| By Darrel Hager |
Halloween can be “ruff” on your furry friends. Trick-or-treating visitors come with a slew of doggone dangerous situations, from potential bite incidents to dogs bolting out the door. Here are five tips to make things go a little smoother for Fido when the neighborhood kids come knocking on your door.
- Exercise: Take your dog out earlier that day and throw a ball, or even a short hike would help burn off some steam before the evening’s festivities. This is a must for high-energy dogs, and it can make or break your experience if you decide to let your dog roam free in your home Halloween evening.
- Socialization: Nowadays, there’s a dog park on every corner. Hiawatha Dog Park off 561 in Clermont is a prime place to let your dog romp with others of similar size. Evenings and weekends usually are popular times to go. During weekdays, the parks tend to be a bit quite, which can be ideal if you’re bringing several dogs that get along well with each other, but might not do well with strangers.
- Calming Aids: There are some incredible products on the market that can help put your dog at ease, including calming essential oils, thunder vests and even just playing music for your dog. Music or white noise of some kind can help soothe your pup if you are keeping your dog home (preferably in a section of the house far away from the front door). Also, leaving a note on the door to knock instead of use the bell can help avoid triggering stress for some dogs.
- Contain ’em: This can be as simple as putting your dog in the other room in a crate, or taking your pup to the local kennel. Lots of people hire someone to watch their animals during periods of high stress or stimulation, such as during the holidays. Many dogs like the change of environment and look forward to visits with a dog sitter or kennel after just the first visit. Putting your dog away also can prevent any unwanted counter surfing for chocolate.
- Training: With many strong or dominate dogs, simply containing them is not enough. Dogs with a lack of self-control can sometimes cause harm to themselves or to property out of anxiety. Communication is key, and developing this is crucial to working through problems intelligently and not resorting to raising your voice or using abrasive means. Dogs with anxiety problems are typically able to resolve them through a normal obedience class.