Halloween is tomorrow!!! This presents a unique opportunity for training exercises that can further enhance the bond between you and your dog. The hustle and bustle of the season, while potentially overwhelming, can be a training gold mine if approached correctly!
If you're walking your dog during trick-or-treat
1. Stay Calm and Confident: Your energy translates directly to your dog. Maintaining a calm demeanor will help your dog stay relaxed amidst the myriad of costumes and excited children.
2. Maintain Distance: If you notice your dog is becoming anxious or overly excited, it's okay to take a step back and increase the distance between you and the trick-or-treaters. This will give your dog a moment to adjust. They have no idea what an inflatable Sumo Wrestler is. Give them the space they need to adjust to their surroundings.
3. Use Distractions: Carry treats, and high value ones at that! When a potential distraction approaches, like a particularly loud or animated group of kids, use these to redirect and maintain your dog’s attention.
If you're staying home with your dog:
1. Utilize the 'Place' Command: Direct your dog to a specific spot, like their bed, every time the doorbell rings. This reinforces the idea that they have a safe, designated space amidst the action. Pay them, even if they alert bark at the doorbell, if they hold the command. You should be more concerned about the holding place, versus the noise.
2. Employ the 'Stay' and 'Down' Commands: When there’s increased activity at your door, it's a great time to practice these commands. Remember to reward them for staying calm and following commands amidst distractions. You can move them throughout the house/porch to practice in different positions.
3. Leash Indoors: Even inside the home, keeping your dog on a leash can help you maintain control, especially when there's a sudden influx of visitors or noise.
4. Training Opportunities: The frequent doorbell rings and visitors can be used as repetitive training moments. For every ring or knock, have your dog execute a command.
If your dog isn’t ready:
1. Designate a Safe Space: If you feel the festivities might be too much for your dog, or you have a dog that is territorial or aggressive at the front door, consider setting up a comfortable, quiet space away from the main action. Basements or a distant room with their favorite toys, a comfortable bed or crate, and some calming music can be ideal. Exercise and Feed your dog before the chaos, and don’t be afraid to give them their favorite chew bone or Kong.
2. Check-In Regularly: If you've put your dog in a separate space, remember to periodically check on them to ensure they're okay and to provide direction as needed.
We encourage you to view Halloween not as a challenge, but as an opportunity. With the right approach, it can be a productive training experience that leaves both you and your dog more connected and confident. Stay safe and have a spook-tacular Halloween!
Trick or Treat,
Say It Once Dog Training
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