Dog’s Eye View: Halloween through my dog’s eyes
Well, it’s upon us. This may be a most confusing night for dogs. It’s Halloween. I can only imagine what is going through my dog, Stuart’s, mind.
I have suddenly changed my appearance. I have become unrecognizable to him. My voice is familiar, but where did I go? In a costume, I even walk differently.
Stuart likes to see my eyes and the expression on my face. It’s part of how he knows what I’m communicating to him. If I’m wearing a mask or have painted my face, he doesn’t understand me. How spooky is a masked face where only moving eyes can be seen?
I have worked hard with Stuart to be calm when people come to our front door, and he’s done a wonderful job. Now, when I open the door, there are monsters, princesses and skeletons out there. I wonder if he’s wondering if he should growl at them, and he may wonder why I don’t seem to recognize how much danger I’m in.
I tell him to go to his kennel and lie down, away from the door, while I proceed to give these creatures food treats. That’s his place to be when I answer the door. To him, it may appear that I am bribing these monsters in order to get them to go away. He can see that it usually works, but sometimes, I actually invite them into our house. Now, what is he supposed to do?
There are delicious smells of chocolate coming from treats sitting on a table. If Stuart manages to get a hold of these while I’m busy bribing the monsters, we could be headed to our veterinarian’s office on this special night.
I once wrote about what it might be like to be adopted by Martians. Now, I’m wondering if Stuart is thinking we’ve been invaded by Martians. Good grief, what has happened to his world?
So on this special night, you might want to take extra precautions to avoid putting your own dog in a very stressful situation. Be aware of whether your dog appears nervous or frightened. Tuck him away in a quiet room with a very special bone to chew on for the evening.
Additionally, you might want to turn on a radio or TV in the room to defuse the sound of the door bell and the howl of scary things outside.
It’s OK, Stuart. It’s just one night out of the year.
Sandra Kruczek is a certified professional dog trainer at Total Teamwork Training with more than 30 years of experience.
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It is going to be a hot week in Steamboat Springs.