Image of “Bear” by Riley
Yes, your well-trained dog can wear a costume and can even
trick-or-treat with your family. These tips will assist you in getting
your dog to enjoy the costume and hopefully to tolerate the giggling
from the bystanders in case you want to go out on Halloween night.
Costume training is an excellent opportunity to use delicious treats
while training your dog to love the costume. Remember the most
important part is for your dog to like safely wearing the outfit you
Start teaching your dog that the costume is fun well in advance of
the event you are looking to showcase him at. Some dogs will “get it”
right away, but leaving yourself several weeks — and sometimes months —
to practice will make the experience more enjoyable for everyone
involved. If your dog has never worn clothing this may be an even longer
Depending on the costume’s appearance, you may want to allow the dog
to smell the outfit and have a chance to get more comfortable with the
look, feel and movement. If you are using a costume with lots of padding
that looks like a stuffed dog toy, be certain to properly supervise
your dog or you may have just donated the outfit to the stuffed toy
gods. While your dog is investigating the outfit, reward good behavior
with some tasty treats and praise.
After your dog is accustomed to the look of the costume, gently set
it on his back for a few seconds and again give treats and praise.
Repeat this step several times so your dog understands that the costume
is a good thing. Keep practicing this step and build up the amount of
time that the costume is draped on your pet. Remember, keep praising and
offering treats for good behavior.
Once your dog is comfortable with the costume draped over his back,
put it on in a loose fashion – not too loose because you wouldn’t want
pooch to get wrapped up and have a bad experience – and then praise and
treat just like you have been up to this point. Work your way up to
longer “dress-up” sessions making sure your dog is enjoying the process
as much as possible.
It is really important for your dog to associate any costume with
positive things like treats, petting and praise. My dogs know that
costumes and treats are interlinked, and I actually store costumes in
plastic tubs with some treats in with them so they even smell like a
positive reinforcement. (This might be why the dogs think their costumes
could be toys.)
Just like most things with dogs, training and practice will get you a
long way toward your dog trick-or-treat plans. Have fun and remember,
Do you have additional tips? Please share them in the comment
section. Do you have a photo of your dog or cat in a costume? Be sure to
share it on our Facebook page.
Thanks for stopping past!