Dog’s Eye View: Halloween — growl and bark — that confusing night
October 20, 2017
I can only imagine what might be going through a dog’s mind on this very exciting night.
Perhaps you are wearing a costume, and other than your voice and scent, you may have become unrecognizable to your canine buddy. I've thought about how often dogs look at our face and recognize different facial expressions. When we wear a mask, only our eyes are moving around. Yikes. Spooky.
Children who are dressed up in costume may excitedly run around and roar, screech or scream. Watching their dog tuck his tail and run from them may be kind of fun for them but probably not their family pet.
One behavior most of us work very hard at is teaching our dog what to do when someone comes to the door. We might be working on teaching him to go to a special mat or rug and lie down when the bell rings rather than rush at the door, barking.
On this night the doorbell rings almost continuously. We really don't have time to train our dog and get all those monsters fed at the same time. Some of our hard work may be sabotaged if we just let our dog bark and run at or away from the strangers.
Our little adopted terrier mix, Lawrence, will be spending his first Halloween with us this year. He spends a lot of time sitting at the end of the couch in the living room watching the deer and birds that come to the water in front of the house.
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He has pretty good eyesight and is able to see a person walking down the county road from a great distance. When he alerts by sitting upright and emitting a low growl, I go to him and check out what he's looking at. I then call him away from the window.
We don't get a lot of tricksters where we live in the country, but since watching is a big part of his daily routine, I have a plan to let him hang out in our spare room. I'll leave the radio on to help diffuse the sounds outside and have a special bone for him to chew on. He can come out when the "witching hour" is over.
One thing to remember is that tempting bowl of chocolate candy that sits by the door. Of course, the bags of goodies that the children bring home might accidentally get left within reach of your dog, which incidentally has the best nose on the planet.
A feast of chocolate, not to mention the wrappers, might warrant a trip to your veterinarian.
So perhaps a little forethought and planning to help your furry buddy wearing his year-round outfit might make this special night go a little more smoothly.
It's only once a year.
Sandra Kruczek is a certified professional dog trainer at Total Teamwork Training with over 30 years of experience.