20 September 2012

Haunted Dog House

Or Rather, Dog Haunted House.

If you're like me, you're frustrated at not being able to bring your dog with you into haunted houses every year. And even if you did, would your dog get it? Do they know that butchers with fake human parts hanging up are scary? Do they know that fake blood is supposed to be blood? Are they scared of clowns in any different way than they're scared of service people?

I think probably not.

I think the only thing a dog would respond to in a haunted house would be [STARTLING NOISE!] and [STRANGERS STRANGERS STRANGERS!]. Dogs aren't inherently afraid of the things we have learned to fear. But we can use that to our advantage!

With a little bit of ingenuity and like... ten dollars in materials, you can have a dog haunted house of your very own. Good haunted houses take you on a narrative adventure; each scene is designed so you see as much or as little as the designer intends and the scenes are linked together by spooky dark hallways where nothing ever actually happens.

Dogs don't understand narrative structures or spooky vignettes so I'll just leave it up to you as to how you combine the following dog-haunting experiences. You may try sprinkling them throughout the year.

The Box

Put a cardboard box over the top of your dog. Make sure it's dark.

Bang on the box until your dog starts barking. Your dog is now scared.

The Sack

Put your dog in a sack. If your dog is too big to fit in a sack you might need a tarp or a sheet. Find a vacuum small enough to fit in the sack with your dog.

Turn the vacuum on. Your dog is now scared. You can also poke at them while they're in the sack for extra spooky dog-pants-shitting terror.


Cut eyes and a mouth out of a bag. Put the bag on your head. You are now a stranger.

Approach your dog menacingly. Your dog is now scared.

Abandoned Forever

Leave your dog at home while you go run errands. Make sure to speak loudly before you leave about your intentions of going away forever and never returning from the dry cleaners.

Your dog will think they have been abandoned and will now be scared, although the fear will be more of an existential anxiety. Don't forget to actually come home.


Go outside. Ring the doorbell. Ring it again. Dogs hate that shit but it might scare them also.


Schedule a plumber over the phone loudly, within earshot of your dog. Make sure to repeat the time and day of the appointment so your dog can hear you. Later that evening, call the plumber back from your car and have them come one day earlier than you previously discussed.

Your dog will be shocked that this stranger, who is now in your house, is there a full day earlier than they're supposed to be. This will undoubtedly scare your dog - but part of them may marvel at the prompt service your plumber provides.


This is more of a Halloween in July type of event, and it requires access to a swimming pool. Get in the swimming pool. Make sure your dog can see you. Splash around, even a little.

If your dog won't shut the fuck up and stop barking for even a second, it is now terrified that you're drowning. If your dog doesn't care then make a mental note that you are not loved by your dog, and some Man's Best Friend he's turned out to be.

Pack It Up

Leave some suitcases laying around near your dog's favorite hangouts (try area dog-friendly bars, or the floor). Slowly fill them with clothes over the following days. Your dog will become increasingly worried that you might be leaving them for good this time - especially if you tell them that this time you're leaving them for good. Your dog will become scared - and also sad and will poop somewhere noticeable.


Alter your schedule. Tell your dog that you're going to start taking night classes, but also you're going to be getting up one hour later three out of seven days a week. Change the days and occasionally come home early from night classes (you need to actually attend or your dog will think you're faking). All of this change will distress your dog, and probably they'll be scared.

The Triple Crown

This requires some exquisite timing, a good deal of money and a total commitment to dog-xiety.

Buy a new house, sell your old one and move.

Moving houses will combine aspects of Re-Scheduled, Pack It Up, Strangers!, Abandoned Forever and The Box. Rest assured that if you can complete The Triple Crown successfully you will have terrified your dog - possibly to the point of permanent mental scarring. Enjoy nursing them back to wellness for the remainder of their days.

Happy Haunting!

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