Maybe it’s because all the focus is on Halloween, or maybe it’s because Bonfire night is at the beginning of the month, but November the 5th has a habit of creeping up on me.
One evening you’re distributing sweeties to the local ghosts and ghouls, and the very next night, some little monster down the road is letting off fireworks with Guy Fawkes still days away.
And for dogs, that’s the real nightmare.
Rocketing around the back of the sofa…
Every year it’s the same for Roscoe.
I’m sneakily raiding the kid’s Halloween haul, and suddenly Roscoe bundles past me, tail and ears down, eyes wide in fear as he disappears behind the back of the sofa.
Often I don’t even hear the initial firework, but Roscoe certainly does.
He spends the next few evenings rocketing round the back of the sofa, gingerly making his way back out and then firing himself back behind again.
I’m guessing this sounds very familiar to many of you (especially the bit about snaffling the kid’s Halloween haul – admit it!).
After talking to Kimberly from City Sit Stay on a recent Instagram Live, I found out that there is a much better and more permanent solution than trying out random calming pills and/or hoping it won’t be so bad this year.
The first step is understanding your dog’s body language.
What is their neutral pose?
How do they appear when they are happy?
From there, you are in a better position to see the smaller signals your dog presents when they’re scared.
The bigger ones are more well known, such as tail down under the body, ears back and what’s called whale eyes – when their eyes go wide with fear.
(btw to find out more about your dog’s body language, try ‘Doggie Language’, a book by Lili Chan.)
The second step is noise acclimatisation.
I climb a what now?
Getting your dog used to the sound of fireworks.
However… the key is to start with really, really quiet firework sounds.
And whenever the sounds go off, you reward with some delicious Bounce and Bella treats.
In this way, your dog begins to associate the sound of fireworks with good old yummy times.
Instead of fear at the sound of a firework, you’re gradually developing a much more positive feeling within your dog.
(You can find ‘firework sounds for dogs’ by searching that phrase on youtube. I’m guessing you know where to find tasty Bounce and Bella treats😁)
But will that be enough?
For some of our dogs, there may be time left to do this before fireworks night.
For others, the worry is that you’re running out of time and that maybe you need a bit of extra help with the training and some additional tips to make it a success.
Fortunately, Kimberly has created a mini-course to give you an extra hand and help cement a routine that can help set your dog up for success.
As well as giving additional information on body language and desensitisation the course includes help with:
- How to encourage your dog to focus on you when startled.
- How to encourage your dog to relax.
- A fully comprehensive action plan and workbook.
- Practical tips and tricks to make fireworks night easier.
- Access to a private Facebook group with trainers there to provide additional training, techniques & tips on the lead up to November 5th and actually on Bonfire night itself.
If you think that might be helpful for you and your dog, Kimberly has very kindly offered all Bounce and Bella customers a 20% discount on the course.
All you need to do is go to https://citysitstay.com/dog-firework-prep/
And use the discount code: Bounce20 to get your discount.
Bounce and Bella don’t earn any money from Kimberly’s course. We just thought it might be really helpful for some of you.
That’s it from me for another Friday, have yourself a frightfully ghoulishly scarily Halloween weekend!
Do you enjoy Halloween, Instagram and the cutest dog costumes on the entire mortal plane of existence?
Well, we’ve combined all three in the vortex of fantasticalness that is our Halloween competition.
You can find it at https://www.instagram.com/p/CVkKWEsI8Sq/