It’s fireworks tonight and more next Tuesday for Guy Fawkes.
Over the past two years, we’ve done all the necessary things to allay George’s fears – Mum even bought a Thunder Shirt which didn’t work for him.
We would go out went out for an early walk before the fireworks began.
Then we hunkered down in the bedroom with all the curtains drawn. Mum would turn up the volume on the telly. And Mum would act like nothing was happening – except of course we were wondering why we’re in the bedroom so early in the night.
Still when the fireworks began, George would sit up and look concerned. The first year he was with us, we hadn’t realised how fireworks affected him. I have never been afraid of them – we used to watch the New Year’s Eve fireworks together wherever we were.
Last week, we missed the opportunity to meet with Oli Juste to discuss how we can allay George’s fears during fireworks.
But they kindly shared the notes – and that was when we realised that maybe we were missing one important factor … play reggae music!!!!
So Mum had downloaded One Love by Bob Marley and Rivers of Babylon by Boney M … and others – just for George.
But Mum, aren’t you watching Strictly?
May’s comment: Didn’t know so many other songs I like are also reggae – so we’ve now created a Playlist just for George!
40% of dogs in the UK are scared of fireworks, and an astonishing 35% of dogs are reported missing on Firework’s Night (source: Kennel Club) as they want to hide from harm.
These were the notes from a session that PlayOJO the fair casino, had partnered with Oli Juste, dog trainer and behaviourist, to give top tips on making the night fairer for man’s best friend.
Pre-Fireworks Night Prep
- Exercise Your Dog – make sure you’re taking your dog for long walks during the day and try to do so before 3.30pm – 4pm when the light dims and the fireworks may start
- Safe proof your garden to prevent your dog from escaping
- Make sure the collar / harness is fitted properly – and prevent your dog from being able to escape the lead and run-away from the situation that they’re scared of
- Tag and microchip details should all be up to date to ensure the dog can be returned to you as quickly as possible
- Close the curtains to reduce the amount of noise and sound that is generated by the fireworks
Throughout the fireworks …
- Play reggae music! The slow and rounded beat soothes dogs, so get Bob Marley on to calm your dog
- Ditch Mozart! The erratic tempo and the high pitch tones from classical music – once thought to soothe your pet – is actually not as calming as we once thought (Who knew!?!?!)
- Stay at home with your dog and become their safe place. This will reassure them and prevent them from trying to escape or even worse: accidentally hurting themselves in their panic (I don’t like fireworks too, not at this time of year – so I will definitely be staying home with them)
- His Den – make sure that your dog’s favourite place is accessible to them. Whether they like to lie under the table, on – or under – the bed, or in the corner. Make sure their safe place is not obstructed, and they can access this to make them feel more safe
- Reassure your dog. The preconceived idea that you will reinforce your dog’s behaviour when scared is not correct. Reassuring your dog will make you their safe place and be a comfort to them. Make sure you’re calm, as erratic or high-pitched voices will not help. (I’ve found that once George started shaking, there was nothing I could do to stop him. So the preparation is necessary to prevent him going into an obsessive mode.)
- Accidents happen – dogs produce cortisol when they’re anxious which creates an urgent need to go to the bathroom. They cannot help this and should not be reprimanded. If you return home to an accident, then roll that newspaper up and hit yourself, as you should have been at home with your dog! (Ha! Ha! Ha! Love this point!)
Through writing this blog, we are discovering a whole new genre which we will do more research – could be an answer to George’s panting in the car!!!!