4th of July pet training

oceannaJuly 4, 2012

I'd love to hear your ideas and here's mine.

Dogs can get very upset about 4th of July. We can change the dog's mind about fireworks or thunder if we can associate it with something she loves. I do this every year and I'm particularly into it with puppies or any dog having problems.

Every time you hear a boom of fireworks or thunder, go all cheerleader happy and shout "Yay!" Instantly toss several *tiny* treats onto the floor yelling, "Good boy/girl/dog!"

For my dogs, a bag of cat kibbles supplies a kazillion treats and another good thing is it doesn't have to be refrigerated. Notably, my dogs don't free feed (because one would be the Goodyear Blimp if I let him).

If you have a fussy or full dog, you may have to use better treats like meat, cheese, or cooked eggs. Keep treats small, like green pea sized.

Your dog will go from, "I heard a firecracker, and now I'm scared"

to "I heard a firecracker, where's my cookie?"

It works amazingly well. If your dog barked before you could get the treats out, I wouldn't feed him that time.

If your dog is TERRIFIED, you may have to work up to this because it's almost impossible to get a terrified dog to eat. Make a recording of how the fireworks sound in your area tomorrow. Then, play it at extremely low volume when your dog is eating. Play it at every meal. SLOWLY increase the volume over the next few weeks (not days, weeks) until it's at least as loud as the real deal at your house, maybe a teensy bit louder, but don't try to damage your dog's hearing. Refresh Fido's memory with this lesson from time to time. Then you can play it sometimes between meals and toss treats.

You can do the same with cats or birds if you can find a treat your pet loves (such as tuna for cats and a beak swipe of peanut butter on a spoon for birds).

If you're going to be gone on the 4th night, leave your pets in an interior room (no outside walls if you can). Put the radio on. Symphony music is best, but the important thing is to drown out the noise, so you may need rock music depending on the volume at your house.

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Be careful not to reward bad behavior -- so if your dog is barking or shaking like a leaf don't reward that. Look for an improvement in the behavior and reward that instead.

Cat kibbles do not make a good diet for dogs. But a few here and there as an occasional training treat won't hurt. There are lots of different treats you can choose.

When I said symphony was best I meant calm music is best -- if it covers up the noise. You may prefer jazz.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 2:20AM
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I don't have a real problem, but sounds like a good idea..reconditioning their way of thinking...

Oceanna..Why don't you come back to Hot Topics? We miss you.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 2:45PM
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