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DOG / training & behavior

Teach Your Dog Some Halloween Tricks

Three training tricks to make Halloween a treat


Do you dread Halloween, not because of ghosts and goblins, but because your dog barks at trick-or-treaters and guests approaching your door?

We have some training tips for these behavior issues. With enough practice in advance, you may find that October 31 goes so smoothly, it’s spooky.

Stop jumping on the trick-or-treaters!

Teach your dog “sit”

  • Grab a dog treat and hold it right at the end of your dog’s nose.
  • Slowly move the treat up your dog’s snout and over his head. As he tries to keep his eyes on the treat, he’ll wind up sitting.
  • When he does, praise him and give him the treat.
  • Now start saying “Sit!” at the beginning of this process. With sufficient practice and consistent rewards, your dog will sit at the command.

Don’t run towards the doorbell!

Teach your dog “stay”

  • Invite your dog to sit and then say, “Stay.”
  • If your dog does so for even a split second, respond with praise and a treat.
  • Practice keeping your dog still for one second, then two, and work your way up over the next few days.

Get away from that candy corn!

Teach your dog “leave it”

  • Grab a somewhat boring, run-of-the-mill treat, like a dry biscuit.
  • Leash your dog and place the biscuit just out reach.
  • When your dog gets bored of trying to get the biscuit, praise him and give him a better treat — like a bit of chicken breast.
  • Repeat the whole exercise and say, “leave it!” when your pup tries to get the boring, out-of-reach treat. Repeat the exercise with other, yummier treats, each time rewarding your dog with something tastier when he leaves it.

Lisa Sutton is an accredited PetSmart Trainer.

For information on PetSmart Accredited Training, please visit the PetSmart training page.