I was at a new Home Dog Training Client last week in Dahlonega helping him with his two-year-old English Setter named Randy. Randy was a great dog but just went crazy when my client would take him on walks through the town square or when they met other people and dogs as they would hike around the lake. We spent most of our training session on a “field trip” to the lake and Dahlonega’s town square so that we could let Randy understand that my client was keeping him safe and he needed to provide respectful focus towards my client to receive the appropriate direction and leadership. Both my client and Randy quickly understood their required roles and Randy showed great improvement.
My client was very happy with the results and looked forward to practicing what they had just learned over the coming weeks. Randy’s overall demeanor became calmer; not only with the walking, but while they were home and just “hanging out”. We had resolved everything my client wanted to accomplish, and I observed no other signs of problems with Randy. I started to wrap up the day’s lesson. As always, I asked my client if he could think of anything else he wanted addressed that day.
He thought for a moment and said that Randy was now a great dog, but he wanted some advice for how he should handle something coming up in the immediate future. He had been with Randy for only about a year and a half. Last year, because of COVID, there were no big events on the 4th of July. This year there were going to be 4th of July events. He wondered if I had any advice for how he and Randy should handle the festivities.
I told my client that this was an excellent question and needs to be addressed by all dog owners in order to keep their dogs safe and secure. Believe it or not, the two most dangerous days of the year for our dogs are the 4th of July and Halloween. I am not going to address Halloween at this time (wait a few months and you can read my post then) but addressing “best practices” for our dogs on the 4th of July is very important. I reviewed what Robin and I often tell our clients regarding their dogs and this great American Holiday:
- Do not bring your dog to a fireworks display. Leave him home where he will be the most safe and comfortable.
- Never leave your dog in the car if you are going out. The old wives’ tale of a partially opened window supplies all the cool air needed is wrong. The car will get dangerously hot and the open window will open up the possibility of someone stealing your dog.
- Have your dog’s proper identification securely fastened to his collar in the event he gets out. Ask your veterinarian about implanting a universal microchip in your dog. Make sure that your vet hospital and animal shelter have your correct contact information in their databases. There are also many services that offer value added features for the microchips.
- Don’t leave your dog outside. If you cannot bring him inside, cover his dog house with a blanket to protect him from the flashes of bright lights and loud sounds. A dog’s sense of hearing is very sensitive and a sound that is loud to us can be painful to him.
- Make a special den-like area in your home where your dog can feel safe. A properly introduced crate or kennel can be a calming place for him.
- Dogs can become destructive when frightened. If you don’t use a crate, remove any items in the room that he might destroy or could hurt him if chewed.
- Keep your dog away from the front and back doors. Because of all the things going on, your dog may be under a lot of stress. This could result in unnecessary injury to others coming or going or cause him to run out the door.
- Keep your windows and the curtains closed to minimize noise and bright flashes.
- Turn on a TV or radio at normal volume to distract your dog from loud noises and help him to relax.
- If possible, stay with your dog while the fireworks are taking place. A dog often reacts more intensely to loud sounds and flashes of lights when you are not with him.
- Consider hiring a pet sitter to stay with your dog while you are away from home.
Follow these simple steps and you and your dog will have a great 4th of July!
Please call Robin or me at (770) 718-7704 if you need any dog training help. We are blessed to have been your local dog training professionals for over sixteen years. We have trained over 5,000 great dogs and loving families and are ready to help you.