Dogs and Fireworks
End of the year is a very freighting time for many of our pets, in U.K. we celebrate the 5th of November by lighting up fire works, but this way of celebrating also gets busy during Hogmanay. I wanted to touch on the behavioural side of how we can support or pets during those weeks because let’s be honest, it isn’t just one night! Kids and adults take the advantage of the opportunity and fireworks are scaring our pets for days before and after the festivities. There are a number of ways we can support our dogs and cats, one that isn’t often spoken about, however extremely successful is to do with not our dogs behaviour but ours - as they leaders. In many cases this can be the revolutionary. When you’re relaxed your dog will also relax! It’s true, dogs read our body language and respond to the stress hormones our body produces when we are worried. Often we make a lot of fuss around our pets when we see them suffer form anxieties, it’s instinctual we want to show our dogs that we know something is going on and that we are there for them, however a lot of the time it’s the wrong thing to do! If your dog is afraid of fireworks 1. place him in a room where you’ll hang out, 2.bring his favourite toys out and make sure he’s all cosy. 3. Once the noice starts you should reassure your doggy that everything is okay using your happy voice “ it’s okay, everything is okay sweetie” invite your dog for a cuddle on the sofa and relax. Once your dog realises that you’re not worried he is more likely to relax and forget about what’s going on outside. Repeated over time this can really impact your dogs reaction to those events, because he will safe and happy with you. Instead what we do is - use a sad and worried tone of voice ”oh hunny, I know, poor soul” our voice and body language is actually telling our dogs they should worry because we are worried to and the combination of our dogs being scared and is reacting to it makes the mater even worst.
In many more serious anxiety cases this switch on our behaviour will not be enough but there are other things we can do to help dogs relax. A half-wrap is one of them, simply because the feel of a cosy material wrapped around our dogs upper body gives support to the chest where longs and the heart are working harder to keep our pets feel safe.
One more thing I wanted to mention which is quite obvious is to keep your dogs on the leads when walking them those nights and try not to stress, like I said your dog can sense it all and they might respond unexpectedly, as long as you stay calm and in control, away from parks and other places where people are likely to use fireworks you and your pet will be absolutely fine! Most importantly over time when you don’t make too much hassle over those events and make your doggy comfortable and keep a calm happy voice consistently your dog will realise that there really isn’t anything to fear! Consistency is the key to a change in any behaviour, you will notice your dogs confidence improving and he will start to calm down because you aren’t worried! You can also use this time to invite your dogs friend over so they can have a play date! Dogs communicate with each other so they could keep each other calm and in check!
Any questions please message me on social media or ask in the comments!