I was in Dahlonega last Wednesday at a new Home Dog Training lesson with our client and his eighteen-month-old English Setter named Archie.  For most of the time, Archie was the “perfect dog”. His major issue, and one that was very important to resolve for our client, was Archie’s crazy behavior when out on walks.  Our client loved to go on strolls around Dahlonega’s square and hikes around the lake.  If he had Archie with him, Archie would go nuts the moment they encountered other people or other dogs. 

Keep your dog safe on the 4th of July

We spent the bulk of our training session taking Archie on a “field trip” to the lake and Dahlonega’s town square. That allowed us to physically observe the problem at hand and the triggers that would engage Archie’s inappropriate behavior. Through the physical use of passive walking tools and the leadership instruction we provided our client, Archie began to walk perfectly. 

Archie quickly began to provide our client with respectful focus the moment he started to misbehave. By the end of our session and “extended field trip”, Archie was constantly giving our client the focus and respect that was needed for a wonderful and enjoyable walk through town or around the lake. Our client was ecstatic with the results we were able to achieve that day and told us that he looked forward to practicing what they had just learned over the coming weeks. 

Since we were able to resolve everything our client wanted to accomplish, I started to wrap up the day’s lesson.  As always, I asked our client if he had anything else he wanted addressed that day. 

He thought for a moment and said that Archie was now a great dog, but he wanted some advice for how he should handle something coming up in the immediate future.  Even though we had walked in town and around the lake, he had never taken Archie to a “really big event”.  Since the 4th of July was just around the corner, he wondered if I had any advice for how he and Archie should handle the festivities.

I began by stating that the two most dangerous days of the year for our dogs are the 4th of July and Halloween.  Since Halloween is still far down the calendar, I will wait until the leaves start to fall before I address that holiday.  On the other hand, the 4th of July is almost upon us. With that said, I would like to share some “best practices” that Robin and I have created from many years of living and working with dogs during the 4th of July.  Please take them to heart as you enjoy this great American Holiday with your family, friends, and family dog:

  • Please, please, please, never take your dog to the local fireworks show.  Let him remain at home where he can be comfortable, safe, and secure.
  • If you must go out in the car with your dog, never leave him alone, unattended in the car. Many people think that this is fine because they will “just crack the window”. A “cracked window” does not keep the car cool.  Your dog will be in danger due to the possibly extreme temperature and the “cracked window” will give “bad people” an easy opportunity to take your dog.
  • Always have your dog’s proper identification attached to his collar.  Even though you think he may remain in the house, he may run out because of all the loud noises.  If he doesn’t have one, get your dog’s veterinarian to implant an ID chip in your dog.  Make sure that the contact information associated with the chip is complete and up to date.
  • Think about getting a GPS tracker for your dog’s collar.  In the event he gets out of the house, you can use the tracker to locate and retrieve him.
  • Never leave your dog outside when you think there will be loud noises from the fireworks. If you must leave him outside, put a heavy blanket (horse blankets are great) to muffle any loud sounds he may encounter.
  • Create 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 often become destructive when they are frightened. If you can’t employ our “crate suggestion”, take out any items in the room that he can easily destroy or chew.
  • Never allow your dog in the vicinity of the front or back doors during the time when fireworks are taking place. Because of the stress placed on your dog because of the fireworks, he may become overly adrenalized when someone comes in or goes out the doors.  Although not meaning to hurt anyone, his heightened adrenaline may cause inappropriate jumping and nipping.  He could also run out the door.
  • Keep your windows and curtains drawn to decrease the noise and bright flashes caused by the fireworks.
  • Create “normal white noise” to distract your dog from the noise of the fireworks.  Leave a TV turned on to a show you normally watch or stream Pandora through your computer speakers.  Don’t “blast the sound”, but keep it loud enough to provide an alternative, audible stimulus to replace the noise of the fireworks.
  • With all of this said, we strongly recommend that you remain with your dog while the fireworks are taking place. Dogs often react more severely to loud sounds and flashes of lights when you are not with them.
  • If you can’t remain with your dog during the fireworks, think about hiring a pet sitter to stay with your dog while you are away from home. You can also use a family member.

All you have to do is to remember these simple, safety steps during July 4th and both you and your dog will have an excellent holiday!

Please call or text us at (770) 718-7704 if you need any dog training help.  You can also email us at [email protected]. We are blessed to have been your local dog training experts for over nineteen years.  We have trained over 6,000 wonderful dogs and great families and are ready to help you.