Tips for (psychotically anxious) Dogs on Halloween

Friday, October 31, 2014

Anyone else out there have a super anxious dog? Combine Andi's extreme anxiety (tiny humans- scary! masks- super scary! sudden screams and noise- scariest ever! doorbell- OMG!) with Ziggy's will to protect this house against anyone who comes to the door (see picture below), and we've got ourselves one big, hot mess tonight with trick-or-treaters.

Exhibit A: Accidentally left the blinds down when we went to work, it appears the UPS man dropped off a package...never again.

Here are some things I've learned over the years, best practices on Halloween with psycho dogs so to speak:

1. Drugs: Our vet recommended Benadryl (1 mg for 1 lb, so Andi gets 50 mg). When that didn't calm her anxiety he recommended Dramamine. Andi gets 1 Dramamine and passes right on out. Andi WILL get a dramamine before I leave for work and as soon as I get home (sidenote: it's also supposed to be windy today. Another major fear of Andi's).

2. Natural Anxiety Remedies: I wrote a post about dog anxiety remedies I've tried (including Thundershirt) here.

3. Exercise: Seeing as how Andi is terrified of anything like masks, drapey clothes (see: flowing robes associated with any Harry Potter costume) and anything clunky (boots, props for costumes), exercising after work is not an option. We got up at the craaacckkkk of dawn to walk for a solid hour to wear her out. Less energy to put towards stress = less stress.

4. Put candy in a bowl on a table in front of the house: We don't want to be those a-hole neighbors who don't talk to the kids, but Ziggy feels that it is his personal duty to scare away anyone who walks onto our porch. We'll see if we have to do this.

5. Keep candy out of dog's reach: No one likes the ole midnight stomach pump in the puppy ER, and NO ONE likes that after-hours bill.

6. Let them sport their bithday suits: Andi and Ziggy despise costumes. Trust, I've tried to force. Adding a costume just makes a stressful situation worse. Don't get me wrong- I'll get my photo opp but as soon as the stress turns up the costumes come off.

7. DO NOT (I REPEAT DO FREAKING NOT) FORGET THE COLLARS: You never know if someone's going to get feisty and make a run for it as a trick or treater is collecting treats. We always take their collars off when they're inside because they are so noisy (and because Ziggy's favorite game is called Drag Andi Around by Her Collar but that's a story for another day), so I am actually setting a phone reminder to put those IDs on before we open the door for a trick-or-treater.

And I leave you with this #TBT of Andi and me at Halloween 2 years ago  (she hated every second of her life in that costume):

PS: We had Parent Orientation last night for Andi's new training class called Bully Manners 101! Exciting things happening around here! We started clicker training last night. Any advice for clicker training? Or for Halloween?


  1. Awww, poor girl. I hope she's alright tonight!

    ~Ashley @ A Cute Angle

  2. oh my goodness... i am so glad my cats don't act like this. my MIL's dog is a bit of a nutter and tore the couch apart looking for his ball... and he is a dachshund. so, yeah. he doesnt need outside influences to help him be crazy, lol. Andi looks like such a sweet dog, I hope she is ok tonight!

  3. I always wonder WTH causes people's blinds to look mangled like that. I always thought it was a tweeker thing but now I know it can be a dog thing too.

    Hopefully she doesn't freak out too bad when the sounds of the trick or treaters come to the bowl outside.

  4. Ahhhh look at you two! Love it!!!! We dont even participate in Halloween because of all our animals. They cant handle the door. Just no! We turn all the lights off around our house and look like the unfriendliest place ever haha!

  5. WOW!!! The blinds really took a beating! Sorry, but I'm hysterical! My kitties freak when the doorbell rings, so we sit in our driveway and hand out candy. Link and Matzo Ball would never let me put a costume on them, so I didn't even try.

  6. I can totally relate to you and your babies! My pit thinks little humans (aka kids) are the devil themselves. He cannot handle it lol! We always make sure he's put away in a back room, with a bed, dim lighting, and jazz music (I kid slightly about the jazz music). Now the hound, he loves kids so much that he tries to bring them home as toys lol!!

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