1. DO expose your dog to loud, unexpected noises on a regular basis, especially leading up to an event that includes firework celebrations. Drop pot lids, toss a soda can with a few pennies in it, slam a door: anything to get your dog accustomed to being startled, so he can practice recovering quickly.
2. DO NOT bring your dog with you to a fireworks celebration.
3. DO provide your dog with a safe, comfortable place that will help her feel more secure amid the scary sights and sounds. Close the blinds to keep out the flashes of color in the sky, and turn up the television or some music to help muffle the sounds.
4. DO NOT put your dog in a crate; a panicked, frightened dog can easily injure himself in a crate.
5. DO ask your veterinarian if an herbal remedy or prescription sedative may be appropriate for your dog.
6. DO consider giving your dog a highly valued chew toy before the fireworks celebration begins, which may help to keep her mind off the disturbance.
7. DO attach a “house leash” to your dog, to act as an extra long handle, should your dog try to escape or run away.
8. DO NOT comfort or "baby" your dog if he is afraid. Dogs take their cue of how to behave from their owners; if you are acting "strange" by offering soothing words and gestures, your dog may interpret your actions as praise for being frightened, or as confirmation that the fireworks are truly scary.
9. DO act as normal and as "matter of fact" as possible; to help your dog understand that there is nothing to worry about.
10. Most importantly, DO ensure your dog is wearing proper identification in case he manages to escape."More dogs escape during holiday celebrations than at any other time," said Smith. "With a little preparation and an understanding of how to help dogs through their fears, dog owners can help prevent their pet from becoming a statistic this Memorial Day weekend."
Kristi Smith, Head Trainer and K9-Games offer unique, effective communication methods that are unparalleled in achieving faster more reliable training results that every owner can master. Kristi Smith is a member of the International Association of Canine Professionals, a certified Veterinary Technician as well as the Training officer for Arizona Search Track and Rescue, Inc. (a non-profit organization that trains dogs to locate missing people).
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