While ghosts and goblins may be your thing many dogs find all the ghoulish decor and costumes of Halloween a bit frightening! I can only imagine what they must be thinking… For a month of the year the whole world looks different and there are sketchy characters lurking everywhere! It’s their job to let you know when something is not right and most of them believe body parts dangling from trees firmly falls into the “wrong” category. Try these tips to help your dog cope with this spooky day:
– While walking your dog around the neighborhood encourage them to investigate new decor by letting them give a sniff. Treats work wonders to get reward them for getting close to something they think they should avoid! After the initial exploration many dogs calm down. If you pup is still worked up spend a few minutes near the “scary” items (but still far enough away that they feel comfortable) while feeding their favorite treats to create a positive association.
– If you dog will be exposed to people in costumes start by acclimating them to your family in theirs. Keep interactions with you in costume positive by giving treats, attention and playtime while donning your masks.
– Refresh your dog on the leave it command (show a treat, say leave it and reward when your dog doesn’t touch the item and backs away). This will come in handy if your pup outside during trick or treating (think candy on the sidewalk).
– For dogs who will be sporting costumes of their own acclimate them at home first. Remember to keep the experience positive with lots of treats!
– When selecting costumes for your dog look for those that do not cover her face or eyes. If your dog is less than thrilled about being dressed up let him go as himself this year!
– If you dog will be greeting trick or treaters keep a baby gate across the front door to keep your dog and those at the door safe! Reward good door greeting behavior such as sitting calmly. If ghouls and goblins make your pup nervous, keep them in another room during fright night, and be sure to practice spending time in the space (with a bone or chew to occupy them) before the time comes.
– Last but not least, make sure candy is well out of reach. Chocolate and certain kinds of sweeteners are toxic to your pooch!More
As our lives gradually return to normal our pups, who have in many cases had the pleasure of a lot of extra quality time with their humans, may start to experience some anxiety. Follow these tips to prevent or treat separation anxiety:
If your dog is experiencing separation anxiety and you need more one-on-one coaching the team at Bark to Basics is here to help. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!
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Socialization is critical during puppy hood in order for our pups to grow up to be happy, well-adjusted adults. The critical socialization period is between 3 weeks and 3 months, during which time puppies are like little sponges, taking in what in the world around them is safe versus unsafe. It is absolutely essential that your puppy interact with new things, places, animals and people during this time in order for them to avoid developing fear issues (which can often lead to aggression) down the road.
With humans being forced to socially distance what does a responsible puppy owner do? Check out the tips below.
– Recruit friends, family and neighbors to help socialize your pup at the recommended distance. Using a standard leash the humans can remain 6 feet apart while your pup explores and interacts with the new human or dog
– Take your puppy to places you (and they) are allowed to go to watch the world go by at a distance. Try a pet store, set up a blanket or on a bench in the park in areas this is allowed (be sure to consult your vet on where you pup is with her shots before allowing her to sniff grassy areas other dogs frequent). Bring your pup a favorite chew and blanket so she associates new experiences with good things.
– Plan car rides to new places and hang out in the parking lot in your car so he can see a variety of new people, experience new noises etc.
– Introduce your puppy to novel objects at home. Think skateboards, balloons, loud noises (the vacuum, pots and pans clanking together, power tools), rolling suitcases, humans wearing hats, glasses and backpacks etc. Start with these items at a distance if your pup is wary and reward with meals, favorite treats and toys to create a positive association.
Remember to never force your puppy to interact with things she is wary of (this could make the problem worse). Instead be patient and keep it positive!
Struggling with socializing your puppy during these tough times? We can help! Bark to Basics offers drop in training where we can pick up your pup in a safe manner and take him out into the world. Contact us today for details!More
Check Out the Winter Newsletter