Trick or treat—how about both? It can be tough to include your dog in the Halloween festivities, but there are a few tricks you can teach him to make the day fun and safe for everyone. Here are 5 tricks to teach your dog so he’s ready for whatever Halloween has in store:
TO HAVE SOME HALLOWEEN FUNTeach Your Dog to High-Five
Some outgoing dogs love to go trick-or-treating with their humans! If your dog is coming along for the best walk of the year, there’s a good chance one of the houses will offer him a dog-friendly treat. What better way to say “thank you” than a high-five from your pup?
If your dog already knows the give paw command, teaching him to high-five will be a breeze. Start with your dog sitting. Show him a small treat in your hand, and hold your other hand straight up. Your dog will probably paw at the hand with the treat. Wait until he paws at your raised hand, then reward him. Repeat this process, adding in a playful “high five!” command as he gets better. With enough practice, he’ll be high-fiving (or high-pawing) every house on the block!
Teach Your Dog to Sit Pretty
Let’s face it, picking the perfect dog costume for an Instagram picture is likely on your Halloween to-do list right behind “stash candy” and “scary movie marathon.” Make sure you get the best puparazzi photo by teaching your dog the sit pretty command while you snap away.
Sit pretty, also known as the beg command, starts with your dog sitting. Take a small treat and hold it near his face, slowly raising it so your dog has to lift his front feet off the ground to reach it. When both of his front paws are up, praise him and give him the treat. Gradually work the command into the routine and he should be sitting pretty in no time!
TO PREVENT DOG ANXIETY FROM TRICK-OR-TREATERSTeach Your Dog to Stay
Handing out candy to eager trick-or-treaters is a highlight of Halloween for humans, but your dog may be spooked by the unfamiliar faces and strange costumes. If your dog gets anxious around strangers, teach him to sit and stay a few yards away when you greet trick-or-treaters. Keeping your dog away from the door also minimizes the risk of him running away, or worse, harming one of the ghosts or witches at your door.
To train a dog to stay, first put your dog on a leash and have him sit next to you. Then, raise your palm toward his muzzle and say “stay.” Step in front of him, wait a few seconds, and then step back beside him. Reward him with a small treat. If he moves, calmly say “uh-uh,” send him back to his original spot, and start again. As your dog gets more comfortable with the stay command, you can practice slowly walking away from him.
Teach Your Dog Not to Bark
It’s Halloween, the doorbell is constantly ringing, and your dog won’t stop barking. What do you do? The best way to stop dog barking is teaching him to stay quiet.
To teach your dog the hush command, you’ll need is a few small treats. Wait for your dog to start barking, then try to grab his attention. If he looks at you and stops barking, give him a treat. Do this as often as possible, eventually adding the word “hush.” Over time, try saying the command before the treat reward. Having a quiet, well-behaved dog on command is definitely worth the effort!
TO MANAGE DOGS AND CHOCOLATETeach Your Dog to Drop It
What’s the best part of Halloween? Candy, of course! Some sweets, like chocolates or anything with the sweetener xylitol, can be poisonous to dogs. In the event that your pup finds his way into your candy bowl, use the drop it command to save him from a trip to the vet.
To teach the drop it command, give your dog a toy to hold in his mouth. Then, hold a small treat near his nose and say “drop it.” The smell of the treat will cause your dog to drop the toy and go for the treat. When he opens his mouth, be sure to praise him as you feed him his reward. Repeat this several times throughout the day until you’re confident that your dog will drop whatever is in his mouth without being bribed with a treat!