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How to teach your dog to wear a Halloween costume


Photo by Jennifer Bjorklund

Want to have a Pug Princess, Spaniel Space Alien or Mutt Movie Star? Pet costumes are widely available in a variety of shapes and sizes and dressing up your dog can be a fun addition to your Halloween Happenings. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that your furry friend wasn’t born understanding how to wear bumblebee wings or a princess veil. 

When you first introduce your dog to his costume, be sure to have a hearty supply of mouth-watering treats. Begin by simply draping the costume over his back with one hand, while you feed treats with the other, praising your dog and telling him he looks handsome. Do this for about 10 seconds. Remove the costume and stop feeding. Repeat this process several times over numerous training sessions, gradually increasing the amount of time that the costume is draped over your dog. Once he appears completely comfortable with the costume touching him, put the costume on the dog. As soon as it’s on, feed and praise lavishly for about 30 seconds, then take the costume off and stop feeding. Repeat this process several times over numerous training sessions. Before you know it, your dog will want you to dress him up in his Hairy Pawter costume!
When selecting a costume, be mindful of pieces that could easily be chewed off and ingested. Make sure the costume is well-fitting and does not interfere with your dog’s vision or natural body movement. Do not leave your dog unattended while wearing his costume. If after training, your dog still seems uncomfortable wearing a costume, you can always liven up his Halloween appearance with a festive themed collar and leash set instead.