It has been a long time since Halloween was a holiday mainly enjoyed by children. It has become a big deal for everyone, dogs included. Costumes for pets abound in pet stores, big box stores, and online. Many lucky dogs have costumes made by their loving owners.
Keep in mind that Rover is not as interested in Halloween as his people are. He thinks the fur outfit he wears every day is just fine, thank you. If his personality is reserved, it would be kinder to just let him relax at home without a costume.
But if he’s a social butterfly, then he may not mind wearing a silly outfit for his favorite person. Just plan ahead, so he has time to get accustomed to wearing the costume.
When you find the perfect costume for your canine family member, do a safety check before purchasing. The outfit should not make him too hot or restrict movement or breathing.
Purchase the costume at least two weeks before your dog will be wearing it to an event. Introduce your dog to the costume slowly. First, simply show it to him and give him some treats. After a couple of days, drape it over his back; give more treats. A couple more days, put the outfit on him and give lots of delicious treats.
Give your dog reason to believe that while wearing this outfit, great things will happen to him. After plenty of practice wearing it at home, he will be ready to party. Always supervise your dog when he is wearing an outfit.
Think about how people will react to seeing your dog in the costume. They may shriek with delight, point, or laugh hysterically: behaviors that would give pause to any dog. This might make him very uneasy. Again, the costume means nothing to him (well, except for all the great treats he associates with it). If he looks unhappy, remove him from the situation.
Signs of stress in a dog include whites of the eyes showing more than usual, ears pinned low, tail tucked. He may cower with his body and head held low.
Make a point of knowing how he looks when he’s happy, and it will be easy to tell when he’s stressed. He deserves to enjoy the party, whether or not he’s in disguise!