Fireworks – What if your dog could go temporarily deaf around November 5th?

fireworks1We talk of management in many behavioural situations, but apart from drawing the curtains and turning up the TV, management is rarely mentioned where noise phobias are concerned – particularly fireworks. There are desensitisation protocols, most especially Through a Dog’s Ear that combines specially tailored behavioural work with scientifically prepared music.

But what about removing the threat altogether? In effect making the dog deaf to the sounds?

I quote EpicFireworks site: Ear muffs for dogs, at last…..This ingenious invention from pilot, Michelle Macguire was designed initially to spare her dog the fear that he felt everytime they went flying together.

I remember hearing about these a while ago and, believing them to be a dressing-up item, thinking ‘daft’. In the light of more knowledge I now think ‘what an obvious idea’.

Amazon now sells them here in the UK also. Here are a couple of feedbacks:

‘I don’t often eat my own words, but when I have to, I do so humbly. I purchased through Amazon, because I was sure I’d be returning them. I would have bet money that my dog would not tolerate these in the plane, but she did. She pawed them off once, and I think she could tell the difference. My wife put them back on, and for the remainder of the 2 hour flight, she wore them proudly. Granted, the plane is really loud, but I still didn’t expect her to wear them so well.’

Two little dogs wearng ear-muffs, courtesy of hoppiesdoggies.co.uk

Two little dogs wearng ear-muffs, courtesy of hoppiesdoggies.co.uk

Another: I purchased these “mutt muffs” for my austrailian cattle dog who was very upset by the sound of our guns when we go out in the desert target practicing. Since he wears his Muffs he is calm and relaxed and enjoys the trip without fear.

I have also asked on a coule of Facebook groups for feedback and find that blocking the dogs ears one way or another is very effective with most dogs – or at least those dogs whose owners have introduced them carefully – and we still have a couple of weeks. It seems the sound doesn’t have to blocked out completely for them to be effective either.

To quote a contact of mine: ‘I introduced them the same way as a muzzle. She doesn’t like anything on her – I was shocked at how ok she was with the mutt muffs. She has severe anxiety for heavy rain as well and the mutt muffs worked for that. She has a safety area she goes to and she even lay down with them on. Cotton wool worked in her ears too. I checked with vet and got the ok.

In this clip Chirag Patel shows how to go about desensitising to a muzzle so that the dog just loves his muzzle, and the method is just the same.

It is important not to put them on for the first time when noise has already started because then they are likely to be associated with fear rather than with happiness and food. Then they may instead become yet something more to scare the dog who may refuse to wear them.

Here is the story of a dog I went to recently that was scared of every sound including things we humans can’t hear – and this started with fireworks.

This is my main website with stories of other dogs I have been to www.dogidogco.uk

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About Theo Stewart

I am a dog Behaviourist (INTODogs-ABTC - AAB) and trainer covering Beds, Herts, Cambs and Bucks, a 'Victoria Stilwell' Positively Dog Trainer (VSPDT) and a member of the IMDT. Graduate ISCP, International School for Canine Practitioners. My main site: www.dogidog.co.uk
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