The 4th of July is coming up, and in most places in the United States of America, it will be legal to shoot fireworks. Many people hate fireworks, but most people love them and will spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on them. While people may not agree on whether fireworks are the best part of America or not, what we do know for certain is this a lot of dogs don't just hate fireworks, they're downright terrified of them.
What's the cause of this fear? The biggest cause of the fear of fireworks is just genetics. Some dogs have nerves of steel, some just aren't. Most gun dogs as 8-week-old puppies won't even flinch if you take them with your skeet shooting and let a 12-gauge shotgun rip. They're bred for solid nerves in this area because a gun dog isn't much good to a hunter if he hears gunfire and runs off into the next county to never be seen again. A lot of working line German Shepherds don't seem to be bothered by gunfire, which again makes sense if you want a dog that can do military and police work, but some working line German Shepherds and some gun dogs might be a little hesitant at first but get over it quickly. So, what gives and what should you do about a dog who is afraid of gunfire, thunder, and fireworks?
The first thing to remember is that there are different levels of nerve resilience. Some dogs require zero help. Some dogs can be conditioned to get over their fear by their owner remaining calm and pretending nothing at all is wrong, and maybe even calling the dog over for treats. There are some dogs where you may have to play a soft recording of thunder while keeping a calm demeanor and turning it up more and more until the dog is conditioned to realize that it's normal and isn't going to hurt them. Then there are the dogs that conditioning may help a little, or not at all, and they'll always be afraid of loud, sharp sounds. For these dogs, medication and containment are best so they can't hurt themselves.
Dogs have run through solid oak doors, jumped out of third-story windows, and have been lost and never found thanks to thunderstorms and fireworks. More dogs are lost on the 4th of July than any other day of the year. So, let's discuss what you should be doing right now.
1: If you don't have a crate, get one. Every dog owner should have one. "I don't believe in crating dogs." You don't believe in travel? You don't have a plan if there's a flood, fire, or a reason to evacuate? You're going to have your dog loose in the car if you have to drive as fast as you can to get out of dodge? That's dangerous, get a crate. I get that you don't like the idea of confining a dog, but sometimes you need to. Your feelings may be hurt by hearing your dog whine in the crate because you haven't crate trained them yet, but better to have hurt feelings than a hurt dog who jumps out of a window or runs through a glass door, or as I stated before, literally slams themselves into a wooden door so hard they break the door frame. It happens every year on the 4th of July, and it also happens a lot on New Year’s Eve; the two biggest holidays for fireworks. Contain your dog if it's afraid of fireworks.
2: Buy a well-fitting flat collar and have a tag made with your name, the dog's name, your address, your phone number, and your vet's phone number. Well-fitting is key, if the collar slips off, the tag won't do much good. There are many charts online to help you measure your dog properly for a flat collar that will stay on, but isn't too snug.
3: Get a GPS collar. They can last for days once fully charged and will tell you the exact location of your dog if it escapes your house or yard with an app on your phone or computer.
4: Speaking of your dog escaping your house or yard, bring your dog inside and close your doors and windows. A screen door doesn't count as a door, a healthy toddler can walk through one of those.
5: I've seen dogs act out so bad, that they'll try to chew and dig out of a crate, a room, or just the house in general to escape the fireworks. If your dog is this bad, you should be at your vet's office to get a strong sedative.
6: There's still a little bit of time to try to condition your dog to loud noises, you can try it and positive reinforcement, just keep a watchful eye out during the actual firework displays.
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Don't wait until it's too late. Act now. Make these preparations and take these precautions as soon as possible. Fortune may favor the bold, as they say. But preparedness can even put the bold on their heels. Start preparing today.
As always, thanks for being here, and please leave a like and share. This is an article that needs to reach as many people as quickly as possible before it's too late. Thank you again!
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