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Why Dress Up Your Dog In A Halloween Costume?

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We’ve learned many things over the past 6 years as guide dog puppy raisers.  Before we were raising guide dog pups we brought home our first pup, Linus from the shelter.  We never dressed him up in dog costumes for Halloween or Christmas and really didn’t think much about it.  Two years later we were raising our second puppy, Stetson.

Stetson was second pup, but our first guide dog puppy in training.  We knew quite a bit about raising and training a puppy after our experiences with Linus.  One thing we never really thought about was handling our pups and why it’s a good idea to play dress up with your puppy in training.

Why Dress Up Your Dog In A Halloween Costume?

We’re not as clever as many of the people out there on the interweb, but we do like to be somewhat original.  The last few years we ordered children’s Halloween costumes from Amazon (aff link) and turned them into our very own Do-It-Yourself Dog Costumes.  Check out Dublin in his monkey outfit:

Dublin in his monkey dog halloween costume
Dublin in his monkey dog halloween costume

One of the things we are taught when raising our guide dog puppies in training is to make sure we constantly handle our dogs paws, tails, ears, head, basically they’re entire bodies so they are used to being handled when they move on to their working career.  A visually impaired person needs to inspect their dogs from head to toe with their hands rather than their eyes to see if their dog has any lumps, dry skin, allergies, etc that require medical attention.

During our puppy kindergarten classes we are encouraged to dress up our puppies in training because it teaches them to be handled in different ways.  They also learn to be tolerant while being handled.

In puppy kindergarten we usually just put baby clothes (shirts, shorts, and socks) on our pups.  Dog Halloween costumes can have some added accessories including hats, scarfs, bracelets/anklets, etc. giving the added bonus of handling our pups heads, necks, paws, and ankles.

Dressing up your puppies in costume may be fun for both you and your dog. However, here are a few things to remember when dressing up your dog this Halloween:

  • Make sure nothing is too tight so you don’t cut off circulation.
  • Don’t leave your dog unattended in costume.  Some dogs may try to chew and eat parts of dog costumes.
  • Dog costumes can get warm.  If it’s warm make sure your dog is not over heating.  Just think you’re dog is already wearing one coat, that costume might be like wearing a second coat!

Over the years I’ve heard people complain that dressing up your dog is humiliating for the dogs.  However, as I mentioned it helps us to handle our pups in different ways making them more comfortable when moving on to their visually impaired handlers.  Also, I don’t know of too many dogs who hate spending extra time with their owners at say a dog Halloween costume party.

So what about your dog?  Do you dress him/her up?  Have you decided on a dog Halloween costume for this year?  What costume safety tips do you have when dressing up your dog?  Tell us about it in the comment section below.

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  1. The young pups like to chew on everything. I usually try to get a costume that doesn’t have any dangling parts if I have a young pup like the Lion’s Mane I used for Dublin. My older dogs don’t usually chew on the costume no matter what’s hanging.

  2. Our friends take their therapy dogs to the Children’s Hospital. I wonder if they will dress them up for a Halloween visit.

    Thanks for the safety tips!

  3. I never dressed up my dogs in costume until I started raising guide dog puppies and I really don’t dress up my current dogs. However, I do like to do it with our puppies in training because it does help them become more comfortable being handled.

  4. My two dogs, Linus and Stetson don’t usually get dressed up too much now that they are older, but I always dress up my dogs that are in training.

  5. We do costumes for our dogs for our nursing home visits, and they’re very popular. It definitely gives the residents something to smile and talk about, and I’ve found that our dogs like the extra attention.

    One safety thing I’ve learned is to be sure that the dog’s visibility isn’t obstructed and to test it some at home to be sure that it won’t do anything to impede the dog’s movement. One year Bunny and Morgan went as Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf, but Bunny’s red cape turned out to be too long and she kept stepping on it. I ended up carrying it behind her like a bridesmaid at a wedding! lol

  6. I’m with Jodi on this one – I see the purpose in dressing them up when they are being trained as guide dogs. But I don’t dress my dogs up. While it might seem funny to me – I think Blueberry would protest. 🙂

  7. I don’t dress mine up, just my preference. But I do see the validity in dressing them up for the purposes of making them feel comfortable while they are handled.

    Great informative post!

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