Techniques for Keeping Your Dog Relaxed on Halloween Night!
As Halloween comes our way, one of the big things that worries a lot of owners (besides coming up with the cutest Instagramable costume for our pup) is keeping our dogs calm when the trick-or-treaters show up!
Well, worry no more because we’ve written up a collection of tips that will go a long way to keeping your dogs in line on Halloween night! Gather around the glowing jack-o-lantern, snuggle in your blankies, and without any further ado, let's jump right into it!
- Get Your Dog To Work Out
Just as with humans, doggos also get weary and exhausted after exercise and engaging in physically draining activities.
Before the big night, it’s a good idea to exercise your dog and wear them down so that they don’t have as much pent up energy to let loose on your spooky little trick-or-treaters!
Exercise makes a huge difference in the way a dog behaves. Research has shown that a large number of behavioral issues can be remedied simply by increasing your dog’s exercise intake.
If you take your dog out for a long walk, play with him, get in a couple rounds of fetch, along with a bit of jogging or a hike, chances are he’ll be too tired to give you trouble when evening comes.
- Try Some Canine CBD Oil
Some studies have shown that CBD (cannabidiol) oil is surprisingly beneficial for dogs, specifically those who are stressed out or in pain.
Many owners have amazing tales of how their dogs’ behavior improved by leaps and bounds after beginning to take CBD oil dog treats. Consider trying some dog CBD oil to soothe your pup’s stressed out nerves.
Also, don’t be worried about CBD oil getting your dog high. CBD oil does not contain a fancy chemistry term known as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is essentially responsible for psycho-activity.
- The “Quiet” Treatment
If you own a dog that raises all hell when someone rings your doorbell or knocks, Halloween is a great time for some dog training!
You might want to put this training into work before the big night and then use Halloween as a practice session, as starting a new training command while also handing out candy to trick-or-treaters could be too much to handle in one night!
The first step to doorbell desensitization is to figure out what your dog is trying to communicate when it hears the bell go off.
If your dog barks like crazy because he is feeling afraid when the doorbell goes off, the first thing you’ll want to do is make him comfortable with the bell and realize that the doorbell isn’t something to be nervous about. This can be done by giving treats every time someone rings the bell.
Even if your dog is barking, keep rewarding your pup because you’re teaching your dog that the bell is a good thing, not a bad, scary thing. Bell = treats! You can get a friend to help you with this and ask them to stand outside ring the doorbell every 30 seconds or so.
The next step is to start commanding your pooch to be quiet, doing a “shh”-gesture and giving him a treat. At first, you’ll want to treat your dog even for being quiet just for a few seconds. After doing this for a while, your dog will get accustomed to looking at you for a treat with cute puppy eyes instead of barking.
Finally, start to increase the amount of time you expect your dog to be quiet before offering a treat. This will result in your dog being quiet for longer in expectation of being rewarded and you will have set up a training foundation with your dog that will go a long way on Halloween night!
- Not Tasty Enough?
If your dog doesn’t seem to respond to your quiet command or doesn’t look motivated enough when you reward him with a treat, the problem may not be you or the dog but the treats!
Get some higher-value and tastier treats for your dog and watch him drool for them every time you train him.
It’s common for owners to assume that when a dog isn’t interested in the treat, they must be “not motivated by treats”. But this is rarely the case- some dogs just need higher-value treats to stay motivated. Stinky stuff (think boiled chicken or hot dogs) usually works wonders!
- No Shouting or Shock Collars
Although it’s normal to feel frustrated with your dog sometimes, yelling and shouting does no good. For one, your dog might think that every time he barks, your yelling is you joining in! Your dog might also misinterpret your anger, not understand why you’re upset, and begin to fear you rather than change his behavior.
Some owners also choose to use shock collars to fix a naughty, barking dog. However, this isn’t the best strategy either.
As with yelling, dogs aren’t always able to understand why they are being punished. When you shock your dog for barking, he might begin to associate the shock with visitors arriving or with you reaching for the door handle.
These accidental associations can cause a lot of trauma and may result in a lot of additional work with a trainer to fix the bad associations you’ve inadvertently created.
All in all, shock collars are quite risky and are an unreliable method of training your dog to be better. Instead of using fear to manage your dog, positive reinforcement through treats and praise will provide safer and more effective!
We hope these tips will help keep your pup calm and collected on Halloween night. Go get that spooky costume ready because the big night is headed our way. Have a happy Halloween!
About The Author: Meg Marrs is the founder and head of marketing for K9 of Mine, a dog care resource website dedicated to helping owners take the very best care of their four-legged pals!