The Fourth of July is just around the corner, and that means fireworks.Why should you be concerned about fireworks? If you've never experienced a firework holiday with your dog, then you may be unaware than many dogs find the booms, crackles, and flashes of fireworks extremely stressful. Reactions range anywhere from no perceivable behavior change, exhibiting signs of stress, mild anxiety, to phobia. Unfortunately, just because your dog has historically evidenced no signs of stress, that does not mean that you're guaranteed a smooth firework experience. A dog's behavior may change over time, so it's a good idea to follow some simple guidelines even if your dog has been apparently stress-free during past firework holidays. If your dog shows signs of great stress around fireworks, consider preparing for the holiday by scheduling private lessons with Austin Dog Trainer.
Here are some keys to a success firework holiday.
1. To be home or not to be home?
The simple answer - if you're unsure of your dog's reaction to fireworks or you anticipate a negative reaction, plan a quiet evening at home. There are a few reasons for this. Your dog's response to fireworks can cause him harm, he could damage your property, or he could escape risking additional damage to himself and property.
Whether you choose to remain at home or not, it is very important that your dog be kept indoors during any firework displays. Even a very brief backyard potty break could have disastrous results if unsupervised. Most dogs are physically capable of scaling a variety of types of residential fencing, they simply don't feel a desire to do so or perhaps don't recognize their ability. One moment of extreme panic can change that. Your local shelter can attest to the large uptick in stray intake after the Fourth of July.
Also consider where and how your dog is confined in your home, especially if you're away from home. Panicked dogs have been known to jump through glass windows and doors. Plastic crates can be shredded, their doors bent, and wire crates' bars twisted. The damage of property can be considerable, but even worse, your dog may seriously injure himself in the process.
3. Food for Fireworks - How you can Help.
In cases where the dog is experiencing some mild stress from the noise and light flashes, or even as a preventative measure for dogs who appear unaffected, you can create a positive association with the fireworks. You need a treat that is easily distributed in large amounts, no food aggressive dogs in the mix (or segregate such dogs), and a little good timing. Each firework noise is accompanied by treats subsequently raining down from the sky. Be quick! There should be very little time passing between the fireworks and the falling goodies. Be sure to contact the Austin Dog Trainer to aid dogs displaying signs of extreme anxiety.
Note on Firework Bans: Many areas of Texas are suffering draught and may have burn bans in effect, but don't rely upon a ban to ensure your pups have a safe holiday. Organized firework events and illegal use of fireworks both mean that the flashes and booms of fireworks can be expected, even in burn ban areas or areas prohibiting fireworks.