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Firework Phobia

Don't forget Edel Miedes of K9 Advisors is available to answer questions about behavior!  You can send your questions to scac@sabalchaseanimalclinic.com.  Here is a question from the Kupkees.

Dear Edel,

Last year Zohan had a tough time dealing with Fourth of July fireworks.  How can we better help him cope with his fear?

Dear Doc and Lynn,

The key to treating fireworks anxiety is teach the dog to be as calm as possible.  I like to create a safe space for Zohan, and condition him to go there when he is afraid.  Usually a plastic crate padded with a comforter and placed inside a closet works well.  The close walls and hanging clothes reduce the vibrations and expansions of the sounds.  

I would also provide a CD player, or some type of sound system to play the kind of relaxing, New Age style music you might hear in a spa.  Keep that in the closet as well, and be ready to turn on the music in anticipation of the fireworks.  Once set up, you can provide the sounds of Fireworks with a training CD (Legacy Canine Behavior and Training makes a good one).  Teach Zohan to go to the safe space when he is frightened. This also works well for dogs who are afraid of thunderstorms.

It's important to remember NOT to correct him for barking or having accidents on the floor when he is anxious. He is not being naughty, and any correction given at this time will only intensify the nervous, insecure feelings he is already having.  Good luck and Happy Fourth!



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