Choosing a costume to wear for Halloween is fun for humans and now it has become more popular for dogs as well. I have seen plenty of pictures of dogs in cute Halloween costumes (a daschund dressed up like a hot dog for example). However,  I hate to say this but not every dog likes to put on a costume,especially if it is last minute. I want to share some tips if you plan on doing this so your dog has a better chance of being okay with a costume. It is a process that will take some time but the benefits of learning that new things are positive is a good lesson in the long run.

Why do dog parents dress their dogs up in costumes?

  • For fun ( to match their costumes)
  • For holiday spirit
  • They could not resist the cuteness of the costume selection
  • For a contest ( maybe a dog charitable event-best costume plus bragging rights)

Whatever your reason, I want to share some tips to start working on today so you and your dog is ready for the holiday season and the next time you want to dress your dog up.

#1 Choose a simple costume

If you have never put your dog in a costume before, starting out with an easy costume might be the way to go. Features to look for are something you can easily put on and take off and that will not overwhelm your dog and prevent them from walking in it or impact their sight. Some ideas that fit are a bandana, collar, or leash. The ones below are great examples  and  still stay within the colors of Halloween and will be easier to put on your dog.

*** If your goal is to put a full costume on then my next two tips are for you. ***


#2 Make the costume experience a positive one

First start off just letting your dog sniff and approach the costume and use praise, a treat,  and make it short in the beginning. Keeping things simple and just adding the costume exposure as a part in your dog’s routine will help stay consistent. You could come back from a walk and then let your dog see the costume. The point is to add more time with the costume each time, from sniffing to trying to put it on your dog.

#3 Watch your dog’s reaction (stress signals) as that is an indicator of how fast or slow to go

While exposing your dog to a Halloween costume you want to also be looking for any stress signals. This is a way  dogs try to handle their stress. If your dog does this then you need to stop. This will help you figure out how much and how long your dog is okay with the process.

Some Stress Signals to look for:

  • licking lips
  • yawning
  • panting
  • whining
  • turning away
  • cowering


If you want to learn more about stress signals then reading Turgid Rugaas’ book called On Talking Terms with Dogs Calming Signals would be a great start.

 **If the tips above are not working now, there is always next year but keep working on it.**

If the process is going slowly or your dog is not okay with dressing in a costume, you can always take a picture of your dog and add a costume to it. It is the best of both worlds. You get to have fun and your dog does not have to be stressed out if costumes are not his or her thing.

** Snapchat is another option. Take a picture of your dog and add a Halloween costume. This will let you have fun and your dog will not be stressed, so a win for both of you. **

In wanting to have some fun I created a Halloween Dog Costume Contest  that you can enter your dog in and the prize for the most likes on my Facebook Page gets a $25 Amazon Gift card. Sign up here

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