It’s not too late to help your dog cope with the loud noises of the holiday. July 4th fireworks may be more intense in volume in addition to emerging with more of a sudden boom, and more often than thunder without the warning of a rolling, escalating rumble.

Imagine your puppy hearing a barrage of explosive sounds, especially for the first time, and how frightening that would be. There’s no need to feel helpless. You can definitely help your dog to overcome the anxiety of loud noises whether they are holiday celebrations, mother nature, or common household appliances.

When I was a child I spent part of the summers visiting my grandmother. She lived near the beach but also only a city block from the el-train; short for elevated train or railway.  The noise was like no other. Though I wasn’t frightened, per se, by the noise, it was responsible for many sleepless nights. The good news is, that as the days passed the noise seemed less disturbing. The el train’s thunderous noise went unnoticed and the nights became peaceful and uninterrupted.

Exposure therapy is a technique used to treat anxiety disorders. Behavior therapy in which exposing a human or a canine to the source of fear or anxiety, in a safe controlled environment, has proven to be very effective.

Simply play a recording of fireworks, with the volume set as low as possible, but just enough for your dog to hear. The recording should not cause anxiety if it’s almost undetectable during playtime or mealtime. Remember his hearing is many times better than yours. During this time, do something with your dog that he enjoys. It could be playing fetch, or even just a belly rub, as long as your dog is distracted by something enjoyable.

This method of exposure works very well for dogs with fear of thunder, lawnmowers, leaf blowers, and vacuums.

Practice this exposure technique a few times a day but only for 10-15 minutes each time. If successful, begin to increase the volume ever so slightly as long as your dog is not showing signs of stress, fear, or discomfort.

Every dog is different, just like every human is different. Behavior therapy methods work better on some dogs than others. This method is worth trying but you should only continue if each practice is successful.


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