puppy- Frederick MDWe know, we know, July 4th has come and gone and you may or may not have struggled with the big booms of fireworks in the sky with your dog!

The fireworks can be an exciting thing for us to watch, but our dogs may not always appreciate them! Some dogs try to escape from their yards, or pace anxiously in the house, or maybe even try to hide.

If you struggled with your dog’s behavior on the holiday yesterday, NOW is the time to start to prepare your dog for next year! Desensitizing your dog to things they are afraid AND working them through their fears is one of the best things you can do for them, and is our job as their guardians!

A fearful dog isn’t enjoying themselves, and lives a much more stressful life, but it doesn’t HAVE to be that way!

Below are just a few tips to help you prep your pup for next year!

  1. Teach them the Place command! This single command does so much for your dog’s state of mind. It teaches them to settle in the face of distraction, and gives them somewhere to go if you need them out of the way but want to include them! Giving your dog a job to do is SO helpful in directing some of that nervous mindset, and allows you to keep them safely nearby!
  2. Avoid reassuring your pup, instead carry on as though nothing is going on. Reassuring them only reinforces their fear, and that’s the LAST thing you want to do! Go ahead and keep them on a leash so you can guide them if they act fearful, and be calm and confident, a leader that your dog will place their trust in so they don’t have to be nervous!
  3. Start desensitizing them now. Play recordings of fireworks at low levels initially, and pepper your dog with a tasty treat whenever you play them. This will teach them to associate a high-value treat with something that used to be scary! Soon your pup will learn that loud sounds mean something good is coming!
  4. As they get used to the lower sound levels of fireworks, increase the volume until you can blast it with less stress from your dog.

Remember, we’ve got one more whole year until Fourth of July rolls around, so start NOW to make next year less stressful for you and your pup!