While you and your family might eagerly await the annual fireworks display, your canine friend is likely to be huddled under some furniture shaking like a leaf. The deep and loud sound of fireworks may startle us, but such sensitive canine hearing can leave your dog feeling like bombs are being dropped overhead. He might not be eating his food, he may stop drinking, and he might not be able to sleep.
Training your dog to accept and live with fireworks will save him serious anguish. Seeing your dog trembling for hours on end isn’t easy, so if there are steps and measures you can take to reduce that fear, it’s a no-brainer!
Due to the serious fear that fireworks can bring out in dogs, training isn’t always a walk in the park. You will need to take a number of steps to reduce his fear. A big part of training will be gradually desensitizing him to the terrifying sound. If your dog is young and a puppy, then overcoming the fear may take just a week or two, if he has had a deep-rooted fear of fireworks for many years, then training may take many weeks to yield results.
Fortunately, the measures you can take as an owner are straightforward and it’s vital you follow them for the wellbeing of your dog. Dogs who experience such extreme fear may develop behavioral problems and fears in other areas of their lives. So be patient and persistent and you’ll soon have your dog smiling through fireworks.
Before you get to work with your canine pal you will need several things. His favorite food or treats will be needed to calm and reward him during fireworks. You will also need some recordings of fireworks and an audio device to play them with.
You will also need to ensure your dog’s den is comfy, homey, and a safe shelter when fireworks do start to go off. Apart from that you just need 10 minutes a day for the next few weeks and a proactive attitude and you’re ready to begin!
Fireworks basically , I need to get him to ignore fireworks I've tried alot of things and the only thing that worked slightly was Xanax , it's becoming a bigger issue each year
Hello Jack, I would combine a few things since this can be a really hard area for a dog. First, I would try some pressure therapy, via something like a Thundershirt. Second, I would desensitize pup to the noises of fireworks, using a recording, starting on a low volume as background noise, while you do something really fun with pup to help them tune it out - like past paced trick training with favorite rewards, a game of fetch, tug of war, ect...Look for high energy, fun activities that pup will really engage in. Start with the noise really low and watch pup's body language. It should be low enough volume that pup's body language still looks relaxed. Practice a little every day. When pup is completely tuning the noise out and happy, increase the volume very gradually, a little at a time, only to the point where pup can stay looking relaxed. Over a period of 1-2 months or so you will increase the volume incrementally during the very fun activity. Third, during actual fireworks, act confident and upbeat. Pull out some favorite games, practice commands and tricks pup knows with favorite treats, and keep things fun and upbeat. You want pup to be in a working mindset, focused on something other than the fear. Don't act sorry for pup, pet or reward the fearfulness in anyway, or act nervous yourself. You want to mirror confidence. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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I’ve tried literally EVERYTHING!!! Thunder Hold method, Thunder Shirt, medication and even was successful at training him to movies/stereo firework noises (voice commands;” Only TV, your safe “)
Sadly he was severely abused, and I rescued him from a puppy mill, he was literally fused to the chicken wire fencing and had to be shaved to be removed. He had heart worms, and some having the rapid kill procedure, he developed a seizure disorder. So he is already taking a medication that should keep him sedate during loud, popping/banging noises. But it truly has NO EFFECT whatsoever! He becomes sooooooo anxious during any sort of “outside noises” that happen to sound like gunfire/fireworks, he’ll work himself into a seizure. Witch then takes anywhere from 2-3 days to recover from. HELP!!!!
Hello Cindi, I suggest contacting someone who specializes in behaviors like extreme anxiety and aggression. Check out SolidK9Training.com. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
Last year we went camping and no fireworks were allowed at the park. Our dogs had their best 4th of July ever!
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