Beware of Toxic Things on Halloween
Don’t forget to be on guard for dogs getting into that Halloween Candy stash! Chocolate isn’t the only thing that’s toxic to dogs; macadamia nuts, raisins, and the sweetener xylitol are all on the list of things that can be poisonous to dogs, but the wrappers and other decorations can also cause problems when ingested.
Behaviorally, make sure that if your dog is stressed out by strangers, to have him in a secure area of the house where he won’t be plagued by constant scary monsters ringing the doorbell. Conversely, if you’re up for it this is a great time to work on door manners with a dog that isn’t frightened just excited:
Ultimately, doorbell rings, dog on leash sits, door opens, dog and costumed kid both get their own treats. Lots of repetitions available on Halloween equals lots of chances to practice how to act when people come to the door.
**Practice this a day or two beforehand with someone familiar that rings the doorbell, rehearsing the sit quietly while the door opens routine 8 or 10 times (first time is hard, then it gets easy as it’s the same person over and over. This lets the dog get better and better at the behavior because you’ve removed the novelty of someone at the door)
**work on a leash for control, but reward the sitting calmly without any yanking. If they know “watch me”, it can be a helpful place to use it. The familiar person can hang out on the step for a few minutes while you work on that.
** When the dog is sitting, give treats and open door for helper to give a treat as well.
**on Halloween, perhaps have two people work the door, one for kid treats and one for working with the dog with their own treats.
**When the doorbell rings, don’t jump up. Walk calmly to the door.
If you have a new puppy this can be a good socialization exercise – monsters = good treats for puppy! Encourage them to say hi to the funny monsters, but don’t force them into it – you want socialization exercises to be positive. If you feel like it’s safe, have the monsters offer the puppy yummy dog jerky or pieces of cheese. Soon the puppy will think people in costume are a good thing!