One of the worst expressions any dog owner can hear is that “Fireworks night is only one night” – those of us with nervous dogs will appreciate that bangs and loud noises go on for days around Fireworks night, and randomly at other times of year.
I have been very lucky this year – I did a lot of sound desensitisation with Kizzy after last year and it seems to have had a good effect – although she was scared and would hide at home, out and about in the car she coped fantastically in her crate, and I actually even managed to attend a display for the first time in years (with her parked a very long way away, music at full blast, covered crate and a camera set up to keep an eye on her).
So, what can we do at home before New Year fireworks begin to help our dogs learn to cope? We have less than two months now before the next major firework season starts, so let’s get training!
I have a Sound CD by Clix which has lots of different noise types – traffic, guns, fireworks, roadworks, barking and much more. Since day one of rescuing Kizzy, I have been randomly playing this CD at home and in the car at varying volumes. It has been really useful with her as she was so noise-phobic initially having never seen or heard much before she ended up in rescue. These CDs are not expensive, but you can also find them secondhand a lot.
I use YouTube a lot to find sounds, rather than having to buy Sound CDs. Search for noises like gun fire, fireworks, babies crying, whatever noises your dog is scared of.
I’m not a huge fan of drugging dogs when they are really scared but sometimes needs must – so if your dog is particularly scared and might cause harm to themselves, talk to your vet. There are herbal calmers available, as well as stronger drugs like Diazepam.