The Big Bang

by Emma Rex // October 2017

The Big Bang

Remember, remember the 5th of November.

Most of us do not need the rhyme to remember this date as we spend the run up to bonfire night looking forward to the beautiful fireworks and festivities that go along with it. However, not all dogs find it quite as fun as we do.

Dogs have an amazing sense of hearing which is far superior to ours. While most of us love the thrill of the big bangs and the accompanying displays, the big bangs to our dogs are even louder, and they are unable to understand where they are coming from which can make the whole experience very frightening.

During our 5 week course we help dogs get accustomed to unusual sounds by playing the “Sounds Scary CD”. This is available to download from our website here (link to page). The CD consists of a variety of different tracks that have all sorts of different sounds, from traffic, to general life noises such as crowds, as well as fireworks. The idea of the Sounds Scary CD is that you start by playing the selected tracks at a very low volume, almost imperceptible to hear. You can play the tracks whenever you like, but we suggest playing it during the best times of day for your dog, such as playtime, supper time or training time.

You should never play the tracks when you’re not there in case your dog gets worried and you need to turn the volume down, or even off.

 If you see that your dog is comfortable with the volume, you can try turning it up a little during the next session. If at any point your dog starts to look nervous or worried, just turn it down to a volume he is comfortable with and start from there again. Gradually your dog should become accustomed to the noises at a louder and louder volume and, if you start this programme well in advance of fireworks night he shouldn’t be nervous when the fireworks sound!

However, as fireworks night is fast approaching it may be a bit too late this year, if so, don’t worry. Read on for some “on the night tips”.

Safe Place – make sure you have a designated area such as a homemade den, or crate, for your dog to go and hide should he need to. If you have a crate you can make it feel even more secure by wrapping a blanket round it, putting some of his favourite toys inside, and having it in a quiet area of the house. Make sure you never close the door, this ensures your dog knows he can get out if he wants to!

  •  Turn the TV volume up – this can help dull the sound of the fireworks.

  • Close the curtains – this also helps to dull the sound of the fireworks.

  • Walk during the day – don’t go for walks during the evening as this is prime firework time. Even during the day, keep your dog on a lead in case there are any earlier than expected displays, this will stop your dog bolting.

  • Talk to your vet  - if your dog gets particularly worried, your vet may be able to suggest some calming drugs that could help.

To find out more about managing your dogs fear around bonfire night or if you interested in attending a seminar of firework fear and anxiety with West Midlands dog school please contact us on 01926 485 777 or email: westmidlandsdogschool@dogstrust.org.uk