URGENT HELP PLEASE - Dogs frightened of fireworks.

FrenchieBoy

Well-Known Member
I doubt than many of you have this problem as most of you with dogs will have them trained as gun dogs. However my dog is just a house pet and we have found out over the last few days that he is really terrified of fireworks - I don't mean just frightened, he really is terrified of them! If he hears one going off he starts shaking like a leaf and whimpering like a young child. He refuses point blank to go out side to do his "toilet duties" and either hides in his bed (And refuses to come out even for his favourite treats) or jumps up on the sofa and cuddles up like a quivering wreck with the wife.
Can you guys suggest anything that might help get him through or help him with this please?
 

Woodsmoke

Well-Known Member
Don't reinforce the behaviour by being overly-protective of him. I don't mean ignore it, of course, but rather try to stop his attention focusing on the fireworks by acting as though there's absolutely nothing untoward happening. If he's really terrified it might be worth having a chat with your vet and giving him a mild sedative to keep his stress levels down.
 

EccentricJackal

Well-Known Member
One thing that has always worked for our dogs has been to leave them in a room with thick curtains or no windows with a TV or radio on loud, doesn't need to be deafeningly loud but enough to mask the shock. I don't know enough about dog psychology to know if reinforcing their fear is a genuine concern but if it is this method wont be contributing to that, either way I hope you find something that works.
 

FrenchieBoy

Well-Known Member
Don't reinforce the behaviour by being overly-protective of him. I don't mean ignore it, of course, but rather try to stop his attention focusing on the fireworks by acting as though there's absolutely nothing untoward happening. If he's really terrified it might be worth having a chat with your vet and giving him a mild sedative to keep his stress levels down.
Whenever he sees (Through the window) or hears a firework going off he changes into a complete quivering, whimpering wreck rather than the bold, happy and active "clown" that he normally is! We try not to be "over protective" when it happens but it really is heart breaking to see him like that. We know that he had a really s**t start in life (Before we "rescued" him) and I am wondering if that might have something to do with it.

Edit: I have just had this flash up on my pC screen. It seems that dogs aren't the only ones that can be terrified by fireworks:
 

FrenchieBoy

Well-Known Member
Many thanks for the helpful replies.
If I had my way I would have fireworks banned except for "organised displays by qualified handlers"! I realise that children enjoy seeing them and we should allow them to enjoy them selves on bonfire night but it really doesn't help when you get chavs and all the other idiots letting them off willy nilly in the streets every night for weeks on end!
 

SimpleSimon

Well-Known Member
Many thanks for the helpful replies.
If I had my way I would have fireworks banned except for "organised displays by qualified handlers"! I realise that children enjoy seeing them and we should allow them to enjoy them selves on bonfire night but it really doesn't help when you get chavs and all the other idiots letting them off willy nilly in the streets every night for weeks on end!
In my particular part of the ghetto it's much like being under artillery fire from Halloween up until new year. Thankfully as you say my dogs aren't affected by it too much, although my GWP cross is a bit anxious over the screaming/whilsting type.
 

Pedro

Well-Known Member
As dog trainers will know, some fear of such noises can be overcome and sadly, with some dogs, it isn't possible.

There's two ways to look at this. Firstly, you can simply remove the causes as much as possible. Heavily curtained room, loud music and distraction by play are all reasonable things to do. You can also medicate, I expect your vet will give the dog something to chill him out if it's really bad. The problem with that, of course is that these days, fireworks going off last about a fortnight. Then there's New Year too, so you'd maybe end up with an addict!

The other way is to endeavour to get him used to the bangs. this would take time and effort with no guarantees. I'm no expert, but the way to go is to gradually introduce loud bangs (okay, starting with quiet bangs) and getting him to associate them with good things. Pop a paper bag and give him a treat. Maybe invest in a cap gun (do they still sell them?) and work at it over time. Going along to a local shoot could work too. A walk in the beating line, watching the other dogs scurrying about enjoying life while bangs are going off in the next field can be beneficial. Don't know what your dog is, but most dogs are welcome to beat. Even if he has to be kept on a lead.

I think with fireworks, it's the fear of the unknown. There's bangs and whistles going on outside and it's not normal and sounds dangerous. So it's really a natural reaction. The ideal would be to persuade him that there is no danger. The trick is actually doing that.

Written by a smug bu**er whose dog, when he hears fireworks simply wants to know where to go to pick up the next pheasant. But I also had a dog that had this problem and we really never totally solved it, although it became manageable.
 

VSS

Well-Known Member
As I posted in a similar thread, if you worry that your dog will be frightened by fireworks then it's almost certain that he will be. They pick up the worry vibes very easily. Admittedly the damage may already be done now, or it may relate to a prior experience before you had him, but you've got to make a totally non-issue out of it.
If you do want to try to distract his attention when fireworks are going off then make sure it's by doing something he really enjoys (favourite game etc), and make it quite fun and boisterous so he really focuses on the game. Ignore the fireworks completely.
 

steve54

Well-Known Member
I doubt than many of you have this problem as most of you with dogs will have them trained as gun dogs. However my dog is just a house pet and we have found out over the last few days that he is really terrified of fireworks - I don't mean just frightened, he really is terrified of them! If he hears one going off he starts shaking like a leaf and whimpering like a young child. He refuses point blank to go out side to do his "toilet duties" and either hides in his bed (And refuses to come out even for his favourite treats) or jumps up on the sofa and cuddles up like a quivering wreck with the wife.
Can you guys suggest anything that might help get him through or help him with this please?
Seems like we have the same problems with our dogs Pete. :worried:
From nail clipping ,- to fear of fireworks!!!!!! :rolleyes:
My dog Basil (6 year old Weimaraner) is our family pet, but does love to come shooting with me. He is absolutely fine when a shotgun , or rifle is fired,- and will be instantly off, - to bring back shot birds, or rabbits. He is excellent at flushing, and putting up pheasants, and retrieving shot birds, during the season.
But as soon as fireworks go off, - he becomes a shaking wreck.
We do try not to make a fuss,which could make things worse for him, but it is so difficult when you see your loved pet in such distress.
We have tried several things, including calming plug-in infusers, a thing called a "Thunder shirt" - which is a Velcro wrap around stretch jacket, and Pet "Rescue remedy" drops.
All of the above have not resolved his fear, but may have helped to a small degree.
I have just returned tonight from his evening walk, in the rain, and though there were no audible sounds - that i could hear,- he would not leave my side, and did not stop to sniif, or do his toilet, - as is his normal routine..
He has deserted his normal spot on the sofa,(unheard of!!) - and has opted instead to lay on a blanket under the dining room table in the dark.
He seems to feel safer there, - so we have hung extra blankets from the table to keep it dark for him.
A chat with your vet might be worth while,
Hope you find something that works. Good luck.
Steve.
 

riddick

Well-Known Member
Ok this is gonna be a little difficult, however I'll give it a shot,
firstly there isn't a single person here who doesn't know you and your good lady love that dog as much as is possible.
but you spoil him, you consider his feelings too much, you give him human like qualities, talk to him like he's a naughty child, and do your utmost to give him a great life, I admire you for that, but,,, he is a dog, a pack animal, and if you are a strong leader he will follow you, kill for you, and die protecting you. but if you appear weak he will not only control you but he will become weak too, I believe you mentioned he had a less than happy start in life and I understand you will do all you can to make that better, but in his eyes you must appear dominant even to the point of strong words when you want him to do something, instead you appear to try to reason with him. he is a dog.

I had many in depth conversations with david brian plummer back in the day, and learned much about dog behaviour.
my favourite dog man was an american preacher who breeds american bulldogs, rev, Lem Miller.
and if you can get a copy of his book it gives great insight to the workings of the dogs mind set.
here's a link, Home - Joshua Kennels the book
American Bulldog
Stories, facts & legends

By Lemuel D. Miller
one easy quote from the book ,, when dog does wrong, immediate chastisement,
when dog does good,, instant praise.

when you come home after a days work to find the sofa torn to shreds and dog lying on the floor among the foam and chewed furniture remains, and you hit the roof and charge around the house screaming and shouting and chasing the dog you have succeeding in teaching dog but one single thing,,,

,
,
,
,
"when you get home from work,,,you go nuts.


good luck and I know you love him ,, buy the book. :thumb: :tiphat:
 

Mud Stuffin

Active Member
I tend to agree with Riddick on this - trying not to humanise a dog’s thought process. In addition, if it helps, I have heard of dog training firework cd’s (probably also available in mp3) and probably available from online booksellers named after rainforests and other reputable pet shops. You could try playing the firework sounds very quietly in the background while playing/treating/feeding (any positive activity) and over time (days/weeks) increasing the volume to desensitise the dog to the noises. It may not be suitable for every dog and I have never tried it but I have heard of it working. If you do decide to try it for your dog I hope it works because it’s never nice to see your favourite friend out of sorts.
 

rem284

Well-Known Member
One of my gwp's is a wreck when the fireworks start. Last year, i went to the kennel to bring her into the house to see if that would help. Soon as i opened the kennel door she bolted accross the road just missed by a car, jumped the fence and away into the dark. She finally came back after a couple of hours. At the same time a womans horses broke out and took off into the dark. It is illegal to have a bonfire/fireworks near to animals. I said this to the "key" man tonight only for him to say "ive being doing it for 30 years. Still dosnt mean its right.

I am going to try bring her into the house and try to distract/interrupt the thought processes to prevent the fear. Our bonfire is on friday night
 

20-250

Well-Known Member
Riddick speaks much sense. The minute I read that the dog's allowed on the settee I suspected that I knew much of the problem.
 

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