Halloween can be a terrifying experience for your pup—which is why they need some special dog tricks to help them feel safe.
It’s the one day of the year where the doorbell rings constantly, and every time the door opens, there’s a new set of masked and costumed children visiting. This could be quite alarming from your dog’s perspective as they think they need to defend their territory from intruders. It could also cause uncontrollable excitement as your dog would love to play with the new friends who have come to visit. Either way, it’s enough to cause any dog anxiety and turn Halloween from a fun night of candy distribution to complete chaos and stress.
Whether you plan to stay in or do some safe, socially distanced trick-or-treating, we have some tips that will make Halloween safe and stress-free for you and your dog this year.
3 Dog Tricks To LessEn the Stress This Halloween
DOG TRICK NO.1: STAY
If your dog already has a habit of charging the door when the doorbell rings—or even when they just think they heard it ring—then this is one of the most essential tricks to teach your dog. At Dog Gone Amazing, when we teach the “sit” or “down” command, it means a lot more than just briefly touch your butt to the ground and get a treat. “Sit” and “Down” at Dog Gone Amazing mean sit and stay seated (for the former) and lie down and stay lying down (for the latter). “Stay” is part of the trick; it’s a package deal.
Once this is established, you can work with your dog on what we call “Distance Training,” which is when your dog understands they need to stay there and not move. You should be able to walk away from your dog and trust them not to move from their position until you release them. This is an essential skill whether you’re with your dog in a public setting or at home, but it’s especially helpful when you have frequent visitors.
DOG TRICK NO. 2: NO BARKING
Asking your dog not to bark during Halloween might sound like something that requires a mythical spell to conjure in a cauldron, but, believe it or not, it’s totally possible. No eye of newt necessary!
At Dog Gone Amazing, we use eCollar training as it’s essential to effective no-bark training. But, here’s what it isn’t—it isn’t shock-collar training, and it isn’t harmful. Our trainers use eCollars as tools to communicate with dogs by using the “quiet” command. When a dog barks, trainers can give them a small vibration or pulse on their neck and say “quiet.” Then, the dog starts to understand the pattern: Every time they bark, they feel a physical sensation on their neck. This helps them know that when they bark, you tell them “quiet,” and they start to recognize it as unwanted behavior. If you hear the growling or rumbling start before a bark is let out, this is actually the best time to redirect and give them the “quiet” command to help retrain their thinking.
If you are looking for effective, no-bark training, we recommend Dog Gone Amazing’s in-home training program. We highly discourage using eCollar equipment without a professional’s help.
DOG TRICK NO.3: DROP IT!
In all the chaos of Halloween night, there likely will be new human “toys” and treats. But whether it’s a plastic pirate sword or a new bucket of “treasure”, you’ll want to be sure to keep your dog safe from looting it. Halloween can be an especially dangerous time if your dog has a habit of chewing on things or getting into food. Sugar and chocolate can have significant health impacts for dogs, as can swallowing bits of plastic and foreign matter.
One of the best tricks to teach your dog is to “drop it.” Working with a dog on this command is simple. Start by giving your dog an approved dog toy, and then holding a treat near their nose and saying, “drop it.” They likely will automatically drop the toy to grab the treat. Reward them by saying “good” or yes” every time they drop the toy, and then give them the treat. You can pull on the toy to ease it away from their grip to give them a nudge, but the idea is that they eventually release objects on their own. Practice this a few times, and, as you continue, delay the amount of time it takes from when they drop the toy to when they receive the treat. This will help them understand that when you say “drop it,” you mean putting down what’s in their mouth. This takes some practice, but could really help teach your dog to let go of the things you don’t want them to have.
3 Treats Your Dog Will Love This Halloween
Now that we’ve covered the tricks let’s talk about some treats your dog will love this Halloween.
Greenies are an all-time favorite for dogs because they taste great, but they’re also a top pet-owner pick because they freshen doggy breath and help keep their teeth clean. ScaryBerry treats are blueberry flavored, easy to digest, and are sure to make your dog smile.
CANNED PUMPKIN PUREE
Canned pumpkin puree (plain pumpkin without added sugar or spices) is a vitamin-packed power food for dogs and can remedy diarrhea and constipation. It’s loaded with beta-carotene and fiber, which are great for dogs. But don’t overdo it! The correct dosage is a couple of teaspoons for small dogs and a couple of tablespoons for large dogs: Mix it with their favorite food to add some excitement to dinnertime.
With similar benefits to pumpkin, sweet potatoes are known for vitamins and keeping things regular. These all-natural, pure sweet potato chews taste great and will be a special Halloween treat for any dog.
Start your preparation for Halloween now, and your dog will be ready for whatever the evening holds by October 31.