It’s October and Halloween is just around the corner. For those of us who own dogs it can be a dreadful night, and not because of ghosts and ghouls. Dogs often bark relentlessly at trick-or-treaters is a common issue. Whether it’s due to excitement, stress, and duty, here are some tips for teaching your pet how to settle so you can all enjoy a frightfully fun Halloween night.
Trick-or-Treating with Your Dog
Try these simple ideas to teach your dog to sit
Take a dog treat and hold it near the tip of your Jabba the Mutt’s nose. Move the treat up over his head. While trying to keep his eye on the treat, he will end up sitting. Give him praise and then let him enjoy the treat. Incorporate the words “leave it” the next time you try it. Keep practicing and rewarding and soon your dog will sit on command. Hopefully he’ll get the gist before putting on 5 lbs.
When it comes to people ringing the doorbell, it can be a bit trickier. Your pet can now sit on command, but it needs to associate this same calm behavior with people coming to the front door. To do this, reward your pet with a tasty treat each time someone comes to the door. You may want to try this prior to Halloween, and you may have to leash your dog for the first couple of visitors.
Let’s face it. This is good training for any time of year, so no need to wait until Halloween-time to implement this tactic. In fact, the mailman and FedEx guy will probably love it.
Teach your dog to wait
Now Jabba, don’t run to the door, please! Have him sit and tell it to wait. Even if it’s just for a second, give him some applause and a reward. Keep practicing, trying to keep your dog still for a bit longer each time. This may take several days. Once he understands, practice while you are opening and closing the front door.
Teach your dog to leave it alone
Buddy, that candy isn’t for you! Take a more unappealing treat, like a dry biscuit, and hold it for your dog. When he gets bored of this treat (and it will, quickly!) give him some kudos and move on to a better treat. Repeat and say “leave it” when your dog tries to get the dry biscuit. Upgrade and repeat the words “leave it” with a more appealing treat. Each time, reward his behavior with a better treat when he leaves it.
Ready for Trick-or-Treating with Your Dog?
Bear in mind that come October 31, your dog may not be ready. Dogs are continually learning, not just during your training sessions. If you find the noise and frequency of the trick-or-treaters is too much for your pet it’s best to move him to another room for the night. Have a happy and safe Halloween!
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