Is your dog’s barking boosting your fright factor for Halloween? There’s no reason to shake or shiver – with these tips you can make sure that both you and your pup are prepared to handle Halloween without fear!
1. Exercise Your Dog Before Trick-or-Treaters Show Up!
If your dog is filled with pent up energy, she’ll have a much tougher time keeping calm and quiet when the doorbell starts going off.
Make sure you take your pooch for a long walk or jog before trick-or-treating time. Studies have shown that a large number of dog behavior issues can be remedied – or at the very least, reduced – by increasing exercise.
Once your dog is good and tired, she’ll be better behaved and more receptive to training and commands.
2. Use Trick-Or-Treat Time to Train
While having a bunch of kids ringing your doorbell all night can seem a bit stressful if you have a dog that barks up a storm, trick-or-treating time can actually be a great training opportunity if you plan a bit ahead.
You’ll need a partner with you, as answering the door while keeping your dog under control is really a two-person job.
First, you’ll need to evaluate why your dog barks at the door.
If she’s scared or nervous about the doorbell and/or visitors, you’ll want to start off just desensitizing her to the doorbell sound and teaching her that the doorbell means good stuff is coming!
Begin by simply providing treats whenever the doorbell rings. Don’t worry too much about the barking initially – your first goal is just to create positive associations with the doorbell (or door knocking).
Next, it’s time to try to get your dog to hush up when the doorbell rings. For many dogs, simply holding a tasty morsel in front of you will get them to be quiet. Hold the treat up and reward your dog as soon as she stops barking. Initially, you may only get your pup to be quiet for a few seconds, but that’s OK. Start with a few seconds and slowly work your way up.
If you’re having trouble, try a more enticing treat like hot dogs or boiled chicken. Many owners decide for themselves that their dog isn’t food motivated when really they might just not be using smelly enough treats!
Ideally, practice this before Halloween when the stakes are a bit lower, and then use trick-or-treating to reinforce those initial lessons.
3. Have an Anxious Pooch? Try Some Dog CBD Oil
If you’re concerned that your dog won’t be able to handle all the door ringing with any amount of grace, try giving her some CBD dog treats before the trick-or-treaters begin arriving at the door.
While there aren’t many official studies evaluating the effectiveness of CBD oil for dogs, there are tons of owners out there who have remarkable stories about their dogs making great improvements with the help of CBD. For some dogs, CBD seems to go a long way towards soothing anxious doggy nerves.
4. Don’t Lose Your Cool!
Having a barking dog in your ear while the doorbell rings off of its hinges can be a stressful situation for any owner, but do your best to keep calm.
While instinctively it can be tempting to yell at your dog to shut her trap, it won’t make her quiet down. In fact, it can have the opposite effect as your dog may become convinced that the yelling is your way of joining in and she might interpret as encouragement!
When your dog is barking up a storm, it can be tempting to yell at him, especially when you’re feeling frustrated yourself. However, your dog might think that your yelling is an attempt to join in, inadvertently encouraging his barking.
Instead of yelling, if your dog’s barking becomes too much to handle, simply put your dog in another room, turn on the radio to drown out the door ringing, and provide her with some yummy dog chews (bully sticks and cow ears are my dog’s favorites) or some engaging puzzle toys.
With these tips you can make sure that the trick-or-treaters won’t overwhelm you and your dog on Halloween night!
About The Author: Meg Marrs is the founder and head of marketing for K9 of Mine, a dog care resource website dedicated to helping owners take the very best care of their four-legged pals!