Handling Fireworks Night

Fireworks preparation!

Remember remember your dogs this November.

Fireworks are very challenging for some dogs to handle, the sound can be very overwhelming. It can cause some dogs to spiral into a panic and get into a state.

If this were one night that could be predicted, it would make everything easier for us as dog owners, but we all know that it is generally more like a few days, to a few weeks to even a few months of the noises for some of us!

Get prepared NOW. Do you not wait until the night.

Be prepared if you have:

-A puppy, you may not know how they will handle the noises.
-A recently rescued dog. Again you may not know how they will handle these sounds.
-An older dog. An older dog may develop fears as they age that they didn’t previously have in their youth.
-A generally anxious dog. Fireworks could easily be a trigger for dogs who are generally anxious.
-A dog you KNOW is already scared of fireworks.

Start your prep NOW, don’t delay it.

Search “fireworks” in youtube, and play this sound in the background frequently. Ensure its at the lowest volume possible. So as not to distress your dog. This is important.

Play this quietly at a barely audible level for a few days, then increase the volume after a few playthroughs, only increasing the volume by one “notch” each time. If your dog is reacting or showing signs of anxiety- go back a step. Over the coming few weeks increase the volume very slowly. Do not rush this.

By doing this you will help your dog become accustomed to the sounds.

Often people say to me “But my dogs KNOWS when its the computer and when its not real”
Some dogs can become more anxious when they are real, as there will be physical pressure and sounds much closer and higher. However desensitizing them to the sounds at the very least goes a long way.

My top tip for this is to buy a bluetooth speaker, rig it up to your phone or computer. Then place the speaker near a window. This will help give a more realistic effect of the sound and where it comes from.

For my dogs, I will be exposing them to the sounds at very low levels when they are relaxed, and when they are having meals. So they are getting positive associations and associations with relaxation too.


A den/crate can be a great place to let your dog relax and hide from the scary sounds the night will bring.


Top Tips:

-Ensure that your dog’s i.d and microchip details are up to date. Your dog should be safe and secure on fireworks night, but as discussed earlier you cannot always know when people might let them off nearby on other days. Having all contact details up to date will ensure your dog is quickly reunited should anything go wrong.
-Speak to your vet if you are concerned about your dog and how badly they will handle it, they will be able to advise appropriately.


-If your dog is anxious DON’T let them out in the evening on fireworks night. It is NOT worth the risk. Keep them secure.
-DO NOT take your dog out during the fireworks. This will not reduce their fear and will more than likely backfire.
-DO reassure your dog if they approach you when they are anxious. You cannot reinforce a fear in your dog. Your presence will likely provide them with more comfort.


-Try giving your dog a den, such as a crate or quiet place in the house. This will help them feel more secure. One of my dogs prefers the landing or upstairs on fireworks night so he is allowed to sleep there.
-A thundershirt or anxiety wrap can be ideal for some dogs. BUT please get your dog used to wearing it BEFORE fireworks. Some dogs can shut down and become anxious wearing one, refusing to move. Some owners may misinterpret this as a dog who is relaxed, and then when fireworks arrive the dog will be doubly stressed. Ensure your dog is used to wearing one, and being rewarded for moving around in one if they look uncomfortable.


-Sprays and plugins can be helpful, some dogs get on great with Pet Remedy while others do well with adaptil, while some dogs may appear to show no signs of reduced stress with them.
-Dorwest Valerian Drops are fast acting and provide my oldest Whippet Ollie with much relief on fireworks night.

Whatever happens, be there for your dog and prep your dogs well.

Kongs and similar items might help create positive associations and occupy young dogs throughout.

Puppy Nipping

Most pups will bite in certain contexts or situations. Despite popular opinion ignoring won’t help much! If you ignore it the puppy will just create a strong reinforcement history with biting.
Don’t be tempted to scold, shout at or even physically correct your puppy for nipping, this rarely teaches them anything other than the human is scary and you should avoid them! A lot of puppies nip because they are teething, so be sure to give them items to chew on frequently.
Here are a few tips to help with your nippy puppy.

-Redirect your puppy onto a fun toy rather than you. Teach your puppy what you DO want them to bite.
-Only fuss your puppy when they’re calm if they’re sharky.
-Practice “touch” hand targetting frequently
-Teach your puppy handling is good if they’re nipping from frustration when handled
-Ensure your puppy is getting sufficient mental and physical exercise. Snuffle mats are a great way to slow down a manic puppy.
-Ensure your training sessions are short, so as not to build frustration
-Remove yourself or the puppy from the situation
-If it’s the same situation every time, be prepared and prevent! Prevention is far easier! If your puppy has mad zoomies with sharkiness at 5pm every day, at 4.50pm get your puppy a kong/chew (bully sticks, chicken feet, duck necks), snuffle mat or a puzzle toy. Or be prepared depending on the situation with lots of treats to reward what you like and a line on the puppy to remove them from the situation if they do get bitey.
-Fleece toys are great for pups and fluffy tuggy toys to nibble on.
-If nipping during play with a person, the game is over when teeth touch skin, next time lower excitement level of the game, the puppy nipping is information, he is too excited. Lower excitement and reward for nice play.
-If nipping other dogs remove them from the situation, again this is information, next time keep an eye on play getting too exciting and remove before your puppy gets too nippy.
-Be consistent. If you’re not then your puppy will chance nipping and biting.