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This weeks blog is from Amber Walker, lead trainer and owner at Animal Intuitions, LLC…I hope you get some good tips to help your dog be Halloween ready!

Hisk and Hark! Draw close and tremble! This is the night when ghosts assemble!

Halloween season is here with crazy costumes and scary decorations everywhere we look.  Many dogs have no issues with them and others 10-2015 Halloween with Leowill be petrified.  It’s so important to me that a puppy is able to brush off a scary situation, that in my puppy classes we have Halloween night every 6 weeks all year long!

I can’t tell you how many owners purposely scare their dogs with creepy masks or devilish costumes because their dogs freak out and it makes the owner laugh…and it drives me crazy.  I already dislike jokes, pranks, and April Fools on humans but to do those things to an animal that doesn’t have an understanding of what Halloween or any joke concept, is just sinister!  If I just described you…I wag my finger.

So! For those of us that want to make sure our new puppies or adult dogs are ready for this season, there are a few things you can do.

***TRAINING TIP: Anytime you can take a neutral situation (nothing bad or good is happening) and turn it into a positive one, you are setting your dog up for future success!

  • Get Halloween decorations out on the floor (if safe and won’t be destroyed by dog) or low and still in your hand in the “off” position, for those with sound and lights.  Allow your dog to investigate it on their own.  Treat or pet your dog for being brave.
  • If the decoration or costume moves or lights up, turn it on from this low/still position and pet or treat your dog for being brave again, now with lights and noise.  You may have to start from many feet away at first.  Bring the object closer as the dog is showing signs of being relaxed or curious.
  • As your dog becomes comfortable with the object, move it around or allow self-moving objects to move at this time.  Pet or treat your dog for bravery and curiosity.
  • If your kids are going to be wearing their costumes all the time, allow your dog to see it in pieces or flat on the floor before the kids are flying around the house in them.  For puppy class, we allow the dog to get rewarded for the mask, gloves, cape, and head piece all separate before the trainer dons the entire outfit as one costume.dogeatingcandy
  • Doorbell!!  Since your doorbell will be ringing every 90 seconds, consider bringing your dog to the front door on a leash, standing there, and ringing it over and over again with a cookie each time it rings.  Allow them to see no one is there, nothing is happening, and the doorbell is actually really boring.  Up til now, there’s a good chance your dog thinks that a pizza rings the bell every single time.  Or for simplicity, put the dog in a different room with Through A Dog’s Ear music, some lavender diffused oil and a white noise sound machine and let them sleep the night away!
  • Keep all chocolate and candy out of reach of dogs especially counter surfing pets.  And keep hydrogen peroxide on hand in case they do get into the candy bowl.

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays.  Make it your pets’ favorite too!!

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