Dogs and fireworks – Transcript

Hi I'm Lilly one of the Canine Behaviourist and Training Advisors here at Battersea 

Today we're going to be talking about how to make your dog feel safe during fireworks season 

There are lots of times throughout the year where people like to celebrate with fireworks but many dogs can find them scary and stressful 

We're going to show you how to gradually desensitise your dog to the sound of fireworks and then teach them to associate them with something positive not something scary 

However if it's too late to do this we'll also show you how to manage your dog's stress at the time 

If your dog is still extremely stressed after following our advice we recommend consulting your vet 

You will need access to some firework sound effects and a way of playing them out loud as well as some of your dog's favourite treats or a toy 

It's best to start this training indoors away from distractions making sure your dog can leave if they want to 

Play the fireworks sounds on a low volume for five to ten minutes three to four times a day and increase this very, very slowly until you see the first sign that your dog is reacting to the noise such as twitching their ears 

Once your dog has stopped responding to the noise you can increase the volume slightly 

Keep doing this every day over a period of weeks until your dog does not respond to the sounds even at a high volume 

If at any point during these steps your dog is scared remain calm and stop the session immediately 

You may have progressed too quickly so start from a lower volume next time 

Once your dog has been desensitised to the sounds 

You're going to start building a positive association to them 

Get out your dog's food, treats or a favourite toy 

When they get excited don't give it to them straight away 

Instead sit down calmly for a few minutes 

Once your dog has calmed down play the firework sounds at a low volume again 

If possible use a remote control so they don't see you do it 

As soon as your dog hears the sound give them their food or start to play with them 

Once they have finished eating or playing turn off the sounds immediately 

Keep repeating this process until your dog begins to get excited when they hear the sounds then you can increase the volume a little each time 

Eventually your dog will begin to associate the sounds with something enjoyable like eating or playing 

Next we're going to look at ways you can manage your dog's stress during fireworks 

Even if you've desensitised your dog to the sounds 

We'd still recommend taking these steps to manage your dog's stress 

No matter how much your dog may appear to not mind fireworks we don't recommend taking them to a display 

Before the fireworks start make sure your house and garden are secure 

Also ensure that their microchip and tag are up-to-date incase they get out 

Create some safe, comfy hiding places your dog can retreat to 

You can cover a crate or a table in blankets and put their bedding inside 

Don't lock them in the crate or confine them to just one room as this may stress them out even more 

Drawing the curtains can also help as the sudden flashes can be distressing too 

If your dog has never used a crate before check out our crate training video 

You should stick to your dog's normal routine as much as possible but you may want to make a few minor changes 

Take your dog for a walk and a toilet break before it gets dark 

If your dog is particularly scared of fireworks you may want to feed them early too 

If you have time introduce these routine changes gradually over the course of a few days 

Remember not to act differently around your dog 

If you follow them around or are overly affectionate they may sense that something's up 

If you remain calm this will help your dog to remain calm 

However you can still reassure your dog by doing something that they enjoy like playing a favourite game 

Mask some of the noise and help your dog stay calm by putting on the TV, the radio or playing some music 

Finally try to settle your dog before the fireworks start give them something enjoyable to do which will keep them occupied such as a toy stuffed with food or a long-lasting chew 

Those are our tips on preparing your dog for fireworks season 


If you'd like to learn more about how to teach your dog the Battersea way visit our website or follow our channels