Contributed by Dogs Trust
It is the time of year when Fireworks will soon be very popular, and now is the time to desensitise your puppy to those noises, or find a solution to help a dog who has previously displayed anxious behaviour due to fireworks.
For a young puppy who has yet to experience Bonfire Night or New Year’s Eve, desensitising is a straightforward exercise. You can download the noises to your phone, or buy a sounds CD to play the bangs, pops and fizzes of the fireworks.
Start by playing those noises on a low volume, make sure you do not react and reward your puppy accordingly for ignoring the noise. Slowly build up the volume whilst applying distraction and reward techniques and very soon your puppy will associate those noises with reward and not be bothered by them at all. (Note: if your dog is hugely averse, you may need to approach a qualified animal behaviourist to assist you with a custom-designed program to help).
If your dog already has some anxiety regarding noises, then you may need to investigate another solution, such as a thunder shirt and a plan of action to ensure that your dogs comfort is maintained. A loud TV, closed curtains and staying with your pooch until the fireworks are over can help.
Building a den and loading blankets around a den or crate area will also help to block sound. If in doubt, speak to your vet who may be able prescribe something if your dog is extremely distressed.
At Colchester Canine Creche playing noise CD’s and desensitising is commonplace, we also see huge numbers of dogs attend day creche when those events are planned as they know their pup will be more tired than normal and this will aid them in sleeping through the entire event.
Our staff in the hotel are trained to cope with these situations, and we have a set plan of action which is extremely successful in assisting the distractions during these vents, providing a comfortable nights sleep for our overnight guests who might otherwise be disturbed at home.
There is a video and super article featured here at the Kennel Club to give advice and guidance on dealing with these events further.
Finally, don’t forget to ensure your dog is micro-chipped (it’s the law!) and the police do collect many dogs that have bolted due to fear and cannot help to return them to their owners if they have no ID and microchip.
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