If your dog is scared of fireworks it’s a sure sign that they need to be shown by you that the fireworks are nothing to worry about. A standard human reaction isn’t appropriate unfortunately. We naturally try to reassure the dog as we would a child, stroking them and trying to tell them that everything is alright. Unfortunately dogs do not understand English, so may think your words mean something along the lines of “I’m so scared, can you look after me please” or “We’re all going to die aren’t we?” – so using human language isn’t going to reassure them.
The best thing that we can do is act as though everything is fine. If we look at them anxiously, wondering whether they are okay, they will think we are anxious about the fireworks and are looking at them for what to do about it. Instead of worrying about your dog, get on with your evening as though nothing is happening. Turn up the television to try to drown some of the noises out. If your dog chooses to run and hide, let it. Don’t go and follow it or try to encourage it to come out of it’s hiding hole. Just leave it to work out for itself that no one else is scared of fireworks, and then it will be able to think that if no one else is worried, maybe it isn’t anything to worry about…. These actions will be a much bigger help than trying to be reassuring
Ultimately a dog who is scared of fireworks is deciding for itself that the fireworks are a danger, and what to do about it (run and hide, bark excessively). A dog who knows that you are in charge ought to look to you to see what your reaction is to the fireworks first, and then take their lead from you. If your dog isn’t doing this, then it is likely that it doesn’t see you at the leader. Taking the leadership role is the kindest thing that you can do for your dog, as you will remove from it all the stresses of the human world that it doesn’t understand but thinks that it is responsible for. Action is required NOW if you want to stop your dog being scared of fireworks by the first weekend in November, so please call me for more information. Desensitisation CDs aren’t the answer as the actual fireworks are accompanied by smells and vibrations. Showing your dog that you are in charge and you aren’t scared IS. Other than removing its fear of fireworks, by taking the leadership role you will also help with all manner of other dog behaviour problems (if relevant), including:
- pulling on the lead
- excessive barking
- jumping up
- destructive behaviour
…and much more…
Your dog has a natural understanding of what leadership looks like, and it’s quite different to our default human behaviour. You don’t have to be firm or dominant with your dog, you just have to show it the calm signals that it would expect from a leader. This is what I can teach you to do. If you are based in Essex or the surrounding area then please get in touch, and let me help you to help your dog behaviour concerns. If you especially want help removing your dogs fear of fireworks then please get in touch NOW so your dog has time to be convinced by your leadership prior to 5th November.