Dog’s Eye View: It’s Halloween for dogs
A few weeks ago I wrote about how Halloween might be experienced through my dog Stuart’s eyes. It probably seems pretty weird for dogs to hear the voice and scent of their owners coming from an unrecognizable costume. Another side of this holiday experience is the fun of putting costumes on our dogs.
Years ago, my friend, Laura Tyler, and I took her dog, Skippy, a rat terrier and Stuart, my bull terrier, to a dog Halloween party. Laura made a costume for Skippy that made her look like a Chinese crested dog. It included fake fur leg bands and a headpiece resembling a Mohawk. Skippy showed her usual good nature by wearing these with grace. Stuart, being all white, was easy to dress up as a Dalmatian. All I had to do was paint black spots all over his body with a kind of paint stick. I put a red scarf on him for an accent of color.
This party was outside in the afternoon in an area that was quite large and fenced in. There were dogs there in every conceivable get up. Yes, there were dachshunds in “wiener dog” outfits. Of course, there were several dogs with angel wings attached to their backs. Who wouldn’t want to think of their dog as an angel? One person even dressed herself as Little Bo Peep and her dog was dressed as a sheep — a real sheep dog, you might say.
One thing that was fun and interesting about this party is that most of the dogs got along so well. Many of them knew each other, but walking around sporting an odd look would make one think that the dogs might be ill at ease. They didn’t seem to be. There were a few — those that didn’t have the social skills to run loose — that were kept on leash. Their owners were very kind and smart to think about the safety of their own dogs, as well as the other guests.
The party games were cleverly thought out. My favorite was “bobbing for biscuits.” The tub was not too deep, and the biscuits floated. Lots of dogs grabbed biscuits, and some of them got into the tub to get the job done. Another game was the “pumpkin pull.” A pumpkin was attached to a long line, and dogs would drag it a specified distance. I think they had different-sized pumpkins for large or small dogs.
Stuart was quite young then and was a little too rowdy to be off leash around such a spooky crowd. That’s part of the reason I dressed him in such an easy costume. I didn’t want to have to worry about keeping clothes on him while keeping him under control.
Of course, there were prizes for all sorts of things. There were cheers for dogs that were able to get a biscuit or two, and there was encouragement and laughter for every effort in every game.
Of the costumes, I liked the “sheep dog” and Skippy’s costume best. I like to think of the tedious and loving process that brought about such creative dog wear from every owner.
It was fun to see people love their special companions in such a unique way.
Happy Halloween, everybody.
Sandra Kruczek is a certified professional dog trainer at Total Teamwork Training, LLC, with more than 30 years of experience.
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