Fireworks are coming, be prepared!

Now is the time to start planning and preparing what you will do with your dog during the New Year's fireworks.  Unless your dog has previous experience with fireworks and clearly has no anxiety or concern whatsoever, you must take precautions with your dog.

  1. Most importantly, do not expose your dog to fireworks, this is not the time to employ tough love techniques with the belief that you will help your dog get conditioned to the fireworks. If you do this, you can very easily cause your dog to be extremely phobic and afraid of them for life.
  2. Do not leave your dog alone during fireworks, just don't do it
  3. Close the windows, pull the curtains, put cotton in your dog's ears and crank the tv or radio and play with your dog
  4. Ignore the sounds, don't watch the fireworks from your window, you have to pretend they don't exist
  5. In general, don't comfort your dog, again, just pretend they don't exist and play with your dog. However, if your dog is highly anxious, shaking, panting, hiding in a corner, etc. Go lay with them, pick them up, and just talk to them, try to play, cheer them up. Try to keep the dog moving as opposed to just freezing in one location.
  6. Pheromone and Aromatherapy:  Some dogs demonstrate a dramatic improvement with different pheromone and or aromatherapy treatments.  Some of these treatments require you to start several weeks before the event, so you should think about this now and not a few days before New Year's day.  If you try any of the items on this page, please share with others your results, every dog responds differently to each type.
  7. Get Away: Sometimes a long drive for a few hours outside the center is the best thing to do.
  8. Exercise and Toilet:  Heavily exercise your dog early in the day and let them go to the toilet prior to the barrage of fireworks.  Then when it is quiet take them out again after they are finished
  9. Forget about the Party: If there was any day throughout the year not to leave your dog with a stranger, (boarding, friends house, etc) this would be it. Strange place and fireworks are the worst combinations you could create for your dog.
  10. Testing and Conditioning: If you have no idea how your dog will react or your want to condition your dog to fireworks, perform the following:
    • Put a long leash on your dog, don't let go. Don't let go. Make sure collar is very tight and is impossible to come over the head... MAKE SURE
    • Get some firecrackers, go to a park and have a friend stand 150 meters away. Now start playing with your dog, fetch, tug and while your dog is running towards you, your friend lights a firecracker. Ignore it, say nothing and keep playing. If the dog becomes severely stressed have the person move out to 200 meters and repeat. If the dog is fine, have friend light 10 more with a few minutes between each one all the time when you are playing with your dog. If the dog is ignoring them, then have the person move into 100 meters and repeat 10 more times and finish. Repeat this a few times a week, but never get closer than 100 meters.
    • When doing this, you will see if you have a problem or not. The more stress the dog shows, the more distance you need. If you know of other dogs that are fine with fireworks, bring them to the test so that your dog will see that other dogs are not bothered and it will help them relax a lot.
  11. NEVER leave your dog outside during fireworks.
  12. Collars: Make sure you have a collar that is impossible to pull over the dogs head. The classic thing that will happen is you go outside, your dog hears a firework, they panic and they pull away from you backward, the collar pulls over their head and they run in total panic... many times never to be seen again or get hit by a car. Test your collars now, try to pull over their heads, if you can it is too lose or you need a new collar.
  13. Always on Leash: NEVER step one foot outside your home without a leash on your dog no matter how much you trust your dog and regardless if you don't normally use a leash. This is the number one day of the year dogs run away in total fear from their owners and many are never to be found again.,,,

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