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Put the myth down: It is the dog owners’ fault, if the dog is scared off fireworks

Pretty much all dog owners know from early on, that the puppy needs to be familiar with the sound of fireworks. The breeder has often started the training and it is continued in the puppy’s new home.

Despite all good intentions, then it’s not possible to imitate a real New Year’s Eve. The fierce gleams, sudden sounds and smell of powder in a big mix, that can’t be streamed from YouTube.

We can to an extend get the dog accustomed to sound training, which will help the dog a little. All dogs are different.

Some a more sensitive mind than others, which means all small impacts the are exposed to are tremendous.

The brain of the dog can only cope with a certain amount of impressions, which has to be processed and used.

A puppy’s skill to handle new impressions is limited and therefore to cope with fireworks is a huge job that often fails. Mainly because the puppy doesn’t have the ability to do it.

The lack of ability to cope is partly due to the many demands we apply to puppy on a daily basis. It already loaded with stimulations,  so New Year’s Eve on top is a huge challenge for the puppy – both hearing, vision and olfaction are challenged.

If you have an older dog that perhaps is suffering from arthritis and reduced vision, then the dog uses a lot of energy on being present and keeping it self together.

It means the excess to handle fireworks (and other situations) will be reduced.

It’s not uncommon for older dogs who in the past have showed no fear of fireworks suddenly responds to it.

Knowing some dogs are not afraid of the fireworks, then far most fear it.

The fear can occur in many disguises. Some bark loudly, hide in the basement, shiver, panting, squeaking or walk around restlessly.

It’s a normal healthy reaction for a dog to respond to the fireworks. The dog hears 4.5 times better than a human being, so New Year’s Eve is loud seen from the dog’s point of view.

When something dangerously shows up, the nerve system of the body reacts and says to watch out. The different stress hormones are being produced. The result can be various, so the dog can fight for itself and handle a dangerous situation.

It’s not natural, not responding to the fireworks, which happens to be dangerous and a threat towards the dog.

A dog is not supposed to learn to cope with shooting off firework since it’s supposed to defend itself.

You can help your dog around New Year by not overly stimulating it, so it’s capacity to cope with the firework is larger.

Read more about how to get safe though New Years here!

With this said, it’s not correct that if the owner trains the dog to loud noises, than the use of firework is no problem.

The use of fireworks should be totally forbidden for the sake of the animals.

By Veterinarian Lise Rovsing and dog trainer Hanne Truelsen