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Some dogs have no problem with loud noises like fireworks if they’ve been properly desensitized. Most dogs, however, are not, so fireworks can be stressful for them. More pets run away during fireworks than any other day, so extra precautions should be taken to ensure their safety. Supervise them closely and make sure they are wearing ID tags. It is normal for a dog to be afraid of loud noises. Running away from the noise is a survival instinct.

These are some ideas on how to help keep your dog calm.

1. Accommodation - If you can’t take your dog to a place away from the fireworks, then use a crate at home to feel safe in. Take her out to relieve herself every four hours.

2. Acclimation - Teach your dog to be comfortable with fireworks in advance. Play the recorded sound of fireworks at an increasingly louder volume before he eats, before a walk, and before affection and play. This will condition him by association to hear the sound and interpret it as something good.

3. Sedation - If it’s necessary to use medication or a thunder-shirt, you must introduce them at the right time, conditioning your dog to understand that the medication or thunder-shirt is used to create a calm state of mind. So, your dog needs to be in a calm state first before you introduce the tool. Before the anxiety begins. If she is already at an anxiety level of 8 or 9, then her mental state will overpower the medication. If she is already panting heavily, then the thunder-shirt, which is designed to slow her breathing down, won’t work. A tool is something we use in conjunction with a dog’s instincts. The challenge is knowing how and when to connect the two.

4. Communication - If the human is in a calm and relaxed state of mind, their calm and relaxed energy will convey the message to the dog that there is nothing to worry about which will also help him to relax. Humans communicate with words, dogs communicate with energy, and will look to their pack leader for clues on how they should feel and behave. If you’re not making a big deal about the fireworks, then he will learn to not be worried also.

Remember, the top priority is to drain your dog’s physical and mental energy, before the fireworks start. Take her for a very long walk to tire her out and put her in a calm state of mind. Do not think of your dog as your child. Do not coddle or console her. You’re being a good pack leader by not exposing her to situations that will trigger her flight instincts.

If you continue to have problems, let me know if I can help.

Always remember: BP4 – Be: Patient, Positive, Peaceful & Persistent / 201-937-6123

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