Dogs and fireworks – the definitive guide to eliminate fear, anxiety, and stress

Everything you need to know to help your dog stay calm during fireworks and thunderstorms.

Is your dog afraid of fireworks? How about thunder?

Keep reading, this blog post contains everything you need to know.

Is your dog not fearful of fireworks, thunder or other loud noise?

Keep reading anyway. That may change, and you should be prepared.

fearful dogs fireworks
It’s the combination of different techniques that produce the best effect (Crowell-Davis et al., 2003: 93%). Nobody’s tried using all the techniques suggested in this blog post, as far as I know.

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4 compelling reasons to feed treats at the vet’s

Treat feeding reduces the animal’s suffering, the owner’s anxiety, handling risks for staff, and improves the quality of the diagnosis.

This post is part of a series on addressing animals’ fear in the veterinary clinic.

Why feed treats? The technical term is counterconditioning (CC), and that is about changing associations, and feeding fabulous treats, in order to reduce fear.

feeding

Continue reading “4 compelling reasons to feed treats at the vet’s”

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Systematic desensitization – essential to reducing fear

One of the sharpest tools in the training tool box.

I’ve posted a few blog posts recently about ways of reducing fear in animals. Today’s topic is fundamental in that tool box: systematic desensitization.

I know, ten syllables. And yet, it’s one of the most important tools in animal training, so… let me explain it, and perhaps it will be easier to digest. Let’s call it SD for short. Continue reading “Systematic desensitization – essential to reducing fear”

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4 reasons why habituation is not a good choice of technique to reduce fear at the vet’s

It’s slow, potentially dangerous, the animal may become more fearful or learn to give up (a pathological condition).

If you’ve read my other posts in this series, you know I’ve been promoting counterconditioning (or re-learning) as one of the best techniques to reduce fear in the veterinary clinic.

You might be thinking: “Aaaaw, that’s too much of a hassle, there’s no time. Why not just grab the animal, do what needs to be done, and with time, the animal will get used to it? It will habituate.”

There are four reasons why I don’t think that’s a good idea:

  • If it works, it’s a slow process
  • Meanwhile, you risk injury in staff handling the animal and difficulty in diagnosis.
  • You run the risk of sensitization (the animal becoming successively more fearful)
  • You risk confusing it with learned helplessness (animals giving up; a potentially pathological reaction)

Continue reading “4 reasons why habituation is not a good choice of technique to reduce fear at the vet’s”

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One of the 5 most important words in animal training: counterconditioning

The power of re-learning.

I collaborate with a vet who claims that many of the dogs that visit her facility are so eager to get inside the door that they pull their owners by the leash all the way from the parking lot.

Her secret?

*drumroll*

Coun-ter-con-di-tio-ning.

Six syllables. I know, most people tune out beyond four. But I still think you should learn this particular term. Why?

Because it’s one of the most important techniques in animal training (arguably top five). It may be the difference between your dog eagerly pulling to get to the vet’s, or shaking like a leaf on the examination table. Continue reading “One of the 5 most important words in animal training: counterconditioning”

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