Helping Your Dog Through Fireworks and Noise Phobias
Starting from the beginning of October we have about 3 months of potential fireworks and dog fears that can be pretty tricky to navigate as a dog and a parent…
Even if you think your little one is ok with fireworks, a phobia can manifest itself at any time so it is best not to tempt fate and still keep your dog indoors if you can hear fireworks going off.
It’s important to understand the psychology of fireworks and dog phobias so that you can empathise with how your dog might be feeling, it’s a serious condition. And when we understand more – we can do more! Have you ever had someone dismiss your feelings with a “don’t worry”, “don’t be silly now”? Doesn’t it just make you feel worse? Like us, dogs will retreat into their anxieties and feel more alone if they are not understood. A dog will start to switch off to you if you do not approach with an energy of understanding or at least open receptiveness. It’s tempting to try and talk our loved ones into a sense of safety but the threat of the noise is greater than anything you can say. It is your energy and approach which is going to be more useful to them than your words.
First thing, it is important to understand the link between how YOU feel about fireworks and how your dog reacts to them… Getting angry may be the worst thing you can do for either of you. It just reinforces to your dog that what they perceive is a real threat and that you fear it too. Anger is a negative emotion and is just another thing adding to an already problematic situation.
Many dogs are afraid of loud, sudden, unpredictable noises, not just thunderstorms and fireworks. If a dog is noise sensitive, it’s very likely that these noises will be frightening to them too. The tips in this blog post can also help your highly sensitive dogs develop coping strategies.
Training tips for helping your dog cope with fears and phobias:
4. Create a calm environment in the house prior to fireworks or as night closes in if you are experiencing unpredictable bouts of fireworks. Have your dog’s den permanently in place. Put on some soothing calm music or classical music. You can even purchase classical music that has been attuned to your dog’s ears called Through A Dog’s Ear. This activates their sense of hearing in a positive way and can diffuse the noise of fireworks. Their sense of touch can also be activated by giving them a soothing massage. Please read my article published in Animal Magazine and on my blog: Why We Should Be Massaging Our Dogs
You could use essential oils like lavender to help calm your dog or the spray Pet Remedy (although it doesn’t smell that great for humans), spraying this on their beds. If using essential oils I would recommend the DoTerra range as you need to make sure the oils are dog friendly and uncontaminated and this is even more necessary if you are using the oil to massage them with. Not all oils are appropriate and take advice if you have a cat in the family as this option may be completely unsuitable for them. I would advise diluting oils as dog’s sense of smell is so sensitive.
7. Some dogs are probably attracted to bathtubs and showers by the fact that bathrooms are often somewhat sound insulated, and bathbtubs and showers even more so.