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So...about those fireworks...

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There have already been a couple threads about the 4th, but I figure the horse ain't quite dead yet, so on that note: how do you personally handle the fireworks with your dog? This is Rudders first experience, and I want to make this first one as uneventful as possible for him and try to keep him from having issues in the future. There have been a couple people setting them off already, and Rudder has handled them well- just a flick of the ear and he goes back to his toys. BUT, those were one or two pops and they were done. I think the day itself might be harder on him.


I'm planning on treating the day as normally as possible, just turning the TV up a little louder and leaving his crate door open. Oh, and wearing him out early in the day. Any other suggestions? What do you do to keep your and your dog's sanity?

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We can't pretend its not normal...its like a freekin artillery gallery every night July 1-4, and quite a lot on the surrounding days. If my dog were relaxed, I would do nothing. But mine gets kind of excited about them, barking at them when they are loud and generally being kind of hyper vigilant.


So this year we eat early, pee early, and when they get loud I go to the window with him with a happy affect and often toss random cookies about after theres an especially loud one. I figure if the big booms are a predictor of some yummy jerky treats that can't be a bad thing.


So far we have only happy excited vs acting scared so its working for us.

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Fortunately, Meg is not bothered at all by fireworks. She is the first dog I've ever had that wasn't bothered by them.


Bear however pants heavily, barks, paces, and chews on whatever happens to be closest to him. So for him I make sure he's got plenty of thing to put in his mouth. That's what he does to self-comfort and it also keeps him from chewing on wires, dishes, wood, etc. We make sure that someone is inside with him at all times and take turns watching fireworks. Last year, I didn't stay up to watch. He and I just went to bed...him on my bed instead of his own. He jumped up and started barking a few times, but eventually settled down with his kong.

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This is the story of: "How I Ended Up With a Dog Sleeping in My Bed Although I Swore I Would Never Be That Woman Who Sleeps With a Dog in Her Bed."


The first year I had Buddy, he showed panic at fireworks, complete with loud and nonstop barking out of a general sense of.. terror? Vigilance? Worry that I needed to be told a about the loud noises?


The second year, I learned that if I just sat and had a hand on him, I could reduce his panic to manageable levels. He would still be very vigilant, but would not bark. And, because I needed to get some sleep at some point, I forced Buddy (whose bed boundaries were stronger and more clearly delineated than my own) to come up on the bed, where I could touch him an doze off.


So, yeah, fireworks (May 1 to August 30, around here, randomly and unattached to celebrations of national identity), and also heavy thunderstorms (March through October), Buddy was allowed up on the bed. As long as my hand is on him, he's not barking. And eventually, he just started coming up as a matter of course.


That's not really coping or training better skills at managing fear. It does seem that his reactiveness has decreased a bit this year, though - but that could be a general, snails-pace lessening of his overall reactivity. (At this point, he seems to react to his triggers sometimes more out of a sense of obligation and saving face than out of any real fearfulness, which is a huge change from how he acted early on.)



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Secret has a Thundershirt. She retreats to the bathroom if she feels the need and I've learned that she's better off staying there until she feels ready to come out. Forcing her to be in the living room with us doesn't make things better -- although when she's wearing her Thundershirt she'll usually come out on her own eventually.


Thankfully this merciless heatwave we are experiencing at the moment means the house is shut up tight with the air conditioning running. I do not attend local fireworks shows because I stay home with the dogs to make sure they don't lose it.


Now that we have a dog door, I expect Kaiser to go outside to watch. He's odd. He has never been bothered by any sort of noise.

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