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Full sympathies after the jump:
I have several friends who are retired from the elementary school teacher profession. They are very happy they are staying away from any and all elementary schools tomorrow. With over 30 years’ experience apiece, they’ve learned to regret it when the day after Halloween is a week day – all those little darlings on a sugar high.
I’m assured that not much teaching will occur on Tuesday.
If dressing my dog up and laughing at him is wrong, I don’t want to be right.
Also, I think my dogs are better people than all of humanity, even when no one is dressing them in costumes.
I used to laugh at doggie Halloween costumes, but today I invariably wince. The difference is, one day I wondered “What’s this really like for the dog?”
Given the imbalance of power between dog and human, forcing a dog into a costume — which is what it is, because no dog would CHOOSE to do it (and most of them look uncomfortable as hell in them) — has come to seem like simple bullying.
I dunno, when I put a costume on my dog (which is rarely, I think I’ve done it once maybe twice per dog) I also coo over them, give them love and treats and tell them how good they are. They are generally wagging because I am happy and I have not inflicted any pain or discofort on them even if it seems a bit weird to them.
On the scale of abuse, I don’t think this even reads high enough to register on the scale.
I also frequently have them hold or wear things I’ve made for photos and post them online. I cannot set up a tripod or turn on a camera in this house without all three dogs running to me to see what’s going on. If I am taking pictures of myself, they insert themselves into the shot.
Is not much different than putting a costume on my dogs and yet they come running when I set up my equipment. If I am putting something on one dog the others try to nudge their way in. I’m not a native dog speaker but mine are pretty good communicators about their general likes and dislikes.
There are things we do as humans that our dogs find genuinely unpleasant and even uncomfortable. Taking them for vaccines, clipping their nails, treating an injury or removing a tangle of hair (for long haired dogs) may not be pleasant and your dog gives you very clear signals when they are scared, hurt or in discomfort. If that’s how your dog acts when wearing a costume then yes, I can see that being unkind. I don’t get that sort of signal from my dogs. They look no more put out than my dogs look the first time I give them a smooch on their head (which is completely foreign to a dog and something they learn to associate with a happy human) and they look less put out than the first time I turn a dog on its back and hold it in my lap, another behavior that is not normal for one dog to do to another but is something my dogs now associated with affection.
Like anything, how you do something will impact how your dog reacts. Crates are great but if you adopt a puppy and throw it in a crate the first day you bring it home, without training it, yah, it’s going to be freaked out. A leash is great, but a dog doesn’t come preprogramed able to understand and deal with a collar and leash. A costume shouldn’t be any more uncomfortable or frightening than a new dog backpack or harness. If it is, you aren’t doing your part right.
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