Halloween is soon upon us. Store fronts are putting up their spooky decorations, pumpkin flavored foods and beverages line the shelves at the grocery store, and bite-sized candy is on sale at CVS.
If you’re anything like me, one of the joys of having a companion animal is the laughs you get from putting your dog in a costume, be it for Halloween, holiday card photos, or just because there was something cute on the clearance rack at Marshall’s. Many of us do it, and I think that as long as what you’re putting on your pup doesn’t hinder their movement or cause them pain, a little humiliation is a fair trade for picking up their poop day in and day out. I personally take pride in making costumes by hand, and two of my greatest crafting achievements have been my dog Otis’ Lady Gaga costume, and the year he was Nibbler from Futurama (Google it!).
There are TONS of companies that make dog-specific costumes, from the obligatory Hot Dog get-up, to the licensed Star Wars characters like Darth Vader and Yoda costumes for pups and just about everything in between. Some outfits are more involved than others and that makes it difficult for your pooch to be comfortable in. I would recommend you avoid putting anything on them that covers the face, rear and genital area (I learned that the hard way).
It’s also a good idea to slowly acclimate your dog to the costume if you plan on having him wear it for more than just a ten-minute photo shoot. If you want your doggy to be comfortable and stress-free, it will help to build a positive association to the costume over time before you intend to show it off for an event.
There are a few steps you can take to achieve this, the first of which is to get some yummy treats that your dog loves! Lay the costume flat on the ground (if possible) and sprinkle some treats on it for your dog to eat up. Do not do this if there are small pieces of the costume that your dog could ingest or anything like glitter that may come off if licked. Next, put the costume on your dog and give him lots of treats, rewarding him for not fussing with it and telling him what a good dog he is.
Don’t leave it on for more than a minute or two, and if your dog seems totally stressed out, go back to the first step. Do this several times over the next few days to not only get your dog used to wearing the costume, but also building a positive association to it (i.e. I wear this goofy thing and I get delicious treats for it!)
Make sure to bring those yummy treats with you so that you can continue to reward Fido for being a good pup in a silly outfit!