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Well the time is upon us for fireworks. I was just curious what everyone’s opinion was on getting their dogs used to it. Our girl hasn’t really been exposed to anything like that yet and wasn’t sure what the best route was. Act normal like nothing is going on? Pet her and try to keep her calm if she gets scared? I know they make thunder shirts but I don’t want to have to use that. She might also be fine but just looking for input.

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If you have a basement, it may help to sit in the basement with your dog as the noise will be less prevalent underground. We have a finished basement so I'll probably just sit down here all night with the dogs.
 

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I would say make sure she is secure and isn't somewhere outside with a low fence or something that she she could overcome and flee...plenty of dogs go "through" stuff when they are really frightened.

If she has never been exposed, she may not even react. So hopefully that is the outcome. Has she reacted to thunderstorms or other sudden booms/noises? If she hasn't I say don't borrow trouble, just act like nothing is going on and see how SHE reacts first.

Normally I would say gradually see how she does with loud noises from distances and stuff, slowly over time..and don't flood her. But, it is the day before 4th of July so it is kind of a baptism by fire thing, if you live on a type of block where people are going to suddenly let stuff off.

As for how you should react- my trainer has this great saying when it comes to how he taught us to deal with our fearful pit mix. "Nothing is nothing". Just act like nothing is wrong. If she is secure and cant get away just act calm like nothing is out of the ordinary. Soothing, using calming tones that sound like praise, from what I was told this is a way to inadvertently reward/validate the fear. Neutrality on your part and gradual introductions to what fears them without flooding them is the way to go. But, like I said, if people crack em off right outside your property tomorrow it will be hard to not flood. Guess you will know right away if she is ok with it or not!

Good luck! I know, this time of year is the pits for some animals and kids/people :/
 

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Well the time is upon us for fireworks. I was just curious what everyone’s opinion was on getting their dogs used to it. Our girl hasn’t really been exposed to anything like that yet and wasn’t sure what the best route was. Act normal like nothing is going on? Pet her and try to keep her calm if she gets scared? I know they make thunder shirts but I don’t want to have to use that. She might also be fine but just looking for input.

Thanks
I take the same approach as I do to storms. I make sure they are securely and safely contained and turn it into a party. When Shadow was a puppy we went outside with yummy treats and the very best toys and gave her a positive association. That said if your pup displays fear or anxiety, get her somewhere secure, use a TV or stereo to muffle the noise and go on about your business. DO NOT comfort or coddle, it justifies the fear and can actually escalate it. Be aware that frightened dogs can and will do massive damage to themselves in efforts to escape. I have seen them go right through windows, door and fences. So if you choose to take her outside, make sure she is securely leashed and unable to slip her collar (this is where martingale collars come in handy). If she shows indications of escalating fear, get her in somewhere secure!
 

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I've been pretty lucky that over the years I've only had one dog afraid of fireworks. (and the way she was first exposed I don't blame her).

I keep in mind that it might hurt their ears. It might be OMG hot outside. They might get tired of waiting around wondering why we are spending 45 minutes staring at the sky. There might be too many drunks around. So even though our dogs don't seem to be bothered by fireworks, distance is our friend. If we watch we make sure we aren't right next to the display or revelers.

Back when I had my dog who didn't like them, I just pretended they were nothing. She didn't really believe me but it helped her deal with them.
 

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I hate the fireworks more than my dogs do, I think! I live right next door to a golf course that loves to have a big fireworks display. It rattles my windows and drives me nuts. They were going off this past Friday night, and Scarlet would bark every time. I turn on two TVs and close the dog door until it passes.
 
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We just enjoy them and our dogs don’t mind them at all. We have a new pup and I’m thinking he’ll do fine, he has not reacted to any of the random neighborhood fireworks so far. A dog with decent nerves should be ok as long as there is no negative associations with the fireworks.
 

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The fireworks by my house aren’t the little ones you shoot off yourself. These are the big ones. It’s toooooo close to my house (about a football field away) and obnoxiously loud. Scarlet barks, and the other two just stare at me. I’ve turned into a grumpy old person.
 

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Mine aren’t affected at all. Our trainer did a few sessions of noise training. Mine didn’t even react at all. He sat there and looked bored. I have never had a dog afraid of noise, so I can’t help you. Don’t assume yours will be. Although an emergency vet told me the 4th is the most dangerous holiday for dogs. They are busy all night long that night every year.
 

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Our first GSD was terrified of storms and fireworks. When she knew a storm was coming (and I didn't), she would literally come and get me and walk me to a closet where I kept her herbal calming supplement!





I sent our breeder some cd's of fireworks and all types of gun fire and she played them for the pups. So far, the early pre 4th noise has not bothered him (11 weeks old). I've been playing the cd's almost every day for the last 2/3 weeks.


Years ago, I did this for our last 2 puppies and they never had an issue with loud noises.



It's kinda too late now, but you may want to "desensitize" him to this and possibly other noises.



They say to start the volume very low during feeding times and then increase as you see fit.


Turn up the tv and put on some "white noise" from your i-phone wherever he is laying!



Wishing you the best for tonite!

Moms :)
 

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Has anyone have a dog that could care less about them, then start to react to them years later? Up until Rusty was 6, he didn’t care about them at all. Then one year cared. He barks, hair stands up like he’s totally peeved at them. He just turned 8. He has been to the range several times with my husband, gun fire zero response.

My puppy doesn’t blink a eye at them. My area really lets them off.
 

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Never had any issues with any of my Shepherds. Ozzy joined us at the firework show 2 days ago and never had an issue. He showed us as a wee pup noise thunderstorms did not bother him.

I would not coddle a pup if they are scared you just reinforce the behavior a nice quiet crate with a bone could help. I would also use a toy of food for distraction.

Some pics of Ozzy watching the show
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for all the feedback. I was kind of thinking the same things, just wanted to see what everyone else’s opinions were. If I thought about it ahead of time I would have prepared a little better. I guess we will see how it goes.
 

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Keep distance if you can, and let your dog out pee early so they don't have to go out during the worst of it. Make sure their ID is on their collar just in case. Gandalf never had a problem with fireworks until one dark night in the middle of fall (not even close to a holiday) a bunch of teenagers jumped out of a bush in front of us and threw fireworks at him. It was also during a fear stage for him, and he has not been the same ever since. We called the police on those kids and they got in trouble but the damage was done. Whenever fireworks are shot he tries to get in our lap and hide his head under our arms, etc. It really sucks. I feel terrible for him, but theres not much you can do besides try to keep them safe. My first shepherd would bark like crazy when they went off, which was annoying. And my second shepherd just refused to go outside but besides that didn't show any other symptoms. I don't think the noise is very pleasant to most dogs.
 

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Has anyone have a dog that could care less about them, then start to react to them years later? Up until Rusty was 6, he didn’t care about them at all. Then one year cared. He barks, hair stands up like he’s totally peeved at them. He just turned 8. He has been to the range several times with my husband, gun fire zero response.

My puppy doesn’t blink a eye at them. My area really lets them off.
That happened with my first shepherd, I think maybe when their hearing starts to go they think its a door knocking or something.
 

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Yeah, my big male seemed to be bothered by them more as he got older, especially when I moved to a house that was very close to a military base. When they were practicing with the artillery, or controlled explosions, he'd hide in the bathroom.

Thunder storms he was okay with, but with fireworks, he'd get rather clingy. I remember being outside weeding one night, just at dusk, when the fireworks started. I was bent over with my legs spread, and he lay down right between my feet! If we were inside, he'd lie as close to me as he could. He didn't whine or pant, so his fear obviously wasn't that bad.

He'd sometimes bark at gunfire, but didn't really seem that scared of it. He'd spent his younger days in an area where he probably heard it frequently during the hunting season.
 

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I have two dogs, purebred GSD and stray mix.

None of them could care less about fireworks or thunders. When storm or fireworks come I just don't react to it at all. Don't call them, don't pet them, don't lock them inside of house...just continue with what I was doing. I just don't mind it at all and so don't they.
 

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Oh. My. Goodness.

Gandalf, you handled that much better than I would have. Someone would have had to call the police on ME. I believe that I would have beat the pee-mortal snot out of those kids. But that is the detention officer in me coming out.

I am interested to see how Genali does. We live in a rural area, so its not too bad. I do hate it though. The noise stirs up the deer and the deer stir up the fence line. Makes the goats and cattle nervous.

We d have gunfire a lot in my area due to hunters, coyotes and target practice sessions. I haven't had Genali around gunfire yet (I really need to do that soon!), but she does react to the sound of gun fire by going to the closest door and growling this really low scary growl. I imagine that fireworks will bring out the same reaction. I will ignore her. She is only 5 months, but sometimes I am really glad that she is on my side.



Keep distance if you can, and let your dog out pee early so they don't have to go out during the worst of it. Make sure their ID is on their collar just in case. Gandalf never had a problem with fireworks until one dark night in the middle of fall (not even close to a holiday) a bunch of teenagers jumped out of a bush in front of us and threw fireworks at him. It was also during a fear stage for him, and he has not been the same ever since. We called the police on those kids and they got in trouble but the damage was done. Whenever fireworks are shot he tries to get in our lap and hide his head under our arms, etc. It really sucks. I feel terrible for him, but theres not much you can do besides try to keep them safe. My first shepherd would bark like crazy when they went off, which was annoying. And my second shepherd just refused to go outside but besides that didn't show any other symptoms. I don't think the noise is very pleasant to most dogs.
 

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Has anyone have a dog that could care less about them, then start to react to them years later? Up until Rusty was 6, he didn’t care about them at all. Then one year cared. He barks, hair stands up like he’s totally peeved at them. He just turned 8. He has been to the range several times with my husband, gun fire zero response.

My puppy doesn’t blink a eye at them. My area really lets them off.

Sabi was not afraid of anything. Train cars smashing together, CAT's driving around, gunfire, fireworks, cattle moving through chutes, fireworks, storms. You name it, she was cool with it. Her and I stood in a field for 3 hours doing a tornado watch for a huge event, lightning and thunder all around us, not even a twitch.

When she was about 7 she developed this sudden fear of electrical storms, and I mean all out climbing walls panic, but only in a house or building. If we were outside or in a patrol vehicle she was absolutely fine. And she continued to be unaffected by other loud noises, it was only storms and only inside.
 
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