Do dogs, even an ever-patient service dog, really like to dress in costume for Halloween? Sure it’s humorous to see a 100-pound lab dressed up as Hello Kitty or a Chihuahua prancing around inside a hot-dog bun or taco costume, and who wouldn’t want to see a French poodle in a tutu! In all the excitement to include the family pet in yearly Halloween traditions, have you ever wondered what does the dog think of dressing up for this haunting holiday? Before you parade your four-pawed friend around in costume, let’s take a minute to see Halloween costume dress-up through the eyes of a dog.
- The dog-sized dress-up clothing can be uncomfortably tight around the belly and (to add insult to injury) often includes some kind of peculiar covering pulled over its face. Being pressed into this bizarre set of accoutrements, your pup either gives up in submission to his guardian or he will roll around trying to rub the costume into something so filthy that you will have no choice but to remove it.
- Perhaps there’s a liver treat somewhere in the deal that makes it all worthwhile?
- As if the liver treat was not enough, oh how the little bundle of furry love craves the attention and praise from his or her owner. Put a costume on, and let the gushing and happy comments begin.
- The costumed canine may simply be pondering how someone he loves so much could take advantage of his loyalty for the sake of such a silly or scary attire.
- Perhaps the dog is a bit embarrassed around other dogs as he or she walks down the street in full costumed glory.
- Ultimately, the people-loving dog has become part of the family and will go the distance to protect his “pack” at any cost, even if it means losing a bit of honor for a night.
And, in the end, it all comes down to one thing. Why do we dress up our dogs for a trick-or-treat holiday? Well, if nothing else, it’s because you have to admit that your four-legged-furry friend is a lot more cooperative in the dressing up department than . . . the cat. And, entertaining cat videos aside, your dog most likely looks a lot cuter than a cat in a witch’s hat that’s no doubt been chewed on and tattered from an attempt to remove it from the feline’s, fur-rubbed-the-wrong-way head.
If you choose to dress up your loyal pup, take plenty of pictures to remember the night. Though, if you dress up like a giant pepperoni, don’t be surprised if your dog gives you that hungry look.
Costume Safety Tips
Tolerance Trial: My first service dog was terrified of masks. And that included any we tried to put on her. So, before you costume your dog for night, do a trial run. Some dogs actually enjoy getting into gear, others never get used to it. Be sensitive to your own dog’s tolerance level and don’t insist on having him or her wear anything which makes him/her uncomfortable or fearful.
Fabulous Fit: Be sure the costume is loose enough to let you slide two fingers into the neck hole and under the dog’s belly. Be extra careful about putting anything over your pup’s eyes, nose and ears. They need those sense organs to feel safe, confident and alert, so check that they are all exposed.
Glory Moment: If your pup seems uncomfortable in his or her costume, why not take a few photos, post them on your social media sites, and then take it off. Most dogs can handle a getup for awhile, but probably not longer than an hour — two hours maximum.
Tape to Be Safe: If you are walking around with your dog, perhaps going from door-to-door, add a stripe of reflective tape to his costume and collar, so cars and pedestrians can see him or her at night.
Watching for Witches: If your dog seems okay in his or her Halloween costume, don’t assume that this will be the case for the entire evening. As you stroll around the neighborhood collecting goodies, watch your dog carefully to check for any reactions. How does the dog react to other people in costumes? Other animals in costume, or just any other animals? If you’re keeping your dog at home, remember that, to a dog, trick-or-treaters may look like intruders. Keep your dog in a quiet room, so he or she won’t bolt out the door, or decide he must protect you from the little goblins at your door. Remember that a fearful dog can quickly become an attack dog. If your dog should react and snarl, growl or even try to bite someone, it won’t be the dog’s fault. It will be yours!
~ All the photos in this post were contributed by Gloria Yarina, co-author of “Captured . . . The Look of the Dog” available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, by ordering at your local bookstore, or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org. For additional examples of Ms. Yarina’s creative photography, click on any of the photos above or here: Gloria Yarina
~ Post contributed by: Tere J. Scott.