With July 4th well on it’s way, you’re probably getting ready to pack up the car and head out to the best fireworks display in your area. Whether you’re going to the Hollywood Bowl for their Fireworks Spectacular or lighting up sparklers at your neighborhood barbecue, it’s a consensus: fireworks bring people together. Unfortunately for Spot, a firework show can be a very frightening event; the bright lights can confuse him and the loud, unpredictable noises can overwhelm his very sensitive ears. In fact, due to fireworks, the 4th of July is historically a day with many lost dogs. How can you make sure you patriotic pup gets to take part in the festivities without being spooked or feeling the need to bolt? Here are some guidelines you can follow to help your dog get used to fireworks.
Desensitize your Dog to the Sound of Fireworks: Begin by playing the recorded sound of fireworks at a low volume a few times a day. Pair the sound of fireworks with things your dog likes such as treats, hugs, meals or walks. Gradually raise the sound of the fireworks until your pup is comfortable listening to the sound of fireworks at full volume.
Don’t Change Your Behavior: When dogs are spooked by loud noises, they get very anxious. For humans, our first instinct is to comfort the dog by babying them, speaking in soothing voices and picking them up. Instead of calming a dog down, this can often reinforce their fearful behavior. Try speaking to them in firm even tone and act as if everything is normal.
Stay Calm: Dogs pay very close attention to our body language so if you jump at the sound of fireworks, your dog too will be on high alert. If you stay calm, it will signal that there is nothing to be afraid of.
Try to Distract Your Dog: When fireworks are going off, try and redirect Frou Frou’s attention by throwing her favorite ball for her to chase. Doing so distracts the dog from the fireworks and allows them to associate fireworks with something positive like playing.
Don’t Push Your Dog Past Their Comfort Zone: If your dog runs and hides, let him be. Don’t force him out or push him closer to the fireworks in an attempt to get him used to the sounds. This may only aggravate the dog further and could cause him to exhibit aggressive behavior.
(Note: For dogs that are extremely afraid of fireworks, it might be best to leave him at home with the windows closed and some light music to drown out the sound.)
You may never be able to completely eradicate your dog’s fear of fireworks but you can definitely help ease the intensity of your dog’s reaction to them. By following these steps, you’ll be that much closer to enjoying your Independence Day with your trusty pooch in tow. If you’re going out of town for July 4th, make sure to find Spot a pet sitter near you with one of our trusted hosts on DogVacay.com.
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