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With the build up to Diwali celebrations, firecrackers are every where but loud noises and unpleasant sounds of crackers may leave your pet dog all jittery, wanting to escape the boisterous situation. Dogs with no associated past trauma to loud sounds too fall prey to anxiety and fearful response such as howling, barking, shivering and extreme salivation. Often behavioural issues will stem from fright and involve either running away to a safe haven or destructive behaviors such as chewing/digging to vent feelings of fear. Surely dog parents would want to deal with the situation before it worsens and behavioural issues persist taking an ugly turn.
While these tips may ease the canine, The focus will lay on blocking the cause of anxiety and creating a comfortable environment for the pet.
This approach will require you to record a fire cracker sound and thereafter playing the tape at a very low volume in front of the dog. The low intensity will prevent the formation of fear in the pooch. Simultaneously feed the dog with its favorite pet food or treat so that it can associate the noise to something positive occurring with it. You can also play a fun game that the pet enjoys; this will help in linking the sound with a rewarding experience.
The next time you play the tape, increase the volume. Couple it with feeding the pet or playing some game to boost positivity around the session.
With each session spread over weeks increase the volume of the tape. In case the pet exhibits anxiety at any succeeding session, it is best to stop the exercise.
You can however resume the next session by playing the sound at a lower volume that doesn’t affect the pet negatively inducing fear. Space the sessions accordingly, progressing gradually to the next level.
Below are a few Don’ts you must remember while treating the canine’s fear.
Don’t reward the dog or pat it when it is overly fearful. Feeding it with a tasty bone/treat or gently stroking it may further strengthen the fearful response as your puppy/dog may deduce it to be a reward for its anxiety. It is best to assume a neutral stance when the pet acts frightened.
Don’t punish the dog when it shows fear caused by unpleasant sounds.
Don’t put the dog in a crate even if it shows a destructive behavior. It will continue to be terrified and may injure itself badly trying to escape the crate.
Don’t push the dog to be present close to the unpleasant sounds that elicit a fearful response. The sight of people bursting crackers can instill tremendous fright as it may begin to associate those people or children with loud noises. The dog begins to link other things around with the unlikable sounds. Never force it to stay close to any of these things as it may only turn the dog aggressive wanting to evade the situation.