Fido And Fireworks

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In celebrating our nation's birthday we frequently express our joy in fireworks displays.  Unfortunately, these can terrify many dogs and pose risks to their safety should they try to take flight to escape the loud noises.  Dogs have been known to run away, break leashes, jump through plate glass windows, jump fences and dig under fences as their flight response takes hold. 

Prepare early

Ensure your dog has lots of exercise prior to an expected fireworks display.  If you normally walk for 30 minutes, consider walking for 60 minutes.  An exhausted dog will be less anxious. 

Use canine safe ear plugs to block the noise from the fireworks.  The loud noises from the fireworks trigger a dog's nervous system and as a result they become uncertain, afraid or shy.  Running away from the noise is a survival mechanism, so by shielding your dog from the loud noise, you may be able to minimize the nervous behaviors. 

Ensure that your dog has been microchipped and that the ID tags on his/her collar are up to date (and that the collar is around his/her neck) so if an escape does happen, he/she can be more easily returned quickly and safely. 

Be proactive.  If you learn that your dog is nervous around fireworks, start working on some conditioning exercises to reduce his/her anxiety for the next time. 

Distract your dog

Close the blinds, create a comfortable hiding place and allow your dog to go there to feel safe. 

Put on some music or the TV to help mask the outside noise. 

Use games, obedience exercises or even a treadmill to redirect the focus of your dog. 

Support your dog

Let your dog be with you and maintain a calm and normal approach. 

Maintain calm and assertive energy instead of getting frustrated or feeling sorry for your dog as your dog will pick up on this energy and his/her anxiety will be reinforced. 

Reward your dog for any calm behavior by giving treats or toys. 

Ensure your dog has direct supervision to prevent an injury or escape.  If you are not able to supervise your dog on the night of a planned fireworks display, consider having a responsible chaperone for your pooch instead so they will stay safe. 

On Canada Day, please think about your pooch and how he/she feels around fireworks when you are making your plans.

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Written by hart at 00:00
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