July the 4th is fast approaching! While this is an exciting time to celebrate with family and friends, every year I hear so many heart wrenching stories of family dogs who have run away during fireworks. This doesn’t have to happen. No matter how well-behaved, calm, and reliable a dog is, just like humans, they are not perfect. They do get spooked and scared, especially when left alone outside with very loud noises. It doesn’t matter how high your fence is. If frightened enough, your dog will find a way to escape.
Here are some suggestions for keeping your dog safe and calm during the July 4th celebration:
1. Keep your dog inside.
Shut the blinds and curtains to eliminate additional triggers. If for some reason, your dog isn’t allowed inside, please make an exception. If you have a garage, you can also let him stay there. Make sure there is plenty of fresh water and entertaining toys to keep him occupied.
2. Make sure your dog has a safe place.
If your dog loves his crate, by all means let him rest there. Freeze some plain boiled chicken in a Kong and give to him before you leave for the evening. This will keep him busy for quite a while.
3. Play some soft music.
There are many music playlists specifically for anxiety in dogs available on Spotify and YouTube. Try to find something that has more piano music. Crank up the volume to help drown out the sound of the fireworks but be sure not to turn it up too loud as dog’s ears are much more sensitive than ours.
4. Turn the TV on and the volume up loud enough to cover the sound of the fireworks.
See #3 for a note on volume. Although we may turn the volume up loud, dogs can still feel the vibration of the booms which can be frightening as well.
5. Contact a positive dog trainer and work on Behavior Modification for next year!
If you have any questions about Behavior Modification or would like to schedule a consultation, call or contact me today.
*NOTE: If your dog is unresponsive to these techniques or you don’t feel comfortable implementing them, contact a trainer who is familiar with behavior modification in dogs. Do NOT attempt to do anything that will jeopardize your safety.