Dressing up a pet can be super fun for the owners of cooperative animals. If you are interested in trying a pet costume this year, here are some tips for keeping it as stress free on your pet as possible!
Pick A Costume Your Pet Likes
The first step is to pick a costume that your animal will like. If your pet is finicky about costumes, then you probably want a simple costume that doesn’t impede their range of motion. Bulky costumes aren’t a good starting point. Neither are costumes with complex accessories.
Get Your Pet Used To Wearing The Costume
Don’t wait until the last minute to put on the costume. Start training your pet a few weeks before Halloween, if possible. Gradually increase their comfort level by increasing the time they are exposed to the costume.
Give Lots Of Praise
Make your pet as comfortable as possible before bringing out the costume. This can be done easily by rewarding them with some tasty treats and positive verbal and physical reinforcement so they will have a positive association with the costume.
Get Them Used To The Costume’s Scent
Letting your pet smell the costume before jumping-in will help them become more familiar with the object. Remember, you pet won’t understand what’s going on as you’re trying to dress it in the costume. Being familiar with the scent will take away one more unknown variable from the confusing situation.
Get Your Pet Used To Being Near The Costume
Once your pet seems comfortable around the costume, drape the costume over them for a few seconds while rewarding with treats. Don’t strap anything on yet- just get them used to the idea of the costume being on them. Repeat this step several times, putting it on and taking it off, to help them learn to like the costume before moving on. Be sure to praise with some encouragement and treats intermittently as you extend the periods in which the costume is atop your pet.
When it’s time to strap on the costume, try to distract your pet with something entertaining by bringing their attention elsewhere. Praise your dog with confidence and more treats. Make sure the costume fits your pet comfortably so that your animal is able to move around freely.
Don’t just put the costume on your pet and expect it to like it. It might take some time for some animals to like their costumes. Keep these training sessions short and simple. Don’t try to fight your pet into wearing it, because you won’t win. If your dog or cat just won’t cooperate with wearing a costume, there may not be much you can do to change their mind. Cut your losses and don’t overstress your pet!