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Planning on trick or treating or handing out candy at your house this Halloween? Make sure Fido is safe and ready for the activities before just jumping in and participating with your dog.
Go ahead and dress up in your costume and wear it around the house. If you have children, have them dress up in their costumes too. If you have a mask with your costume, put it on and talk to your dog. Remove your mask while talking to your dog, so they see it is you under the mask. Reward your dog when your dog is calm and not barking or growling while you are wearing your costume.
While in their costumes, have your child, spouse or friend step outside ready to ring the door bell or knock, saying trick or treat. Inside, have your dog sit or lie down calmly at the door on a leash. While the person outside rings the door bell or knocks, have your dog stay in a sit or lie down position while you open the door. Let your dog see that weird dressed people are at the door, saying 'trick or treat' and you are reaching out the door to hand them candy. Be sure to reward your dog for staying clam and sitting or lying down during the interaction. Repeat this several times to get your dog accustomed to the trick or treating concept.
While going out on the streets with your dog to trick or treat, make sure you keep your dog on a short leash and not a retractable leash. Keep your dog by your left side and make sure you are reading your dogs body language. Not every child likes dogs and if other dogs are out, not every dog likes other dogs, so it's important to keep your dog and others safe at all times. Have your dog practice manners by having them sit while you wait for your children to go trick or treating at houses in the neighborhood. Of course always skip any houses that have no outside lights on and only trick or treat in neighborhoods that you know and feel safe in.
If you know your dog is just not ready to be a social butterfly for Halloween festivities, keep your dog safe by creating a safe space in your home. This can be your dogs crate, a bathroom, bedroom or laundry room area, making sure water is available at all times.
Have fun and stay safe trick or treating!