How to Keep Your Pooch Happy & Calm For Trick-Or-Treaters
Halloween is just around the corner, which means thousands of children (and sometimes even adults) will be going around their neighborhoods with the hopes of being greeted with some candy at each doorstep. While most humans get a kick out of this holiday, dogs don’t always share our enthusiasm, often fearing the constant knocking on the door and being greeted by children wearing all manner of spooky costumes.
With a few tips in mind, you can make sure that you keep your dog calm during the popular trick-or-treating night of Halloween. We’ve collected five of the most important tips that you should take into consideration if you have a dog and are concerned about how your pooch will handle the influx of door-bell-ringers.
1. Focus on Teaching a “Quiet” Command
Training your dog to recognize and obey the “quiet” command can be one of the most valuable steps you take before Halloween night.
The great thing about teaching dogs is that – with some effort and patience from your side – you can achieve a lot. If your dog is particularly food-motivated and eager to learn, he may pick up this command within just a few days.
The quiet command does take some practice. The idea behind the “quiet” command is to get your dog to calm down and stop barking when you do say this word along with a hand signal (most folks choose the “shhh” motion of bringing their finger to their lips).
To start off, assess your dog’s attitude towards the doorbell. One of the major reasons why your dog may become uncontrollable when the doorbell rings is due to fear. With this in mind, begin by associating a ringing of the doorbell with some positive things, such as a treat or a toy.
Initially, don’t worry if your dog barks at the door – simply provide tasty treats when the doorbell rings. For some dogs, this new positive association may be all you need to stop the barking.
Part two is adding the “quiet” command. Ring the doorbell and then use the “quiet” command and hand motion. Show your dog the treat clearly to get him focused on you. Wait for your dog to be quiet – even just a few seconds of silence counts at first! Treat and praise your dog for keeping quiet.
Next, you’ll want to try getting him to stay quiet for longer before giving another treat each time.
2. Find A Treat Your Dog Really Appreciates
When it comes to treating your dog, one thing is for certain – a high-value treat will make your dog obey your commands and be obedient much more effectively than something you give him on a regular basis (like boring old kibble).
Every dog is different, however. What would be considered a high value treat for one pooch may not be so exciting for another canine. You might have to do some experimenting to find what your dog would really consider a valuable treat.
Hot dogs, string cheese, and peanut butter all usually work well as high-value treats for dogs. You should, however, take care when buying peanut butter. Never give your dog peanut butter that contains Xylitol, as it’s toxic for dogs.
3. Use CBD Oil To Relieve Canine Stress
CBD oil is a product that contains extracts from hemp plants. No, this is not the same as marijuana, so don’t worry that CBD oil will get your dog high – the oil does not cause psychoactive effects.
While the use of CBD oil products has become very popular among humans, our pets can also benefit from these oils.
There are different types of CBD oil for dogs – some are tinctures you can add to your dog’s food while others are CBD-infused dog treats. These products have been shown to provide an effective reduction in anxiety symptoms in many dogs. CBD oil can help chill your pup out when those trick-or-treaters start showing up. This will not only help prevent barking, but may also calm your dog enough that they’ll be more receptive to your training efforts.
In addition to being an effective remedy for stress and anxiety, CBD oil has several other benefits for dogs. This includes a reduction in inflammation and the potential alleviation of chronic pain symptoms. CBD oil may also help to ease symptoms of digestive disorders and help a dog better cope with the effects of arthritis.
4. Don’t Skimp On Exercise
Exercise is a critical part of keeping a dog healthy – but it may have more benefits for your pooch than just aiding in your dog’s overall well-being.
When it comes to preparing for the trick-or-treaters that will come by on Halloween night, exercise will definitely be a big factor in keeping your dog calm. Studies have shown that exercise is a great way of helping to relieve stress in dogs.
When you take your dog out for some exercise, it stimulates the release of a neurotransmitter known as serotonin. The chemical has a similar effect on dogs as it has in humans, giving your pup a good mood boost.
As they say, a tired dog is a happy dog. Wear your dog down so that they won’t have so much pent up energy, will feel better overall, and won’t be as likely to harass your visitors.
5. Put The Dog Away As A Last Resort
While some dogs can be effectively trained and persuaded with a few treats to keep calm and listen to you, this is not always the case.
Unfortunately, when this happens, your dog may feel stressed and act out when there are visitors who show up at your doorstep. If your dog doesn’t seem to be handling the trick-or-treaters very well, it might be a good idea to consider putting him away for the evening.
If you decide to put your dog away, make sure you keep him in a quiet, relaxing environment that is familiar to him, like his crate or your bedroom.
Consider putting on the radio to act as a distraction if the doorbell is setting him off. As always, make sure your dog has access to water and check up on them frequently. You should also leave a toy or two for your dog (or – even better – an engaging dog puzzle toy).
This will help to further distract them from what is happening at the front door!
If your house will be visited by trick-or-treaters during Halloween and you own a dog, then you need to prepare your pet for the people who will be arriving at the doorstep. Luckily, there are ways to make sure that your dog remains calm and does not feel frightened of those spooky little ghosts showing up at your doorstep. Follow the tips above for a fun and fright-free Halloween!