Want to give canine trick-or-treaters a ghoulish good time this Halloween? Of course you do, and one fun way to do so is to host a Howl-O-Ween party designed just for dogs. It’s a great way to let dogs socialize, and for you and your friends to have some fun, too. Here are some tips – from venue to treats and more – to make sure your pet’s Halloween party is safe and they have a howling good time.
Perfect Pawty Venue
The first thing you will have to decide is where to hold the party. Outside is best, but not always possible if the temps are starting to dip in your area. Consider getting together in a dog park or a fenced in backyard. You’ll want lots of room for the four-legged guests to run and play games.
If you do need to hold the party indoors, make sure you have enough floor space and easy access to the outside. If you don’t want to use your own home, check into pet schools or other indoor facilities.
Wherever you host the party, you’ll need separate spaces for food, bathroom and quiet time.
Not So Chilling Decorations
Don’t go too frightening with the decor. You don’t want a bunch of nervous or stressed dogs on your hands, but there are still plenty of other options. Think more along the lines of “interesting things to sniff” rather than something that makes scary noises or pops out. Hay, pumpkins and leaves are always interesting to dogs.
Incorporating dog bones and skeletons into the theme would be perfect for a doggy Halloween. You can also set up a graveyard for them to wander, with a few loose “body parts.” Just make sure there are enough to go around – you don’t want to start a dog fight over a plastic foot!
One of the most commented articles here on the CANIDAE RPO blog is “Jealousy and Possessive Behavior in Dogs.” It’s easy to believe a dog is acting out and has bad behavior because he’s jealous of another dog in the family or he’s being possessive. Both may be true, but there are other reasons why dogs might suddenly stop getting along, as I discovered with my own pack.
Sometimes, dogs just don’t like each other
When we agreed to foster a friend’s dog, it was just supposed to be for a short period of time. But since he would be sharing space with ours, we socialized him with our pack. Dozer is a lovable terrier mix, and he adjusted well to his new environment. That is, until Dozer made a move to challenge Max, one of my dogs who is twice his size. We began to notice a change in Dozer’s body language around Max. Since they weren’t getting into fights, we decided it would be best to let them sort out their differences.
One day Max walked past Dozer and brushed against him. That was all it took; Dozer whirled around and latched on to Max around the ears. We got them separated and gave them time to calm down before letting them interact with each other. All was well for about a month before another fight broke out, then another month before the next fight. These were full-fledged fights, and we decided the best thing to do was to separate them and work on re-socializing them.
So far our attempts have failed. Dozer and Max just do not like each other, and I have my doubts they will ever be able to be together in the same room again without fighting. Sometimes the only thing you can do is adopt a management program to keep dogs separated permanently. Since Dozer isn’t ours and my friend is still not in a position to take him back, we will most likely continue to keep them separated to avoid more fights and keep them from hurting each other, or us.
If you think there aren’t any men willing to profess their love for cats…think again! For this article, 7 Cat Guys talk openly about all things feline.
What’s the best thing about being a Cat Guy? Dan: Having a Cat Lady to share our seven cats with! Not to mention the fringe benefits of the unique love, loyalty and companionship each cat freely gives to me on a daily basis. Doug: Snuggling with a purring kitty on a cold day. Eddie: They’re very cool, no barking, low maintenance, they bring home exotic “things” and they’re the only ones that “understand” me. Kevin: I think there’s a certain sensitivity and self-awareness that cat people generally have. Being a cat guy also allowed my wife Tracey and I to reconnect (we had worked together at the same company many years ago). I had been volunteering at PAWS for years, and then she started volunteering there, too. It was a total chance meeting of a crazy cat guy and a crazy cat woman. We’ve been a crazy married cat couple for five years now! Michael: Cats are low maintenance and cuddly. Scott: Saving a life. Terry: The best thing about being a Cat Guy is interacting with one of the most fascinating species on the planet. I love the time I spend with my cats. I also always try to fully exceed their expectations of me.
When you leave the house, on a scale of 1 to 10, how covered in cat hair are you? Dan: 10+. On a recent trip, I even noticed that my luggage was covered with cat hair. I guess it’s their way of giving you something to remind you of them. Doug: Well, that’s hard to say because I don’t take the time to count the dog hairs and then subtract for the number of cat hairs that are left. Eddie: 7 on a good day, but usually 9 Kevin: It depends upon where I’m going. In the morning during the workweek, I’m probably a “2.” Once I’m dressed in my work clothes, I don’t dare sit on any of the upholstered furniture, so as not to get cat hair all over me. On the weekends, I’m probably anywhere from a “3” to a “6.” Thank goodness for lint rollers! Michael: 2. Lots of laundering. Scott: Not too much – I put on a clean shirt right before I leave! Terry: Listen, if I leave the house with a cat hair ranking of 7 or less I have really ignored the cats. Up close and personal with your cats is something serious and there is cat hair involved. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What’s the craziest “Cat Guy” thing you’ve ever done? Dan: Fell in love with my crazy cat lady and encouraged a household of seven cats. Doug: One of the neighbor’s cats got stuck on the roof of my house and I went up to get her down. It was cold, rainy and dark, and she kept moving around. We were both unhappy campers by the time I finally caught her. Kevin: I definitely think non-cat people think much of what I do is crazy. Like volunteering for 15+ years with the cats at PAWS. Or having framed pictures of our cats in my office at work. Or making photo cards of the cats every holiday season for the past 10 years. Or having pictures of some of the PAWS cats on our wedding table cards. Scott: I brought home cat #13, Sylvester. He had lived two years in a cage at the vet. Terry: I actually thought it was pretty crazy three years ago when, as a “Cat Guy” I attended the first Barkworld Expo, a social media event marketed to critters that bark instead of meow. Given the audience and the nature of the four-legged attendees, I took the “Flat” version of my cat Brian. As it turned out, the event was terrific and I made many new friends.
What cat-themed items are in your wardrobe? Dan: I’d likely be arrested for divulging that information! Eddie: No way. This article is about guys, right? Kevin: I have a couple cat-themed t-shirts, a baseball cap, and a necktie. Scott: I have a tie-dyed shirt featuring a cat’s paw. Terry: I can never have too many cat tee shirts or cat sweatshirts, and during the Christmas season I look forward to wearing my tie with Santa and the kitty on it. Cat Guy items are not as easy to find as Cat Lady items.
A few years ago, there was a serious tropical storm that resulted in it pouring rain in Charleston for over a week. As luck would have it, this happened the very month we rescued our puppy. To make matters worse, I was under a tight deadline to finish up an important project that week. As you might imagine, our dog was going bonkers. I needed to entertain her to the point of exhaustion so I could get some work done, and we couldn’t go outside.
At that time our dog was young, but dogs of every age need exercise and mental stimulation regardless of the weather. In fact, this past summer it was so hot and humid that we didn’t think it was healthy to let our dog romp around outside for too long. We needed to help her burn off energy in the confines of our air-conditioned home.
My point is, there are days when you can’t offer your dog the necessary exercise and mental stimulation she needs in the great outdoors. Here are a few creative ways to entertain your dog when you can’t run around outside:
Find a friend with a dog and a basement. Seriously, my neighbor has a small dog and a large basement. When the weather isn’t conducive to outside play, she always wants me to come over with our dog so they can play together. We let the dogs wrestle and chase one another around until they wear themselves out. It’s great for them and fun for us too; we just hang out and chat. When I load our pup back in the car and get home, she takes her rightful place on the sofa for a long nap. On the flip side, if you have the space you can have the “play date” at your house. I can assure you that your friends will be grateful!
Stuff your dog’s toys. We have a few treat dispensing toys that help relieve boredom. I’ll stuff a rubber toy tightly with CANIDAE TidNips and let our dog entertain herself for hours. I’ve gotten good at packing the dog treats in so they’re hard to get out and it drives her crazy, in a good way. There are lots of puzzle toys and treat dispensing toys that can keep your dog occupied while indoors.
For many years, animal shelters have been a place where pet owners could take their dog or cat when they could no longer care for them. That’s still the case, but today’s shelters have expanded to become more than just a shelter by providing other pet related services in addition to finding new homes for pets.
Shelters are developing humane education programs to help teach kids how to respect animals and have compassion for all life. Children are taught how to handle a pet, the proper way to pet them, and when they may need to give a pet their space. Responsible pet ownership is the focus in each program, and some shelters include responsible stewardship for all animals, domesticated and wild. These programs help teach kids empathy and why it’s important to have compassion for the animals we share our environment with. Programs vary from shelter to shelter, with some offering classes on pet first aid and disaster preparedness for pets.
Since the downturn in the economy, some shelters have come up with a way to help struggling owners keep their pets. Instead of surrendering a pet to a shelter and adding to their population, safe haven programs are giving pet owners a better option and hope by boarding or fostering pets for people who are in a temporary situation. Home foreclosures or a loss of a job is already a stressful situation. Surrendering a pet to a shelter only adds to a family’s devastating economic loss. Safe haven programs also give military personnel preparing to deploy overseas a way to keep their pets while they’re away. Instead of worrying if a pet they had to surrender to a shelter has found a good home, soldiers can concentrate on their job knowing their pet is safe and waiting for them to return.
Training Classes and Behavior Evaluations
One reason many pets are surrendered to shelters is because their owner doesn’t know how to correct a behavior problem. However, most behavior issues can be easily resolved once you know how to help a pet. Even aggression can be corrected. Some bad behavior is due to medical reasons and some is simply a matter of the owner taking the lead role with a pet. Many shelters now have an animal behaviorist on staff to help with pet behavior issues. Training classes give pet owners the tools they need to teach basic commands and learn how to control their dog.
“Hi, my name is Cody and I am a leaf-aholic.” At least that’s how I imagine the meeting would start, if we could get our dog to admit he has an unhealthy obsession with brightly colored piles of leaves. Okay, he even finds the brown, beaten down crispy ones fascinating.
Of course it’s unhealthy only in the sense that we, his humans, worry about what unsafe things might be under there and like to have his attention during most of the walk. Cody, like most dogs, is pretty sure it’s just super fun and important.
Eau de Rotting Stuff
Why are leaf piles so fascinating to dogs? Because of all of the glorious outdoorsy smells of decomposing vegetation, rich dirt. And other interesting scents.
Olfaction, smelling something, is the primary sense dogs use. They rely on it to interpret the world, much like people rely on sight. Dogs have more than 220 million scent receptors in their noses. In comparison, humans have only five million.
So when they smell something particularly pungent, like rotting piles of leaves, they just have to investigate.
Getting Away from the Leaves
A well-trained dog may not have any trouble passing by something interesting if they aren’t on leave to explore. They may also leave it alone on command. If you’re dealing with impulse control issues, like we are, you’ll have to work with your pet until he follows commands. Make sure you have some tasty goodies, like CANIDAE dog treats, on hand as rewards.
The personal opinions and/or use of trade, firm, corporation or brand names, in this blog is for the information and convenience of the reader. Such use does not constitute an official endorsement or approval by CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company of any product or service to the exclusion of others that may be suitable. All opinions in this blog are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company.