Halloween is rapidly approaching, and for some dogs, this is a deeply stressful time. Costumes can be very frightening – especially those leaning towards the horror genre – and your dog may not be able to cope. Here are a few tips to help your dog cope more easily with the sensory overload Halloween can create.
Prevent your dog from getting near the door. Erect a barrier they can see through, but they can’t get over or knock down. Make sure they have a soft bed or pillow to retreat to, and some toys they can redirect their energy onto. Bones are good in these situations, as they can safely release anxiety, stress, or general over-excitement by chewing on them.
Kennel your dog in a separate room during the busiest visitation time. For some dogs, this helps ease their excitement or anxiety, because they can’t see the source of the sounds. It’s a bit like covering the eyes of a horse to calm them. Some dogs are able to cope much better when they’re kenneled in these types of situations.
Put your dog on a leash. Have a friend or family member handle him or her while you answer the door. Some dogs don’t get frightened by costumed children, but they do get extremely excited at the prospect of meeting someone new. It’s wonderful that your dog loves meeting new people, but you need to recognize that other people are not you. They don’t know your dog; they may be afraid of dogs; they may not like dogs at all. Keeping your dog on a leash allows your dog to be part of the fun safely, from a distance. If visitors want to meet your dog, only then – and only if he/she can control their excitement – could you allow a very short meeting. The dog can sniff the visitors for up to one minute, and that’s it. Remember: Even the most well-behaved dogs can sometimes forget their manners.
If you have other ways of helping your dog cope with the stimulation and excitement of Halloween, leave a comment. If you liked this article, hit the like button and drop me a comment. I would love to hear from you!