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. Does your dog bark relentlessly at trick-or-treaters knocking at your door? It probably does! Dogs bark at the door due to excitement, stress, and duty. Here are some tips for teaching your pet a more calming behavior and turning Halloween night into a frightfully fun night for everyone.
Trick-or-Treating With Your Dog
Try these simple ideas to teach your dog to sit
Take a dog treat and hold it at the tip of your pet’s nose. Move the treat up over their head. While it’s trying to eyeball the treat, it will end up sitting. Give your canine praise and then let it have the treat. Incorporate the word “sit” the next time you try it. Keep practicing and rewarding and soon your dog will sit on command.
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.
Teach your dog to wait
Now Spot, don’t run to the door, please! Have your pet sit and tell it to wait. Even if it’s just for a second, give it 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 it understands, practice while you are opening and closing the front door.
Teach your dog to leave it
Buddy, that candy isn’t for you! Take a more unappealing treat, like a dry biscuit, and hold it for your dog. When it gets bored of this treat (and it will, quickly!) give it 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 its behavior with a better treat when they leave 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 them to another room for the night. Have a happy and safe Halloween!
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