I hope your bonfire weekend went as well as it possibly can when you have animals.
My girl isn’t a big fan of fireworks. I have done quite a bit of work desensitising her to them, but she still doesn’t like the very loud ones or the ones that make fizzing noises.
I spent my weekend at home, with my girl, TV on loud, curtains drawn. She had a TTouch wrap on, lots of tasty stuffed kongs and herbal calming supplements.
All in all, she coped really well. I made sure she had lots of exercise during the daylight hours so she was more likely to settle and when things got really bad we played scentwork games.
Hope loves scentwork. It gave her an outlet for energy but she was also able to focus on something else other than those nasty bangs outside and it worked a treat.
If you own a nervous dog, I highly recommend it. I am running my Nosework Ninja’s course this Saturday, I still have a few spaces left so grab them while you can to learn about the wonders of scentwork.
As you know fireworks season is a very stressful time for our dogs and I want to share something with you that might explain some of your dog’s behaviour but also help you make the right decision for your dog in the coming days.
Stress has a half-life, it takes longer for it to get out of a dogs system than it does to build up. Your dog needs 72 hours for stress to exit their system. After three days of fireworks, your dog is likely to be pretty stressed.
If you have a dog that barks at noises outside, people walking down the street, at other dogs. You will find this behaviour is likely worse than normal over the next few days.
My girl is sensitive to noise, if she hears a loud bang she quite often rushes around barking. This behaviour over the next few days is likely to occur at quieter noises.
Luckily I have planned for this, lots of exercise and brain games mean she can be focused on something and work off her energy. Making sure she succeeds often and ends the game feeling happy.
If you have a dog reactive dog or a dog that is scared of strangers, remember your dog is likely to not deal with stress well the next few days. I would avoid putting them in a situation they may feel uncomfortable in.
A human example is when you have a bad day at the office, your boss has been a pig, the computer wouldn’t stop crashing, you split coffee down yourself and a warning light has pinged on in your car.
You come home, kick your shoes off and your other half asks you to put them away rather than dumping them in the hall. You snap at them, saying why are they so bothered about the house being tidy, they don’t normally care.
Now on any other given day, you would tidy your shoes away when the request was made. Probably thinking nothing of it.
This is called trigger stacking. A series of stressful events have made you more likely to fly off the handle.
Your dog is the same.
Give them some slack in the coming days. Help them where you can. That might be not walking them for a few days. As I’ve explained before physical exercise is important but sometimes it isn’t possible or is likely to stress a dog more. If that is the case we can turn to mental stimulation like scentwork to tire and occupy our dogs.
Interested in learning more about scentwork, then take a look at this link https://www.dedicatedtodogs.co.uk/book-online/nosework-ninjas