It’s that time of the year again! Halloween is here and that means costumes, trick or treaters, and all sorts of doorbells. Also, this year house parties are supposed to be more popular. So, for people who have a nervous dog, it’s a concerning time of the year. One of the questions we get is “how can I survive Halloween when my dog has noise anxiety?” And, if you don’t have a dog with noise anxiety, it is very likely that you will at some point as it increases as dogs age. So, let’s get into Halloween and ways to get your dog ready for all of the activity that is yet to come.
How Do I Know When My Dog Has Noise Anxiety?
First, it’s important to know that anxiety is real. It’s not something that your dog is intentionally doing. So, there’s no sense in getting irritated by their responses – they do not want to feel noise anxiety either. Remember to be calm and patient with a noise anxiety dog. Here are the signs that your dog may have noise anxiety:
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Should I Just Pick Up Or Cuddle My Dog?
Not according to Laurie C. Williams, Owner and Behaviorist/Trainer at Pup ‘N Iron Canine Fitness and Learning Center in Fredericksburg, Virginia. “It doesn’t help the dog, but it helps the person.” We agree – fight the urge if your dog has noise anxiety.
Getting Your Noise Anxiety Dog Ready for Halloween
There are some actionable steps you can do right now to help get your dog ready for Halloween. First, if your dog has noise anxiety, it’s best to not dress-up or put your dog into a costume for Halloween. This is because the focus really has to be on your dog’s anxiety, and clothes or costumes serves as a distraction.
Create A Safe Space
First, create a safe place and include items that your dog already knows. For example, their crate, bed, toys, blanket, etc. If you have a room that’s away from the main entryway where guest entrances and trick-or-treats occur. However, the room still allows for your dog to be able to watch, from a safe distance, what’s going on. This allows your dog to come and go as they wish.
Practice Door Knocks and Doorbells
Next, take a week or so to randomly go outside and knock on your front door, ring your doorbell, and sing-sing a few ‘trick-or-treats.’ Have other family members and friends join in and you stay indoors, encouraging your dog to go to their safe space. Remember to provide a nice tasty treat for positive reinforcement. Sooner-or-later your dog will learn to go to their safe space as long as the yummy goodies are given.
Introduce Halloween Noises Before The Big Event
You can purchase or download typical Halloween noises and music from a variety of online merchants or music stations. Starting off in short increments and at low volumes, play the music and/or noises. Slowly increase the sound level and increments. Do this at random times and when you are the only one at home as well as when you have company. Helping your dog to desensitize takes time, and in some cases dogs will only do well with low volume.
Earplugs For Dogs Work Wonders For When Your Dog Has Noise Anxiety
One of the best aids for a dog with noise anxiety is dog earplugs. Using our patented earplugs for dogs often provide a great deal of relief for these types of dogs. Remember however that your dog’s noise anxiety is not something they are choosing to do, and training will take time. So you’ll want to work with your dog including positive training to help your dog associate positive things with their new dog earplugs – just as you would with a different harness, a coat, protective boots, etc.