As we ring in the New Year it is time to discuss starting out on the right paw and safety. We are Daphne, Sammy and our mom Christi. She will interject her comments quite a bit we sre afraid, but bear with us and we will try to keep her to a minimum. She thinks she is special because she has had over 25 years of training experience and behavioral work…. Blah, blah, blah. Whatever. We have her trained in far less time than that but we let her think it is her idea.
So now to begin, Daphne says some of her friends say there are bombings (fireworks!) this time of the year. Sounds terrible and something to be afraid of though Daphne says she tough and it will take more than that to make her afraid (like nightmares of missing a meal, but I digress). I am still waiting on my first birthday so I do not know what she means but she says Mom has a plan and I believe her because, so far, she is really right about the crazy things Mom does.
Apparently the plan of defense includes:
• Never ask to go out and ring in the New Year barking at air because that is when the bombings happen;
• If you are afraid, DO NOT pee on the carpet or Mommy’s bed, DO NOT shred the pillows. I guess they do not think this qualifies as a special occasion;
• And last but not least, you can hide but it is best not to run!
Hi — Christi here. The pups have offered some wisdom for the holiday but I would like to add a few points myself:
• Do not let your dog out unattended even before dark as the fireworks sometimes start early. If there is any chance that they can escape, take them out on leash with a well-fitted collar or harness that they cannot slip out of. Remember, they dig very well. It does not take them long to dig just enough to slip out of an otherwise safe enclosure. If they feel their home is being invaded, they will look for cover elsewhere and continue to run for as long as they hear the noises.
• Do not pet your ween to calm them down. In their language, you are praising and encouraging the behavior resulting in them acting increasingly scared, even transferring that fear to other noises later. Though their initial fear may be valid, the transferred fear to other things may not be. They will use the reinforced “scared” behavior, including the shivering and cowering, to their advantage. Most people give in because they feel sorry for them. “He got frightened by fireworks and now he is afraid of any loud noise.” Sometimes YOUR behavior is contributing to the situation…. In short, even in their most frightened state, they still find opportunities to train you.
• Many people have reported a good deal of success using products such as the Thunder Shirt. Calming sprays, odor diffusers and other such products do not seem to have the same success with most pets. Shredding things and other destructive behavior often occurs because they are attempting to find an outlet for their stress. You have kept them from running and they cannot “fight” the cause of the stress, so they find other ways of dealing with this innate programming. Scolding them during this time will not do any good. Prevention is best.
• Put your dog in a crate. If they would flee the scene because they are scared, they would also look for a place to hide. Give them that safe place to hide in your home. It is not a punishment. If you use a more open wire crate, cover it with a towel or blanket but keep an eye on them to make sure they are not pulling it through to shred it.
• Turn on music, the tv, anything to help mask some of the noise. Any noise that occurs when it is quiet has a greater impact than that same noise occurring when there are other things going on—drop a book in a normal situation and a few people will notice, drop a book in a quiet library and you will make everyone jump. You will not be able to completely drown out the noise but you can diminish it some by providing other sounds.
• You shou –
Sam: Okay mom! Enough! We get it. Bombings bad. Personally, not cuddling us is a bad idea too, but we’ll have to agree to disagree until we make you see it our way. As for you guys… keep it safe and we will tell you more in another blog!