).
As an adult, you can relive the fun by accompanying the kids in your life or staying home to hand out candy. These days the whole family joins in on the fun and taking your dog trick or treating can be an enjoyable experience, but not for everyone.
Whether you stay home with your dog on trick or treat night or take your dog trick or treating, we’ve got you covered. Here are some tips to make sure everyone is safe and has fun on Halloween.
If you plan to hand out candy with your dog, make sure they are on a secured leash.
Put your dog’s costume on a couple days in advance to make sure they are comfortable in it.
Trick or Treating at Home
Staying home with your dog? Make sure to still follow safety measures if handing out candy. Keep in mind that even a dog that is kid friendly can be scared or triggered by costumes. You could also open the door and come face to face with another dog, so be prepared. Here are some things to keep in mind.
If you are planning to dress your dog up in a Halloween costume, make sure to practice ahead of time. Get them comfortable with wearing it and walk them around the house so they are used to how the costume will move. You may need to figure out where their leash will clip or need to use a harness to go with the costume.
Use a Leash
If your dog is kid friendly, you can dress up with them to hand out candy together. If you choose to do so, make sure they are secured on a leash when you open the door. Trick or treat night can be unpredictable. A kid who’s afraid of dogs might be on the other side of the door. Maybe somebody brought their dog out trick or treating. Always be ready to use the leash.
Sometimes Crating is Necessary
If you are not sure how your dog will react, it is best to keep them home. Make sure to put them in a crate or a separate room before opening the door for trick or treaters. If your dog is or might be reactive, make sure that their crate is in a place where they cannot see the door when trick or treaters knock.
Make sure your dog’s leash and collar are free from chew marks or damage in case they get spooked.
Bring two adults so that one person can stay with the dog while the other goes with the kids.
Taking Your Dog Trick or Treating
For dogs that are social butterflies, this can be very fun. For puppies this can be a great way to add in some exposure and socialization. If this is your first time attempting trick or treat night with your dog, don’t worry, you can have a great time by taking a few safety steps and making sure to keep an eye on your dog. Here are a few things to take into consideration before heading out to trick or treat this Halloween.
Check the Weather in Advance
Bad weather is common on Halloween since it’s the end of October. Puppies can get scared by wind or want to chase leaves flying by and rain can put a damper on everyone’s experience. Check the weather ahead of time and plan accordingly. Keep in mind that wind can also make decorations and costumes look a little more scary to your dog. If the weather is nice, remember that this is high squirrel season as they start to stock up for winter.
Check Leash and Collar for Damage
This may seem like a no-brainer, but make sure your dog’s leash and collar are free from chew marks or damage and that their collar or harness is fitted correctly so they cannot slip out if they get spooked. If a child wants to hold the leash, make sure they can fully control the dog, if not, have someone hold the leash who can. Do not use flexi or retractable leashes either. This is not a time for your dog to explore so keep them on a 6 foot or shorter leash.
Bring Two Adults
A couple carved pumpkins on the porch can look scary to a dog. A house that goes all out with decorations always puts a smile on my face, but can really freak out your pup. Do not force them to approach a house if they dig in. Keep in mind how it looks from their perspective. It is always a good idea to have two adults so that one person can stay with the dog while the other goes with the kids. This way, if you do come across decorations that scare a dog, one person can cross the street with the dog, while the kids are still supervised.
Multiple Dog Households
If one dog is a better candidate for trick-or-treating than other dogs of the house do not feel guilty for only bringing one of your dogs out with you or taking turns with each dog. Don’t worry about your other dog getting jealous or feeling like they missed out. That is us humanizing them. Just remember you must be able to fully control your dog and be proactive in the event that you need to.
Feel It Out First
In the days before, you can dress your pup in their costume and walk them around the neighborhood you plan to hit up for Halloween. Watch to see how they respond to decorations. In the days leading up to trick or treat night, there are local Fall festivals and pet costume parades that you can attend as practice. If you are not sure how your dog will react, it’s always better to leave them home than risk a safety incident. Keep in mind, you can always set a goal for next year to enjoy trick or treating with your dog.
Enjoy a Safe and Happy Halloween with Your Pup
With a little planning and safety precautions taken, everyone in the family, including your dog, can enjoy Trick or Treating. If you have questions or your dog needs training before you feel safe taking them out on Halloween, feel free to get in touch.
Happy Halloween from the team at Canine Peace of Mind!
*If you’ve tried all of these things but it’s still not working out, you can always contact us to inquire about hiring a professional trainer.