Every year many dogs suffer psychological trauma during the 4th of July fireworks, whereas, we humans are ecstatic over fireworks. Understanding your dog’s fearful behavior and what you can do at this stressful time of year is important for the emotional well-being of your pet.
Interestingly, one of the only innate fears humans have is a fear of loud noises. We still “jump” and our bodies prepare to “fight or flight” (or freeze) when we become startled by a loud, erratically heard noise. The bright flashing light can contribute in part to your dogs fear, as well as the squeals of young children that may accompany the loud booms. Many dogs try to run away from fireworks by escaping the house or yard. Without understanding the origin and nature of the “threat”, it’s adaptable to survival to do so! It’s adaptive for us and for our dogs. Evolution would have it, that when a loud noise is perceived, in order to survive and procreate another day, the fittest need to take action. However, some dogs are frozen in fear and shake uncontrollably. Your dog’s fear may not be so obvious, but now’s the time to learn to read dog body language if you haven’t as yet.
Make preparations to protect your dog from the drama of fireworks by not leaving her alone, and creating as calm an environment as possible. If you’re going out to watch fireworks, leave your dog home with a loving pet sitter and prep the sitter about your what you’d like done. I’m going out on a bay cruise to get an up close look at the fireworks being launched form the barges there. I’ll be posting photos!
If your dog has not been properly desensitized to fireworks, there are ways to do that. However, it’s always a challenge and the July 4th celebrations are such a short and infrequent occurrence that lots of Management, Security and Noise Blocking may just be easier on you both.
There’s a lot you can do to make this wonderful holiday fun for you, and to make it “hum drum”, or even a happy time for your dog…which is precisely what we want!
Get the Do No Harm Dog Training and Behavior Manual for teaching classes, private behavior consultations and pet parents.
Linda Michaels, M.A., Psychology, author, behavior consultant and speaker may be reached at 858.259.WOOF (9663) or by email: LindaMichaelsPositively@gmail.com for private obedience instruction and behavioral consultations near Del Mar and the San Diego Coast. Please visit us atDogPsychologistOnCall.com Originally published RanchCoastNews. All rights reserved.