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Dressing Your Dog For Halloween: Seven Tips

Last Thursday’s Dogs in International Costumes post spurred my pal Hilary Lane of Fang Shui Canines to remind me that people need to use caution when dressing their dogs. She’s absolutely right. I promised, and will herewith deliver, some advice on the proper methods of canine attiring for Halloween.

1. Avoid decorations that your dog can eat

Nix the buttons, beads, sequins, loosely sewn ribbons…anything your dog can easily consume.

2. Make sure the costume is comfortable

  • That it’s not too tight; make sure it doesn’t pull or tug anywhere.
  • That the fabric is soft and not irritating. No scratchy tutus, in other words. Read More »
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Dogs in International Costumes: Bone Voyage!

Not everyone can afford to travel overseas with a pet, and those with large dogs are at a particular disadvantage.  Today’s Pet Travel Thursday post therefore takes you on virtual world journey. I’ve aimed at breed appropriateness  — and Halloween costume inspiration — wherever possible.


A chihuahua and a taco may be a bit stereotypical but admit it: This combo is darned cute. If you’d like to purchase one for your own little jumping bean, see G.W. Little.


A dachshund in lederhosen! Squee! I’m afraid this particular item sold while I was writing the post, but there are several adorable substitutes on Etsy.


When my baby,
When my baby smiles at me,
I go to Rio
De Janeiro.
My-o me-o…
I go wild and then
I have to do the samba,
And la bamba.

To dress your own Mardi Gras queen, see the BarkinWoofer store.


Amidst all the tacky French maid costumes, I found this gem. Not only is this tasteful attire modeled by a French Bulldog, but it comes replete with DIY instructions from


This picture, from the, is followed up by one purporting to show the deep shame of this dog (the best guess is that it’s a shaved Pomeranian). For more ridiculously cute dogs in kimonos see’s 10 Kawaii Dogs in Kimonos.

Update: Dr. Jessie Voight, my co-contributor over at A Traveler’s Library, asked me if only small dogs wear costumes. I assured her that this wasn’t the case and as proof mentioned the Tosa Inu, the sumo wrestler of dogs. Here’s one decked out in ceremonial garb:

The winner!

You can read all about it here.

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Coming to websites near you…

I’ve been hinting at some exciting Yorkie action, a project Frankie and I have been working on with Dexter and Alana of Dexter’s Ruff Life and Steve and Luciana of the Gangs of New Yorkie. Well, it’s almost here! Just a brief teaser of fun to come…

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Dog Dressing, Revisited

Props AND a costume -- ooh la la!For those of you who might have wondered — and even for those who might not have — my blog’s name is short for “Will My Dog Hate Me If I Dress Him?” It’s one of the “99 Other Things Every Dog Wishes You Knew,” and an alternative title to the book that I ended up calling Am I Boring My Dog?

The book’s answer to that question was, in part:

Dogs aren’t shy about expressing disapproval; they tend to let their teeth do the talking when they’re really upset. Dogs who are less categorically opposed but still unwilling to be clothed might squirm vigorously or run away. So if your dog allowed you to dress him in the first place, expressing only mild irritation or even approbation, you can assume you’re in the clear. Dogs don’t hold grudges in any case.

In keeping with its name and my fairly muddled sense of purpose, this blog started with several tongue-in-cheek dog fashion posts (you can find some of my favorites, a series on Japanese dog dressing, here and here). It veered off to more serious matters fairly quickly, if not consistently.

But with Halloween approaching, the question of canine costuming is worth re-examining. Some of my favorite blogs are getting into the spirit, as it were: Dr. V at Pawcurious, for example, is encouraging people to send in pictures of their dressed up pets and even giving away a very chic pumpkin costume.

And Karen Friesecke of DoggieStylish, the queen of DIY dog dressing, naturally has a post on Free Patterns for Dog Costumes.

But it’s important to observe certain safe practices. Don’t drink and dress your dog, for example. It can lead to some serious fashion faux paws.

I’m not sure if this video always practices what it preaches, but it offers some good tips for safe canine costuming.

The video suggests training your dog to wear a costume. How do you do that, you may wonder? Here are some suggestions from

Reduce the stress in dressing and training your dog to wear clothes. As with any training, keep it a positive experience! Stay calm and don’t get frustrated or your pet will sense your anxiety.

Approach your pet when he is the least active or even sleepy. Have a reward treat nearby, but not so close that he gets too excited and starts squirming to get the treat.

If you need to put something over your pet’s head, scrunch it up and gather the fabric so only the head opening shows. (Think of how pantyhose are put on). Place the garment over the pet’s head and then find the leg openings and put each paw through the opening. Pull the garment down across the back. Immediately reward your pet. Praise him for how terrific he/she looks and take him outside to walk or play. Associate the clothing with a positive experience and he will soon be bringing you his clothes to put on.

Still not convinced it’s okay to dress your dog? I’ve extended my guilt-free zone to Dog Star Daily, where I make a scientific case for dog dressing.

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WMDHM: Greatest Hits of the Dog Dressing Phase

Dog cops of Dusseldorf/ Reuters

It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly a year since I started this blog, on April 12, 2009. Whenever I’m tempted to think that I’m not where I wanted to be at this point, which is fairly often, I remind myself of a few things:

  • I had no clear idea of where I wanted to be, so it’s kind of unrealistic to beat myself up for not being there. It’s a bit like saying, I’m only in California, not very far from Arizona, when I didn’t save up for a trip to Paris or book a flight.
  • I’ve done what a vast majority of beginning bloggers don’t manage to do: lasted a year.
  • I’ve been invited to speak at BlogPaws, the first pet blogger’s conference — coming up this weekend! — which suggests some pretty impressive people have been reading this blog.

So I’m thinking I’ve been doing something — or at least some things — right. And that’s a good basis for vowing to do better next year and, especially, to hone my focus. If any regular readers have some thoughts about what they’d like to see more of (or less of) here, I’d love to know.

In the meantime, I’m looking back. The first incarnation of my blog was based on an alternate title for my book, Am I Boring My Dog: Will My Dog Hate Me If I Dress Him? Here are my favorite posts from the dog fashion phase:

Germany’s Finest: Dogs In Blue (Shoes) celebrates the police dogs of Dusseldorf, tasked to patrol the streets of the city.

Japanese Dog Dressing, Part 1 features DIY costumes and cute dogs. I think I could have devoted my entire blog just to dog fashion in Japan.

Admit it: You’re smiling

Giving Dog Couture a Bad Name is pretty self explanatory. Even Leona Helmsley didn’t make her pup, Trouble, don a diamond tiara.

My dog sunglasses series was a lot of fun… so much so that I’m choosing two posts to represent it: Sunglasses: Fashion Accessory or Dog Necessity? Part 1 and CATs for Dogs.


Finally, my rationale for being able to highlight dog dressing in the first place, the still very timely Well, If the ASPCA Says It’s Okay…. It heralds what turned out to be the first of an annual Go Orange Photo Contest to create awareness for April Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month. Check it out, enter — and look at last year’s winners. They’re a hoot.

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Asian Dog Fashion

[originally posted November 15th, 2009]

It’s been a while since I blogged purely about dog fashion but I can’t resist — and why should I? — posting these pics sent by my peripatetic friend, Donna L. Hull, who writes about baby boomer travel at My Itchy Travel Feet. Donna is not only amazingly good about keeping up with posts and taking photos while on the road (or in this case, sea). She also remembers her friends who lead more sedentary lives.

South Korean dog chic, Seoul

South Korean dog chic, Seoul

Savvy Thai canines shop Bangkok's night market

Savvy Thai canines shop Bangkok's night market

Most of these fashions are a bit feminine, but I think Frankie would look swell in the Korean kimono-type item; it fits his “you exist to serve me” attitude.

I can’t help but think, based not only on this sample but also extended research into the topic, that Asian dogs are the best dressed in the world; see also Japanese Dog Dressing Part 1 and Dog Dressing and Sumo Wrestling.

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Celebrating Dog-tober: A New Contest!

I’ve been in the doldrums lately — post partum after my book birth? too many publications I used to write for hitting the chopping block? — and have decided I know the cure: Contest! This one will be a bit less cerebral than my earlier What Books Would Bore Your Dog competition but just as much fun. And the prize(s) will be the same, a copy of Am I Boring My Dog.

The timing is perfect. There are five interconnected events to celebrate in October.

— The sixth-month anniversary of my blog (started April 12).

Adopt a Shelter Dog month

— The five year anniversary of adopting Frankie

— My birthday

— Halloween

Therefore I’m going back to the blog’s original mandate, that I would provide a place where people would feel no shame about dressing their dogs — provided, of course, that the clothing was comfortable and the pup willing. Indeed, this blog’s name, Will My Dog Hate Me, is short for Will My Dog Hate Me If I Dress Him (which was an alternative title to Am I Boring My Dog).

So to celebrate sharing my life with my own fashion forward rescue pup, I will award a copy of my book in five categories, based on a selection of the costumes that Frankie wore in the book trailer:

Western chic

Western wear Frankie

Western wear Frankie

Biker chic

Bad to the bone Frankie

Bad to the bone Frankie

Continental/Euro chic

Ooh la, la!

Ooh la, la Frankie!

Cross species or bad visual pun chic

Bad pun Frankie (Bunny, Easter Island -- get it?)

Bad pun Frankie (Bunny, Easter Island -- get it?)

Space chic (for some reason, I don’t have a still for this particular outfit, so I will be forced to post the entire book trailer video, heh, heh. Look towards the end, with Frankie wearing the tin foil Martian antennae)

The only rules: The dog must have been a rescue, and the costume must look like it’s not tormenting the dog. A good back story is an asset: Send any info you like about your dog’s name, age, story… I will give extra points for home made costumes, in keeping with the spirit of several of Frankie’s best looks. Continental Frankie’s beret, for example, was created by a pair of underpants belonging to one of the videographers secured in the back with a safety pin. (Hmmm. Should I be giving away trade secrets….?)

Oh yeah and no pugs dressed as spiders in the cross-species category. I’ve seen far too many of those, and though I adore pugs — and don’t mind spiders — it’s a cliche by now.

I learned something from my last contest: There’s no predicting how many entries there will be. So I’ll just say that I’m planning to post the entries throughout the rest of this month and that the contest will end on Halloween.

I’m also not sure about all the technical aspects of this but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Send jpegs to me at writestf at mac dot com with the subject line: Dog-tober Contest.

Have fun!

Update: I’ve  just been reminded that it’s Bo Obama’s birthday, another Dog-tober event to celebrate — and very apropos to this contest, since my first post was about Bo’s fashion sense. Many happy rrrrr–eturns!

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Of all the dog cards…

Talk about coincidences. My much blogged-about best friend, Clare, pictured below with me and Frankie on our recent trip to San Diego, just called in great excitement.

Clare, Frankie & Me at Sally's

Clare, Frankie & Me at Sally's

It seemed that Clare had just received a birthday card, and of all the possibilities, she got the one featuring Frankie, produced by Borealis Press. It was sent by a friend who didn’t personally know Frankie (though naturally she’d heard of him), much less that he was on a card. Indeed, she was a bit dubious of Clare’s claim, so this post will serve as proof.

Borealis Press card

Now I’ve never been fond of Henry David Thoreau, quoted on the front of the card. In case you can’t read the small print it says “Live the life you’ve imagined.” I’ve always thought Thoreau was a big poseur, telling everyone to live the life they imagined from Walden Pond while his mother did his laundry. But I digress. I didn’t choose the quote, but it’s a wonderful picture, taken by a wonderful photographer, Amy Haskell, whose picture of her dog, Elvis, was featured in my dogs in sunglasses series, an early feature of this ever-evolving blog.

Hip-ElvisSpeaking of my blog’s evolution, today I optimistically added a Media page, to reflect the second interview/article in two days, this one with the

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Dog Dressing and Sumo Wrestling

I promised more Japanese dog dressing and you don’t get outfits more elaborate than those worn by Tosa Inu.  The breed, which originated in the Tosa district on the Island of Shikoku, was created in the second half of the 19th century, when medium-sized Japanese hunting dogs were mixed with mastiffs, Great Danes and bull terriers, among other Western breeds. The result: A big, muscular fighter.

Or should I say wrestler. Tosa Inu fights, which still take place in Japan, are a far cry from pit bull battles. For one thing, they’re legal. For another, no blood, teeth, or even growling are involved; the fight ends as soon as any aggressiveness is displayed. Just like the sumo wrestlers to whom they’re often compared, the dogs work to overbalance each other and pin each other to the ground. For more detail, see the Bulldog Information link on Dog Breeders of the World, which is also the source of the picture.

The dogs wrestle naked (similar to sumos) but the winners wear really swell ceremonial clothes.

The winner!

The winner!

Here’s a Tosa Inu just relaxing in a sporty outfit, ready to play in the snow.

Tosa Taro from Matsu Kennel

Tosa Taro from Matsu Kennel

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Greyhound chic

I admit it. I have a soft spot for greyhounds. My  friend Karyn is a tireless advocate for them, and through personal acquaintance with her pups, Painter (see April 25 post) and Lily, I’ve come to appreciate how funny and sweet tempered they are,  no matter what curves —  especially those on race tracks —  life throws them. So here’s another birthday picture, this one of Lily on her 10th.

Carmen Mirandog, photo by Diana Hansen

Carmen MiranDog, photo by Diana Hansen

The Italian greyhound in the more elaborate floral hat is also a rescue, though not one with whom I’m personally acquainted. I found the picture on Etsy, a great shopping site devoted to handcrafted items of all kinds, including pet clothing.  They even ran a survey on who is more fashionable, cats or dogs. Guess who won?

Design and photo by Hatz4Bratz

Design and photo by Hatz4Bratz

Lots of people think greyhounds are nervous and skittish. I hope these pictures help dispel that notion. A dog’s got to be pretty mellow to wear that headgear. Lily looks like she’s reveling in the attention.

I’m for breaking down breed prejudices, so if anyone has pictures of clothed pitbulls, rottweilers, dobermans and other so-called dangerous dogs, please send them to me. The outfits don’t have to be elaborate. A rakish bandana or some tasteful footwear will do.

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