Fireworks for pups

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Fireworks for pups

Post by LizP on Wed Oct 05 2016, 08:39

With bonfire night fast approaching in the UK, now is the time for all puppy owners to start preparing. Although a fear of fireworks can be something that some dogs have more of a problem with than others by temperament, there are things you can do to teach your dog not to be (so) scared. Getting that first year right with a puppy can help set them up for the rest of their lives.

As with most fear training, the essentials are in your response to events and also in preparing the ground beforehand. If you are worried because you fear your dog will be worried, it will pick up on that and is much more likely to worry even though they may not have been concerned otherwise. If, on the other hand, you show that this is not only ok but actually fun, then that is how your puppy will probably view things.

To prepare for fireworks noises, put your thining cap on a get together a list of all sorts of bangs/loud noises you can think of. You'll find heaps of stuff on the internet, which is useful as you can control the volume in the early stages of training. You will also need real life things as well, as dogs do hear the difference between recorded and real sounds. Real sounds can include things being dropped, doors slamming, balloons popping, etc.

Arm yourself with treats, lots of little ones are better than a few big ones. If your dog prefer a toy to a treat, you could use that instead. Make sure your dog in relaxed and happy, then initiate a fairly quiet bang sound. (It's better if someone else can do it if possible so you don't change what you're doing.) IMMEDIATELY you hear the sound, respond as if it's the best thing ever, oh wow a bang, how totally amazing, here have a treat. The idea is that you don't give your dog the time to respond otherwise, you give him the response straight away. Repeat that a few times and, for the first session, leave it there.

Next session (you can do more than one in a day if you have time), do exactly the same thing but after a couple of bangs make it louder. Each bang is just the best thing ever. If you puppy does look worried, ignore it. Keep playing, keep having fun, and he should take his lead from you. If you assess that he is actually scared, then stop that session, give him a little cuddle and make the next session quieter. You might need to go back a step just to build up confidence again.

Keep the sessions going, increasing volume, adding in different noises. They don't have to be firework noises although they can be. Action films and stuff like that, with crashes and gunshot noises could work well - anything along those lines. When you feel your dogs happy with the idea that a loud noise = fun/treats, then get someone to slam a door or drop something. Keep your 'oh wow!' reaction exactly the same.

Practise, practise, practise. Over two or three weeks, you should be able to build up to the point that your puppy simply doesn't care.

During the first firework season, it is important that you respond this way consistently. Don't let your dog get on with it because Strictly's on and you simply have to watch this dance, or because you always go to the pup with your mates on a Friday evening. Plan to be home as of 6pm or whenever you think there's even a slight chance of firework sounds, on any night from the last week of October or so.

Make sure you stock up on treats and keep that fun and those rewards going. If you have to give loads and loads, you may need to reduce meal rations. So be it for this short period.

This method does work if you are consistent. It can even help older dogs who have already learned to fear fireworks.



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Re: Fireworks for pups

Post by Mia05 on Wed Oct 05 2016, 15:54

great post liz Smile


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Re: Fireworks for pups

Post by GRAHAM.C on Wed Oct 05 2016, 22:55

Well done,some very good advice there.I am sure it will help the owners who have a first ever new pup.
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Re: Fireworks for pups

Post by LizP on Fri Oct 07 2016, 14:44

Here's a link to a great page on the Dogs' Trust website, with advice AND oodles of sound recordings to use:

https://www.dogstrust.org.uk/help-advice/dog-behaviour-health/sound-therapy-for-pets



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Re: Fireworks for pups

Post by Hutch on Tue Oct 11 2016, 09:05

I'm so glad you said this, my other half was working on the stairs the other day and the noise was unreal, really loud bangs and noises and although Molly was scared initially, with the help of some tasty treats she began to relax a bit and start to ignore them. We worked our way closer to the noise and she just flinched a little but nothing compared to the running away and barking like she used to do.

Thanks for the help Smile
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Re: Fireworks for pups

Post by LizP on Tue Oct 11 2016, 20:23

That's great! Sounds like your OH needs to finish all those other DIY projects, just for desensitisation purposes of course...


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Re: Fireworks for pups

Post by Dukes Momma on Wed Oct 12 2016, 13:06

Thanks for that Liz.
Duke isn't too bad loud bangs as we hear a lot of guns from the country shoots, but your advice could be used for his fear of the long extension nozzle on my vacuum cleaner Surprised
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Re: Fireworks for pups

Post by LizP on Wed Oct 12 2016, 16:57

Clicker training's really good for that sort of problem, Shirl.


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Re: Fireworks for pups

Post by Dukes Momma on Wed Oct 12 2016, 17:25

Thanks Liz, l have never done any clicker training, l need to read up on it. I usually use a word ( Yey) when training.
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Re: Fireworks for pups

Post by LizP on Wed Oct 12 2016, 20:27

I've written about it before, let me try and fish some stuff out for you.


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Re: Fireworks for pups

Post by Dukes Momma on Wed Oct 12 2016, 20:43

That's good of you Liz, thanks Smile
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Re: Fireworks for pups

Post by LizP on Fri Oct 14 2016, 10:12

Here you go, Shirl.

https://staffy-bull-terrier.niceboard.com/t64911-clicker-training#1001795

What I would then do with the hoover (and have done with a couple of dogs very successfully), is teach Duke to target the hoover nozzle but putting his learned target next to it when it's switched off, until you can hold out just the nozzle and he'll rush to target it. Then, disconnect the nozzle from the hoover if you can so it doesn't suck and so you can have the hoover as quiet as possible, switch it on and again ask him to target it. You should be able to build up and up until he targets the nozzle whenever you ask. Only ever click-treat when you've asked him to target it, though, otherwise you'll never get rid of him when you're doing the housework!


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Re: Fireworks for pups

Post by Dukes Momma on Fri Oct 14 2016, 22:38

Thanks Liz, l will digest all the information and buy a clicker. It makes a lot of sense
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Re: Fireworks for pups

Post by I❤dogs on Sun Feb 26 2017, 12:45

Thankyou, this was a very helpful post for when I get my staffy puppy home. My jack Russell is not scared of anything haha, hr watches fireworks out the window. Some of my friends staffs get terrified every year by fireworks so I definitely will be following your advice. Hope it's ok to comment on older posts. They are full of information for me & I'm enjoying reading them
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Re: Fireworks for pups

Post by LizP on Mon Feb 27 2017, 08:05

Go for it with the older posts! There's so much information lurking on this forum, make the most of it.


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