Welcome to PetForums

Join thousands of other pet owners and pet lovers on the UK's most popular and friendly pet community and discussion forum.

Sign Up

Preparing for Fireworks Season

Discussion in 'Dog Chat' started by alphadog, Aug 10, 2009.


  1. alphadog

    alphadog PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2009
    Messages:
    1,629
    Likes Received:
    84
    It’s never too early to prepare your dog for the firework season. Whilst we’re all enjoying the summer holidays, it sounds crazy to think that the fireworks will be starting soon, but I remember with my old boy, who had a morbid fear of fireworks, that home displays or kids messing around can start as early as mid September.

    Whilst the law states that fireworks can only be retailed during the two weeks prior to 5th November, but online suppliers sell all year round, making all of the of the autumn and winter months a potential nightmare for dogs with noise phobias. But fear not! With lots of patience, foresight and planning, you should be able modify your dog’s anxiety during the bangs and whizzes.

    Here are my top tips. Please add your own tips and hopefully we can have lots of chilled doglets this autumn! :D…….

    • Desensitise him by playing a fireworks cd on the lowest volume, whilst you carry on with your day to day routine. Initially, play the cd so quietly that you can’t hear it – he will still be able to hear it! After a week or so, turn up the volume a touch. And the week after turn it up a touch more and so on. Be sure not to fuss your dog whilst the cd is playing, this will reinforce any anxiety he feels towards the sounds and potentially make his problem worse. If you build up gradually and play the cd many times each day, you should see that he barely notices even the loudest of noises. As the cd volume increases, you can introduce a game so that he forms a positive association with happy games and loud noises. The earlier you start with this method, the more success you’ll have, so don’t leave it until the middle of October!


    • Consider his environment. Provide your dog with a bolt-hole to run to if he feels threatened by the noises. Most dogs with noise phobias will appreciate somewhere to feel safe whilst ww3 kicks off outside … Does Rover use a crate? If he does you should cover it with a heavy/thick blanket which will give him that extra feeling of security and help to block out flashes and noises. If he doesn’t use a crate and you don’t want to introduce one, find an area in the family room where he prefers to retreat to if he is unsure of something. This may be in a corner of the room or underneath a table for eg. Now try and find a way to make that area enclosed and covered, use blankets and chairs to create a little den. Or alternatively find a sturdy cardboard box just big enough for him to curl up in and cut out one side as a door (white goods boxes work well for large breeds). Encourage your dog to use this area as his safe space and reward him with high value toys or bones when he is in there.

    • Don’t fuss him or try to cuddle him or offer words of sympathy or reassurance because this will only reinforce any anxiety he is feeling and potentially make his problem worse. He is looking to you to be a leader and you should demonstrate that there is nothing to be feared by remaining calm and going about your usual business. This flies in the face of everything we want to do as caring humans, but our dogs are not human and we need to be careful not to send them conflicting signals. Playing happy games is ok, but don’t force him if he is struggling to deal with the noise.

    • Mask the fireworks as best as possible by turning the radio or tv to the highest volume level you (or your neighbours) can tolerate. Practice this many times before the firework season so that your dog doesn’t form a negative association with a loud tv and impending fireworks. If possible have a loud radio right next to your dog’s crate.

    • Exercise before dusk and more than usual so that Rover is tired and has toileted.

    • Consider introducing herbal remedies (such as Rescue Remedy and Valerian) several weeks before firework season so that their properties can take effect.

    • Try an Anxiety Wrap - Home Page (I can’t recommend these enough, I had huge success with mine!). Or try a close fitting dog T-shirt instead if the Anxiety Wrap is too pricey. The idea is that this wrap offers a secure feeling and helps your dog to relax, think of it along the lines of swaddling a baby.

    Please try every other alternative before accepting sedatives from the vets…. I was horrified when my vet explained that the dog can still hear the fireworks and is still stressed but because he is sedated he simply can’t move and express his fear


    Anyone else got some hot tips? :)
     
    sophiew and sequeena like this.
  2. borderer

    borderer Guest

    my dogs like to watch fireworks never bothers them but they are used to guns:D
     
  3. Badger's Mum

    Badger's Mum PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2009
    Messages:
    10,957
    Likes Received:
    325
    Mine do:D misty's mum is a working dog she's fine with the gun's. But hate's firework's.
     
  4. cassie01

    cassie01 PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    Messages:
    1,385
    Likes Received:
    52
    my dogs are fine with the fireworks unless they are going to the bathroom at the time, then they make them jump. lol. Although my rottie will grumble at them if we are outside as well, he stands in front of you too, bless him.
     
  5. cassie01

    cassie01 PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    Messages:
    1,385
    Likes Received:
    52
    you should also reward the dogs, when fireworks go off and they dont react
     
  6. alphadog

    alphadog PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2009
    Messages:
    1,629
    Likes Received:
    84
    You're very lucky if your dog isn't noise phobic! It's horrible watching your dog suffer and you can feel so helpless.

    Top tip ^^^^ :)
     
  7. Nonnie

    Nonnie PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2009
    Messages:
    17,292
    Likes Received:
    10,030
    I dread it. Alfie was ok for about 5 years, then decided he doesnt like them.

    I pop his towelling coat on (like the anxiety wrap) give him some RR, and then ignore him. Its really hard, as he trembles and pants uncontrollably, and looks for comfort. Its heartbreaking having to ignore them, and i do sometimes let him snuggle up to me. But i dont reassure him, just let him be next to me, which isnt unusual for him.

    Ive tried the CD, hes not daft, he knows its not real :)
     
  8. PoisonGirl

    PoisonGirl Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2008
    Messages:
    19,821
    Likes Received:
    388
    Dixie was fine her first bonfire night, she was only nealy 3 months.
    Last year she was not too bad. She barked at the odd one. But the problem where we used to live was that fire works were going off every night for about 2 weeks before and after bonfire night!
    The rotti we were fostering last year, I actually took him a walk right to the field where the bonfires were and fireworks to show my son. He was bullet proof. Lol Only bit he was scared of was when the fire man came to talk to my son.

    I'm hoping out here it won't be so bad as there are no neds and hardly any idiotic youths in the village.

    They are used to hearing guns going off also as there are people rabbiting just now, and the noise does not bother them :)

    x
     
  9. haeveymolly

    haeveymolly PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2009
    Messages:
    12,690
    Likes Received:
    321
    Think people think were mad when we walk our out when they fireworks are going full blast, when we got molly she was ans still is much more sensitive than the boys and i did wonder how she would be but i think it helped getting her in september as she was still young and could be distracted by absolutly any thing if need be. I remember just before she was able to go out walking hearing the fworks so i used to take her outside all she did was stop whatever she was doing then carry on when they stopped.

    The first time i took her up to the playing fields harvey obviously wasnt bothered so she didnt feel any need to be, they were going full blast and all she did was stop and watch also ive always ignored the fireworks so all the dogs have never felt they had anything to fear. So from 12 weeks bless her shes been walked about in something that resembles a war zone, firework mad around here. Springers as well always far too busy to be troubled:D
     
  10. boxerlife

    boxerlife PetForums Junior

    Joined:
    May 4, 2009
    Messages:
    85
    Likes Received:
    0
    Does any one know where I could get one of those cds??
     
  11. sequeena

    sequeena PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2009
    Messages:
    21,583
    Likes Received:
    579
    You can get them in Pets at Home, I saw them yesterday :)
     
  12. Inca's Mum

    Inca's Mum PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2009
    Messages:
    8,636
    Likes Received:
    197
    Oh I used to hate Firework night with my GSP, he would hide anywhere he could and however much we tried to calm him down it never worked too well.
     
  13. westie~ma

    westie~ma ~ In my shed ~
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2009
    Messages:
    18,572
    Likes Received:
    7,685
    If it was just one night I wouldn't mind but sadly it isn't. It's seems to have turned into a "season", although last year it was the quietest it's been in a long time around here, probably down to the recession kicking in.

    Last Bonfire night I bathed Monty, it was hubby's idea and for once he was right ;) It took Monty's mind off what was happening outside and seemed to soothe him.
     
  14. alphadog

    alphadog PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2009
    Messages:
    1,629
    Likes Received:
    84
    I just did a google search... ''fireworks for dogs cd'' and it came up with loads so you chould be able to find one that suits. Unless your dog has multiple noise fobias (traffic, machinary etc) I would avoid the multi sound ones because they tend to be less comprehensive, oddly :rolleyes:
     
  15. boxerlife

    boxerlife PetForums Junior

    Joined:
    May 4, 2009
    Messages:
    85
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks.... :)
     
  16. alphadog

    alphadog PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2009
    Messages:
    1,629
    Likes Received:
    84
    Bump bump :)
     
  17. PoisonGirl

    PoisonGirl Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2008
    Messages:
    19,821
    Likes Received:
    388
    Last year I made sure my dogs were exersised loads during the day and put blankets over there crates and music on.

    Dixie wasn;t realy phased atall. I had her at my gran's for bonfire night when she was 11 weeks and she just slept through it.

    I even managed to take my rotti out a walk to show my son the big bonfire and he sat and watched them. He was terrified of the fireman though!

    I am glad I live in a small village so hopefully be less fireworks than last year as all the neds set them off weeks before and after bonfire night. But I think with having 2 dogs they might set eachother off.. They are set off barking by neighbours dogs barking too..

    x
     
  18. alaun

    alaun PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2009
    Messages:
    4,295
    Likes Received:
    113
    My old collie cross was absolutely petrified by fireworks - she would shake uncontrollably and never settle until they were all over - we used to turn the tv up really loud to drown them out, but sods law meant that tv programs had them on too.
    Luckily (fingers crossed) our wolfies and setter seem fine with them and barely bat an eyelid. Let's hope the pups feel the same.
     
  19. sophiew

    sophiew PetForums Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2009
    Messages:
    195
    Likes Received:
    8

    I bought one with lots of sounds for our puppy class and one of the sounds on it was DUCKS! Made me laugh.
    You can find and download little clips online and burn your own CD too - there are some free ones that are legal I think.

    I always put loud music / TV on when fireworks are going off, and hope he doesn't notice! I wouldn't mind if it was one night a year but it goes on for weeks now, makes it a lot more difficult to deal with

    Sophie
    x
     
  20. Burrowzig

    Burrowzig PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2009
    Messages:
    18,303
    Likes Received:
    12,151
    While Ziggy is scared of bangs in real life, those on the TV or radio just don't bother her, so I don't see how using a CD would help. I will have the new puppy just as the firework season gets going, so was planning to get her out and about (carried) while fireworks are going off. Hopefully she'll learn to enjoy them as much as I do!

    Ziggy and I usually do firework night at home with the TV or radio turned up a bit louder than normal. It's usually been fairly quiet near here, but now we have new neighbours who might let some off.

    A couple of years ago, Ziggy went under my desk and didn't come out for hours. I left her to it as I didn't want to reinforce her fear. Eventually I found she had got herself wedged and couldn't get out! I had to lift the desk to free her!
     
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice