Halloween can be stressful enough for us humans: ghosts and goblins walking about, children wandering through the streets, reeling from far too much sugar. Imagine what it must be like for our canine companions, who feel like protecting the house every time there’s a knock on the door is their only job. Here are a few tips to help keep your furry friend a little bit calmer this Halloween.
1. Treats, as usual, are the answer
Treats can be used in a few different ways to keep your dogs calm if there is a lot of foot traffic at your front door. The first is by picking up some treats that are specifically made to calm dogs down. Treats with ingredients like tryptophan, hemp, and chamomile can help calm the hounds in your home, and certain herbal liquids can be added to any treat that help keep dogs from getting too wound up. In addition, you can motivate your dogs to be calm by rewarding them for sitting and staying quiet when a knock comes at the door. Only reward them with a favorite treat if they quietly sit through a trick or treat visit. By the time the fifth or sixth group come to your door, your dog will understand they will only get the reward if they are quiet.
2. Get some serious exercise earlier in the day
You may see varying success in using calming treats; some dogs are barely phased by them. However, some good exercise will wear down any dog. Taking them out early in the day before expecting trick or treaters can save a lot of headache that night. If there’s one near you, take your dog to an off leash park and let them run around with other dogs. If they’re a fetcher, throw a tennis ball or frisbee until they knock themselves out. If parks are out of the question, a long walk or jog will help them burn off excess energy. Exercise coupled with treat rewards will quickly make Halloween your dog’s favorite holiday.
3. Positioning (of you and your dog) is key
This takes knowing your dog’s personality a bit. If your dog is comfortable being on their own, maybe kennel them or otherwise block them away from the door so you aren’t having to corral them every time the doorbell rings. If your dog is more comfortable staying close to you, consider keeping them on a short leash nearby, especially one hooked to a belt or around your waist so that both your hands are free. Make sure candy, especially chocolate, is placed near the door and well out of your dog’s reach. Finally, if you are especially nervous about how your dog will react to Halloween, consider boarding them at their favorite facility so they can ride out the evening away from the ghouls and ghosts.
Halloween can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be a nightmare for you or your dog. Accidents can happen when your canine friend is stressed out, so keep a supply of Bio-nihilator on hand to help clean up any messes. Stay safe this October, and have a happy Halloween!