1) Definitely do not expose them to the great fireworks show in the sky. They will not enjoy it, even if you will.
2) Do not “reward” them for scared behavior as this will only make it worse.
3) Do not scold them for their fretful behavior, it’s not their fault they feel scared.
4) Sometimes there may have been something in the dog’s past that scared him/her. Before a loud event, try positive-reinforcement by having him near you and test out different sounds – for example: a bottle opening, a drum banging, a loud knocking, a textbook falling onto the floor, snapping bubble wrap, etc. Reward your dog if he/she does not react. If he/she does react, distract him right away with something else to change the frame of mind.
5) Try different distracting/enticing things while the fireworks are going off – treats, calm talking, a nice walk, or if need be, keep him inside and let him just hang with the family, picking up on the overall calm vibe, or as Cesar Milan calls it “calm assertive energy.”
6) Administer natural calming aids, such as Rescue Remedy. In extreme cases, your veterinarian can prescribe a calming medication.
7) Some dogs prefer to stay in their room or kennel when feeling nervous, if this is where they prefer to be, let them. Just be sure there is nothing around that can hurt them (electric cords, etc.)
8) Try playing some music or TV while the fireworks are going off. We found that music and TV were great calming tools with our FiveSibes when they were puppies, although they each have different taste in genres! Two do not need anything, two enjoy cartoons, and one just loves rock music. Sometimes, when they were all together, we would settle on the Weather Channel as it has talking, music, and “cartoons” (the 7-day forecast with the cute yellow sun or white snowflakes comes close!).
However you and your dog(s) choose to spend this Fourth of July, may it be a great one. Until next time, we wish a happy, healthy, safe, and peaceful holiday for all canines and their Hu-families.
This blog is dedicated to our Chelsey (adopted 1993; passed 2006) whom we miss every day. May you enjoy the great fireworks display in the sky in peace over the Rainbow Bridge.