Most people with dogs know that Halloween can be an adventure. People ringing the door bell and knocking on the door all night, the door opening and closing, strange people standing on the front porch; it’s a very confusing night for dogs.
Years ago, A.J.’s first Halloween with us was a lesson in door etiquette. He had to wear a collar and leash all night. Every time someone came to the door we’d all go to the front door (A.J. running all out, dragging the leash behind him). I’d tell A.J. to sit, Greg would hold the leash, and I’d open the door and hand out the candy. The “sit” didn’t always last long, but we worked on it through the evening and overall A.J. did really well for the crazy puppy he was.
This past Halloween was A.J.’s fifth with us. His door etiquette is excellent. When someone comes to the door he barks and jumps at the door like a rabid dog. (Yes, I consider this appropriate behavior.) Then I call him back from the door, tell him to stay, and he stands back politely while I open the door. (I find it funny when I open the door and people are standing practically out in the street, afraid of the rabid dog behind the door. Fortunately at Halloween the kids don’t have this reaction. In one case, as soon I opened the door a little girl I’d never seen before just stepped right into the house.)
Even though A.J.’s manners are excellent now, I decided to put his collar on him before the trick-or-treaters started showing up. He’d spent all day at day care, so he was lying on his bed half-asleep when I walked up to him with his collar. He lifted his head just enough for me to snap the collar on. He then proceeded to lay there and stare at me, his head still lifted partway off his bed. He very obviously did not want his collar on, and was not happy I’d done that. Why was I bothering him with this?
When the first few groups of trick-or-treaters came to the door, A.J. followed his pattern of jumping at the door. I’d call him away, tell him to stay, open the door and hand out the candy. But after three or four groups of kids, he decided he was tired and didn’t want to deal with this anymore. He ran upstairs and went to bed.
My crazy puppy has definitely grown up.