Here comes Halloween!

If your dog reacts poorly to door-knocking, doorbells, guests at the door, children, goblins, ghosts, witches, or zombies, then you need a game plan for Halloween night.

If you’re only interested in managing the situation:

Exercise your dog well, right before it's trick-or-treat time.

Put your dog in another room and play soothing music to drown out the sounds at the door. Give your dog many things to focus on such as stuffed Kongs, chews, and puzzle toys. Keep checking in on your dog to make sure they have not whittled the bone/chew down to a choke-able size.

Keep your door open if you have a glass door so you can watch for trick-or-treaters and catch them before they knock or ring the bell. If you can’t keep your door open, keep a close eye out for trick-or-treaters and catch them before they knock or ring the bell.

If you’re feeling brave use these random door meetings as a training opportunity:

Practice sending your dog to their mat every time a trick-or-treater knocks or rings the bell. Your dog needs to already know how to do this and they should have had plenty of rehearsals before Halloween night.

Practice having your dog stay on the mat while someone else tends to the trick-or-treaters. Have your dog on leash if you are not 100% sure your dog will stay. (click and treat your dog while they stay to set your dog up for success.)

Here’s a treat from Shake On It Dog Training, a series of videos teaching you how to teach your dog to go to the mat when guests come by, from start to finish!

If you have a puppy:

Use this holiday as a great socialization event! Hand your trick-or-treaters some really yummy dog treats to feed to your puppy, one at a time!

If your puppy is too shy to take treats from; goblins, witches, ghosts, and zombies, let your puppy watch from a comfortable distance while you feed your puppy treats.


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Jamie Flanders