Dogs in costumes? Cute. Getting your dog into a costume? Ruff. But this advice from Sylvia Reutens, whose 10-year-old corgi has beat out hundreds of other dogs for the Best in Show title at the famed Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade in New York City, will fetch some results.
1. Learn his style. Maybe you break into a sweat whenever you have to wear a turtleneck. Well, your four-legged friend also has likes and dislikes when it comes to clothing. “My dog, Harry, doesn’t like to have things under his body or between his legs,” says Reutens. “Placing a super-light box on top of him—with his head and ears completely free—doesn’t bother him at all.” As much as you want your pet to look adorable, it’s more important that he’s comfortable. Help him try on a few outfits to see what he’s cool with.
2. Reward with treats. “People assume Harry is incredibly well trained because he wears costumes without fuss, but that’s actually not true,” says Reutens, who has dressed Harry up for the last five Halloweens. (Not to mention the contest judging can take hours!) “I just keep a treat directly in his line of sight, and I carry a ball so that I can entice him with a little fetch, too. He has to be rewarded for almost every move he makes in costume.”
3. Plan an escape. No matter how much thought you put into your dog’s costume, there’s always going to be a point where he’s just not having it anymore. Be prepared! “Making a costume easy to get on and off makes a huge difference when he just needs a break to be a dog for a bit,” Reutens says. Give him a reprieve and you’re more likely to persuade him to put his costume on for a second round of cuteness.
-- By Brittany Burke; Photo by Winnie Au