Preparing Your Dog for 4th of July Fireworks
Ask any dog owner and they’ll probably tell you the 4th of July is the scariest holiday for their dog because of the fireworks. We’ve known some dogs to hide in the closet, hide under the bed, cower in the car, or sit on their owner’s lap shaking.
If you want to help your dog have the easiest 4th of July ever, there are a couple of things you can do to help your dog be less afraid of the unpredictable scary sounds of fireworks, firecrackers, whistles, and even guns.
Preparing Your Dog for the 4th of July
1. Condition your dog to loud noises
A few weeks before the fireworks start, get some treats and carry them around with you everywhere. Whenever there’s a loud noise, give your dog some treats and affection. Make sure they’re your dog’s favorite tasty treats, and only use them when the loud noises go off. Use regular treats for regular training, and keep the special treats for the loud noises.
2. Make a safe hideaway
If you know the fireworks tend to get really loud near your home, create a room in your house that’s as far away from the noise, and is as dark and sound-proof as possible. It helps if that space has no windows, or is underground, like a basement. Take your dog to that place when the fireworks start.
3. Play Sound or Music
You could try to mute the sounds with your own more calming music. Before the 4th, test out to see if your dog has a preference for slow, soothing, classical music. Something like this can be really helpful in calming some dogs down. Alternatively, you could try a “mechanical” approach of white noise, natural noise, or loud music to mask the outside sounds. You can use low frequency music to hide the low pitch booms of fireworks. So if your dogs are used to you playing rock music or something with bass or percussion, play it! It can mask some of the scary noises from outside your house more effectively. You could try taiko drumming music.
4. Head out
Is there a friend’s house you can go to that’s farther from the source of the sound? Try heading into the hills where you can still get a view, but the sound will be mitigated. If you can’t head out anywhere, just make sure you let your dog out early to pee, and make sure your yard is secure so your dog doesn’t run away if he gets scared. Make sure your dog’s collar, tags, and ID are secure in case anything happens.
5. Comfort Your Dog
4th of July is not about “toughing it out” for your dog. Let your dog do what she wants to do if she’s scared. It’s not the time to put her in a “down”, assert your dominance, and leave her alone. Give her a cuddle, let her sit on your lap, let her be in her crate or have her favorite toy, or be with you in a secluded place.