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Halloween Dog Bite Prevention Tips

Suggestions for owners this season.

Halloween Dog Bite Prevention Tips: From Gail Kulur

Changes in routine and the strange sights and sounds associated with Halloween can cause stress in a normally placid family dog. Keep dogs out of the fray by securing them away from the door and providing a long-lasting chew treat. Teach kids to Be a Tree and stand still if any dogs come near them on Halloween.

Halloween is lots of fun for kids, but many dogs will be confused or upset by kids in strange costumes and by lots of people coming to the door, but never being invited in. Make Sit Happen offers the following tips for dog owners, kids and parents:

Dog owners:

  1. Secure your dog behind a closed door or in a crate in a room away from the front door or the party if children are meeting at your house.
  2. Give him a bone from the butcher, Nyla bone, a sterilized bone or stuffed Kong 'Busy Ball', beef or chicken broth flavored ice cubes or other mind engaging activity while confined.
  3. Play music or leave a TV or radio playing in the dog’s room to help mask the sounds of the activity at the front door.
  4. Close drapes so that the dog does not see people coming and going through the window.
  5. If you have a dog that barks at the sound of the doorbell, cover it with a 'please do not ring bell' sign, or disconnect it or watch for trick-or-treaters so that they do not have to ring or knock.
  6. Puppies and dogs that like to chase can get overly excited by costumes with dangly bits or streaming material. Supervise very carefully if you have a dog that may try to play with your children’s costumes while they are wearing them. Teach kids to 'Be a Tree' and stand still if the dog does start nipping at their costume, since the more they move, the more exited the dog will get.
  7. Keep your dogs (and cats) indoors around Halloween time. Pets have been stolen, injured or poisoned as part of Halloween pranks or other rituals.
  8. If you do not confine your dog, put him on a lightweight leash and let him drag it around so that you can hold him or quickly attach him to a doorknob, banister or piece of immovable furniture when trick-or-treaters come to the door! This will help prevent him from bolting when the door is open!

Kids and Parents (while Trick-or-Treating):

  1. Avoid houses if you can hear a dog barking behind the door, you can see a dog behind a screen door or you see a dog tied up in the yard or barking behind a fence.
  2. Never approach any dog, even if you know him. He may not recognize you in your costume.
  3. If an owner opens the door and there is a dog there, just stay still and wait for the dog owner to put the dog away. You can tell them you do not want to come near the dog. Do not move toward the person and dog. Wait for them to come to you to give you your candy. Wait for them to close the door before you turn and leave.
  4. If a dog escapes just stand still and 'Be a Tree' (hands folded in front, watching your feet). He will just sniff you and then move on. Wait for the owner to come and get the dog before you turn away. DO NOT RUN OR SCREAM as dogs will chase you.
  5. If you meet a loose dog, 'Be a Tree' and wait until it goes away.
  6. It is best to ignore other people’s dogs on Halloween if you meet them out walking. The dog may be worried about all the strange creatures that are out and about. Even if you know the dog, he may not recognize you in your costume or he may already be stressed and not want to be bothered.

Please feel free to ask any questions you may have! ‘Make Sit Happen’ wishes everyone a safe and happy Halloween!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

BDVideo October 07, 2012 at 04:49 AM
Thanks for this! The other day I took my 5 year old nephew for a walk, and a couple neighbors were walking their dogs. As soon as the neighbor said "They're friendly," the one dog started attacking the other dog. (I think they were a certain very strong breed that seems to be very popular these days.) Not sure what to do, we kind of just turned the corner and calmly went the other way. I didn't want to butt in, and I didn't want my nephew to freak out. (We remind him to ask the owner before approaching dogs.) I think the neighbors eventually separated the dogs.
Gail Kulur October 07, 2012 at 06:04 PM
Dear BDVideo - Good for you for staying away. Children are usually the one's that wind up 'trying to help' in these situations, and ultimately get bitten. That's also why we teach 'how to greet a dog properly', explaining that if a dog is on leash, the only way you should approach is if you ASK first, and then the dog should be sitting calmly at their human's side. Never approach a dog who is sitting in FRONT of the owner. The dog might be thinking that their job is to protect their owner from an approaching stranger!
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