The secrets dogs want you to know about their anxiety with fireworks.
I have had a ton of sturdy dogs that made me wonder what the fuss was about until now. My spinone is getting older and has become fearful of loud booms and sirens. He will stop in his tracks, refuse to walk, drool and try and find a location to burrow in. Here are the thoughts I share on how to help make a booming difference.
If your dog is leery of loud noises, there are ways for you to put your pup at ease and manage their disregulated behaviors.
Tip #1 - Awareness
If you can anticipate that your dog is going to react negatively to the sights and sounds of the holiday, then you already have a sense of how bad or mild a case of the jitters your pup may be about to suffer with. Those who know their dog's triggers can be on the right track or could potentially overcompensating and making matters worse.
Many times, loving pet owners will overreact in anticipation for the inevitable fireworks. Dogs can sense their owners stress so while the pups' parent is stressing about the potentiality of the pup becoming stressed, they are actually creating more of an issue for the dog and make things worse. This can actually intensify a dog's negative response.
Others may know about the things that disregulate pups but don't acknowledge there is a problem because they themselves may not perceive the things the pup is struggling and reacting to is posing any real threat. If a pup freezes or pulls away it may be perceived as misbehavior, but these are not punishable or necessarily training moments. These are the times we have to listen and assist our pups to what they determine to be safety.
Once we clearly identify what our dogs are reacting and struggling with we can then identify how and if we are actually helping or hindering our dog's ability to feel safe. The process can be as simple as preparing for a dog's emotional disregulation.
Tip #2 - Creating a safe space
There are really simple things we can do to assist our dogs through. While some canines will freeze others will flee. For those that want to hunker down it is a great time to play soothing music, play indoor games, give extra snuggles, get really high reward long chewing treats and if those aren't enough, I highly recommend Perfect Prep PET Canine Calming Paste. This is the only pet calming product that I carry and recommend to clients.
Tip #3 - Bathroom Breaks
Teach your dog to go potty on cue. Check out our previous blog on how to do that here.
Many dogs will not want to go outside at all, and fully potty trained dogs will relieve themselves inside. Some dogs will run out, go and sprint back in the house but unfortunately impeccably potty trained dogs have accidents. Punishing them for having accidents while in a state of fear won't teach them anything. To help your dog choose to potty out of doors having a well established outdoor location can help. For smaller breed pups setting up a pee pad for these instances can be the solution.
To all my off leash friends, fearful pups should be put on leash or only allowed out if they have a well contained yard.
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Be aware and prepare to help your pup. We are heading to Germany for private & group sessions but will be back in the states come September! Learn more about our services Here. Please leave your comments below if you have questions or something meaningful to add to this post.