BOOM! Why Some Dogs Handle Fireworks Better Than Others
Independence Day is coming up and my wife and I are taking extra steps to keep our little dog, Rusty safe because he hates the sounds of fireworks. Not to mention, we keep the rest of our house safe from Rusty going “bat s*** crazy”, like when we turn up the radio, or when he hears explosions on TV. He acts like it's World War III!
To soothe our little Rusty dog, we put his “Thunder Buddy” sweater vest on him and put up the doggy doors so he can’t run outside and freak out. We also close up the doors to rooms in our home when we don’t want him getting into things (for whatever reasons). All of these extra steps we take for Rusty, but for my older dog Buster--I've never had to worry about all doing of this preventative stuff. Why?
Well, you could say that I was less knowledgeable about this stuff when my dog Buster was alive. He was an outdoor dog, whereas Rusty always stays inside. That could have been a significant factor, but thanks to RealClearScience.com, there may be more reasons about Rusty's canine freakouts that can come into play.
Why Do Some Dogs Fear Fire Works, While Others Couldn’t Care Less?
Veterinarians don’t really know why some dogs react to loud noises differently than others. They know that certain breeds will show fear in different ways. German Shepherds tend to pace, while Border Collies will find a hiding place. Other dogs may bark and act aggressively, and Chihuahuas usually just shake nonstop (although they seem to shake all the time to me).
Training and learning coping techniques seem like the biggest key when it comes to a dog’s fear of loud noises. We all know that dogs can hear far better than humans, so their brains are used to ignoring certain sounds that they’re used to. Explosions (from fireworks or thunderstorms) don’t happen daily, so they wouldn’t know how to ignore that. On the other hand, military service dogs can use their “auditory flexibility” and remain calm in loud conditions since they ARE exposed to it more often.
For new puppies, you might be able to get them trained to ignore the loud noises, but for older dogs, it’s best just to do what you have to do. Keep them safe, and give them love and treats! If you're best buddy is older, definitely talk to your vet.
So what was the difference between my two dogs? Buster lived a good chunk of his life on a farm, whereas Rusty lived most of his life on a couch. Was Buster braver than Rusty? Maybe he was with loud explosions, but not when a vacuum cleaner was involved. But, show each one a squirrel, and I’m sure they’ll both channel their inner Dire Wolfs!
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