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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
My last 2 GSD's were petrified and it was a lifelong problem with them going into total panic mode.

This one, Summer - I exposed her @ 14 weeks old - 6 mos % 1 year. She's an adult now (2) with an adult mandate. Fireworks booths have gone up and people are lighting them within 50 feet of our house... I chased some kids off an hour ago but many throw them from cars.

Summer looks to me for how to react.... the windows are open which is a rare 2-3 months of the year when they are usually closed because AC or heat is on.... so it's hyper loud right now.

Question.... Like other stuff I've been told here - my reaction will key her reaction...my response will key her response....If I don't acknowledge - she'll make small woofs and I can feel her drilling holes in my head WHAT IS THE RESPONSE HERE MOM?" By doing nothing, I feel like I'm breaking training with her....

I don't think ignoring her is right... I don't think redirect is right... she's pretty much beyond needing that... She totally goes silent when I tell her to or raises heck when I tell her yes, something's wrong.

How do I deal with this? I quietly tell her it's ok and she lays down right beside me - but apprehensive... because she's an adult now and wants to know why I'm being dumb over the situation....????

Normally, I've trained her to alert to "not normal" sounds - this is certainly that - so my response must be frustrating to her.... she does not like it - I feel like a partner off normal alertness letting her down and I think she sees it that way...:frown2:
 

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I know they're a fire hazard, especially for our area, but get out and enjoy them. Do something fun with her while they're being let off. Play tug, fetch or whatever games she likes and It'll will help her create a positive association. Another thought, getting after the people setting them off may end up being counter productive. You react and she may pick up on this.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
I know they're a fire hazard, especially for our area, but get out and enjoy them. Do something fun with her while they're being let off. Play tug, fetch or whatever games she likes and It'll will help her create a positive association. Another thought, getting after the people setting them off may end up being counter productive. You react and she may pick up on this.

Thanks Nigel - We're normally in bed at 9 and up at 5 (that's daylight and dark) this time of year as you know. (Ain't it great!)

The thing...probably my head trip is I'm very involved right now on training Summer on house/yard perimeter guarding and this is a conflict in her training. Unusual noises are key to her alerting me. Do I want to simply "redirect" or make it fun for her at this point??


I think it's valid - my last GSD was not good with loud noises and the paint cans exploding in my next door neighbors house set him off and when I saw the flames called 911 - almost took our house with it 4 alarm. "Smoke and I sat on a curb across the street for 4 hours till that 3 story house burnt into the basement.... me in PJ's with a firemans jacket over me and Smoke on a belt leash.

I'll not forget the 911 call I made... "Is there anyone inside"... "I don't know, I hear screaming" "My dog just woke me up".. "Oh my God, the huge tree in my yard's of fire", "You need to leave your house NOW- Walk out into the street", Officers are on their way". NOW!!! STAY ON THE PHONE WITH ME"!, Then the power in my house started "swimming" and went dead....

I want Summer to alert to noises that are not normal.... not just redirect. Would she know the difference if I train her to ignore really loud out of the ordinary noises???
 

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My first german shepherd enjoyed fireworks. She was conditioned by my young son not to be scared of the noise. I remember her relaxing next to my son when he was a little boy, having fun banging toy gun caps with a rock. One night there was an (illegal) impromptu fireworks display which my family enjoyed from our balcony. I watched my dog walk out of the garage to watch the display, and when it finished, turning around and going back inside. If you enjoy the noise, Summer will pick up on that, if you are distressed and disturbed by the noise, she will pick up on that.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I've done that with her and they don't seem to bother her if she can see them and knows I'm aware of them. A different story with the "unseen" ones and the one's the kids set off here close to the house. I'm about 200 feet from the fireworks stand they set up every year. I guess just ignoring is the thing to do.

I'll sit with her on the couch again this time around and we'll watch them out the window.:smile2: I was hoping to leave her in the house and walk the 4 blocks to the lake and watch them but I don't know how she'd react alone.
 

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If I was that close to the fireworks show I would not leave my dog alone. That is just me. I once did live that close with a shepherd that did not like fireworks and I tranquilized her every fourth. Thankfully (weird to say that), fire danger is so high here that illegal fireworks throwers are very very rare.

I just grin and bare it. I really dislike this holiday as it is just a stupid drunk fest by me. Nothing about this nation's independence as far as I can tell.

Good luck.
 

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If I was that close to the fireworks show I would not leave my dog alone. That is just me. I once did live that close with a shepherd that did not like fireworks and I tranquilized her every fourth. Thankfully (weird to say that), fire danger is so high here that illegal fireworks throwers are very very rare.

I just grin and bare it. I really dislike this holiday as it is just a stupid drunk fest by me. Nothing about this nation's independence as far as I can tell.

Good luck.
The 4th is so much fun here. It carries the "American Hero's Day" theme. There's a huge parade all sorts of events, then in the evening the crowd swells to about 50,000 and there is a candlelight vigil held for fallen heroes who gained our independence. Then huge stage speakers (set atop a 2 story building on the lake) play music and the fireworks are set off from a barge on the lake and timed to the music.

Tahoe wasn't much on the 4th. We lived in the Regan Beach area for a while where they used to set the fireworks off - not much of a show. New Years Eve was pretty fun though when they shut the street down to traffic in front of the casino's. One big party:smile2:
 

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At first my dogs are afraid of it. When the fireworks will start they will run and hide. But now they already enjoy when have fireworks.
 

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Rather than leave her behind what about taking her to a nearby spot to watch them with her? Would the Tubbs hill area be ok?
 

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I have observed mine for a while now. My older golden has gotten more nervous has he gets older but still not bad. This is what I notice.....If we are inside and they hear it, they bark, I say it's ok and they lay back down. If they are outside and hear them they ignore them and keep doing whatever they are doing. When it comes to guns, they tend to alert me. When Robyn and Midnite did the temperament test they didn't even acknowledge the gun shot. There was a murder in the building I used to live in and Misty my oldest went nuts and kept running to the door, we didn't know it was a gun shot at the time.

They seem to know the difference in different circumstances.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Rather than leave her behind what about taking her to a nearby spot to watch them with her? Would the Tubbs hill area be ok?

Lol - Tubbs is where we used to throw the M-80's we got at the rez.>:)>:) She's never been in large random chaos. I think the walk down thru the masses and back would be no fun for her anyway.

I feel bad for the dogs that people take down to watch. They look pretty confused and not too happy. We average over 20 dogs lost on the 4th. Every year the HS publishes an article and says don't bring them and every year people do.
 

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Max is okay with the fireworks as they have been lighting them around here often but he is not okay with the big block busters which sounds like an explosion in our front yard. Even though fireworks are illegal our neighbors light these block busters off a few houses away. I don't mind fireworks and like to watch the pretty ones but the big block busters- I don't see the charm in it. I swear sometimes I think the ground shakes. It is incredibly loud and max will bark crazy everytime - his hair stands on his back and looks like a big huge bubble on his upper back. Sometimes I have to laugh-he looks like a ninja turtle and often stands up on his back legs while he jumps on our sliding glass door. I will tell him to leave it and give him a treat as he does. But then it goes off again about three-4 times in a row- a few nights a week. I can get him to stop barking with leave it but can't prevent it. So we plan to have 4th of July so we can be home. Put the music up to Dim out the sounds of the pretend bombs.
 

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My big girl didn't like popping noises at all....

Whether it was fireworks or gun shots, any kind of sharp abrasive noise



I shoot competitively and the first and only time I took her to one of my shoots....turned out to be a bad deal for me.

Our Motorhome was parked about 400 yds from where we were shootin, and in the road to the camp site was a cattle guard. One of my friends brought a fully auto rifle to demonstrate.

I didn't give any thought to what was going to happen, I was holding her collar and when he let go with the rifle, she LEFT the area.....pulled me down to the ground and about 10 feet, in gravel (thus bad for me) My thoughts were about the cattle guard she was going to cross, probably going to break a leg....

after i got her on the other side of the cattle guard, I unleashed her.....and she bailed...never seen her run so fast.

Moral of the story.....she hated popping sounds
 

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I took Simon out during a windstorm into the back yard and played fetch. It got his mind off of the howling, and into play. He was a bit unsettled by the wind that first big storm, but is fine now with wind storms.

He is okay with fireworks, but I still go out at night on the 4th and play fetch to reinforce a positive association.

I understand about training Summer. I am in the same frame of mind with Simon in my downtown neighborhood. The thing is that GSDs are so darn smart, that it will not work against your training to re-direct with fireworks, IMO. She can tell the difference between a noisy few weeks that require no intervention by her and when to alert you to activity on or near your property.

BTW--great job on the sign you posted :) Is it still working? And--so glad to see your regular name when posting!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
That's exactly what I was wondering - if a couple of weeks disruption would reverse training. Thanks! And, yes:) the sign is still working. The occasional car still disregards but it's ok, nothing like it was. Think I still have to go to the city though before the new bar on the corner opens up. The new city administrator just started the job 10 days ago. I'm a little nervous he's going to go by the book and not really listen to what's going on. The Mayor always handled this stuff and he grew up in this neighborhood and he's come to several of our meetings to help protect it against undesired development.
 

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Lol - Tubbs is where we used to throw the M-80's we got at the rez.>:)>:) She's never been in large random chaos. I think the walk down thru the masses and back would be no fun for her anyway.

I feel bad for the dogs that people take down to watch. They look pretty confused and not too happy. We average over 20 dogs lost on the 4th. Every year the HS publishes an article and says don't bring them and every year people do.
Makes no sense to bring a dog to a fireworks show if they're that terrified, owners should be aware of any stress signals their dog may be displaying. We have taken our girls a few times and they'll watch the show for a few minutes then its back to working my kids over hoping for a treat.
 

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I have a weird dog. She's totally fine with fireworks if she's out and about. She's less happy about them if we're in the house, but like a prior poster said, playing with her during that time helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Mine is getting some pretty good noise exposure right now - great timing (B4 the 4th). They are re-roofing a flat top commercial building 10 feet across the alley. Lots of noise, people, banging, big dump trucks. She's cool and calm - I acknowledged then ignored, she does too. She woofed a couple of times the first hour of all the commotion but now, it's like part of the scenery to her. It's pretty amazing - I just might sneak down on the 4th for 1/2 hour to watch the fireworks, leave her with ac's & music going.

The real neighborhood fireworks "wars" don't go full blast until the pro fireworks are over anyway. I'm only 4 blocks away so if I ride my bike I can be home within 10 minutes after they're over. We'll see how she does on the day of the 4th. If she seems to be ignoring them - I might try it.

My last GSD was fine with them the first 2 years, then a neighbor moved in next door and their dog was totally flipped out. Dug under the fenceline (on a chain) and I found the two huddled together in my yard. From that day on - mine had the phobia.
 

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Fireworks have begun here in my neighborhood. I never gave them a second thought since rosko was with us as a 9-10 week old pup last year and was fine with them. He has been with me many times while shooting guns and it never phased him. I can stand with him beside me and unload a 7 round magazine out of my 45 and he'll just look up at me and smile. However, he has been a nervous wreck all night. He hates these darn fireworks. I have tried yawning, sighing, acting like the bangs are the most boring thing in the world. He's still running around scared. Makes no sense to me.
 
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