The TDL 10 Ways to Have a Safe and Happy Halloween


Poppy in her Seasonal Costume

As we prepare for all of the festivities of Halloween, there are a few things you can do to ensure that every member of the family is safe and happy, and has a great holiday. Here are our top tips for how to ensure your pet’s Halloween is a treat!

1. Identification

We can’t say “collar, tags and microchip” enough. If you have not gotten your pets chipped, please do so. A collar and tags are a great step to take, but collars can slip off and tags can snap off. I microchip, on the other hand, is just under the skin, and won’t be brushed off. The best option is to have the collar tags, and chip and to make sure all the information on them is up to date.

2. Keep Pets Inside

Not only are there lots of potentially frightening things out on Halloween, but unfortunately some people’s tricks get downright cruel. Pets are often let out, teased, stolen, or harmed on Halloween which is simply inexcusable. Keeping your pet inside is the safest thing for them (cats too!). Unfortunately cats seem to be in particular peril during this time of year (especially black cats) and we suggest keeping them inside several days before and after Halloween.

3. Candy is for Kids (and Adults) Only

Chocolate is highly toxic and many candies contain artificial sweeteners like Xylitol which is also toxic. For best results, keep the candy for the kids and instead offer you pet a nice, dog-safe treat like a slice of apple, a carrot, or a special dog cookie. Keep your candy far out of reach from your pets and if you have a pooch who is a counter cruiser, consider some sort of closed container. Also remember that kids drop candy, so on your walks, or when you let your dog out in the yard, check for any candy children may have dropped. Also, have the numbers of your vet, and a 24 hour emergency vet on your fridge just in case. If you know your pet has consumed chocolate or candies with xylitol, especially in large quantities, seek medical attention right away.


Torree: Winner of our 2013 Costume Contest

4. Protect the Pumpkin

We all love those glowing flickering lanterns, and sometimes our pets do too… a little too much. While some lanterns use fake candles, others still have real flames which can really burn. Make sure lanterns are out of the reach of pets (remember cats may walk right past one, even on the shelf). For best results, get a fake candle, but if you are going real flame, keep a close eye on it.

5. Glow Stick Woe

Most glow sticks are non-toxic but contain a bitter substance which can cause excessive drooling and fear based reactions like running around the house. Try to keep these glow-sticks out of the reach of pets as they can often look like a toy to your pup. If they do get ahold of one, a little milk or a teat can help cleanse the palate and stop the terrible taste. You can also dim the lights and check their mouth for glowing material and wipe it from their mouth.

6. Cable Keeper

With all of those awesome talking skeletons and fancy lights, there may be several new cords, cool twinkle lights, and electronics around. Remember that your new toy may become your pet’s new toy and chewing electronics can result in shocks and burns. Keep cables organized and out of reach if possible. If you can’t keep the cords and decorations away from the dog, keep the dog away from them. It may mean no romps in the front yard until the decorations are gone, but it is better than a shocking accident.

7. Fear Factor

Halloween is a holiday of tricks, treats, and frights. Unsurprisingly, all the costumes, masks, and unexpected visitors can scare you pup. Consider letting your pet stay home from trick-or-treating and if you are going to be handing out candy, consider crating your pup to reduce the chance of escape, or keeping them behind a baby gate or pen to prevent them from running to the door. Even the most well behaved dog can become frightened and possibly nip or run when scared. If you know your dog gets frightened on Halloween, come up with a keep-calm plan. Whether it is keeping them in a quiet room, in their crate, or maybe giving them a calming treat or sedative, it is good to have a plan of how you can soothe a frightened pet. Check out our article Helping Your Dog Relax.


Jake was a big fan of his costume, but if he didn’t like the hat that cute Bandana would be just fine!

8. Careful with Costumes

Not all pets love playing dress-up. Your pet may be much more comfortable in a seasonal collar or bandana. If you do go for a costume, make sure it is not restrictive, and won’t choke or strangle your pet. Make sure your dog’s senses are not impaired. As cute as a mask may seem, impaired vision and hearing can be frightening and dangerous to your pet. Additionally consider adding some reflective tape to your pet’s costume. As much as they may stand out in their costume, when it gets dark it can be hard to see them. For best results, let your pup wear their costume a few times before the big day so they can get use to them.

9. Choking Hazards

Beware of small parts. Just like little children, dogs often put things in their mouths and can choke on them or ingest them and then have a blockage. Whether it is the little ball on their antenna, or a cute little heart pendant on the front of their costume, pay close attention to them. Remove any small parts which are not well secured or which could be chewed off. Always monitor your dog when they are in costume.

10. Disrobe when Distressed

If you notice your dog panting, cowering, shaking, or just not looking like their normal happy self, take the costume off. Thick costumes can cause dogs to overheat. Make sure you carry water for your pet if you are going out and if you notice any sign that your pet isn’t feeling their best, remove the costume.


We hope you will have a safe and happy Halloween with your pups (and kitties!). If your dog is the costume-loving type, consider entering our Costume Contest for a chance to win a Mega Pack Pack!


The Weghorst’s Pack is ready for a safe and Happy Halloween!

Happy 4th of July and Thank You!

Happy 4th of July!

We want to take this opportunity to thank all of our supporters, volunteers, and adopters. Our five year anniversary in rescue is coming soon, and we couldn’t have possibly have rescued so many wonderful dogs without your help. Whether you donate, volunteer your time, foster, transport, vote when we ask you to, keep us in your prayers, or simply cheer us on – we appreciate your time, compassion, and enthusiasm.  WE LOVE YOU!

We hope all of you have a safe and Happy 4th of July!  Remember to keep you dogs on a short leash tonight in case they get spooked!  ~ Gisele

How to Prepare for the 4th of July

TDL Independence DayCheck out this link Cesar’s 4th of July Tips

You can also checkout our article: Help your Dog have a Safe Holiday! It was written for Labor day but applies year round!

Please read comments below as well for even more ideas!  Personally, I know that my Lady Di will be terrified, but my China who is deaf, won’t care one bit!

Helping Your Dog Relax

Ginger Doodle

Ginger Doodle

When we first saw Ginger Doodle (now known as Spec) on TDL’s site, we were hooked –  I mean look at those sweet blue eyes! We had been looking to rescue for several years, and found Spec (a Deaf Mini Aussie) to be the perfect fit for us. I work from home, and she has become my best coworker. We usually spend all day together, and she gets me up and away from the computer for walks and fresh air. She is the perfect companion as she can usually be found sound asleep, curled up on her bed.  The hard part comes in when I have to leave the house.

We initially bought a crate and “conditioned” her for weeks – only feeding her in the crate, petting her in there, leaving for 5-10 minutes, etc. After a few weeks we both decided to leave the house while she was crated. We are fortunate enough to have webcams set up around our house (we use a free webcast program) so we can watch her from our phones while we are away. Thank goodness for the cameras, because the first time we left she was barking, howling, biting, and thrashing against the cage within minutes. When I got home it was plain to see that both physical and psychological damage had been done. I never wanted to leave her again – but I knew that I would have to get out of the house eventually! Enter big bills on sprays, treats, jackets, toys, and our dog behaviorist.

We started on a budget, ordering Composure Treats and a Thundershirt . We also stopped by the pet store and grabbed a phermone releasing plug in type device that they recommended. After about a month of conditioning her to the Thundershirt and trying the treats, we started to see an improvement. Because we wanted to be sure we were doing everything right, we contacted a behaviorist for a single session to work on her separation anxiety.

The behaviorist (Paul Pipitone) we used had our dog sitting in the crate (while we pretended to leave) within minutes! I was totally hooked and wanted to learn everything he had to share. He did great work with the dog, but his most valuable lessons were imparted upon us as owners.

Thanks to the behaviorist, we try not to leave for a long time without first going on a long, brisk walk (at least 20 minutes). Once we return and I am ready to head out, I calmly call her to her favorite spot, make her sit, and give her a special treat that she only gets when she is alone. I wave goodbye and that’s that. We leave a fan on (to help her feel less alone, similar to leaving a TV on for hearing pups) and have put an ottoman in our window so she can people watch, and see us getting into our cars. More often than not she is still in the window looking for us when we get back, but she is calm, cool, and collected.

Perhaps the biggest piece of the puzzle comes into play when we return home. We have learned to completely ignore Spec until she has settled and sits. She is to the point where when we get home she has about 15 seconds of “OMG MOM AND DAD!!!” and then she will sit and wait for one of us to acknowledge her. Our first instinct was to give her all sorts of love and attention when we walked home – she did just spend a couple of hours alone after all – but that was our downfall. Every time we left her she would get more and more excited for our return – because to her that meant playtime, treats, walks, and belly rubs. Now we wait until she is 100% relaxed before petting and playing – and it has made all the difference.

I want to encourage anyone with a dog that gets separation anxiety to formulate a plan. We do our “morning walk” with Spec to a local coffee shop – that way we get our day started with sunshine and caffeine and she gets a nice long walk in with us. It helps her to chill out once we get back home, and helps us to have a more invigorating start to our day! We have also worked hard to let go of our own guilt and anxiety when we have to leave her. Dogs are incredibly smart, and they can sense (and feed off of) those emotions from a mile away. Finally, we always give Spec plenty of love and affection when she is in a calm, laid back state of mind. All of these things were a change for us, but they have all paid off – I can leave her for 4-5 hours at a time now without a single peep! Good luck with your pups, and don’t be afraid to reach out to a professional for advice!

Paul Pipitone, trainer and behaviorist, Dogs Best Friend of Central Florida

Remember, when ordering products from Amazon, bookmark Amazon Smile and your purchase will help The Dog Liberator’s Rescue or visit their Amazon Shop that Contains all of their Recommended Products!

Canine Reboot

Nutella, labeled a fear-biter

I’ve done this dozens of times… talked to owners who are frustrated with their dogs.  Wanting their dogs to be balanced, and happy.  Sometimes it’s the wife that hates the dog, sometimes it’s the husband.  Sometimes the dog doesn’t like the kids, or the grandparents.  Dog fights, cat fights… you name it.

One of the questions I HAVE TO ask when someone is trying to surrender their dog to me is, “if I can fix your dog, can you… would you… could you… keep your dog?”  sometimes the answer is yes, sometimes it’s no.

With the launch of Canine Connect, a service that I can offer to dog owners who truly care about the dogs, truly want the best for the dogs, but can no longer keep them, I’m asking that question more often.  “What if I can fix it?”

Over the past few weeks, the dogs I’ve fostered have really amazed me.  WiiGo transformed into the best little dog I’ve ever known.

McDreamy & McSteamy

McSteamy and McDreamy, terrified of everything, quickly became accustomed to home life and family living.  No longer afraid to walk through doorways, or put their paws on ceramic tile floors.  With their heads hung low all of the time, they were unsure, slow to trust, and not sure if I was friend of foe.  Just a few days later, I introduced them to the pack, one at a time.  Once they got to meet Lady Di… everything changed.  It was as if a light switch had been turned on, and they felt “safe”.  They exchanged play bows, and the heads were held high, tails were relaxed, and the playing began!  After that day they walked with pride, there was a bounce in their step, they greeted me with affection, and their adjustment period was about 48 hours.    Dogs do live in the moment.

Little Grace, being a happy dog!

And recently, Little Grace.  She was adopted yesterday, but before she left I had the pleasure of snapping a photo of her playing with the pack… and loving it!  It may not seem like a big deal to you, but it sure was a big deal to me!  It’s called joy!  If a dog can relax enough, be happy enough, have enough self-esteem, and know that it’s not going to be hurt, there’s absolutely no danger whatsoever, and it’s welcomed… they can play!  Way to go Little Grace… you made my day!

So if what if we could simply Reboot our dogs?  If I gave you a list of questions about your dog, would you know how to answer?

  • Is your dog shy, fearful, nervous, or anxious?
  • Is your dog aggressive, dominant or alpha?
  • Is your dog guarding you or protecting you?
  • Do you know why your dog acts like he wants to attack other dogs?
  • Does your dog have separation anxiety, or is he insecure?  Do you think the two are one in the same?
  • Do you think your dog is neurotic or bored?

Snapple, an Owner-Surrender

Snapple, Adopted

What would you think the main reason why people surrender or give away their dogs?

The Dog Liberator has rescued dogs that will otherwise be euthanized, OR at risk of being surrendered to a shelter or pound.

The Dog Liberator will help you rehome your dog through Canine Connect, thus preventing the dog from being adopted to the wrong family, which may ultimately lead to euthanasia.

Remember, owner-surrendered dogs are not protected under stray-hold policy.

Owner-surrendered dogs can and are sometimes put to sleep before their owners have left the parking lot.  


Chaos learns High Five

While I have spent over three years inviting strange new dogs into my home I:

  • introduced them to my family, friends, and neighbors
  • introduce them to new experiences like visiting the vet
  • going on walks
  • teaching them not to be afraid of the crate
  • teaching them to be quiet
  • starting them on housebreaking
  • show them how to properly greet strangers
  • teaching them not to bolt out of doorways
  • correcting them when they try to climb a fence.

My personal dogs have also spent three years inviting strange new dogs into their home, and they:

  • have showed them how to share a space
  • showed them that being rewarded has benefits
  • showed them how to interact with humans
  • showed them how to play properly
  • showed them how to come when called
  • but more importantly, my pack have taught dogs, how to be a good dog.

Deaf China takes Baby GaGa under her care

Dogs can teach another dog what a person can’t:

  • I can not teach a dog that greeting face to face is rude
  • I can not explain to a dog that sniffing the rear is polite
  • I can not approach a dog and correct their attempt to dominate… that’s Lady Di’s job
  • I can not initiate play with a dog who doesn’t know how to play… that’s China’s job
  • I can not show a dog that another dog is not a threat, that is Ozzie’s job

My home is what I used to call Border Collie Boot Camp.  Every fostered dog has had to find their way to survive and cohabitate here, eat side by side, enjoy bones without being growled at, and play ball without being attacked.  The result is probably the best gift I receive in rescue.  Watching a pack of dogs run together, play together, wrestle gently, and have a blast!

Lieutenant Colonel Di, Lieutenant Ozzie, and Private China!


There is no reason for the dogs to be nervous, fearful or anxious.  My pack clearly shows them that I am the pack leader, they can relax, and enjoy being a dog!  The true challenge is teaching the dog owners that their dog truly wants to be… just a great dog!

Maybe all your dog needs is a Canine Reboot!  Email me if you would like information on how we can Reboot Your Dog!


More Great Ideas for Calming Dogs

Just received this email from Fritzi about Sassafras, her Deaf OES:

I don’t remember when I last felt such gratitude and love for an object, much less a dog training tool.  But…  after several months of car travel with a compulsive barker, I now enjoy almost completely silent rides.  Sassy would be in the seat behind me, so she would be barking right into my ears.  I would leave the car even deafer that usual and my nerves felt as if they had been sandblasted.  Sassy didn’t just bark, she completely stressed out, panting, drooling, etc.  Once she was in that mode, absolutely nothing would snap her out of it.  If I had tried a bark collar, it would have been ineffective because she was beyond feeling anything to interrupt her barking.

When Nick Dodman at Tufts evaluated Sassy’s OCD behaviors, he came up with several suggestions (including meds) and approaches to the issues.  In passing, he mentioned that I should try a “Calming Cap” to see if that  reduced the car barking.  He also recommended that Clonidine be used prior to situations that would stress her out.  Clonidine is a human blood pressure med.  Went online, found a source for the Calming Cap (made by Gentle Leader) and ordered one.I had worked up to the maximum dose of Clonidine but she would still stress out during car rides.  I oriented her to the Cap for a couple of days then I started using it last night.

IT’S A MIRACLE.  No barking at all during the first car ride, with no meds; no barking at all during the second car ride and only a little barking at the beginning of today’s car rides.  The cap does provide some vision, but seems to scramble the moving object triggers that would cause her to stress and bark.  Only a little fussing about wearing something on her head. Last month after barking in the car to and from our obedience lessons, she was completely stressed out and barked all the way through the lessons, and I mean non-stop.  We would go for a time out and she would start up again.

Today, at her “Nose Work” scent class, she didn’t stress at all, and only barked a little when she was crated between exercises. I am praying to DOG that the Cap continues to work at least until she can overcome her stresses.  I believe the Cap can be used for other stressful situations and they make them for cats??? And I have seen horses wearing them.

Fritzi Batchelor, Zen (the peaceful dude), Sassy (diva no more?)Storrs Mansfield, CT

The Thundershirt and The New and Improved Velveteen, the Deaf/Blind Aussie

This is Joan’s diary, which details her progress with Velveteen. Amazingly, the folks at Thundershirt have sent us several sizes, and I just ordered a small for a new 20 pound female deaf/blind Aussie coming to us this weekend. It proves that whatever issues the dog has, there’s a solution out there, and sometimes it’s takes a host of ideas to help a confused dog. In Velveteen’s case, the next step is to get her a vibrating collar to work on recall and reward. Stay tuned as Velveteen’s progress continues rapidly!


Joan’s Diary of Velveteen, the Deaf/Blind Aussie:

On 11/20/10 Velveteen came home with me. Carson was afraid of her during the ride home. Velveteen kept nipping at the air, and barked at him in the back seat. I crated her the first night. Velveteen never slept, and at least 15-20 times she would bark and howl. There was nothing I could do to comfort her. How do I communicate with a deaf and almost blind dog? When I let her out of her crate, she paced and barked.

The next day I was exhausted! She and the cat do not get along. It may be that she has violated the cat’s space in trying to get her smell and to check him out. Velveteen is not aggressive, but she was too curious of the cat.

So, I called for help. Gisele suggested leaving the light on all night long, and putting a wind-up clock in her crate. She also suggested putting an article of my used clothing, or a used towel in her crate so my sent would be with her. I started using Rescue Remedy as well.

Instead of using a squirt bottle, I started wetting my fingers with water and gently wafting droplets at her every time she barked day or night.

She wasn’t afraid of this but stopped barking immediately and she seemed to know it was a correction. She walks with Carson on a leash well and loved it. Outside where there is more space the two dogs seemed fine.

That evening she barked about 10 times. I gave her more Rescue Remedy and a little Arnica for any pain issues.

I called Fritzi in Connecticut on 11/22/10 for help in communicating with Velveteen. Fritzi recently adopted Sassafras, a deaf Old English Sheepdog from The Dog Liberator. I explained that Velveteen is a very sweet, loving dog. Fritzi gave me some pointers and a lot of encouragement. She is crated when I leave for short periods of time during the day and has separation anxiety as well. I can hear her barking/shrieking through the open windows. I must learn to communicate with her. In between the pacing, barking, howling, there are glimpses of a sweet, affectionate, loving dog who is trapped in a deaf/almost blind body but never whines or complains and walks well and even plays with Carson in the yard. One of the sites Fritzi recommened was

On 11/23/10 very little changed. I took Velveteen to groomer and she loved being bathed and massaged. Very, very good girl for the groomers and crated well for them after grooming.

On 11/24/10 I had a very busy day and was gone for several hours. It was dark when I got home, and Velveteen beside herself barking/howling/screeching. UGHHH! What have I done? This poor precious girl.

On Thanksgiving day, Velveteen was much more quiet and was happy around my elderly parents. Out of nowhere Velveteen jumped up on my mother, who was in a recliner and “hugs her and places her head on my Mom’s chest. Mom spent time petting and massaging her for about 10 minutes and Velveteen didn’t move. Where did that come from? During dinner Velveteen was underfoot and pacing but calmer. Barking continued that night while I tried to sleep but it was only 6-8 times.

On 11/26/10 the Thundershirt that Gisele requested arrived.  I put it on Velveteen immediately and she enjoyed the touching and the wrap. She wore it from about 2PM through the night and only barked once in the early morning. Now this is progress! She barks a few times during the day but the water seems to be working and she stops right away.

On 11/27/10 I noticed that Carson was beginning to try to play with Velveteen outside, but she is not interested and runs around him. He is no longer fearful unless she barks at him, which she doesn’t do outside in the yard. She wore the Thundershirt all day and nite.

On 11/28/10 Velveteen slept the entire evening! Finally! I had to check on her to make sure she was still breathing. Heavy, snoring, wonderful sleep. Amen! Even
when she woke up she did not bark. She once again jumped up on my Mom and continued the “bonding” experience. She really hugs my Mom with both front paws around her waist. It is amazing to see and feel the love. She has never done that to me. I can cuddle her but not like that.

On 11/29/10 Velveteen is still gravitating toward my Mom and my Dad. She is definitely more calm. I took the Thundershirt off for a couple of hours and took her for a walk. Interestingly, my Mom took a fall about 3Am in the guest bedroom. Velveteen’s crate is in-between my bedroom and my Mom’s bedroom. My Dad called to me and as I walked past Velveteen’s crate I noticed she was standing in the crate “starring” in the direction of my Mom’s room. Even though there is a wall that prevents Velveteen from seeing my Mother, she was completely still and not barking and remained that way until the accident was resolved. She went back to sleep and slept through the night barking only once at 7 AM, which is close to our waking time. I watched her snore and sleep like a rock.

On 11/30/10 my parents went back home, but Velveteen seems to be looking for them. She had a great walk as usual and good interaction with Carson outside.

Velveteen is a very sweet and loving angel and in my opinion has come a long way. I truly believe the Thundershirt helped tremendously. It makes perfect sense and seemed to calm her almost immediately. Was it only that? I do not know but I love the shirt and what it does for her.

This I know for sure, Velveteen is a wonderful angel who is pretty well behaved and never had an accident in the house. She wants to please and is a cuddler at heart. She loves her walks and spins around when the leash comes out. I think she likes elderly individuals and seems comforted by them. I pray she finds her forever home soon. I love her precious little spirit! She deserves the best life has to offer her. I have started her on a skin and coat product from Life’s Abundance because I felt she needed a little skin treatment.

Seemed a little dry and her coat needed a little luster. She eats well and walks on the leash better than Carson. She now walks 4 miles a day. This precious girl loves to cuddle and be in the light. Updates in a more timely fashion will be forth coming.

Velveteen’s original blog spot can be viewed here.


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