Training Dogs to Wear a Halloween Costume

Many pet parents enjoy dressing their dogs in Halloween costumes. Unfortunately, dogs tend not to enjoy the activity quite as much as their humans do! Introduce a Halloween costume to your dog slowly and use positive reinforcement to train the dog to calmly wear it. With gentle training and  encouragement, most dogs will come to like their costumes, if only because they associate them with treats and praise.

Choosing a Safe Costume

Dogs wearing costumes should never be left unsupervised. If an unattended dog swallows part of his costume, he could need emergency surgery to remove fabric or other materials from his digestive system.

Choose costumes that are made of stretchy fabric and free of small parts that could be swallowed easily, like bells or tinsel. If your dog has a habit of ripping up stuffed animals, avoid costumes that include padding and stuffing. If possible, buy costumes made with pet-safe vegetable dyes. Some traditional dyes are carcinogenic to pets when ingested.

Accustoming Dogs to Costumes

First, allow your dog to smell and inspect the costume while it lies on the ground. Your dog should lose interest after  a few seconds.  Next, rub the costume all over your dog’s body, giving him treats when he stands still. Lift his feet and handle his ears and tail while you do this, so the dog won’t be surprised when you need to put his head, legs and tail into the costume.

If the dog is nervous when you rub him with the costume, repeat this step for several days. Proceed to putting the costume on only after your dog is completely relaxed when touched with the costume. This should be necessary only for the most skittish dogs, but spending extra time on it is preferable to having the costume destroyed by a terrified dog the first time it’s worn.

When you do put the costume on for the first time, do so slowly with plenty of treats. Take it back off immediately after giving plenty of reinforcement and praise. Wait at least a few hours before repeating this step, leaving the costume on for a few minutes longer the second time. After three or four brief repetitions, your dog should be ready to wear his costume for a short walk or to visit a friend, who should also provide praise and treats.

On Halloween

When Halloween arrives, look  for  a pet-safe activity to participate in with your costumed pooch. Most Petco and Petsmart stores hold Halloween pet costume contests. Local dog groomers or dog daycare centers may also have activities for pets on Halloween. If you attend a Halloween party not specifically designed for pets and pet parents, keep a very close eye on your dog. Halloween treats like chocolate can be fatal to dogs. Alcohol and some decorations may also be hazardous.

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10 Responses

  1. jelenawoehr
    | Reply

    @PetLvr PetLvr [Blog] \ Training Dogs to Wear a Halloween Costume http://cli.gs/zS3Zy

  2. HART (1-800-HART)
    | Reply

    (new PetLvr post ).. Training Dogs to Wear a Halloween Costume: Many pet parents enjoy dres.. http://cli.gs/Mupn3

  3. HART (1-800-HART)
    | Reply

    Training Dogs to Wear a Halloween Costume http://su.pr/2Aocdh

  4. Every pet parent is excited for the Halloween celebrations but this post gives some great tips on how to convince your dog to wear that costume. Picking the right costume is key, and safe, less complicated ones that aren’t less cute are best. And the treats and constant encouragement do help! :-D

  5. teach dog to come
    | Reply

    Hahaha, I can’t imagine my dog wear the kind of costume I was thinking. This site gives me an idea. thanks for that. n_n

  6. Look costume dog !!!! http://www.oyacostumes.ca/eg/Dog-Costumes
    | Reply

    good idea i love halloween day my dog will love it too jejjeejje now i gonna buy a costumes for my dog, i found this site with funny costumes dog

  7. Look costume dog !!!! http://www.oyacostumes.ca/eg/Dog-Costumes
    | Reply

    the costume of my dog is very funny, jejjeej i love that my dog wear costume for halloween

  8. Look my costume dog
    | Reply

    its funny the costume dog i love that, I found a site with cute costumes for dog

  9. My dog
    | Reply

    we must think safety when choosing a costume dogs, beacuse they can be not confortable dog care basic here

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