Is Your Dog Ready for Trick or Treat?

Halloween is almost here. Soon all those ghosts and goblins will be showing up at your front door looking for their handful of goodies. There are a number of challenges you may face with your dog during those few hours of trick or treat chaos.

Here are some ways to get your dog ready for trick or treat guests this Halloween season.

First off, the repeated knocks at the door are going to set the stage for plenty of barking and scrambling to the reach the entryway. You could prevent this mad Fido dash by staying located at the front door and going out to greet your little visitors before they have a chance to ring the doorbell.

At my house, I sit on the front porch and dispense the goodies from there. It saves my dogs having to deal with the stress of all those repeat interruptions.

However, if you want to use Halloween evening as a training opportunity for you and your dog to work on doorbell etiquette, I’d suggest having a second person available to help.

One person can answer the door and attend to the kids while you work with Fido on staying in a sit, down or place command while the doorbell is ringing.  

It can be a great training opportunity, BUT you have to prepare for it to be successful. Remember that your dog can be earning treats also for each time they are successful behaving politely.

Secondly, if your dog is going to be anywhere in sight when the kids in costume show up, be very aware that a fearful dog is one that can potentially bite.  

While we certainly understand that there is nothing to fear from these micro versions of Iron Man,  Spongebob Squarepants and various witches and wizards…our dogs do not realize that the strange creatures are actually children in disguise.

Many costumes are cumbersome and create an unnatural movement for the wearer. Combine that odd movement with a mask, an oversized cape or hat and all the dogs sees is some very weird looking alien coming toward the house.

Dogs that are afraid of things have two options to defend themselves. Those options are flight or fight. If flight (escape from the scary thing) isn’t an option, that leaves fight (bark or bite) as the alternative. Dogs that feel concerned or restrained are more likely to bite than those who have the option to move away.

It is rare that a dog is not intimidated by all sorts of “weird aliens” coming toward them, so I would advise you to play it safe and NOT allow your dog near the door when the ghouls come by for treats.


Of course there is also the standard advice for our pets and holidays:


  • Don’t allow access to the candy.
  • Keep them away from extension cords and lit candles.
  • Keep identification tags on just in case of an escapee.
  • If you do not want to deal with it at all, put the dog in a crate in a backroom or basement and give them a great bone or stuffed Kong to chew on for a couple hours.


Happy Halloween from all of us at That’s My Dog!