Halloween can be a very stressful holiday for dogs, especially if your dog is anxious about people coming to the door, knocking or ringing the doorbell. Not only do you want to keep your dog calm, but you’ll also want to keep trick-or-treaters safe. If your dog is anxious during Halloween because of all the scary noises and strangers in costumes, there are a few steps you can take to help them.
As a reminder for any holiday or event where your dog is scared or anxious, there is a chance they’ll run away. Always make sure your dog has ID tags and is microchipped.
Here are some tips for how to help an anxious dog during trick or treating.
Reduce Your Dog’s Anxiety
Prepare Your Dog Before the Holiday
You can try to help your pup get ready for Halloween, but don’t force it if it’s causing them too much anxiety.
Train Your Dog to Sit and Stay When You Go To the Front Door
Start by practicing getting them to stay as you move towards the door. Don’t open the door until they sit and stay. Remember to praise good behavior and reward with a treat.
Practice Opening the Front Door
Grab the handle and make sure your dog stays and remains sitting. Once they have that part down, start opening the door. Again, your dog should stay and remain sitting. Reward them with praise and treats.
Have a Friend Knock on the Door or Ring the Bell
Now it’s time to practice stay and sit when someone approaches the door and knocks or rings the bell. If your dog starts barking and acting excited, don’t move to answer the door until they have calmed down. Open it only when your dog is calm, sitting, and staying.
Not all dogs will be able to conquer this, so know your dog and help them in other ways if needed.
Keep Your Dog in a Quiet Room
If you have a room far away from the commotion at the front door, keep your pup in there. Give them a distraction, like a puzzle toy stuffed with their favorite treats. Turn on the TV or music to help drown out the sounds from the trick or treaters.
Get Some Exercise
Take your dog out for a walk earlier in the day. Tiring them out may help them rest and maybe even sleep.
Try a Thundershirt
These snug shirts surround the dog’s torso and chest with gentle, constant pressure. For some dogs, that gentle pressure provides them with comfort, security and a distraction from the noise.
Talk to Your Vet
Your dog’s veterinarian can provide personalized advice on how to calm your dog during stressful events. They may recommend anti-anxiety medications that can help your dog when nothing else seems to work.
Taking Your Dog Trick or Treating?
Does your dog have an adorable costume and you’re thinking about taking them trick or treating with the family? Keep the following tips in mind!
Know Your Dog
If Your Dog is Wearing a Costume
Make sure they’re comfortable in costumes and can walk, sit, lay down and use the bathroom easily.
Strangers & Strange Noises
Be sure your dog isn’t scared or overwhelmed by strangers and lots of commotion.
Kids That Aren’t Yours
Importantly, be sure you know how your pup acts around kids who are not yours. Remember, children may run up to your dog without asking, be sure your dog can handle that, and that you can control your dog’s behavior.
Keep Your Dog on a Leash
Keeping your dog on a leash not only helps control their behavior around strangers and other dogs, but also prevents them from running away if they get scared.
Stay on Sidewalks & Paths
Sidewalks are safer than the street, especially at night, but also keeps your pup away from Halloween decorations and neighbor’s landscaping.
Bring the Dog Treats
Your pup may be interested in all the fun treats the kids are getting, many of which may be dangerous to dogs. Bring some of your dog’s favorite treats so they can join in on the fun.
Try some of the tips above to help your dog if they’re anxious during trick or treating. If Halloween is stressful for your dog, these steps may help.