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Be Careful with Your Dogs and Fireworks!

Fireworks can screw up a dog faster than anything.

Everybody needs to be careful with fireworks around their young dogs and older dogs that have not been properly conditioned to gunfire (see video).

Fireworks are unnatural. You don't have a lot of control over when or where the noise happens. Fireworks can screw up a dog faster than anything. It's a lot harder to fix a gun shy or noise-sensitive dog than it is to prevent gun shyness in the first place.





Here are some tips to prevent fireworks sensitivity in your dogs:

Before the fireworks begin:
  • Ideally, keep your dogs as far away from fireworks as possible
  • Check with your neighbors about their fireworks plans and ask for a phone call before they start
  • If possible, bring your dogs inside in a closed-off, interior room
  • Feed your dogs ahead of time; anxious dogs are often too upset to eat
  • Fill up their water bowl as anxious dogs pant more and become thirsty
  • Make sure you have a safe and comfortable place for them to be while the fireworks are going on
  • Close windows and blinds in order to block the bright lights from startling your dog
During the fireworks:
  • Have a TV, radio, or white-noise maker to drown out the sound of the fireworks
  • Distract your dog with a favorite toy or bone
  • Reward good, calm behavior
  • Comfort and reassure your dogs that everything is alright
  • Act normal and don't react negatively to the fireworks; dogs can pick up on behavioral cues
  • Don't make your dogs "face their fears" -- this will only frighten them more
  • If you need to go outside, make sure your dogs are secure before opening the door


Sometimes the fireworks start before New Year's Eve or the 4th of July and run a few days after the holiday.

There is NO REASON for a dog to be around fireworks, and I do everything I can to keep my dogs away from them. Usually dogs conditioned to gunfire can handle the noise of fireworks, but there really isn't anything good about them as far as dogs are concerned. We sell a couple of products that are designed to help dogs get over the fear of fireworks, but I really prefer NOT to have to sell them.

CONCERNS

My biggest concern is that a dog will hurt themselves trying to get away from the noise. My second concern is that exposure will create a gun shy or noise-sensitive problem where there doesn't have to be one.

NOISE-SHY DOES NOT EQUAL GUN SHY

Just because a dog is noise-sensitive to fireworks, does NOT necessarily mean that will translate into gunshyness, but why take a chance?

My best gun dog ever, Em, never had a problem with gunfire, but she was so afraid of thunderstorms that we had to build a special top for her kennel run so she couldn't climb out or hurt herself trying.

HOW NOT TO EXPOSE A NEW PUP TO FIREWORKS

I was at a party a few years back and watched a new dog get exposed to fireworks completely the wrong way. The dog was in her kennel but still in full view of everything that was going on. Once the fireworks started she became more and more upset and wanted out of the kennel. To calm her down they let her out of her crate and she made a break for it. They didn't find her for two days.

The volume and brightness of fireworks is just too much for most dogs and nothing good is going to come from it. Please take the time to protect your pets while the possibility of unexpected explosions are around.

I do my best to keep all my dogs away from any kind of fireworks. Even dogs that have been properly conditioned to gunfire can become upset or nervous when exposed to fireworks. It just isn't worth it.

Fireworks happens twice a year with New Year's and Fourth of July. You might want to condition your dogs to fireworks, especially if you live where your dogs will be exposed a couple of weeks out of the year. It never hurts to check with your neighbors about their fireworks plans. Give them a heads up that you have a young dog and ask them to give you a call before they start.

People don't think about fireworks until it's too late, so think about it a little now. The majority of dogs don't have a problem with it, but some do. Why take a chance? No point in stressing your dogs out.

Remember, if you want to shoot fireworks, be safe and have fun. Just keep in mind that unexpected noise and stress could create a problem where one doesn't exist. -- Steve




 shop Keep Your Dog from Becoming Gun Shy
 shop Episode 20: Introducing Gunfire
 shop Gun Shy / Thunder / Noise Conditioning Products
Preventing Gun Shy Dogs
Episode 20: Introducing Gunfire
Noise Shy Conditioning Products




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