Can our anticipation of a reaction affect our dogs?
Our dogs are incredible beings… man's best friend. They can feel and detect hormone changes, bodily functions, low blood sugars, diseases, and so much more. They can even sense what a person was feeling at the time of death once they have passed on.
So… Can our fear of them reacting to fireworks, loud noises, sudden movements and more lead to them developing a fear themselves of some things? Of course it can. They sometimes know us better than we know ourselves. They can be a mirror to our feelings.
This is why it is so important to begin desensitization as part of our training so that both us and our dogs know alternatives to fear, a healthy reaction or non reaction.
I get asked all the time what we do to help our dogs not react to fireworks, loud noises and more. Over the years we learn and add things to our puppy program here to desensitize our puppies from a very young age. One of the first things pups are exposed to and hear are storms playing at night. When puppies are just weeks they are exposed to normal household noises like vacuum, pots and pans, washing dishes, dogs barking loudly, fireworks and music playing, loud bangs from dropping a noisy pot or pan, slapping two metal bowls together to music and more. Some of our new owners who have had previous dogs with noise sensitivities are so relieved. I tell them… If you don’t react or look for a reaction, he/she will less likely react. :) This is a great thing.
We have many dogs here, and would you like to know how many react when the neighbors go crazy with fireworks, gunshots and the like? NONE. Not one dog reacts to the noise. Charlie occasionally will bark “hey… did ya hear that?” and that is it. Ours sleep through them. It’s usually at bedtime hours and they are resting.
We do also realize that some dogs come to you with these fears, and all we can do it to recommend working on this using desitizing as part of your working to better your dogs life and your own as well. I had a Collie 25 years ago who was afraid of storms. Everytime one would come she would crawl into the bathtub until the storm passed. This was exhausting and worrisome. So when this type of training came out, I was so excited to see a solution, but also a preventative. Remember an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
Thank you for reading and we hope this helps someone!
Preparing for Fireworks & Noises
This time of year always brings up the topic of dogs being afraid of Fireworks and other loud noises. We have found using desensitation is key to helping with this. Here is an article from UC Davis.