it's a dog's life - dog and puppy training
Dogs, puppies and fireworks
The fireworks season has begun - Bonfire Night, Diwali, New Year's Eve and Chinese New Year - so it’s time to think of our four-legged family members, as the noise, bangs and flashing lights can be frightening for them. Penny at It’s A Dog’s Life shares her top tips for helping your dog overcome the anxiety fireworks can cause.
Let’s start by exploding (sorry I couldn’t resist!!) a couple of myths. Firstly, not all dogs are scared of fireworks. Many dogs are not in the least bit bothered by the loud bangs, unusual smells and bright flashes.
There are a few dogs that actually enjoy fireworks! Yes really! I had an oddball German Shepherd that would sit in the garden looking up at the sky totally transfixed. Meanwhile, my other dog would run away and hide under the bed!
Secondly, if a dog shows signs of fear and anxiety the worst possible thing you can do is to try to comfort and reassure them. This may sound counter intuitive but to dogs strokes and cuddles are normally perceived as rewards for good behaviour, so being affectionate will actually signify to the dog that you are rewarding anxiety and unwanted behaviours. Also if you are anxious your dog will quickly pick that up, which will make them even more anxious.
What should I do?
Try the following tips:
When there are fireworks going on, please don’t sit on the sofa cuddling your puppy for hours at a time! How you react now could affect their behaviour around noises for the rest of their lives.
If you know from experience that dog your is fearful of fireworks
When the fireworks season is over and if you’re worried about how your dog will cope next year you can talk to me about a desensitisation programme. Call me to find out more >