Tutorial Tuesdays

HOW TO: Get your pup to pose in a costume


We all know how it starts. You’re strolling through the Pet aisle at your local store, thinking it’s probably time to pick up some puppy dental chews, letting your eyes casually wander around the shelves, when… HOLY COW THAT IS THE CUTEST THING EVER EVER!

Yes, that’s right. Your gaze has landed on the costume section and, front and center, is a photo of a squishy little pug dressed as a bumble bee. His plump torso is wrapped in bright yellow stripes; his bug eyes are framed by haphazardly dangling antennae; his facial expression is somehow both smug and bashful at the same time. Before you know it, your heart has melted and you’re just a puddle of tastefully-accessorized goo on the aisle floor.

Once you regain your composure, you start shoving doggie costumes in your cart. Dinosaur? Sure. Yoda? Hilarious. Snooki from Jersey Shore? Well…it is on sale.

You rush home, excited squeeze your pup into that leopard-print tube top and take a bunch of cute photos for Facebook, but he seems to have other plans. In a matter of seconds the costume is off, ripped to shreds, and scattered around every imaginable corner of your home. There go your plans for Snooki/JWoww group costume.

This is my actual dog. Clearly speaking from experience here.

This is my actual dog. Clearly speaking from experience here.

Luckily, you still have your other purchases as back-up. How do you make sure they actually stay on and provide you with hours of awwwing and successful pet selfies? Read on to find out!



Step 1. Identify where your dog likes and doesn’t like to be touched. Is he cool with top-of-the-head scratches? Good. Then a head accessory, like a crown or a set of antennae, might be an option for you. Is he constantly fidgeting and pawing at his collar? If so, best to stay away from costumes, like lion’s manes, that further constrict that area. Be realistic about your dog’s lifestyle, typical range of motion, and bodily preferences, and select a costume that you feel best matches those factors.

Yup, this is a dog who appreciates a good neck scratch. Thanks for sharing, Michelle C!

Yup, this is the face of a dog who appreciates a good neck scratch.
(Credit: Michelle C)

Step 2. Don’t expect to wait until the 31st to unwrap that packaging for the first time. Your dog needs time to acclimate to the get-up, especially if he doesn’t normally wear clothes. Start getting him used to the costume at least two full weeks before Halloween. Let him take a good long sniff of it. Maybe even a supervised lick.

Step 3. Start slow! Don’t strap him into the costume right away. Allow him to lay on it and even to paw at it. Then, either put on a relatively small portion of the outfit or lay the whole costume loosely across his back. Reward him with a treat as you do so.

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“What do you mean pants aren’t optional?!”
(Credit: Laura S)

Step 4. Have more treats on hand as you get ready to strap him into the costume. Give him a treat before you start in order to put him at ease. Keep the treats flowing freely as you begin to put the costume on. The treats serve a twofold purpose: distracting your dog during those first few confusing moments, and creating positive associations related to the costume.

Tapper TheNayli22 has the right idea! Keep the Cesar® close when you're attempting costuming.

Tapper TheNayli22 has the right idea! Keep the Cesar® close by when you’re attempting costuming.

Step 5: Let your dog stay in the costume for a little while, rewarding him lavishly with praise throughout. When he starts to seem uncomfortable, take the costume off. Keep repeating this process every day, gradually increasing the time your dog spends dressed up.

"Alright, I'll tolerate this nonsense for four Mississippis more."

“Alright, I’ll tolerate this nonsense for four Mississippis more.”

Step 6: Hopefully, by this point your pooch actually enjoys channeling his Halloween alter-ego. Time to dress him up, sweep all the regional canine costume competitions, and send all the ridiculously adorable photos to us, your friends at Crowdtap! Who knows, maybe Cesar® is looking for a new mascot. We would totally put in a good word for you guys if it came up.



We weren’t kidding about wanting to see those adorable pictures! If you’ve been following our Paws & Reflect series, you know we’re suckers for cute dogs. Head over to the Crowtap crowd now to access a photo mission based on this tutorial. As always, the best topical submissions will be featured in this week’s Thumbs Up Thursday, allowing us all to gush over the awesomeness together.

Can’t wait!


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OnTap | TUT: Our favorite Halloween costume-modeling pups!

[…] Tappers behind the awesome submissions will win 500 bonus points! This past Tuesday we gave you the scoop on getting your pet into (and loving) that adorable Halloween costume and the accompanying mission asked for a photo of your best attempts. Read on to see if you were […]

Justin Dodgion

Great instructions my dog loves her costumes

Joanne Willey

Great tips! I am going to try and dress my Boston Terrier with these great tips!


These are some very great tips. I have a chihuhua and he doesn’t really like to play dress up. But I’ll most definitely use these tips to see if he will adapt to it. My fingers are cross!!! lol

Patricia watson

I’m going to try, but my puppy is crazy


Great tips!!


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