We all know Firework season can be a stressful and scary time for a lot of dogs so why not try building a den to hide away in, it can really help. Starting preparing this now in advance giving your dog plenty of time to get used to using it.
The ideal den is located where your dog feels most secure. Often they will already have a place that they go to hide and this is the perfect location. Make it as cosy and comforting as possible. Blankets to hide under or enclosing the den are important, as well as some to sit on. Adding an old unwashed jumper so that they have something that smells of you to comfort them is a good addition. A nearby water bowl so he or she doesn’t have to venture far for a drink and an Adaptil (DAP) pheromone plug-in diffuser (installed a few days before the fireworks start and kept switched on) are also really helpful.
In the weeks and days before the fireworks encourage your dog to go in the den using a treat or toys so they associate it with good things, and if you do see him or her in there of their own accord reward this with praise or a treat.
On the night , keep windows and curtains closed in the room with the den so as little noise and flashing light comes in as possible. Turning the TV or radio on can also help to muffle the sound. Make sure he or she can access the den when they want so they feel more in control. If you know what time the fireworks are likely to start, take your dog out to the toilet before hand so they are comfortable then encourage them into the den, but make sure they are on a lead in case of any early bangs.
Once the fireworks start try to act as if nothing unusual is going on. If you act happy and relaxed this will show there is nothing to fear. Although it is tempting, don’t try to soothe your dog as this reinforces there is something to be scared about (so will reinforce the behaviour) but also don’t be cross as this will make him or her more scared. Playing quietly with another pet can be helpful to demonstrate it is a “normal” situation.
If you want more advice regarding Firework or other phobias please contact us.