Helping dogs through fireworks with McCann Professional Dog Trainers
Course Level Taken : Online Training
Testimonial Rating : 5.00

BOOM! Crackle... BANG!

Fireworks are lots of fun for most humans. With the right conditioning and the right temperament, dogs can learn to enjoy them too, but that is not the case for all dogs.

They can be confusing for dogs. There are extreme light changes, loud bangs and even atmospheric pressure changes that they can feel. If you have a dog who is sensitive to things like thunder storms, they'll likely not enjoy the Canada Day festivities. There are no failsafe cures for sound sensitive dogs during holiday fireworks, but there are some things that you can do to make them feel safer.

Crating

If your dog is not crate trained, you might consider it just for situations like this. Dogs have a natural instinct to den as it makes them feel safe. Small, cave like enclosures allow them to feel safe that nothing is behind them and the only opening is clearly in view. If your dog is already comfortable with their crate, cover any holes or openings (ensuring there is still adequate airflow) and allow the dog to feel safely denned. Play with whether or not your dog benefits from the door being covered as well. Typically, the darker the enclosure, the better.

Noise Damping

Put on some soothing noise, like the TV or radio. Try to deaden the noise from outside a bit. Find the most sound proof area of your home like the basement. Allow your dog to rest there with some soothing background noise or music. Be mindful that some dogs feel worse being isolated, so you may want to hang out with a book and enjoy the soothing music as well.

Swaddling

Modern inventions like the "Thunder Shirt" can be really helpful for calming some dogs. They act like a swaddling blanket with a baby, snuggling in and allowing a feeling of being "hugged" and comforted. You can achieve the same thing with a snugly-fit t-shirt. Be mindful that it's not too hot for your dog in the extra layer.

Medication

RescueRemedy

While this should be a last resort, it can be a saving grace for dogs with extreme fears. If you dread holiday celebrations because you can't stand seeing your dog under the extra stress of fireworks, consider talking to your vet about calming medications. A mild prescription sedative or even a natural solution, like Rescue Remedy, can be a great management tool for you and your dog.

Hopefully these tips will help your dog through things like fireworks or thunder storms. Always be aware of where your dog is during these times. A frightened dog will run and could become lost or hurt. Be sure you always know where they are and that they are secure inside the house when the evening is booming.

As always, Happy Training!

Hi! I'm Shannon Viljasoo and I joined the McCann team in 1999 while training Quincey, my wonderful and spirited Rottweiler, to have good listening skills. I'm the Director of Online Training and Content for McCann Professional Dog Trainers and I enjoy writing about dogs and dog training for the McCann blog. I currently share my life with 2 Tollers (Reggie & Ned) and I love helping people develop the best possible relationship with their 4-legged family members.