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Peggy Sue, Standard Poodle Born May 2019
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Discussion Starter #1
How does your poodle handle Halloween decorations?

I pulled out my first Halloween decoration today (a lifesized-but-silly-faced ghost scarecrow) and stuck it in the ground while Peggy was focused on something else. Eek! Peggy was horrified! She hopped back so fast she left skid marks in the gravel, and then barked and barked and barked.

She was NOT comforted by the fact that I was standing right next to it, perfectly fine. But when my husband gave it a tap, suddenly she was brave enough to investigate. Typical!

I let her see it from a few different angles:

From the sidewalk below our property? SCARY!

From the path beside our house? Not scary.

Peggy was fine with it all last year at only four or five months old. She didn't even mind when I dressed up as a witch. She did, however, express some concern at the skeleton hands reaching up from a neighbour's lawn. (To be fair, I thought they were a little creepy, too.)
 

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Hmm. Last year I do not remember Misha reacting to our costumes at all. The only halloween decorations he's seen have been those giant inflatable ones people put in their yards. It's one of the few things that really unnerves him because they're weird and they're maintained by motors so they always quiver slightly. Each time he has encountered them, he shies away and I encourage him to investigate them by scattering treats closer and closer. Eventually I can place treats on them and he'll go up to get them. He's also weirded out by reindeer in yards and even plastic pink flamingos. But with those he gets used to them much faster. After he sniffs and realizes they're not real. But the inflatable ones are definitely much more intimidating.
 

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Peggy Sue, Standard Poodle Born May 2019
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Hmm. Last year I do not remember Misha reacting to our costumes at all. The only halloween decorations he's seen have been those giant inflatable ones people put in their yards. It's one of the few things that really unnerves him because they're weird and they're maintained by motors so they always quiver slightly. Each time he has encountered them, he shies away and I encourage him to investigate them by scattering treats closer and closer. Eventually I can place treats on them and he'll go up to get them. He's also weirded out by reindeer in yards and even plastic pink flamingos. But with those he gets used to them much faster. After he sniffs and realizes they're not real. But the inflatable ones are definitely much more intimidating.
Those inflatable things really are intense! I remember Gracie objecting mightily to a Homer Simpson dressed as Santa Claus.

Peggy is already totally over the scarecrow, btw. I thought it would for sure spook her in the dark, but nope. Wish I could see through poodle eyes! I can't always predict what's going to be scary. In fact, I usually get it wrong.

I'll be doing more decorating tomorrow and I'm betting the life-sized skeleton will get a woof or two. Or not. Lol. We shall see...
 

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Haha. Gotta love dog logic!

My spoo wasn’t phased by the smoke machine I set up, the creepy decorations that move/talk/make noise, or any of the spiderwebs or lights... but the skeleton that I hung up over the overhang that covers my front door last year? Locked her legs, barked and refused to exit the house. Took it down, let her sniff it, left it on floor, walked around with it...no problem (she also was fine with it when I unpacked it and gave it a sniff and then went back to chewing her toy lol)
Hung it back up? She freaked. I replaced it with a bloody ghost and she was fine. I hung the skeleton on the actual front door (like a wreath) and all was right in her world again 🤷🏻‍♀️
 

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Babykins first Halloween with me she was two. My neighbors put some small hay bales and scarecrows on their lawn. OMG. She was petrified. Took us probably a week to desensitize. But she had no problem with other decorations nor with all the door bell ringing and kids/adults in costumes trick or treating. When the local fire department truck came to hand out candy I took her out to see the fun.

We had a back up plan. If she was upset, DH was going to take her to the family room at the back of the house and I was going to sit outside on the driveway to hand out treats. Do have a plan if your dog is upset. It could be all the ringing of the door bell, the costumes, too many kids, the noise and chaos etc.
 
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Those inflatable things really are intense! I remember Gracie objecting mightily to a Homer Simpson dressed as Santa Claus.

Peggy is already totally over the scarecrow, btw. I thought it would for sure spook her in the dark, but nope. Wish I could see through poodle eyes! I can't always predict what's going to be scary. In fact, I usually get it wrong.

I'll be doing more decorating tomorrow and I'm betting the life-sized skeleton will get a woof or two. Or not. Lol. We shall see...
Ooh that reminds me. My friends have a life sized skeleton that is a permanent resident in their house. He sits in a chair reading a book all the time. Misha saw the skeleton for the first time at 10 weeks and then quite often when we would visit. No issue. Then one day we were over there and he looked at the skeleton and lost his mind. I had to coax him to go sniff it. It was so weird that he just then noticed it.
 

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I have no idea how Galen will react. So far nobody in my neighborhood has done much decorating. I did very little Halloween decorating when Snarky and Pogo were around. They didnt seem terribly bothered by costumes. They were more amped up over the concept of visitors than the idea that the visitors might be dressed up.

Snarky was much more disturbed by winter things. He used to flip out over snow men. Blow up snow globes, illuminated reindeer, anything mechanical: totally fine. But three balls of snow stacked atop each other, they were something utterly unnatural and probably dangerous. He was also a bit weirded out by cross country skiers. (Why is that person walking so strangely and making funny zzzt zzzt noises?)
 

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Peggy Sue, Standard Poodle Born May 2019
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We pulled the lifesized skeleton out of its box yesterday, and Peggy started barking hysterically, looking at both of us like, "Why aren't you doing anything about this??"

I calmed her down by flipping the skeleton upside down and holding it by the legs. She immediately stopped barking and investigated.

I guess it looked less human that way?
 

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My neighbors put up a pair of goofy friendly faced scarecrows in an American Gothic pose in front of their house. Galen is weirded out by them. He first saw them when my husband and I had taken him for a walk. He froze with just the start of a querulous growl in his throat when he noticed them. My husband and I burst out laughing. Galen seemed a bit surprised and discomfited by our lack of concern. Safely tucked between us, however, he agreed to continue walking, albeit with many dubious sideways glances at the scarecrows.

The scarecrows were still there on our next walk. This time it was just the pair of us. No safety in a crowd. He advanced with hesitant steps onto the neighbors lawn to inspect them. Then, when I wouldn't come up onto the lawn with him (it is someone's house, after all) he danced backwards with much nervous huffing. I merely laughed at him, told him he was being silly, and continued our walk.
 

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Peggy Sue, Standard Poodle Born May 2019
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Discussion Starter #10
Love ya, Galen!! And Peggy agrees—what a creepy season.

She now has to visit her skeleton friend before every toilet session for a tail wag and toe sniff. The ghostly scarecrow is ignored completely.

The four pumpkins that spontaneously appeared on the doorstep got a frantic woofwoofwoof late at night, followed immediately by the doggy equivalent of "Let's pretend that never happened, k?"
 
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