Training Your Dog To Tolerate Fireworks

Poor dogs…their acute sensory grounding has no reference for the fun and folly of fireworks! For many dogs, the sudden appearance of noise pollution under a dark and sleepy sky could metaphorically be interpreted as the emotional equivalent of Chicken Little: the sky is falling, the sky is falling. . Limited to few communication options don’t be surprised if your dog needs a little reassurance. Left with few options, an emotionally distressed dog will give you all the tell tale signs of utter distress including hiding, panting and pacing—which only escalates your anxiety! What to do?

* Many dogs who rattle when faced with an incomprehensible stimulation, simply need a calm authority figure to mirror: a person or dog who takes it all in stride. Keep your dog near you on a teaching lead or hand lead. Do not look at or soothe your dog: guide him with familiar commands and act as though you’ve experienced it before. No big deal. If you sit down urge him to lay under your legs or the table.

* Use familiar directions to orient your dog and act once again, resist the temptation to soothe or physically comfort your dog, as these responses will only serve to reinforce her fear.

* If you’re not going to be home consider another plan. Containment in these circumstances is crucial, as an anxious dog will work himself into a tizzy. Use a crate or corner off a familiar area and leave on music to soothe and objects to destroy (such a toy filled paper lunch bag). Whatever you come home remember that their experience will have been far more traumatic, than your reaction to it.

Please read Sarah Hodgson’s Understanding Your Dog for Dummies, with Stanley Coren, for more helpful tips for living with and understanding your dog.