Don’t wait until after the fireworks have started to act on your dog’s firework anxiety, be proactive and implement training into their daily routine from the get go! We can do this through the use of counter conditioning and desensitisation.
In counter conditioning, we aim to change the emotion and/or behaviour by associating a presented trigger with something positive, such as food, verbal praise, petting or anything that brings about a positive emotion.
- Avoid letting your dog outdoors at times when fireworks are likely to go off
Ensuring your dog has been for their walk and to the toilet early on (before it gets dark) and then take them for a toilet break once the fireworks have ended.
- Make sure your microchip details and tag are up to date
Better to be safe! If your dog gets out of the house/garden, it is important that all their details are up to date
- Make sure your home and garden are escape proof
Make sure all windows and doors are shut firmly, and your dog is away/on lead if you have visitor coming in/out of your home to prevent escape. Ensure garden is fully enclosed and secure, if this is not possible and you need to take your dog out, use a secure fitted Y-shaped harness and a lead.
- Create a safe space inside your home for your dog to take themselves too
This can be their crate (open door – do not shut them in as this may cause additional stress), their bed area or a special place they like to go
- Close blinds and curtains
The flashes of light from fireworks can upset some dogs, so draw the curtains or close blinds and leave a light on to help remove the flashes of light
- Play music to help with the sound
Classical music often helps to calm dogs, at a volume they can cope with. Try playing the radio whilst they have their chew and safe space.
- Act normal
Following your dog around or giving them additional attention if you are concerned, may lead to them becoming nervous or confused as its out of the ordinary. Carry on as you usually would, with play, fuss and your general routine
- NEVER shut your dog in a room
Confining a dog to one room, may lead them to hurt themselves trying to get out or cause additional stress
Providing a long-lasting chew, brain game, filled Kong or other enrichment may help your dog to stay occupied whilst the fireworks are happening
- If your dog is extremely stressed from fireworks, it may be best to consult your vet.
I hope you have found this post super helpful and will help both you and your best friend during this time.
Written by Milly Ball