It all started with a dismembered foot sticking out from a hedge (albeit a rubber dismembered foot sticking out from a hedge).
I had heeded the warnings about preparing your dog for and protecting them from sights and sounds of the 4th of July. But I did not anticipate just how scary Halloween would be for Dancer.
It was the foot we encountered when we headed down the street for trick or treating with Zander that first set her off. From then on, she was jumpy.
Walking at night was different for her. The smells of the dusk and dark, too, seemed to throw her off. Seeing other dogs being walked and actual cats (not just cat décor) had her on high alert.
I had to hold tight to her leash and frequently remind her to heel in my serious voice (a voice that is lower and softer than usual).
We had only one really bumpy moment. A neighbor had replaced their porch light with a strobe light for a spooky effect. (That may be even more frightful than they intended, given how steep their stairs are.) Zander was slow come down the steps and Dancer wanted to exit the scene ASAP. She pulled. He fell. But it was a minor bump, and we moved on.
The night taught me a lesson. Next year, I will prepare Dancer for the frights of Halloween:
– I will start taking her on walks after dusk to get used to the nighttime sights and smells.
– I will make sure she explores the rubber body parts and other Halloween oddities during the day and at night so they don’t freak her out at showtime.
– And I will make sure she gets a long hill-filled walk that day to get her ya-yas out before trick or treating starts.
I’m happy to report that Dancer’s jumpiness did not detract from the fun for Zander, who ended his candy quest with the one candy he actually likes, a lollipop.
Yes, there’s another thing that binds Zander and Dancer: NO CHOCOLATE!