Not all dogs handle danger at the door well. Some go absolutely bonkers at very normal things, like delivery of packages or mail. They wait in the wings for their target to appear and strike with a strategic flurry of their best manic dog impression and menacing barking. Sometimes it takes them a while to calm down after all of that activity. Other dogs might struggle not to bolt out of your door any time it’s opened, and good luck calling them back! If this sounds like your dog, this one is for you.
Let’s clear one little detail up. Your dog doesn’t want to behave this way. They don’t enjoy it. In fact just like it’s stressful to you, it’s even more so for them. When we start throwing Halloween costumes into the mix and a highly irregular amount of visitors at the door, this can be a very long night for your pup. And with Halloween nearly upon us, it’s a good idea to have a plan in place!
Here are some great tips to help keep the peace, and give both you and your dog just a little bit of breathing room.
Tip #1 - Zen Den
Keep your dog in a space they feel safe! Giving your dog a nice chew while they chill in a back room is a very good way to minimize and manage stress. It’s much easier not to freak out about something scary when you’re having fun and when the stressful thing is far away. Try to make sure your dog has some privacy and feels protected.
Tip #2 - Ditch the walk!
Avoiding people in costumes or masks will help prevent your dog from being put in a fearful situation. Lifelong fear can develop from a single scary event. No, forcing your dog into an interaction with something scary will never make them less scared of the thing. We don’t throw people who are afraid of water into the ocean and expect them to get better. Schedule the walk for the morning or afternoon along a calm route and avoid the hassle and nonsense that comes from an evening walk on Halloween.
Tip #3 - Keep your bowl outside
This can be great for dogs that don’t like knocking or the sound of your doorbell. It’s also protective of your health during these times since there is limited contact between yourself and the trick or treaters. Consider keeping a candy station on your porch or front stoop this year and you’ll be solving two potential problems at once!
Chocolate is extremely toxic and even deadly to dogs. Keeping it outside your home and utterly out of reach from them is another added bonus!
Tip #4 - Dump dress up
Many dogs do not like being dressed in dog clothes. If your dog doesn’t visibly enjoy it (smiling face, wiggling body, wagging tail) then don’t dress them up. Yes they might look cute when you do, but is it really worth the damage to your dog’s trust in you?
Tip #5 - Prep beforehand
Don’t wait to start training! Building confidence in your dog is best done before they have any fear problems, and it can save both of you a lot of stress and heart ache. Prevention of problems developing is ALWAYS easier and better than trying to fix an existing issue. Especially when we’re talking about serious things like fear! Get in touch if this is something you’re concerned about or have struggled with your dog before. I’m here to help and am just a quick call or message away!
Make sure your dog has current contact info on their collar and microchip. In the event that your dog does get loose and is at large, you have a much greater chance of getting them home safely to you when they’ve got ID. After all if your dog has to be listed as a John Canine, finding them can become much more difficult.
Keep your vet or emergency vet’s number handy. Accidents can happen, and that’s one less thing to have to scramble for if your dog accidentally does get into chocolate you might have.