Halloween from Your Dog's Perspective

As we round the calendar into November there is one date that will refuse to go unnoticed: October 31. All spooks night, is an overwhelming splendor. Children of all ages — even adults — parade about in costume chatting with strangers like friends and approaching homes as though they had just visited yesterday. Humans get it. Dogs often don’t.

If your dog is known for extreme reactions, this night may prove an unnecessary stress for her. Halloween, after all, is not about dogs it’s about candy — most of your visitors will be surveying the goodies in your basket, not what breed of dog you have. With this in mind, strive to keep your dog out of their faces: either tethering her back away from the door, holding her on a leash or closing her in a distant room with gentle music playing loudly to mask the evening sounds. This is not the night to begin socializing your dog or testing out your new training techniques: this holiday, from a canine perspective, is most bizarre.

Consider it from your dog’s viewpoint. Your home is your dog’s den: your door, the entranceway to it. By instinct your dog is compelled to investigate every newcomer.

Whether her normal daily reaction to visitors is protective, friendly, or fearful, it is established. Halloween, however, is far from normal and thus will break every rule. Protective dogs can turn fearful, fearful dogs may stand ground, and friendly dogs may run to hide. When contemplating how to handle this day, consider your dog’s age, temperament and energy level.

If this is your dog’s first Halloween, she’ll be more open to your interpretation of the night, looking to you to determine her response. In this instance, condition your dog to the sound of treats in a cup — tossing a treat each time you rattle the cup. A night or two before Halloween ask friends or neighbors to visit in costume, preferable at dusk. With your dog on leash, lead her to the door, opening it casually as you mindfully relax your body posture and voice tones. Offer your visitors the treat cup, directing them to toss your dog treats. Discourage any undo attention or interaction with your dog: direct focus may induce fear or aggression. 
If possible ask your costumed helpers to repeat the same sequence a few times in 2-minute intervals. When your mock visitors leave, return to your household activity as though nothing unusual had occurred.

Read on for 3 helpful tips here.

Read More about Halloween from Your Dog's Perspective