Dog afraid of fires, what to do?
Removing fear from the dog’s fires will not always be possible, especially if you have unpredictable or deeply rooted reactions to your behavior. However, working with him gradual awareness is possible and there are also some advice that can help make the dog quieter and calmer.
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These tricks are very useful and simple to carry out, appropriate for the times of fireworks, so that our dog feels comfort and safety while redirecting his behavior to something more appropriate.
Keep reading and find out what to do if the dog is afraid of the fires .
Why is the dog afraid of the fires?
It is completely normal for a dog to be frightened by loud noises. In the most serious cases, these animals have the urge to run away, to hide, bark, drool, tremble and even break objects. But why do they do this?
Among the most common causes we find bad experiences , an aspect of the dog’s own personality (he is very shy, suspicious and fearful) or, on the other hand, a weak socializationrelated to the lack of habituation in the face of loud noises and pyrotechnics.
However, the fear of the fires can also develop without bad experiences, even if the dog since the puppy has been well socialized with this type of noise and situations. Some illnesses or the loss of some of your senses (deafness, blindness …) can foment the appearance of fears and phobias.
The Importance of Our Reaction
Although not believing, the reaction to the dog’s behavior is fundamental to the acquisition of phobias. Running away with him, caressing him, giving him words of tranquility, etc., are acts that reinforce the conduct that the dog is having without us noticing. when trying to reassure we are only reinforcing an attitude of fear and evasion that does not benefit our best friend at all.
It is best to try to maintain a normal attitude (as far as possible) by trying to ignore the fearful behaviors the dog may have, by doing so with a calm and calm attitude. We must not touch, caress or reward him in any case.
Take away the fear of the fires by raising awareness
If we have time before the parties arrive, we can try to carry out a gradual sensitization process that will help us accustom the dog with the presence of fires, noises and lues in general.
This process is indicated for many different types of phobias and fears, but we must be very cautious and wash it out step by step very carefully. Never follow this process if your dog reacts aggressively or unpredictably to the fires . Discover how to sensitize your dog step-by-step:
1. Choose a booster for your dog
Since we are going to work raising awareness using positive reinforcement , it is vital to have within reach a potent motivation for the dog. Usually a handful of dog snacks are enough, but it can also be useful to use your toys. Must always choose taking into account the preferences of the dog.
2. Relax the dog
Before starting the awareness session we should prepare the dog so that it is calm and relaxed. This will favor the acceptance of the stimulus to which we intend to habituate it. For this we can carry out a search game, which consists of spreading bits of food, which we chose earlier, on the floor. The dog will take the time to sniff and look and this provides you with relaxation and well-being. Caresses, kisses and a very positive attitude can not be lacking. You can also aid in the use of synthetic pheromones .
3. Prepare a video with fireworks
It is important that you prepare in advance so that the volume is not at its maximum and causes fear and confusion to the dog. Choose a video where the fires can be heard clearly, but leave the volume very low, almost imperceptible . This Japanese fireworks can help.
4. Continue with the search game and the video for 5 minutes
Spread pieces of food on the floor so the dog keeps looking for food and do not focus on the noise of the fires. Do not try to pet or reward directly. This process will help keep you distracted and relate the fireworks to a fantastic reward . After 5 minutes turn off the video or audio and continue as if nothing had happened. Our attitude should be calm and calm.
Probably in this first session your dog may get a little scared and suspicious and will not achieve 100% a state of relaxation. It does not matter, it is better to advance little than to advance nothing, be satisfied if for a moment he distracted himself from the noise and kept looking for food.
5. Practice daily
The key to raising awareness is to continue with the process for as long as it takes: a week, a fortnight, a month … No matter the weather, but the dog at all times feels comfortable, safe and rewarded.
The sessions should take about 5 minutes to overload or stimulate the dog too much. It is very important that we keep in mind that this is a gradual process that can cost time and effort on our part.
Finally we recommend that you stop the session if at any time you observe an aggressive, overly altered or inappropriate attitude of your dog. Your dog’s well-being and yours should come first.
Advice so the dog is not afraid of fires
However, if you do not have time to follow an awareness process or do not have the skills to do so, you can follow these advice for fireworks :
- For starters it is advisable not to leave a dog alone with fears, especially if it is a serious case, since we run the risk of an accident. More than a destroyed piece of furniture, the real panic can wreak havoc on your home and favor a domestic accident. It is best that you follow it these days or that you supervise it every x time.
- Choose the quietest place in the house to create a “nest” where you can shelter. You can use your own walk, a blanket and a couple of large cushions to create a makeshift shelter where you can hide. It is very useful since you will feel comfortable. In this quiet place should not lack water and food, should be close so you do not have to move around the house.
- Move it away from the noise by lowering the blinds and preparing a playlist with relaxing music.
- Do not reinforce the conduct of fear with treats or caresses. Pay attention to him only when you are calm and try playing with the ball or playing intelligence games to distract him.
Following these tricks will isolate the dog from the environment favoring a state of calam and relaxation, away from the stress of year-end parties or June festivities.
Serious cases of fear of fireworks
In these situations the ideal is to resort to a professional , whether it be a veterinarian, a canine educator, an ethologist or an instructor. It is very important to resort to people who have been trained specifically for this if we fear a bad reaction or if the well-being of our dog is severely affected by showing symptoms of stress and anxiety.
Usually it is recommended specific medication or homeopathic remedies that will relax our dog in such circumstances.
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- Review the effectiveness of your dog’s collar or harness
- Do not force your interaction to the stimulus that causes you fear
- Do not reinforce fearful behavior
- Call a medical professional if the condition is severe.