The Fourth of July is approaching quickly and if you have pets it is important that you prepare for the festivities.
Remember during the day if you bring your dog to a parade or party bring lots of water. It gets hot in Miami and dogs dehydrate quickly. Look for shady spots to sit around and keep all of your dogs info on their collar for safety reasons.
This is one of the busiest times for veterinarians. So this Independence Day if your dog is a new addition or if your dog has a history of fear from loud noises be aware of your dog. Here are some great ways to prepare yourself this holiday!
1) Know where you are going to be! If you are going to a friends house make sure your dog feels comfortable there. If they are not familiar with the location, try to visit the residence before hand. Making your dog as comfy as possible is important. Comforting your dog during this time is not behavioral incorrect, so hug away!
2) Walk your dog before hand. Getting rid of extra energy will help with anxiety your dog has.
3) If your dog has a history of fear pertaining to noises then ask your vet for some calming medication. This can be vital if your dog is a concern!
4)If you cannot be with your pup than hire a pet sitter or take them to a doggy day care.
5) Set your dog up for success. Prepare your dog ahead of time for noise desensitization. Play music in your house that is calming and gradually increase the volume and tone of the music. When you play the beats reinforce your dog for being calm if they are uncomfortable then lower the volume or change the track to something more calm . This is a gradual behavioral change so this is great technique for next years Independence Day or even hurricane season .
Being prepared this Fourth of July is the best thing you can do for both your dog and your own peace of mind. So have fun and be prepared!!
Dogs that have a fear of people can be a tough to handle. You want your dog to be playful but for whatever the reason ( ie your dogs are rescues) they are scared. Here are some tips to help with getting your dog to be more approachable.
Sit on you sofa bring some treats with you and have them readily available. Don’t move over to your dog, let them slowly come to you. Don’t even coax your dog over, everything with people fears need to be on you dogs own terms. Once your dogs gets with in hands distance show the treat in on open hand on the floor. Slowly your dog will come to and take. Then do it again. Remain very calm and anytime your dog comes up to you, reinforce. Our goal is to make you ( the person) the most reinforcing thing to your dog. Don’t every yell or punish a fearful dog. Also being on your dogs level is a great way to share the playing field. Try sitting on your floor with treats and if your dog comes over calmly( bring extra treats) and while they try to eat the treats very calming pet them.
This should also happen with your friends. Tell your friends to just relax and wait for the dog to come to them. Remember also that outside noises and people will also affect your dog. So go out on days that are not busy and reinforce your dog for remaining calm when you both see someone.
Don’t reinforce your dog if they are exhibiting fear and remember be patient with you dog. If things are on their terms you dog will ease into their new home and meeting new people.
Fear in dogs can be misdiagnosed. Fear can come from a variety of reasons:
1) genetically: dog has a family history of fear
2) fear from circumstance : something in the past has attributed to the fear. ie- dog gets bitten by a another dog and now has developed a fear of dogs.
3) fear based on socialization: a dog that has not been desensitized to people , dogs , objects etc. ie a dog that has never seen a skateboard may shy away or run when a skateboard rolls by.
Reactions to fear :
Dogs react to the different fear types in many different ways
1) scared: probably the most obvious reaction. Dogs will run away from an object or person(s), creating distance from themselves am the object of their fear.
2) lake of motion: another obvious reaction is freezing. The dog will express their fear my standing still ( motionless)
3) fidgeting: this one is less obvious but just as common. Dogs will start expressing their fear through sniffing, eating, digging or scratching.
4) AGGRESSION: this is the fear that is expressed by showing digns of aggression. How works is the dog will bark aggressively or snarl to create distance between themselves and the fear provoking stimulus. (objects people other dogs). Remember that there is an underlying reason for every reaction a dog has. Not every barking or aggressive dog is exhibiting a fear response. That why this particular problem is tough to diagnose.
How to treat:
Treating fear is a slow process. When treating fear some great suggestions are exercise. Physically stimulating your dog helps to release those endorphins and help bring them calm . Also mental stimulation always comes into play. This is why I always tell people to train their dog in basic obedience training. When your dog knows the basics it helps with redirecting and distracting them from uncomfortable stimuli. Remember that fear should be treated with positive reinforcement training. Do not use adversives or dominance training for this since their is a probably that their fear will only be exacerbated.
Fear is complicated! Like all my training advice, this will take a lot of time and patience. I will use specific examples of real life fear situations all this week to explain step by step process of treating fear.