Halloween is right around the corner and with all the bell-ringing, door knocking and squealing of youth that are super-charged with sugary treats running about, this particular holiday can be stressful for some of our animal companions. Let’s talk about a few things that might make the evening go as uneventful as possible.
If your dog is very reactive to the comings and goings, a good choice may be to simply not participate with handing out candy. However we don’t want to disappoint the little ones if we don’t have to so crating your dog is a wonderful tactic when presented well and laced with treats. Give her a bully stick or a busy toy to keep her company. Sometimes, even a reactive dog enjoys seeing what is going on, so if your pup is well crate trained park him in the living room with you so he can safely watch. Some dogs actually become better overall with any stranger coming up to the house using this set-up and it had the added advantage of keeping everyone safe. If the living area is not an option, a quiet place such as a back bedroom also works well.
Perhaps your baby is great with kids, noise and strangers. But still, there is that opening and closing of the door that can be an issue if he is a boisterous greeter. This problem can easily be solved by applying a puppy gate to the outside of the entry door framework from the front yard side, creating a barrier even though the door is in the open position. I personally have had very good results with this technique. My girls were well trained to puppy gates and even if there was another dog out on the sidewalk, they stayed in the house.
Another way to work with your dog requires the recruiting of a partner. Decide who will be the candy handler and who will be the dog handler. Put a leash on the dog and have one monitor the pup while the other answers the door. Very simple, very effective. It has the added benefit of not having the companion sequestered, as pup can drag the leash freely about when no one comes to the door.
The family cat doesn’t usually want any part of this holiday nonsense and finds a quiet place all be himself. However that opening and closing door can still be a problem so once kitty has found a safe place to ‘hide’ shutting the door to the room may save some anxious hours for you later.
And let’s not forget those animal companions accompanying their charges on the haunted hunt for candy. I usually have a small bowl of treats for them also. After all, they don’t get to come up to the door generally and if I’m handing out treats, I like to hit everybody. Plus the kids are always happy the pup, or pig (Yes, I have had a pot-belly in a tutu visit on Halloween and I had to run and get a handful of nuts for her…I presume a ‘her’ what with the tutu and all.) was included in trick or treat.
There is lots of activity on Halloween both inside and outside the house. Let’s make sure everyone enjoys the evening by keeping it safe for all our children, be they two legged or four.