Phobia of sudden loud noises, such as fireworks, can be a major problem for dogs. Although fireworks season may seem a long way off, preparation in advance can prevent noise phobias.
The best time to socialise a dog is when they are a puppy. Dogs that are safely and gradually exposed to many different experiences, including loud noises, during their essential socialisation period of 3 to 16 weeks of age, are often able to cope more effectively with novel, frightening sounds.
Here you can see Greenbay puppy Henry, as he listens to some of the sounds, in this video.
The Dogs Trust website has free downloads available, together with their corresponding how-to-guides, contain a collection of specifically recorded noises that all puppies need to get used to, including domestic noises, traffic, fireworks and thunder.
The programmes can also be used in adult dogs, gradually over 8 weeks or so. It involves playing the noises at a really low level (low enough so that your dog will not react or panic when they are playing). Once they are ok at the lowest volume you then increase by a small level each time, again waiting until they are settled while it is playing. If they panic at any point then it is important to take a step back to the lower level until they are happy again.
If your dog already has a phobia of loud noises, then please seek advice from a behaviourist first.
Adaptil diffusers can also be helpful to create a calm environment for your dog during desensitisation and the fireworks season. The makers of Adaptil have created a fab guide to helping your dog, which you can download here.
For more advice, or to be referred to a behaviourist, get in touch with a member of our team.