Holidays are best spent with the ones you love, and for many of you out there, that means your dog (or cat, or bird, or turtle). So if you’re looking for some fun things to do with your dog this Halloween, look no further!
A note: yes, we’re the enrichment ladies. But notice that I’m talking about “Halloween activities”, not necessarily “Halloween enrichment”. Enrichment is about meeting your pet’s needs to encourage them to perform species-typical behavior and achieve desired behavioral results. While some of these activities may fit that bill for certain individuals, I doubt that all will be for all individuals. This post is really just talking about activities you can do for the purpose of fun instead of for the purpose of meeting needs. More information about this is in this blog post about When Enrichment Isn’t Enriching.
1. Leaf pile hide-and-seek.
All you need for this one is a pile of leaves, some treats, and your dog! Sprinkle some treats in a safe leaf pile and let your dog go to town sniffing and searching for them. This is one activity that may very well prove to be an enrichment activity for your dog as it has the potential to fulfill the foraging, species-typical needs, and mental exercise enrichment categories.
2. Bobbing for toys.
A twist on the classic bobbing for apples. Fill a small container with water, put some floating toys or treats in it, and let your dog fish them out! Bonus points for dogs who already know how to get a specific toy and asking them to grab one in particular.
3. Preference test different Halloween treats.
One of the best parts of Halloween as a kid was all of the different types of candy. It was like a neighborhood-wide candy preference test to determine your favorites. We can do the same for our dogs! Pick up some of those fun Halloween treats at your local pet store and go to town with a treat preference test! Check out the video below for how to do a treat preference test.
4. Treat for looking at Halloween decorations.
I always wonder what dogs think about decorations at this time of year. Some of them must be pretty scary, no matter how well-adjusted they are! We can help make decorations less scary by treating our pups for looking at- but not necessarily approaching- Halloween decorations. If they want to investigate they can as long as you’re sure that the decoration isn’t going to move and startle them.
5. Doorbell as a “place” cue.
Teaching your dog to go hang out on their bed when the doorbell rings is a useful behavior in general, but it’s especially useful during Halloween! Check out the video below for how to teach a new cue for a known behavior.
6. Trick-or-treat trick.
This trick involves asking your pet to pick up a plastic pumpkin (in Oso’s case, a cat face) like they’re going trick-or-treating. You can teach this trick like you would any pick-up-and-hold behavior!
7. Play dead trick.
A classic trick that will have your dog rising from the grave! This is a two-part trick: 1) lie down 2) flop over on your side. Oso’s cue is “bang bang”. The first “bang” signals the down and the second signals flopping over.
- Choose an activity that sounds like fun for both you and your dog and get started!
- We’d love to see your Halloween activities. Tag us @petharmonytraining on Facebook or Instagram with what you’re working on!