Fear of fireworks

Does your pet avoid, react or fear fireworks or other loud noises? It's not usually a good idea to subject them to a fireworks display, even though we would like to spend the moment with them, they would most likely prefer to not attend something that is hard on their ears and scares them.

It's great to see posts promoting awareness on how terrifying fireworks can be for pets and other animals. At the same time, it's heartbreaking whenever the post includes the advice that we should not address our dog's fear as it will reinforce it.

That is a wide-spread misconception. Emotions do not get reinforced the same way behaviour does. If your dog needs comfort, reassurance and the nearness of your presence to feel better during and after such a scary experience ------ give your dog what your dog needs! Even better, don't put them in what you know will be a traumatic experience.

If you do decide to take them to see fireworks, this is not a time to withhold any comforting or reassurance on the misplaced notion that your dog will be braver for it next time. It simply does not work like that. There are better strategies for dealing with fear than ignoring it. This is the time to work as a team with your dog to get through the experience together.

Enjoy the festivities this weekend but remember, your dog doesn't celebrate special occasions the way we do and fireworks don't represent a beautiful display of lights and sounds to our pups. If your animal companion fears fireworks, comfort them and let them know they are safe or let them stay home where they already feel safe.

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