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Keeping Calm Under Fireworks! – Podcast 32

Caroline is here to tackle the rapidly approaching Holidays and what we can do to ensure our dogs remain calm, happy and safe by using her ‘Five to Thrive’ method, covering every aspect of your dog’s life, including; how you walk with your dog, how you re-join and give them affection, how you play together and how you feed them.

As mentioned throughout, two really helpful tools for calming a stressed dog are our own Calm and Balmy and ‘iCalm Pet’, both of which are superb at calming down distressed dogs!

For further information on keeping your dog safe, read this handy blog post here!

0:20 Welcome!

1:28 Five to Thrive!

1:57 How do you know your dog is stressed?

2:20 It’s not what you say, it’s what you do.

3:44 Calm and Balmy!

5:20 Diverting Your Dogs Attention

6:30 Calming Signal

6:45 Jumping Up

7:35 Does your dog like to be alone when stressed?

8:00 Shut the curtains and pop on ‘iCalmPet’

9:15 What to do when your dog barks

10:06 What to do when your dog freezes

11:11 When the noise is inescapable?

11:58 Halloween!

As well as the ‘Five to Thrive’, it’s also extremely important to think about and work on techniques to help your special friend during any situation where they appear anxious or fearful. Situations such as fireworks going off and trick or treaters coming to the door for example, two situations we are able to make sense, but sadly our dogs cannot.

With all dogs being individuals, sometimes it can be difficult to determine exactly what they are feeling but if your dog is stressed, there could a few stand out, tell tail signs you might notice.

Your dog may be unable to settle and restless, pacing up and down the house while panting in a panicked manner. Another clear sign of distress would include your dog curling up and shaking or maybe their eyes are unusually wide, with their ears pinned back or perhaps they begin to jump up more than usual.

Although it can be distressing seeing someone we care about so much clearly in a very distressed state, it’s important to remember that’s it’s not what you say but what you do that will help them!

Just like when dealing with a stressed person, if you talk fast and repeatedly say things such as ‘Come on, come on!’ or ‘It’s okay, it’s okay!’, just like when dealing with a person, our dogs stress will only be increased.

A dog’s natural calming signal whilst in a stressful situation is to turn their head away, something I’m sure we have all seen, so if your dog is showing signs of being stressed, please don’t make eye contact or stare at them directly.

With fireworks in mind, if your dog is particularly rattled by the noise or even the vibration, take them for a nice gentle, daytime plod, avoiding any play that will get them all fired up. The point of this is to keep them in a nice, relaxed state throughout the day.

If your dog dashes behind the sofa and shakes when hearing loud noises (or for any other reason!) we suggest you cover that space with a blanket and when they run and hide, just sit beside them and gently put your arm around them. There’s no need to say anything in this situation but instead think about the energy you are giving off. Breathe in a calm, measured, nice and slow manner, after all, our energy has a huge impact on our dogs mood, so being able to give of these signals to our pets can be huge in helping them calm down.

Is your dog pacing and panting, eyes wide with their ears pinned back and cannot settle? The best thing you can do in this situation is to divert their attention away from their fear and onto you. Movement is a really powerful tool so clip them onto their lead and slowly walk them around (not outside, up and down the hallway or somewhere else in doors) and in doing this they will begin to focus on you and their mind will be shifted away from the reason for their distress.

If they jump up and sit wide eyed, almost looking frozen with fear, just put your arm round them and again, don’t feel the need to verbally tell them everything is okay, it’s much more important that you show them! Instead, just take the palm of your hand and gently place it on the side of your dog’s body.

If your dog panics and begins to bark uncontrollably, calmly say ‘That will do’ and gently walk them away from whatever it is they are barking at. Alternatively, some dogs simply freeze when distressed, as said before, all we need to do is bring the dog around to us and give them a loving, calm hold.

Although these tips are sure to be a success on nights such as Halloween, Bonfire Night and New Year’s Eve, it’s better to work on these stresses all year round and to not feel as though you are firefighting on the night, with a dog who is totally unequipped to deal with either loud noises or monsters appearing at the door!

Depending on where you live and if you live in a built up, inner city area and there seems to be no escape from the noise for your dog, it might be worth letting them stay with a friend who perhaps lives in a more rural or quieter area. On top of that, you might also look to find some quiet kennels to help get them out of any unavoidable, triggering situations.

With Halloween in mind, if you are visited by trick or treaters, simply answer the door on your own and leave your dog in a back room, while you are passing out candy. There’s no need for them to get all revved up every time the door goes, especially with them not being able to make sense of who is at the door!

We hope you and your pets stay safe and as stress free as can be during the forthcoming Holidays!

Thanks for reading!

Oliver

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