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Boom, Boom…Paw?

Is your dog scared of loud noises? Pet Pro, Jennifer Damon, knows how to help!

Why is my dog scared of loud noises and fireworks?

First, a dog’s hearing is far more sensitive than humans, so sounds are much louder to them.  Historically, firework displays were meant to mimic the sounds of war, which they do so well it scares your dog, leaving them to want to retreat to their safe space!  

Second, the sounds are infrequent. They only happen for a week or two each year, so when your dogs are exposed to any scary stimulus infrequently, it will only increase their terror the next time they hear it. 

How can I help my anxious dog around loud noises?

There’s a few quick ways to help: 

  1. ThunderShirts – These wraps offer a calming effect to dogs by wrapping their midsections snuggly. 
  2. Rescue Remedy – A calming spray that helps some dogs relax. 
  3. Pheromone Plug-in Room Diffuser – Mimicking the pheromones released by nursing mother dogs, this diffuser helps calm any anxiety felt by your dog. (Humans can’t detect the scent, so no worries there!)

Is there a way to help my dog overcome their fear of fireworks?

If you want a more natural way to help lower your pet’s anxiety around loud noises, then you may want to try slow desensitization. This process directly addresses the behavior itself, but is usually a technique to start a few weeks before the holiday as it requires much repetition. 

  • Give yourself at least a month before, but first you’ll need to download a track of recorded firework sounds.
  • Play the track at the lowest volume possible while your dog is engaged in a rewarding activity such as eating dinner or playing fetch. 
  • Turn on the soundtrack and leave it in the far corner of the room. 
  • Continue having fun with your dog. If your dog shows any sign of fear or stress, turn the noise off and try again tomorrow. 
  • Once your dog has completed one session at the quietest volume, turn the volume up a bit. Do a little bit everyday, slowly increasing the volume each time your dog passes a quieter volume without showing signs of fear.

Remember no more than 10 minutes each day–once your dog masters this volume, you can start increasing time!

On the holiday, please make sure you keep your dog inside with the shades closed or on a leash if they need to go potty to avoid increased anxiety levels or fleeing in fear.

About the Author

Jennifer Damon has been training dogs since 2010. In her effort to better assist the human/canine relationship, she has studied not only dog behavior but ethics, logic, the scientific method, operant and classical conditioning, applied behavior analysis, canine anatomy and physiology, comparative psychology, human psychological dynamics, learning theory, and the origins of the domesticated dog. Learn more a her website