In recent years, pet stores and Halloween websites have started stocking a wide array of dog costumes for Halloween and many dog owners find pet costumes simply irresistible. In fact, many fall festivals include Halloween pet parades, and some animal shelters and humane organizations include pet Halloween costume fashion shows in their autumn festivals or fall events.
Dogs Who won’t Wear a Pet Costume for Halloween
Many pet owners envision their dog prancing around in a pet Halloween costume on October 31, and some dog lovers will spend quite a bit of money on the perfect dog costume. Intense disappointment sets in when the owner dresses the dog in his new Halloween costume only to find that he refuses to wear it!
When it comes to pet Halloween costumes, some dogs squirm so much that it makes it impossible for the dog owner to dress the dog in his outfit. Other dogs turn into Halloween costume escape artists, stripping off the costume in a matter of minutes. And then there are the dogs who are intent on destroying their dog costume, as they chew, bite and tear at the fabric until a tattered rag remains.
How to Get Dogs to Wear a Halloween Costume
There are a few methods that can be used to get a dog to wear a pet Halloween costume. Some dogs who are accustomed to wearing dog clothes won’t flinch at the sight of that adorable costume, but for other pets it takes a bit of clever dog training to get the pet in his Halloween attire.
- Use Positive Reinforcement – Associate the dog Halloween costume with treats, attention and other positive experiences. Dress the dog in his costume and use an excited “happy voice” to praise the dog and offer treats and positive attention. If the dog won’t allow the owner to dress him in his Halloween costume, begin by showing the dog his costume and offering rewards and praise. After a couple days, place the costume over the dog’s back like a blanket and offer rewards and praise. Once the dog is okay with allowing the pet costume to be draped over his back, put his head through the costume’s head hole and offer positive reinforcement with dog treats and praise. Once the dog is accustomed to sitting with the dog costume around his neck, the next step is dressing him in the costume fully and offering treats, praise and attention.
- Purchase the Correct Size Dog Costume – Some dogs don’t like to wear a pet Halloween costume because it’s uncomfortable. A pet costume that’s too large will interfere with the dog’s movements, so modifying the costume slightly by taking in the seams slightly will make it more comfortable. Also check to see if the costume is creating friction around the neckline or around the front legs; if so, a larger dog costume will be required.
- Practice with Dog Clothes – Dress the dog in clothing during a walk or dress him for a little while as he’s hanging out around the house so he can be accustomed to wearing clothes.
- Distract the Dog with Fun Activities – When a dog first begins to wear clothing, it can be very tempting to bite at the clothing or try to wiggle out of the outfit. So when an owner starts dressing a dog in clothing, it’s key to distract the dog as he becomes accustomed to the outfit. This can be accomplished by dressing the dog in clothing for walks or putting on the dog’s Halloween costume just before starting a game of fetch.
Notably, it’s important to supervise a dog when he’s wearing a Halloween costume or clothing. The dog could become entangled in the clothing and it could lead to strangulation or injuries like a broken leg. Safety should always be a consideration when dressing a dog in a Halloween costume.
Dog Costume Alternatives for Halloween
No matter how much positive reinforcement or distraction an owner provides, a few dogs will absolutely refuse to wear a Halloween costume. Fortunately, there are still a few festive alternatives for dog owners who want their dog to appear festive for Halloween:
- Halloween Dog Bandannas – If a dog will wear a collar, he’ll probably tolerate wearing a festive Halloween dog bandanna.
- Halloween Dog Collars – Pet stores and even stores like Target sell Halloween dog collars that the dog can wear in place of his normal collar.
- Alternative Dog Costumes – Some dog Halloween costumes don’t require wearing actual clothing around the torso. One example is a court jester costume for dogs, where the the pet wears a fringe around his neck, little fabric and elastic cuffs on his legs, and a court jester hat (if he’ll tolerate it.)
- Dog Hair Dyes – For white furred or light colored dogs, there is the option of dying the dog’s fur a fun color like orange, pink, blue or green. These non-toxic semi-permanent dog hair dyes fade over the course of a couple shampoos. Dog dyes can be purchased online or from a dog boutique and owners can apply the dye at home, or they can take their pet to a groomer that offers dog fur dying services.
Articles on Celebrating Halloween With a Dog
Dog owners who plan on dressing their dog for Halloween will need to find that perfect dog costume! To get ideas for a dog costume, read Pet Halloween Costume Ideas.
Animal lovers may also enjoy learning about Animal Pumpkin Carving Patterns for Halloween or Scary, Fun Food for a Halloween Party for Pets.