November 5th: loud screeches, pretty bright lights, almighty bangs, an enjoyable night for all, or so you’d think? For many dog owners fireworks night is the one night of the year that they have come to dread. For their dogs, it’s the worst night imaginable.
More dogs than you’d think suffer from an enormous amount of stress on firework night, normally due to a learned fear. Some behaviors that may be seen are:
Unfortunately as humans it is instinctive to want to reassure and comfort our loved ones when they are distressed and through speech and affection we are able to do just that. However in the dog world it doesn’t quite work that way. When a dog receives a cuddle or a stroke they normally perceive it as a reward and whenever you reward a dog for a behaviour you are increasing the likelihood of them displaying that behaviour again in the future. So as natural as it is for us to do, if we reassure our dogs when they are scared we are actually rewarding them, and making their fear worse. So please don’t sit and cuddle your puppy on the sofa for two hours through the duration of the fireworks. Your puppy’s first experience can dictate how they cope with fireworks in future years so it is vital you get it right first time around.
What to do?
Your reaction is the most important.
See Alpha Shop for “Firework Fear” by Pam Mackinnon
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