Halloween Helpsheet

Do you have trick-or-treaters calling at your house over Halloween?

We don’t have lots, but I will make sure to have some sweets in just in case because I’ve learnt that I need to the hard way. (There have been several Halloweens where I have had nothing to offer trick-or-treaters apart from a mouldy orange from the bottom of the fruit bowl or frozen peas!)

Lots of dogs will find it stressful, having the doorbell going repeatedly throughout the evening.

Or even if they don’t find it stressful, they maybe getting giddy near the doorway and trying to get out to see the visitors.

So how can we help our dogs deal with this funny time of year?

Here are my 5 Top Tips for Halloween;

1. Decide if your dog is going to answer the door with you. If not, can you shut him or her in a safe place while you deal with the visitors. Or if you want your dog to come with you, are you going to pop a lead on to eliminate the risk of them running out into the road?

2. Pair the sound of the doorbell or knocker with something nice like a toy or a treat. Don’t wait for visitors to come, enlist a helper to stand outside and ring the bell or knock the knocker then quickly deliver a treat or toy to your dogs mouth. This will change the doorbell from something to bark at or become anxious about to something to look forward to.

3. Train your dog to go to a bed or a safe space on the sound of the doorbell or knocker. This is the next level up from step 2, and can be a bit trickier and take longer to train. Instead of feeding a treat or giving a toy when the doorbell or knocker goes, use a treat or toy to lure them onto their bed or safe space as soon as they hear the sound, then give them the treat or toy as a reward on their bed or safe place. This works really well with crates too.

4. Use Halloween as a socialisation opportunity. Trick-or-treaters are going to be dressed as all kinds of crazy things, so if you have a happy confident dog or puppy take them on lead to meet and greet. Give them plenty of space if they seem wary, and reward with a treat or toy just for being around the trick-or-treaters.

5. Practice polite greetings. If your dog is going to say hello to the visitors don’t let them practice jumping up by keeping them on lead and asking for a Sit before anyone is allowed to say hello to them. The more you practice this the better they will get!

I hope these are helpful! If you need any help, give me a shout.

And Happy Halloween!

Nicola x

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