Monday, July 6, 2009

Fireworks and dogs

I let the Fourth of July come and go without a single blog about fireworks and dogs? I apologize for dropping the ball on that one, and here’s an entry to try and make up for it.
Like many dogs out there, fireworks are one thing that drives Sensi into fits. It goes back to when he was a puppy, and while I won’t go into all the history, I will say that this holiday is definitely the worst for my dog.
Let me just put it this way: I would never worry about my dog breaking through a glass window, except when fireworks are going off outside.
Yes, that’s how bad it is. He goes completely nuts.
This was our first Fourth living so close to a lake — it’s literally across the street from us — and on Saturday, I realized the percussion of the fireworks would be steady and loud throughout the night.
For all of you who don’t live near a lake, let me explain that those riparian owners love fireworks. If you ever want to live in a place where you can let off fireworks without fear that your neighbors will call the cops and complain, buy a house on a lake. No one complains.
And we don’t either. But our dog certainly does.
When the first boom went off Saturday, Sensi jumped from the couch with his hair up and went barking to the door, jumping up on the window and beginning a total fit.
I also jumped up from the couch and went straight to the kitchen. I grabbed a plastic sandwich baggie and put a bunch of dog treats in it. Despite the fireworks, Sensi could still hear me digging around in the treat jar and came running, forgetting about trying to break through our front door for a moment.
I now had his full attention.
My plan: use treat therapy to totally change his perception of fireworks.
Of course, this can be a little tricky. If you don’t do it right, you could end up rewarding the behaviors you don’t want.
For instance, if I was to give Sensi a treat every time he got up and barked at the fireworks, he’d learn that I want him to bark at fireworks. So, it is very important that you use treat therapy appropriately.
Tomorrow, I’ll blog in detail about the great success we had on Saturday!

No comments:

Post a Comment