If your dog hates fireworks, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of possible causes and what you can do about it.
So, why does my dog hate fireworks? Possible reasons why your dog hates fireworks are that it is fearful, it triggers a fight or flight response, sensitive hearing or that it has learned that the behavior gets rewarded.
Since there are a number of possible causes, it would help to consider what would make each of them more likely. Once you have a good idea of the main cause, it should become a lot easier to get your dog to stop doing it.
Why your dog hates fireworks
Below are a number of possible causes and what would make each of them more likely to be the main reason.
The reason could be that the fireworks causes it to become fearful. This would be more likely if it shows signs of being fearful which can include:
- Flattening its ears
- Licking its lips
- Hiding its tail
A fight or flight response
It might be the case that the loudness of the fireworks gives your dog a fight or flight response where it becomes highly alert quickly in order to be prepared to take action if necessary. This would be more likely if your dog becomes anxious as well when it hears the noises.
In this case, it would help to try to let it stay in a quieter room and to follow the other tips mentioned below.
Dogs have better hearing than we do and they can hear higher-pitched sounds too. When they hear the fireworks, it will seem much stronger to them than it does to us which is likely to be a reason why yours starts behaving differently when it hears them.
It feels the vibrations
It might also be the case that your dog feels vibrations, in the ground, from the fireworks. This would be more likely if it hates fireworks even when it is not able to see the flashing light from them.
Encouraging the behavior
It might also be the case that you have been encouraging it by giving it rewards when it does it. If you tend to give it things such as toys, treats or extra attention, when it starts behaving differently, it might be a part of the reason why it barks more.
It might be worth trying to reward it whenever it shows signs of not behaving differently, to try to distract it before it starts barking and to get it to go to a quieter room.
What to do about your dog hating fireworks
Below are some things you can do about your dog hating fireworks.
Let it go to a quieter room
If there is a room in the house that is well insulated from the noise, it might be worth trying to get your dog to stay in that room when there are fireworks. By doing so, it should help to reduce the reaction it has to them.
Another option would be desensitization training, this is where you get it used to hearing the sounds so that they stop bothering it. To do this, you could play the sounds of fireworks quietly from your phone when playing with it so that it has a positive association with the sounds.
It could also help to give it things to be distracted with when there are fireworks. Things you could give it would include toys, bones or puzzle games.
Mask the noise with something else
It could also help to try to mask the noise by playing other sounds, such as rain sounds, from your phone when there are fireworks.
Avoid encouraging the behavior
It would also help to encourage it to stop hating fireworks by rewarding it when it does not do it and not rewarding it when it does. Doing this should help to teach it that, if it behaves calmly, it will get rewards.
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog hates fireworks.
What is different when it does not bark
If it does not always seem to hate fireworks, it would help to consider if there is anything different when it does not do it. For example, if it does not do it when it is in a certain room, it might be the case that the sound from the fireworks is not very loud in that room.
The body language it shows
It would also help to consider what other body language your dog has been showing when it behaves that way. If it shows signs of excitement such as by wagging its tail and running around you, it could be the case that it has learned that the behavior gets rewarded. Whereas, if it shows signs of anxiety by doing things such as hiding, crying or making itself appear smaller, it would be more likely that the fireworks are causing it to be anxious.