We love Halloween, we love dressing our dogs up for Halloween. But the truth is, most dogs are really freaked out by this holiday. Between the costumes, candy, doorbell ringing, and overall heightened excitement, it’s no wonder dogs are not down with Halloween. Luckily, you can have a fun and dog-friendly Halloween with a few precautions!
How to have dog-friendly Halloween festivities
It’s important for all of us to recognize that Halloween is a frightening night for dogs. In addition to costumed humans, if you live in a kid-friendly place, you probably have a lot of strangers knocking on your door. Or maybe you are hosting a costume party so all sorts of disfigured and oddly shaped strangers are roaming about your house.
Unless your dog is desensitized to strangers and costumes, you’ll want to give them their own space. Make it a dog-friendly Halloween by having your dog relax in a secure backroom equipped with water and food. Make sure people are not allowed to go in or out of that room. That way your dog will not be privy to all of the commotion.
Securing your dog in a back area also prevents your dog from accidentally consuming Halloween treats. Candy corn and hard candies can make dogs very ill while chocolate is life-threatening.
If you don’t have a secure place in your home, you may want to have your dog stay with a friend or at an overnight dog care facility.
Choosing the right dog costume
With safety out of the way, let’s get to the business of making our dogs look adorable (or scary) on Halloween. To our benefit, dogs do not grasp this idea of costumes and are more annoyed with the functionality then what it might look like. So feel free to choose a fairy, bumblebee or zombie and it will make no difference to your dog.
The trick is to find a costume that your dog will want to stay in. So if your dog doesn’t like hoods or hats on his head, then choose a costume that doesn’t have those features.
The same goes for construction. Some dogs will gladly walk around in a cape but will freak out if you try to stick their hind legs in pants.
Test out a few types of costumes to make sure you have one that is comfortable for your dog. Otherwise, your dog will spend the entire time trying to pull the costume off – and that’s no fun.
Tips & Tricks for Photographing Your Dog
Prepare! Dogs are especially impatient during photo shoots. Don’t ask your dog to pose until everything is set up. That includes taking a few practice shots to ensure the lighting and background is ready.
It takes two people to take a dog photo: a handler (someone to hold treats or a favorite toy) and the photographer. Make sure you have a game plan in place prior to bringing your dog on set. You don’t want to be arguing about how to get the dog to focus on the lens during the shoot or else your model (dog) will walk off set.
Be patient. Think of yourself as a wildlife photographer quietly and patiently hiding in the bush in an effort to capture the perfect shot of an elusive animal species. Dogs circle around, sniff, look in the opposite direction of where the handler is pointing, lie down randomly (with their butt towards the camera), yawn, scratch, jump, paw at the floor, bite at their costume, try to crawl away, etc. Your job is to stay focused and ready with the camera to capture the exact moment that they look into the lens.
Be ready for all sorts of reactions to the costumes.
Here are some of the most common reactions that we’ve seen over the years:
- They freeze. They don’t like the movement of the fabric so they turn into a statue. It ends up being easy to take the perfect shot except that you’ll just get that one look (and typically not a happy one).
- They frantically try to take the costume off. It is extremely difficult to get a clean shot when your dog is feverishly ripping apart the costume. You might want to try another costume or make the action part of the gig.
- They refuse to sit down while wearing their costume. It’s not the worst. Just don’t ask them to sit, and you can get a few memorable shots.
- They are super jazzed about those treats. Dogs that love treats can react one of two ways. They may be really great about sitting and posing to get that treat. But they might also get so worked up over the food that they jump on the handler, lick the camera, or go through their repertoire of tricks on rapid-fire. In short, they are a mess. When we get a dog like this, we change the camera to Sports Mode, click away and hope for one decent shot.
Lastly – Be sure to have fun! Whether your dog is frozen stiff or posing pretty, you’re going to have a good laugh. We hope you can have an awesome and safe dog-friendly Halloween!
Post updated from it’s original format on 10/22/2019.