Dogs and fireworks


Happy 4th.  Last night as we sat enjoying a glass of wine and Elsa was enjoying her rat hunting, the booming began.  My attention turned to her immediately as I heard it.  Waiting to see what she was going to do; I watched without eye contact.  With her attention on a rat that was up in the bushes, she didn't flinch.  

Here it was, proof in the pudding as they say.  The rats were helping Elsa to forget about the fireworks; at least for a little bit.  Our reaction to fearful stimulus needs to be calm and chill.  The solution to fearful response is counter conditioning.  Linking the booming sound to something enjoyable or captivating.

With her full attention on the rats hoping around our yard; she paid little attention to the booming in the distance.  For a good 10 minutes she was preoccupied by the little rodent.  I smiled seeing the evening events unravel before me.  The rat had so much power that it was keeping Elsa's mind off of the scary stuff.  Nice.  

After her time of captivation, the booms got bigger.  Elsa quietly walked inside and remained there until we calmly joined her.  

Like every other year I am putting out a warning about fireworks and your dog.  Each year many dogs are lost, injured or worse.  Fear of fireworks is very common in the species; they don't understand the celebration behind it all.  It would be great if we as guardians could explain the booming; but sadly we cannot let our dogs know that it's just sound and sight and nothing more.  We can't clarify it for them but we can keep them safe when fear strikes.

  • Don't take your dog to the fireworks display.
  • Make sure that your dog is locked safely indoors.
  • Turn your radio and television on if you leave your home.
  • Be sure that your dog has up to date identification on them.
  • Do not coddle their fear.
  • Try to have fun.  If your dog LOVES an activity, try doing that during the booming action.
  • Show your dog that you are not afraid of the fireworks.  Get your best "chill" on.

Have a great day and night.  Be safe and keep your dog out of harms way.  Happy 4th