I was scrolling through facebook a couple of days before the jubilee, and saw a complaint post regarding fireworks. The below blog post is my response:
Im a dog trainer and behaviourist, and I see both sides of the argument.
Yes.. dogs can find fireworks and thunder and loud noises exceptionally scary and anxiety ridden experiences, and there definitely are SOME dogs who will never be able to get over this fear.. i’m not denying that.
However there are also ALOT of dogs out there who can overcome the fear,, and unfortunately people like to spend more time complaining on social media about the noise then actually helping train their dogs to tolerate loud noises.
Fireworks aren’t going anywhere…
Be a responsible dog owner. Stop complaining and start helping your dog get through it by stopping the problem happening before it happens….
1. Socialise your dog properly. Socialisation when they are puppies doesnt just mean with other dogs and people, also noises… build things up slowly and quietly and decrease the distance and increase the volume. There are fireworks sound tracks available for free on dogs trust website or on youtube.
2. If you havent done step one, and you have a dog who is fearful, or has become fearful overtime - train them to change their opinion on the noise - book in with a trainer or explore the massive amount of resources at your disposal on websites like youtube, you will be looking for desensitisation, and counter conditioning.
3. Manage the situation… be prepared with things for your dog to help them remain calm during these times, kongs, music, licky mats - also exercising them alot more around the key ‘firework’ times of the year both physically and mentally will help! A tired dog, is a happy one!
4. Holistically you can add herbal supplements to their food to help promote calmness, as well as educating yourself on appropriate aromatherapy to help you and your dog
5. Stay calm. Dont get angry. Your dog vibes off you. Breathe, and be the guidance they look to, also dont over coddle your dog, they will sense that not all is ok with the world and it can ’justify’ the fear.
With all this in mind, not all dogs will be able to get over this fear - maybe those who are older and the fear is too ingrained… for those dogs I would suggest speaking to your vets and perhaps looking into temporary medication to help during the difficult times
FIREWORK USERS - you are not off the hook. Whilst I understand you want to have fun and enjoy yourselves. And believe it or not, we all want you to have fun as well.
Be responsible, be the good neighbour, be thoughtful, kind and gracious and please… PLEASE. Put a post on fb or speak to your neighbours, so they are able to PREPARE themselves and their dogs for the event you will be holding.
If people did these things It would create alot less discord between people and hopefully and vitally!… alot less scared dogs.