Friday, 4 November 2016

Things that go BANG!

It’s that time of year that dog owners dread. Along with the dark, cold nights comes fireworks. If possible avoid walking your dog in the dark as you never know when a firework will go off overhead and spook your dog.

It has been proven that dogs who are exposed to sights and sounds get habituated to them and they become part of the everyday background. A CD or DVD with firework noises or display on will help with this. Start by playing noises quietly and gradually getting louder while your dog is doing something it enjoys. Remember that your dog shouldn’t get scared during this as it may cause a set back. Start as soon as you can so your dog is used to the noise before Bonfire Night.

If your dog is already worried about loud noises and fireworks there are different ways of managing this.

If it is a new problem try to act as if there is nothing to be scared of—jolly your dog along and reward for positive behaviour.

If your dog has a serious or longstanding problem studies show that giving your dog the attention he needs will not encourage the unwanted behaviour as your dog will be too scared for it to act as a reward but will be able to take comfort from having you there.

Essentially try to find what helps your dog to cope and let him do this. If he feels safest hiding under the bed then let him do this. But do not shut your dog in as he may feel trapped and panic. Also don’t leave your dog alone as he may panic and injure himself.

 A high carbohydrate meal such as white rice, pasta or mashed potato with chicken, turkey or white fish in the late afternoon may help your dog to feel sleepy and calm in the evening.
There are many products on the market that may help your dog, these include Pet Remedy spray, Thundershirt and other anxiety reducing jumpers, Adaptil and Calmex, although they affect every dog differently and don’t always work.

If your dog has a serious problem, don’t forget, you can always talk to Olwen about a desensitisation programme.  You can contact Olwen through the Cloverleaf website