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Preparing Your Dog For Halloween

PeterAlphaPaws
October 21st, 2010, 09:25 AM
One of the most common things I find that owners do with their dogs on Halloween is to put them in a crate in the basement out of the way in order to avoid excessive barking at the Trick or Treaters. I don't know about you but this is NOT where I'd want to be if it was me.
Halloween gives us as dog owners, the opportunity to teach them to be good at the front door when people come calling. If you start working on this now, before October 31st and prepping your dog for frequent visitors by Halloween night both you and your dog will enjoy the evening much more and your dog will have learned a valuable lesson about manners at the front door that will be useful all year round!

So, how do you prep your dog for Halloween? I start with what I call the 3 D's(distractions) of training. You will need 3 people for this exercise. One to ring the doorbell, one to handle the dog and the other to answer the door. Here is the scenario:

The doorbell rings and the dog goes directly to the door barking. The dog handler approaches the dog and attaches the leash if it's not already on and turns with the dog leading it away from the door towards its mat, which should be laying at least 6 feet away from the door. The dog is commanded to 'lay down' on the mat. Then, the person on the door opens it and proceeds to greet the 'visitor' loudly with much enthusiasm. (Remember, the kids won't be quiet coming to your door on Halloween!) If the dog gets up before instructed to do so the door is immediately shut on the guest and the dog is returned to the down position on the mat with a firm , "NO....DOWN". This is repeated until the dog no longer is barking or lunging at the guest at the door.
Practice this every time someone comes to the door and your dog will have a much more enjoyable Halloween night!!

Happy Halloween and good luck! :dog:

BenMax
October 21st, 2010, 09:31 AM
If this works than this is a great treat.:thumbs up.
Unfortunately (or fortunately) for me, I would need 18 people to assist (for 6 dogs). That would mean I would have to throw a party, buy beer and pizza to entice these people to help me with this.:laughing:. Not likely. But I like your approach.:thumbs up

Marty11
October 21st, 2010, 09:39 AM
I may try this, I have a door greeter barker. If I can add, she barks like mad runs to the door, if she doesn't recognize you she runs scared to the kitchen and hides. Should I force her to stay on the mat? I would like her to stop the nuisance barking for sure. Thanks. :thumbs up

Melinda
October 21st, 2010, 10:04 AM
I was one of the lucky ones, my dog took to halloween like its her own personal holiday, she dons her costume and we go out walking with the trick or treaters, we pass out treats (we get none at our house) she poses for pics with some and shares lollipops with others (her bad habit) then we go to my moms to watch the rest of the trick or treaters come for candy, she loves kids and to her this is a treat to sit at the door and bestow kisses, but I love your idea and will keep it in mind for future dogs.

Dog Dancer
October 21st, 2010, 10:39 AM
My two don't really care about the door either. The first couple visitors get barked at by the younger (10) lab, but after that she's figured it out and all she wants is to see who's there and give kisses out with the treats. The older one couldn't care less! We're blessed, and they're not afraid of the firecrackers either thank goodness. The only real issue that comes up is later at night when the police and firetrucks are out dealing with the trouble makers the sirens make the lab howl. :laughing:

Floppy Dog
October 21st, 2010, 11:56 AM
We're one of the lucky ones too. Lady puts on her costume (white Pegasus with rainbow wings & mane) and goes out with the Beena & G-Man while I stay at home handing out treats.

BenMax
October 21st, 2010, 12:05 PM
Dang you gals are good!

luckypenny
October 21st, 2010, 12:12 PM
Sounds good; however, adult-sized friends at the door are much different than child-sized humans dressed in costumes at night time. In addition, friends are aware of the fact you're training your dog. Innocent children at the door, or their parents, are not. I do not recommend this at all for dogs with any sort of fear-based aggression, or any aggressive tendencies for that matter :2cents:.

Dog Dancer
October 21st, 2010, 12:32 PM
This would also be a good time to remind everyone not to leave their pets outside for the next couple weeks while the :evil: are out playing with the firecrackers. Many dogs and cats go missing during this time of year as they run in fear from the noises. Even the most well adjusted dog can get spooked and bolt. PLEASE keep your pets indoors until all the commotion is over.

Marty11
October 21st, 2010, 12:38 PM
Speaking of children I have to add that Marty will go to a child and greet at the door, does not go to adults. However costumes may confuse her. I think she bases her decision on size?

BenMax
October 21st, 2010, 12:47 PM
Speaking of children I have to add that Marty will go to a child and greet at the door, does not go to adults. However costumes may confuse her. I think she bases her decision on size?

My dogs do not take well to humans with winter hats or caps..never mind costumes.

Regardless, any training is good as far as I am concerned.

rainbow
October 21st, 2010, 02:37 PM
Sounds good; however, adult-sized friends at the door are much different than child-sized humans dressed in costumes at night time. In addition, friends are aware of the fact you're training your dog. Innocent children at the door, or their parents, are not. I do not recommend this at all for dogs with any sort of fear-based aggression, or any aggressive tendencies for that matter :2cents:.

I agree as well. :thumbs up


This would also be a good time to remind everyone not to leave their pets outside for the next couple weeks while the :evil: are out playing with the firecrackers. Many dogs and cats go missing during this time of year as they run in fear from the noises. Even the most well adjusted dog can get spooked and bolt. PLEASE keep your pets indoors until all the commotion is over.

Another great reminder. :thumbs up

hazelrunpack
October 21st, 2010, 10:01 PM
With 8 in the house, we use a different strategy. We disconnect the doorbells. Works great! :thumbs up :laughing:

rainbow
October 21st, 2010, 10:34 PM
With 8 in the house, we use a different strategy. We disconnect the doorbells. Works great! :thumbs up :laughing:

Ya right ....the only trick or treater you get there at all is Madame Hazel and she's so wired she doesn't need a doorbell. :laughing:

PeterAlphaPaws
October 26th, 2010, 11:53 AM
Sounds good; however, adult-sized friends at the door are much different than child-sized humans dressed in costumes at night time. In addition, friends are aware of the fact you're training your dog. Innocent children at the door, or their parents, are not. I do not recommend this at all for dogs with any sort of fear-based aggression, or any aggressive tendencies for that matter :2cents:.

If you have an aggressive dog or one who acts aggressively at the door i.e. snarling, growling, lunging or biting; you should seek professional help immediately to eliminate those issues. The mat command is something that I as a professional myself, use on a regular basis to diffuse aggression at the door. However, you may need more instruction and guidance to accomplish this. For aggressive dogs I do not reccomend you test this technique out with children present unless you have a fully trained professional present.
If you are going to try this without a professional I would strongly suggest you use a muzzle. Remember, safety first!

Another point I would like to make is that if you build the mat command into your daily routine then your dog will be so well practiced at what to do when the doorbell rings that it will not make a difference who is on the other side of the door, adult or child in costume. Remember, the dog has no idea who is on the other side of the door when they start reacting, until it is opened. :)

PeterAlphaPaws
October 26th, 2010, 12:07 PM
My dogs do not take well to humans with winter hats or caps..never mind costumes.

Regardless, any training is good as far as I am concerned.

Just as with many human fears, a dogs' can be overcome with consistent desensitization sessions. This is what we are trying to accomplish with the routine at the door exercise. If your dog reacts strongly to hats, caps or costumes etc. build that into your practice sessions. But remember, there is a fine line between desensitization and traumatization. Do not throw your dog into a situation too far too fast. Take things slow one small step at a time and stay positive! :pawprint: