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From Fireworks Fear to Bang Let’s Party! Fireworks Dog Train
Sun Jul 3, 2016 1:07am

From Fireworks Fear to Bang Let’s Party! Fireworks Dog Training
By Inventing Joy
Fireworks is one of the reasons for lost dogs. The sound of fireworks is so frightening that dogs will often run & get lost. These are the steps that I used for reducing & ultimately eliminating the fear thus the reason for running away from what the dog perceives as danger.
I came to Mexico with my 3 Giant Schnoodle dogs. At first we were at a camp ground. To the bar tenders surprise, Xena ran into the bar. She could not be moved. At 65 lbs, I could not move her. The campground manager had to put a stop the fireworks show. Then we moved into a place with huge windows on the beach. On July 4, the fireworks are lit on the beach right in front of my windows. Bang! Xena hides under my desk. Bang! Zola, 65lbs would jumps into my lap, or if I was standing she’d stand on her hind legs & hug me with her front legs. She is a large dog. It was painful for my chronic pained body. Bang! Mirage, my biggest, heaviest dog, the one you would think of as the protector of us all, would hide in the closet with her lower jaw chattering. AT 85 lbs, I couldn’t drag her out of the closet. Mexicans love their celebrations. The fireworks went on for more than a week before & a week after July 4th. I had to develop a training method to reduce stress for my dogs & for my own self preservation.
1. I prepared a large amount of tiny treats that my dogs find yummy. You need to know that they are something the dogs love & it is important that the treats be small. Variety is helpful so they continue to be exciting. My dogs like hotdogs I cut into small pieces & microwave them. I clear the fridge of leftovers as well as moldy cheese which is a delicacy. Tortillas & bread cut small & stored in the same jar as the meat & cheese pick up the smell of meat & cheese & work in a pinch.
2. When the fireworks start, I climb on the bed & invite the dogs to join me.
Each time we hear fireworks, I say “that’s a never mind” as I give each dog a yummy treat, I say, “never mind treat” or “here’s a nevermind treat” stressing “nevermind” The word isn’t important but it must be consistently always, the same word. & a word that you will remember.
3. After fireworks season was over, I continued to do “nevermind treat” sessions 2 or 3 times a week. I didn’t need a bang to give nevermind treats I would just say, “lets do nevermind treats.” The dogs were delighted. We would all get on the bed with cuddles & pets & spend about 45 minutes just getting treats accompanied by me saying “Xena, here’s a nevermind treat” I’d hand her the treat & at the same time say “nevermind treat”. “Mirage, here’s a nevermind treat” Zola, “here’s a nevermind treat”. Pls note: The treats were given out in hierarchy of age, oldest first. This hierarchy is followed at all treat & feeding times. The treat is always accompanied with the word “nevermind”. Zola is not allowed on the bed, but is allowed on the bed for “nevermind treat” sessions only. Note: 45 minutes is for 3 dogs. Also, After it became clear that their mindsets are changed, the nevermind sessions continue at 2 or 3 times a week, but are reduced to 10 or 15 minutes. Short, frequent sessions are better than infrequent, long sessions, & for busy people are more likely to happen.
4. I do this any time a car backfires. I use the “nevermind” treat when anything happens that I want them to ignore or not be afraid of. The nevermind command transfers to cats on the street, horses that cause fear or trigger prey drive; Whenever I say nevermind, their mind is distracted into a positive mode. They expect a treat, or even if they are not getting treated, their mind transfers to fun instead of fear mode.
5. Now they find the fireworks as a signal for a fun time on the bed, to cuddle together for treats. They come running to tell me, “lets go have fun” as they run back & forth from me to the bed & back. No more chattering jaws or hidden dogs. Now its BANG! Lets party!

© Joy de la Ren July 2, 2016

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