The sound of fireworks can be extremely scary for puppies and indeed older dogs. Many dog owners find it a very stressful times for their pets and we want to help you be prepared so your puppy can remain calm and relaxed with you. A dog looks to the owner for reassurance and to determine whether something is worthy of being afraid of. The owners response to this is crucial.
One of the common mistakes made is the dog gets scared when it hears a firework, it comes to the owner showing various fear behaviours. The owner then fusses the dog, reassures them its ok by stroking them or cuddling them without realising they have rewarded the dogs fear behaviours and reaffirmed to them that fireworks are absolutely worth being afraid of.
Like with all the other socialisation areas we have looked at, what works more effectively is to ignore all fear behaviours and only reassure or reward the dog when they are calm and relaxed. Puppies exposed to a wide variety of loud noises, bangs and even fireworks in their first 4 years of life are much less likely to develop a fear of them later in life. Fireworks are unlike any other sound as they come very suddenly over a period of a few weeks and there are normally a lot of them in short succession. This together with different sounds such as whooshes, squeals, loud bangs all add to it being quite scary together with the super sensitive hearing that dogs have.
It is therefore really important to expose your puppy gradually to such noises in preparation for bonfire night.
The Dogs Trust has partnered with two animal behaviourist specialist vets, Sarah Heath and Jon Bowen to create an amazing FREE program to help you successfully prepare and desensitise your dog or puppy to the sounds of bonfire night using their Sounds Scary Collection and supporting manual explaining exactly how to carry out the process. The content is amazing and rather than replicate it, we are going to signpost you directly to it to download the booklet and the sounds files today. They will certainly help in setting your puppy up for success with scary noises so check out the following files!