Spooky season is upon us, and the first thing that comes to mind is costumes and dressing up.
As many of you are new pet parents, you want your puppy to participate in all the upcoming holidays and festivities. This can surely make for some amazing memories!
However, we must consider that there is a process to properly introduce your puppy to Halloween costumes, and we will break that down for you.
Buy Your Costume Early
You will want to purchase your pup’s costume in advance. When introducing anything new to your dog, it may take them some time to get acclimated.
Our dogs are not used to wearing clothes and outfits daily like we are. Every dog is also different in how they will react to certain things.
By now, we should start seeing Halloween costumes popping up in pet stores and online stores as well! It is a good time to pick one out for your furry friend.
Related Blog Post: Tips to Handle the Holiday Decorations that may startle Your Dog on Walks
Slowly Introduce Your Dog to Their Costume
Once you purchase your dogs’ Halloween costume, you must slowly let them get used to it.
First, allow them to smell it, and give them praise while giving them yummy treats at the same time.
The goal is to create a positive association with the costume by using treats.
You can then build up their tolerance by putting the costume on their back and feeding them a treat.
Make sure every time they interact with their costume, they get praise and a reward.
We want them to have a positive association with the costume and be excited rather then scared of it.
Related Blog Post: How to Chose and Use Treats in Training Your Dog
Slowly begin to Dress Your Dog In Their Costume
Now it’s time to up the ante and dress your dog in their costume. Take this very slowly.
If their Halloween costume is something they have to step into, maybe put one of their legs in and feed them a treat.
Then repeat the process with another leg and see how it goes. Be sure to tell your dog how cute they look in their costume!
While they don’t necessarily understand the meaning of what you’re saying, they know your tone of voice means something positive.
This will help them to become more comfortable with wearing their costume.
Does your dog have more than one Halloween costume this year? Repeat this process for each costume, and be sure your dog is comfortable with everything you’re doing.
As you continue to do this, pay close attention to their behavior. If they seem calm and content, keep going.
Otherwise, stop the exercise immediately and try another day again.
Related Blog Post: Top 13 Halloween Costumes for Your Dog
Look for Signs of Stress
Not all dogs will be fond of wearing costumes. Please pay close attention to your dog’s behavior and look for signs of stress.
Some signs of stress are:
- Licking his/her lips
- Tail between legs
- Backing away from you
- Scratching ( like scratching the ear or back)
- Avoiding eye contact
- Trembling (their body)
Keep an eye out for a tail that’s pinned low, whale eyes, general body stiffness, and ears that are pulled back.
If he/she looks unhappy in general, remove the costume right away. Your dog deserves to feel comfortable and shouldn’t be uncomfortable because of the occasion.
Remember that other people may react strongly to your dog in a costume. They may shriek, laugh and point. All of this can stress your dog out too.
Related Blog Post: Halloween Tips for Dogs
Check For Any Hazards Within Your Dog’s Costume
Halloween is a great opportunity to get creative and dress up in fun costumes that may have little bits and pieces attached to them.
Please remember that these pose choking hazards to your puppy, especially if they are teething and want to chew on everything.
In addition to that, the costume should not be restrictive and allow your dog to move around freely.
It should also be breathable, so your dog doesn’t overheat. Keeping things simple is probably the best way to go.
If you are a new pet parent and need help introducing your new puppy to their Halloween costume, The Dog Training Survival Guide is here to help!
We help new puppy parents with training and support with their puppy at every stage.
Are you prepared for your next dog walk?
- Checklist of the supplies you need for your walk with examples of each
- High value and low value dog treat examples