Here we are, it's July already! This week we are all set to enjoy some beautiful fireworks... some of these fireworks are set off by Disneyland, City parks, or other professionals... but inevitably there will be those neighbors who take the fun into their own hands. Every year we all read all the upset and anger by our friends and family about the neighborhood fireworks, and every year hundreds of dogs escape their yards because owners leave their pups outside this week.
What is important to remember is that dogs DONT HAVE TO BE SCARED OF FIREWORKS!
They don't! Mine aren't, they used to be... but knowing that the first week of every July, and the week of every new years... there WILL be fireworks... so we spend the time in between preparing.
Having a dog is the same as having a child. You owe to them the time and effort that it takes to stop bad behavior. If your toddler has an irrational fear of something like... let's use thunder... a screaming, crying, trying to run out the door or hide under the bed fear.... Do you ignore it? Coddle them during it? Or do you take measures to stop it? You owe it to them to stop the fear from haunting them!
Dogs are like babies... you can use all the words you want, but that isnt going to help. Dogs are not smart enough to speak human, but humans are smart enough to learn to communicate effectively with their dogs. Trying to rationalize or snuggling them during a time when their brain isnt in the proper state of mind is not going to work, you have to approach them when they are relaxed and willing to learn.
Everyone practice this exercise for 5 minutes each night (at night... when fireworks usually go off)
1. Get some high value training treats.. something your dog goes wild over. I suggest hot dog bits at first so that it's something very exciting for them.
2. Find a fireworks show on YouTube. Turn it on full blast in the other room, door closed.
3. Start working with your dog, keeping them stimulated and focused on your training session. Do good, old standby commands, you dont want to learn new things during this session. Sit/stay and down/stay are good options, because they give the dog time to acknowledge the sound, but not long enough to react to it.
4. After 5 minutes, crate your dog in an adjoining room so the fireworks can still be heard. Give them a bone or toy to relax with, and leave them there for another 10 minutes. Then stop the fireworks and let your dog out to potty.
As you see progress, make changes to increase the volume of the fireworks.. (move closer to the room with the video on, open the door while training). Your ultimate goal is to have zero reaction to the fireworks, and you CAN do it!