Firework Phobias Dogs
Every year the sky’s are alight with rockets, Catherine wheels and Roman candles, as bangs explosions and bright lights are accompanied by screams, sirens and howling dogs the country over.
During Halloween and the New Year celebrations the likelihood of a firework or two in your area can cause your pets unnecessary stress and even injury, so what can you do to minimize the risks ?
Frightened dogs can have different reactions; some tremble at their owners’ feet, some become very destructive and begin pacing and panting, others retreat to a hiding place, some try to run off and others display unpredictable even aggressive behaviour.
Any of these types of behaviour could indicate that your dog is developing a phobia towards noise.
If a dog hasn’t been safely exposed to many different experiences, including loud noises during his essential socialisation period (3 to 14 weeks of age), when he gets older he may not be able to cope with frightening sounds like fireworks or loud engine noises. Left alone, noise phobia tends to get worse rather than better, so you really do need to act to help your dog, if he’s frightened on New Years Eve night.
Many dogs can benefit from a process we call desensitisation. This involves slowly acclimatising your dog to the sounds of fireworks. CDs are now available, which simulate the random and unpredictable noises of fireworks. Over a period, these are played a number of times a day gradually building up the volume and length of time it is played. (For further information visit see our ‘Dog Training Products page).
* Here are some other useful tips
* Create a safe, comfortable and quiet den area for your dog. Ideally, this should be in a place which is furthest from the fireworks and where he is used to resting. The room should be able to be darkened to hide the firework flashes. Make sure however, that he is free to come and go to this area, taking care not to lock him in the room alone.
* Feed him an hour before the event and
make sure he has been out to the
* Play music or turn on the TV to help drown out the sound of fireworks.
* If your dog does not want to settle in his den or crate, then try playing some games or have a training session with his favourite treats as rewards.
* There are a number of proven natural remedies to help calm dogs during stressful periods. These usually contain camomile which are tried and tested aids which can help to reduce fear, stress and anxiety naturally to help keep pets calm during what can be a very frightening time without sedating them.
* Ask your vet about Dog Appeasing Phermones (DAP). This is a scent that comes in the form of a plug in diffuser, collar or spray that can comfort your dog and help him cope with his fear.
Do NOT try to pat and stroke your dog in an attempt to sooth him if he is showing signs of stress. This simply rewards how he is behaving and reinforces his fear. Don’t let him know you’re concerned. Remember you must always show your dog that you are a good ‘Pack Leader ‘ by always projecting a calm confident aura, this helps provide security and stability for your dog.