Halloween is a fun time of year, but it can also be a scary time. With all the decorations, costumes, silliness, and energy, there’s a lot that can scare a puppy or dog.
But all of this excitement also makes Halloween into a great excuse to do some proactive socialization and training with your dog.
If you have a young, confident puppy, Halloween is the perfect time to expose them to all sorts of new and novel experiences, which will help them learn to feel comfortable around unfamiliar things. If your pup doesn’t seem scared of anything, that’s wonderful, but it’s probably temporary. Most puppies are confident and carefree, but that often changes around 4 or 5 months of age as they enter adolescence.
At this age puppies are much more likely to get scared by anything new and unfamiliar.
We just posted a new video on our YouTube channel filled with tips about how to get your puppy ready for Halloween and harness the excitement to improve their socialization and training, to prevent the onset of the sort of fearfulness and reactivity problems that are so common in adolescent dogs.
If you know anyone with a puppy this Halloween, please share this video with them.
If you can get a puppy comfortable with all the crazy stuff that happens around Halloween, it will do wonders for their life-long confidence and temperament!
And if you have an older dog you can still make use of the decorations and costumes to desensitize your dog and build their confidence, but you’ll want to proceed slowly and not overwhelm them with too much spooky stuff, too quickly, or else you’ll just make their fearfulness problems worse.
The secret is starting your training BEFORE Halloween. When Halloween night rolls around, it’s probably too late to do much training because it’s too hard to control the intensity level of the various stimuli.
If ever there was a worst-possible-training-scenario it would be when there are parades of children, hopped up on sucrose, parading through your neighborhood in costumes and coming to your door demanding candy!
When it comes to Halloween night itself, if your dog is not super well-trained and socialized, it’s probably best to stick with managing the situation, and have your puppy or dog settle down in their crate with an extra-tasty food-stuffed chew toy, in a room far from your front door, with music or white noise to muffle the sounds of all the craziness going on outside.
If you’re interested in learning more about puppy training, check out our Dunbar Academy Essential Puppy Training Course, on sale now for a limited time.