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Well folks, it’s that time of year again.. Summer has been and gone, (quite abruptly it would seem too!) the children are back at school & the Fireworks are being advertised already!
You may be one of the lucky Dog owners who has a Dog that doesn’t care about loud noises and bangs, thunder etc, and not had to give a second thought to Fireworks etc, or you may be a Dog owner that has owned Dog’s previously, and this time around started early on with getting your beloved pooch used to the loud noises like Fireworks or shooting (if you have a working Gundog).
Either way, please spare a thought for the thousands of NEW Dog owners, who may not have the experience of Dog’s not liking loud noises or Fireworks, or those owners who DREAD the Firework season, as it can mean months of misery and walking Dogs at different times to try and avoid being out and about when the Fireworks start..
As a Dog owner, and Dog Trainer myself, i have experienced Dogs who have had severe anxiety with both Thunder & Fireworks, and also owned Dogs who have not given a second thought to the noises associated with either Thunder or Fireworks.
How are my Dog’s with Thunder & Fireworks?
Firstly, i will tell you about a German Shepherd girl i had the pleasure of having in my life for approx ten years..( a rescued German Shepherd girl, her name was Bracken, who i originally fostered & went on to adopt, she was aged 10 months. I was her 4th owner.. can you believe it at such a young age having already had 3 owners?
I loved to volunteer for that particular rescue centre, and had not felt such a pull on my heart before.) So, my experience with this Dog, Bracken, and Fireworks was one of initial caution.
Though in hindsight, I need not have felt that way. By the time we first had a Thunder Storm, with her living with us, she had settled in, and ensured that our other German Shepherd, an entire male, knew his place, and that he wasn’t getting any puppies with her. (she was spayed, but he kept trying bless him..)
The Thunder was very loud, so i tried not to make a sound each time it Thundered & flashed with lightening, with it making me jump, as i knew that could possibly set Bracken off, her watching me. Bracken was also keeping an eye on my other Dog, (named Max) to see how he was reacting. Thankfully, he was as calm and chilled out as ever, he had a very placid, easy going nature to him.
The Thunder storm passed, without any problems, though i knew there may still be a slight chance she could react to the Fireworks, when Bonfire night/Fireworks time arrived.
And so October time arrived, and the local shops started to sell the dreaded Fireworks .. I knew the loud bangs would be starting at any point from then onwards.
When the Fireworks did start, it was constant bangs and loud booms, and because of where we lived at that time, within a street of houses in a large circle, the noises where constantly reverberating off each of the houses, so it seemed never ending.
I found my Dog Bracken, to be as laid back and placid with the Fireworks, as she was with the Thunder. Thankfully. She would carry on playing with Max or snoozing. Nothing appeared to phase her at all, and given her history prior to her living with us, this was a huge deal. A true diva Dog. Max was also a rescue German Shepherd, for want of a better phrase. He came to live with me approximately 14 months old. Horrible things had happened to him in his young life bless him, thankfully he ended up back with the breeder, and they contacted me to assess him..the rest is history and one of the best decisions of my life.
Max bless him, was not deterred at all by any sounds. Not Thunder, not Fireworks not even loud drilling work or jet planes. I feel very strongly that he had a very calming impact on Bracken. We never needed to use any calming remedies from the vet with either of them. However, they may be of help to your Dog if you feel they are very anxious or frightened.
Sasha, a German Shepherd girl, i had the pleasure of owning. Again, a rescue, for want of another phrase. Sasha used to be a bit jumpy with traffic, though never had trouble with loud noises like Thunder or Fireworks. Whether that was due to her having Bracken and my sprocker for company, i’m not 100% sure. Sasha was a wonderful girl and she is missed dearly, sadly we only had her in our lives for a couple of short years.
Misty was a whole new ball game when it came to being afraid of Fireworks. Yes, you guessed it, she was also a German Shepherd girl.. she was my very first German Shepherd, however, she was the most extreme around loud noises i have known to this very day.
Misty, whom i had from being approximately 9/10 weeks old, I don’t know why to this day, to start off with, developed a very strong dislike of heavy rain. It got to the stage where she would hide under the table to get away from the noise. Now we never did anything, nor witnessed anything that may have triggered this reaction to the rain, and to this day i am perplexed by her behaviour. Well, along side this aversion to heavy rain, one day we had a really bad Thunder storm. Misty went berserk, I mean a whole new level of “get me away from this”. It was sad to see. She would try to open up doors to go and hide, and also try to go upstairs to the bathroom.. even blew her anal glands, nothing we tried ever alleviated her fear/phobia.
Then Fireworks started getting louder, and louder. On one occasion in particular, i recall not being able to find her. We looked all over the place, no Misty to be found. All the time the Fireworks were booming away. Can you guess where we found her? She was literally wrapped around the upstairs toilet. I mean she ( a large German shepherd girl) was right behind the pipes and everything. She was snug in there to say the least. I was heartbroken.
I recall at the time, feeling a tad useless and upset as i didn’t know what to do for the best for her. After a short while, i decided i would leave her in the bathroom..with the light on, so the flashes weren’t so prominent to her, and i fetched a radio up onto the landing area, to try and distract away from some of the Firework noise.
The 2 Dogs i have the pleasure of having in my life as i type, are a German Shepherd male, #TakodaElsu,and a Sprocker male, #Breeze.
I have had both of these Dogs from being young puppies, seen the parents to both, and they have both got solid personalities. These 2 from the very beginning have been great with noises
What did i do with Takoda and Breeze? & what did i recommend clients do to get their Dog’s ready for Fireworks?
The best thing i have found to help get Dogs used to loud noises & bangs, are de-sensitisation / sound therapy CD’s, like this one here.. click on the image to view more details. (and view the current price with Amazon) While Takoda and Breeze were very young, I had the loud noises playing in the background, and after a few hours, I would turn up the volume a little bit. I did this for a few days, then I started to play it while it was dark outside too. And i never drew attention to anything or even the Dog’s, i simply kept doing what I was doing. Then I turned it up a tad more, and i had mentioned what I was doing to my neighbours, so they were aware of the noise for a little while. By now, if we had the door to the garden open, we could here the Firework noises out side..so we used this time to play with the Dogs and make it a pleasant association. (no, i don’t suggest playing with your Dog outside while the fireworks are going off..) We did this for approximately 4-5 days, and the last day and night, it was quite loud. The Dogs didn’t pay any attention to it at all what so ever.. which = fantastic result!
When Bonfire night arrived (and New Year’s Eve) they were great, never flinched or whined. These noise Discs are brilliant.
The main points to remember, are to start as soon as you can, getting your Dog used to noises, If you have a Dog which you have adopted, of course, let your Dog settle in and do things slowly. Just make sure you give yourselves plenty of time, don’t start 2 days prior to Bonfire night, give yourselves and your Dog plenty of time. Remember, the bangs aren’t just on the 5th of November.. they last so much longer now, and then there is New Years Eve.. and other festive celebrations
Check out my Top Tips For Dogs & Fireworks below..
How do I calm my Dogs down during Fireworks season?
10 Top Tips to help your Dog get through Fireworks season, Bonfire night & New years Eve
1. IF your Dog gets really stressed, chat with your Dog’s Vet, they may prescribe something to help calm them down . (There are products on the market which use pheromones to help calm pets. These are often a Plug-in type device called a DAP Diffuser, or a DAP Spray which can be applied to bedding etc, or a DAP Collar. You may need to implement these DAP products a few days prior to the actual main evenings/events where the Fireworks will be more intense in order to have full benefit of the product for your beloved pet. Another pet product worth looking into is the Anxiety/Thunder Jacket. These tend to be quite a snug fit on the Dog, to work by applying a constant but gentle pressure to the Dog, which can help to calm anxiety which may be caused by a variety of environmental factors.)
2. Exercise your Dog before dark. (Sounds obvious, however we tend to take our routines for granted and it’s easy to forget. Maybe aim to exercise your Dog before Dusk, that way the Fireworks probably won’t have started yet.
3. Close the curtains/blinds. This may help to block some of the noise out, along with reducing the sight of the flashes from fireworks.
4. If your Dog has a Space he/she loves, away from the hustle and bustle of busy tea times, make sure they have a snug comfy place they can go IF they wish to.
5. Routine – If you tend to have a routine, try to stick to it as much as possible.
6. Music/TV – you could play music or turn up the TV to help muffle the sounds
7. If your Dog is stressed out by fireworks, DON’T leave them home alone. Ask someone to pet sit for you, if you won’t be home.
8. IF your Dog is scared of fireworks, try to avoid having fireworks at home. Maybe consider going to an organised event..(if there is someone to look after your Dog of course.)
9. Make sure your Pet is IDENTIFIABLE. Make sure microchip details are kept up to date, especially mobile phone numbers, and also check details on any Identity tag on your pet’s collar to make sure they are still correct. Just in case your Dog gets away from you.
10. Try not to react to the loud noises yourself. If your Dog is stressing, I find that by remaining calm and not paying attention to the noises helps to show that there is nothing to react to.
Remember, there will be Fireworks again around Christmas and New Year, it helps to be prepared where ever possible.
It’s also worth noting that, many pet insurance companies now offer a vet phone type service, where you can obtain advice…without it affecting your premiums, utilise this service if you have it, and it may help give you peace of mind too.
Here are some more of my favourite Dog Products
Thank you so much for reading my Dog Blogs. I hope you find them really helpful and informative. Here are a few Dog products which I use/have used, as a Dog Trainer and/or Dog Owner that I hope you will also find helpful. These are affiliate links (please refer to my full disclosure throughout my website) therefore if you do use them, I may receive a commission. However, these products are a selection of the products I use with my own Dogs and I have no problem at all in recommending them to likeminded Dog owners. Some of the items you can also see on my YouTube channel like the one above.
Tough Dog Toy – KONG Extreme Dog Toy – I love these so much as I can put my Dogs food in it and freeze it, it becomes a fab way to feed and has so many uses, we even play hide ‘n’ seek with them!
Tough Dog Muzzle – Dingo Gear Dog Training Muzzle – This Dog Muzzle is Tough! It is handmade from leather and has reinforced Muzzle and Herm Sprenger buckle. Make no mistake when I say this is Top Quality. There are different sizes available, however, for my Working Line German Shepherd Dog I have size 2. When the muzzle arrives, it may feel quite stiff, but, bear in mind that leather does get softer with use, just like leather Dog leads, they become more subtle.
Dog Grooming/Bathing – The AquaPaw Pet Bathing Tool. OMG! This Dog Grooming product has been a game changer for me. If you have difficulty when it comes to Bathing your Dog/s, or if you have dexterity issues with your hands (like me, I have arthritis), then this product can make it much easier. I have videos going into detail of how easy this product makes bathing my Dogs. I always recommend this product to anyone and everyone I come across who owns Dogs.
Tick Remover – O’Tom Tick Twister Yeah, those awful pests that can spread disease. TICKS! I live in an area of beautiful countryside in Scotland, however, so do many many thousands of Ticks (and Deer). It’s inevitable that my Dogs will get them, and they do! So, I use this Tick Twister. It doesn’t seem like much, but they are effective. They only thing I would change about them is the size of the handle/grip, but we manage. They are easy to use, it tends to be more of a case of getting the Dog to sit still while we get the Tick that is the biggest problem, not the actual Tick removal! These come in a 2 pack, though the largest of them seems to be easier to use for me. Again, I do have a video on my YouTube channel showing me use these. I think they are a must for every Dog owner.
Health Supplement – Gold Label Brewers Yeast I feed my Dogs a Raw Diet and I endeavour to ensure they are getting all the nutrients etc that they need in their diet. However, regardless of whether it’s Raw or Kibble, there are some vitamins and minerals that are just a tad harder to find than others, and that is why I supplement with Brewers Yeast. It has so many benefits: It’s a natural prebiotic for a healthy gut, recommended as a skin and coat conditioner for show stock, natural source of B group vitamins which are essential for growth and healthy nervous and digestive system.. there are many more benefits, too many to list here. However, I have noticed an improvement in my Dogs condition, especially one which is on long term sterodial medication, so I intend to keep adding it to their food. (The 300g tubs last ages!)
Dog Cage – Ellie – Bo Dog Cage I know the use of Dog cages/crates is always likely to be a contentious one in the Dog owning world, however I do believe it’s a personal choice, and there are many reasons as to why someone may choose to use a Dog cage. All that aside, there are 2 main brands of Dog cages I use. First up is Ellie – Bo. I have a huge Dog cage in the house for my working line Gsd to sleep in, and that is an Ellie – Bo Dog cage, It has been a great Dog cage. I’ve had it for a fair few years now and it sure has given me my monies worth. I recently purchased an Ellie – Bo Dog Cage cover for it, and it fits absolutely spot on. I can’t fault it at all. I love the products and love the Brand. The second brand of Dog Cage I use is Savic. For many many years I used Savic Dog cages in my vehicles. They are the most robust, sturdy cage I had come across on the market at the time, in terms of foldable portable Dog cages go, and they fitted my Dogs at that time and my vehicles with ease. I used to tether them to the anchor points in the boot of my vehicles so they were secure, and they didn’t move. they may cost a few quid more, but they are so worth it in my view, especially if they are going in a vehicle. ( Although there are specific companies that manufacture cages etc to fit in vehicles, I am simply talking about foldable cages here, in this Dogblog) These are just a few of my current fav’s that I’d like to share with you, I thank you for reading my DogBlog. To view some of my current recommendations, check out my other DogBlogs here!
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Any links which are clicked and subsequently purchased from may provide Crazy4pets.co.uk a.k.a Toughdogproducts.com with a small commission. Our full Affiliate Disclaimer can be found throughout our website.