Fear based behavior

Chill'n as the fireworks begin.

We have gone through it and are out the other side of the fireworks "issue."  Elsa did pretty well; she isn't nearly as petrified as poor old Tilley use to be.  She would dig in our closet; head for the shower and do all sorts of strange things trying to get away from the noise and vibrations.  Elsa is much more calm about it all.  

The night before last. Elsa jumped off of our bed and remained on the floor until sometime in the night. When she first got off, we called her up again but she wasn't budging.  I didn't know why she got off the bed; it took me a bit to realize that she was exhibiting a fearful response.  There had been a few fireworks off in the distance and for some reason she felt safe down there on the floor.

Last night the fear began much earlier; but I have to say that I was really happy at the low level fear she displayed.  Having dealt with a couple of highly fearful dogs; it's a relief to see just worry in lieu of all out panic.  Elsa was worried.

As we sat down to watch the annual airing of Jaws once again, she remained on the floor.  She was tired from her big exercise day but the floor is not where she rests when we are on the couch.  I called her up but she was not interested.  Then I heard the fireworks in the distance; the ones that she had obviously heard long before I did.  She wanted to stay on the floor; so that is where she spent the evening, even once the fireworks got to full force around 9:00 pm.  Elsa lay on the floor; her head on top of her newest stuffed addition to the family.  It was like she was ignoring what was going on around her and the floor helped her to be able to do that. 

Shortly after they started we decided to call it an early night.  I said to my hubby "she's not going to go out to pee."  Happily I was wrong.  We went out to the yard and the booming continued.  She most definitely responded but when I very calmly walked out to the grass and told her to "hurry up," she reacted to my calm demeanor.  She peed in record time and ran to the kitchen door to go in.  Elsa was not in a panic at all; her tail was up, although she did have a few looks over her shoulder before heading in.  

Once upstairs she joined me in the bathroom; something she does not do regularly.  She always waits outside the door but she needed in with me.  I allowed her in but we did not discuss the problem.  I ignored her fear and she remained fearful but calm.  I couldn't ask for more from her.  She is highly intelligent and beyond aware of her surroundings.  Loud booming and deep vibrations of the floor beneath her will not go unnoticed.  

Elsa had her bedtime snack then we crawled into bed.  She jumped off of the bed as one boom resonated through the neighborhood again.  She spent about and hour to an hour and a half there on the floor.  Elsa decided that my side of the bed on the floor beneath me was the best spot. There she could watch the goings on out the patio door.  It was not until a very close firecrackers exploded that she dove back up on the bed and dug between the pillows at the headboard.  She spent the rest of the night there.  

Safely tucked away between Mom and Dad she finally drifted off.  There are always lingering booms from people needing more; they didn't stop until into the early morning.  Elsa remained calm until the very close fire crackers; then she needed cover.  There was no panic, no shaking, panting or dilated pupils.  Her fear level was very low which was great.  Next year we will work at getting it even lower with some ball and extracurricular activities.  

It's all about your reaction.  No matter what level you are dealing with "chill" is the way to go.