Did you know that many dogs are scared of fireworks? This can cause a lot of frustration for both you and your dog.
According to the Kennel Club 80% of owners notice a change in their dogs behaviour during fireworks season and nearly half (48%) say that their dogs are scared by them.
The fireworks are not going away, so what can we do to manage our dogs anxiety for the loud noises? We asked the dog-mad, people-loving dog trainer Niki French for some advice.
Niki, why are dogs scared of fireworks and loud noises?
Often, it’s the loud or sudden noise that dogs can’t see the cause of that can be the most frightening. Being scared of something you can’t see or understand is quite understandable when you think about it.
Is it true that we should not comfort our dog when they are scared?
Definitely not. Unfortunately the noise is no less scary if you don’t react and if they are seeking reassurance from you, ignoring them can be confusing and a bit punishing for them. Some calm reassurance if they seek it out is absolutely fine.
Another dog that isn’t scared of loud noises can help. They can see that the other dog is fine, and it may give them some reassurance. Can you buddy up with a friend who has a chilled out dog and arrange a doggy sleep-over?
My dog is scared of fireworks, does this mean he/she will always be scared of them?
Being scared of sudden and loud noises like fireworks is a problem that tends to spread if you don’t do anything to help them. I see dogs that started off a bit worried about fireworks and then over time they become more reactive to car doors slamming and objects being dropped around the home.
What can we do to help our dogs?
Getting help from an experienced positive-rewards dog trainer or veterinary behaviourist will really help. This is not just a case of playing them some firework noises to get them used to it. It can take time to work on, so the sooner you start the better.
Do you offer any specific support for dogs who are scared of fireworks?
As well as offering 1-2-1 training (on-line as well as in-person) I am running my popular Nervous Dog Noise Webinar. It’s online and completely free to watch on Saturday 15th of October at 1pm.
Or people can find me on Instagram www.instgram.com/puptalk101/