Did you react appropriately?

We made it and came out better after the fact!!!!

I hope that everyone made it safe and sound through the worst of the fireworks.  Did you?  Did you ignore the fireworks?  Did you pretend that there was no crazy booming going on?  Did you do your chill routine? 

Elsa did great with just some minor concerns.  Nothing that the safety of being with Mom and Dad couldn't help with.  She did a great deal of watching us which is what dogs do to see how we are reacting.  We ignored the fireworks and even played ball in the yard.  

Our dogs look to us for guidance; just seeing how we are responding helps them with how they should respond.  If you can get your calm reaction in before a dog becomes too fearful or reactive, then your work is done.  Often when a dog is left alone with no one to assist in the "we don't care about these things" department; then they can become very fearful. 

Being on their own doesn't always mean that they are physically alone.  Sometimes a guardian does not step up and offer guidance; leaving their dog to deal with a situation all alone.  It is our job to guide, how else can dogs learn if we don't teach them?  When we fail to guide we fail our dogs.  

Teaching our dogs how to remain calm requires us to be calm.  Even if you are feeling not calm you can act calm.  If a situation arises when we are caught off guard and thrown into an anxious state; it can take a great deal of smoke and mirrors to appear chill and calm.  But you can do it.  It takes practice but appearing calm, cool and collected can stave off many behavior issues with our dogs. 

Does your dog react to something specific?  Cars, other dogs, strangers, cats, loud bangs, bicycles or joggers etc?    Whatever it may be, take that "thing" that makes your dog react and turn it into a chill "we don't care" "thing."  It is all about association.  Are you creating a calm and cool association or amping things up?  

We can often cause situations to seem worse just by acting in the wrong way.  Tensing up, yelling, becoming angry or agitated, can all cause a negative association.  A very common issue with dogs is barking or going off when neighboring dogs start up.  We dealt with this at our current home.  There are a ton of dogs in the neighborhood and many that just seem to bark and bark and bark.  So when we first moved into this house and then again when Elsa was young, it was the calm and cool routine.  When the neighbor dogs got started, I kicked into my calm routine.  I'd immediately come out and start puttering around the yard; acting like there was no insane barking going on.  The dogs quickly realized that there was no need to join in and just got chill along with me.

Your dog is watching.  What are you saying to them?