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Q. What does splash of colour, cartwheels, sparklers, rocket, roasted chestnuts, children gathering all have in common?
Firework displays from October until January
Nervous, scared dogs
Worried dog owners
It doesn't have to be that bad, if you follow my handy tips…
I have included below a list of the top 10 solutions for helping to calm your much beloved dog, to ensure a relaxed festive period for you and your dog...
For noise anxiety, Dogs will show many symptoms of fear and stress including shaking, panting, drooling, yawning, barking/whining, hyperactivity, eliminating indoors, clawing, digging, hiding, and clinging to owners.
With its patent-pending design, Thundershirt’s gentle, constant pressure has a dramatic calming effect for most dogs if they are anxious, fearful or over-excited. Based on surveys completed by over two thousand customers, over 80% of dogs show significant improvement in symptoms when using Thundershirt. Thundershirt is already helping tens of thousands of dogs around the world, and is recommended by thousands of veterinarians and dog trainers.
As for WHY Thundershirt’s gentle pressure works to calm a dog, experts such as Dr. Temple Grandin believe that pressure has a calming effect on the nervous system. Using pressure to relieve anxiety has been a common practice for years.
Before the anticipated fireworks display is the best time to put your Thundershirt on your dog, prior to your dog becoming scared and anxious; but, it is fine to put the Thundershirt on AFTER your dog has become anxious, as you will still see good results. In most cases, it is fine to leave a Thundershirt on your dog for extended durations of time.
You can buy the Thundershirt from my online Dog Lovers shop, CLICK HERE to buy one NOW!
If you can't afford to buy the amazing Thundershirt, then you can try using items from your home.
Do you have a small t-shirt that your growing child no longer needs?
If so, then you can easily put this over your dogs head and then put their legs through the t-shirt arms. If the t-shirt is loose, then just simply tie the end of it in a knot around the belly area - Viola, your very own Thundershirt.
It won't obviously be as snug fit as the Thundershirt, but will do if you can't try anything else. It will wrap around the dog and help them feel secure.
As you may know Tellington TTouch helps to calm your dog and make them aware of their body, so using TTouch massage techniques are obviously a great way to help calm your dog when it's firework season.
I would recommend using the following TTouch massage techniques:
Clouded Leopard TTouch: Using your finger tips, move the dogs fur in a circular (clockwise) movement around as if you were looking at a clock - starting at 6pm, back around to 6pm and go back around until you get to 9pm again.
Mouth TTouch: Using the back of your hand, slowly brush it up from the dogs jaw up towards their ears. Alternatively you could do the Clouded Leopard TTouch around the mouth.
Ear TTouch: By putting your thumb at the base of the ear and your fingers underneath, run your hand slowly down the dogs ear until the end of the ear tip.
These are all baseic TTouch technics that help relax your dog, by doing the circular TTouch movement, you are helping the dog's nervous system run messages up to the dogs brain, which calms them down, makes them aware of their body and get them our of freeze or prevent them from getting in a major stressful state.
They look like large bandages, the best brand used by Tellington TTouch Practitioners is Ace. You can then wrap these around the dog in certain ways to concentrate on particular areas, i.e around head, zig zagged around the body, etc.
If your dog is suffering from anxiety, whilst the fireworks are going off, using Positive reinforcement methods, don't say: are you alright? Poor baby, good girl etc, these are words that will help reinforce the behaviour and let the dog know that it is okay to be scared when there are fireworks. They will think that they will get rewarded if they show any signs of fear.
Dogs have many ways of dealing with being fearful, they will often Freeze (don't move), Flight (Run away) or Fight (bite and become aggressive).
In most cases, when it comes to Fireworks, they just want to hide until it goes away.
Therefore if you create a nice cosy den in the corner of the room you are in, then they can feel safe. This can be under a chair with blankets over the top of it, in an actual dog cage, under the table. Put their favourite toy and perhaps even a filled Kong in it to.
Do a lot of mental and physical exercise during the day before it gets dark. If you have a well balanced dog that is happy mentally and physically, they can cope more easily when the noise anxiety kicks in. Take them for a long walk, hide toys in bushes for them to sniff out, play agility, do some obedience training - anything that will relax them ready for the night before.
Try to drown out the firework noise by shutting the curtains, play loud music (well not too loud, Dogs have sensitive ears) and distracting them with games and treats indoors.
if all else fails, then you could look at the number of herbal remedies on the market, including Dorwest Say Relax, Calm-eze, Adaptil diffuser plug in spray.
I hope you have found this useful and will help in some way towards making your dog calm this festive season.