As the nights draw in, we look forward to the autumn fun of events like Halloween and Bonfire Night. Early evenings are perfect for these occasions but can be a nightmare for our dogs.
Our Behaviour Nurse Emma is keen to help if you are worried about your dog at this time of year. There are many products and training methods available and Emma is well placed to offer knowledgeable advice, and work with you to find the right solution for your dog.
Throughout October we are offering a “First Aid for Fireworks” consultation for just £25
Make sure your pet is microchipped (and that your details are up to date), in case they escape, take fright and bolt. By law, your dog should also wear a collar and ID tag at all times. Keep pets inside over night and lock the cat flap.
Tire them out
Taking your dog for a good walk and/or playing boisterous games during daylight hours will ensure they are ready to settle down by nightfall.
Give your dog a good meal before nightfall to give a contented full tummy.
Provide a den
Animals generally feel more secure in small spaces. If you cover the “den” it may help to muffle the noise, as does closing curtains and keeping the TV on.
Use of Adaptyl and Feliway
These are calming pheromone products that help to reduce anxiety. Ask Emma about them and how they can help.
Just act normal!
Although we do need to comfort our pets when they are fearful, it is important not to inadvertently encourage attention seeking behaviour. The best time to praise them is when they are being calm and relaxed.
Finally, some pets simply cannot cope and may need medication – Emma can advise on this.
In the long term, Emma always recommends a desensitisation programme, starting several months in advance. Done correctly this normalises the scary sounds for your pets and means they don’t react to the real thing.
On the night Preparation / Before it gets dark
?During the displays
It’s worth being aware that if left unmanaged these behaviours can get worse over time, resulting in increasingly uncontrolled behaviour. It can also have the effect of worsening their response to other unexpected loud noises such as door slamming or thunder. Sound Desensitisation One of the most common methods is using a “sound desensitisation” programme. There have been studies that have shown this to be effective for dogs and cats. The training is similar to programmes that police dogs and horses go through before being put into public work situations. They work by gradually exposing your pet to a tiny amount of sound and then increasing it slowly over time. It can be a long process, but it’s worth it in the end. There is a sound desensitisation programme available on the Zylkène website. This programme includes clear written and verbal instructions, plus a practice track to help get you started and use the programme effectively.
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