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Share your tips for a calm dog on Bonfire Night.....

(17 Posts)
ChestyCoffin Sat 26-Oct-13 16:46:58

It's almost here again.

ChestyDog is a staffie and non too fond of fireworks. Tends to start earlier around where I live, every year.

So today I have bought a DAP plug in ( recommends to switch it on a few weeks before)
Plan to keep him in as much as possible after dark.
TV on super loud
Curtains closed
Easy access to his crate, which he uses as his "safe place"

Any other tips or ideas?

farrowandbawl Sat 26-Oct-13 16:58:52

can you move the crate to your room when you go to bed so he feels safer?

ChestyCoffin Sat 26-Oct-13 17:01:46

Crate is huge so wouldn't go upstairs.

<adds treats to shopping list>

Was reading something about not fussing or paying them attention if they're stressing?

moosemama Sat 26-Oct-13 17:06:10

Dorwest Herbs Scullcap and Valerian pills for a week or so beforehand, then topped up with the Valerian tincture on the night.

TV/Music on loudly in every room possible.

You could also try a Thundershirt. They work for some, but not others, but are fully returnable. Pets At Home sell them and are happy to give a full refund if it doesn't work. We tried 2 different sizes for our boy (although for Separation Anxiety rather than fireworks) and they were happy to take it back, exchange and then refund when it didn't work.

For next year I'd recommend a desensitisation/counter-conditioning programme. Essentially you play firework sounds to him at a very low level, (always keeping it below the level at which he will react) whilst feeding him lots of tasty treats. Very gradually increase the sound level in tiny increments and continue to treat, until he is remaining calm with it on very loud. It might not completely cure him, but it should help to bring down his anxiety levels and if you do that, plus the DAP and Scullcap/Valerian he should cope a lot better.

I have a new pup this year. We started out just playing firework videos on Youtube (there are some specifically for dog counter-conditioning, but any with good sound quality will do). Then when he was used to that, as the computer speaker isn't the best, we bought a cd of firework sounds and have been playing it on the main stereo through big speakers. He really didn't like the loud whistling/screaming rockets at first, but doesn't bat an eyelid at them now.

moosemama Sat 26-Oct-13 17:09:34

Re not fussing.

Our old Collie x was really terrified of fireworks. We didn't fuss her, but she would scramble onto the sofa behind us. We don't usually allow our dogs on the sofa, but would let her squeeze in there, as it was her safe place of choice.

There's nothing wrong with providing comfort. You can't reinforce fear, only the behaviours associated with it, so as long as he isn't doing anything destructive or negative it's ok to speak to him in a calm voice and reassure him, or even allow him up on your lap if that's what he needs.

farrowandbawl Sat 26-Oct-13 17:09:36

Hmm...I don't really know what else to suggest apart from having him in your room somehow, but that's only because that was the only time the dog was allowed to sleep on our bed. He just wouldn't settle until the stuipd things stopped until New Year (at least that only lasts for 1 night)

ChestyCoffin Sat 26-Oct-13 17:21:05

Thanks both

Thunder vest looks interesting.

Should of mentioned in OP ChestyDog is epileptic and on medication too so am wary of drugs.

He isn't destructive just anxious, paces etc.

PinkFairyArmadillo Sat 26-Oct-13 17:22:37

It might be worth trying Zylkene. We've used it with great success to combat general anxiety in our super-stressy collie cross.

We also found the Adaptil spray on a bandanna round her neck was much more effective than the plug in for her.

moosemama Sat 26-Oct-13 20:45:17

It might be worth talking to your vet about the scullcap and valerian pills Chesty. If you read their main product page for it, they say it is used to assist in the control of seizures - under veterinary supervision and in conjunction with conventional anti-convulsants.

There are a couple of reviews where people have said it has helped their epileptic dogs. Perhaps have a chat with your vet and see what they think?

Have heard good things about Zylkene as well, but again - check with your vet first. I know vets often recommend it, but not sure about the epilepsy complication.

The thundershirt can either be fantastic, or have no effect at all - but their no quibble refund means you can at least try it without ending up out of pocket. It works on similar principles to TTouch in that pressure on certain areas of the body have a calming and relaxing effect on many dogs. I think it didn't work for mine because being a lurcher he has a very deep chest and tiny waist, so it didn't fit properly. I have heard lots of very positive reports about them being used for other dogs though.

My new pup was out in the garden after his tea this evening and a firework went off. We rushed outside expecting him to be upset and he wasn't bothered at all - huge relief. We've had several more going off since then and he's fast asleep by my feet. Definitely worth giving the counter-conditioning a try in time for next year. I really wish I'd done it with my old girl.

Lonecatwithkitten Sat 26-Oct-13 22:01:44

Zylkene is very successful though it needs to be started a week before the event. There is no contraindications for epilepsy unlike a lot of the other products that can be used. It also works synergistically with Adaptil ( the new name for DAP).

SuzyP36 Sun 27-Oct-13 11:55:36

Has anyone tried the adaptil collars? After been woken up at 4 this morning with fireworks and a petrified dog sad I've bought 1 this morning to try. Even if it calms him slightly I'd b happier. He's only got like this as he's got older. When he was a pup I made sure he was exposed to bonfires fireworks but the past couple years it's been hell.
Usually we try to have telly up loud. Block all windows, glass doors etc but obviously at 4 this mornin we were taken by surprise!
Had looked at the plug ins as well but was under the impression that he needs to be roughly near 1 at sleeping time and considering he moves from our bed to the 2 couches I think I'd need a few

ChestyCoffin Sun 27-Oct-13 11:58:45

We have the plug in, in the living room where he sleeps.
Noticed there's a spray you can put on their bedding too?

Switched it on last night and he was out like a light at 8pm, legs in the air, snoring grin

MrsSquirrel Sun 27-Oct-13 12:09:04

The thunder shirt works for my staffie. If she is wearing it she still reacts to the bangs, sits on the floor next to me, very alert. When the bangs stop she goes back to her bed. Without it she would be a quivering and panting wreck in the corner under the table all night.

YouveCatToBeKittenMe Sun 27-Oct-13 12:51:25

I have the opposite problem in that my collie loves anything that goes bang or pop and just wants to go outside and chase them.

However I have a new dog this year who I don't want to get wound up by the collie so i think I am going to try all the things mentioned. Especially the loud TV, radio. I think once my collie starts bouncing it's going to wind the new dog up and make him reactive to them.
Its that or the collie will have to go and bounce in the car!

moosemama Sun 27-Oct-13 15:26:18

You'vecat, my PIL's Goldie x Rottweiler used to cry to go out and watch the firework display at the school at the end of their garden. She didn't bark or try to chase them, just sat in the middle of the garden enjoying the view. grin

YouveCatToBeKittenMe Sun 27-Oct-13 15:52:30

I'd rather that than trying to chase them!
she loves party poppers and pulling christmas crackers too

mad dog!

Lovethesea Sat 02-Nov-13 00:10:37

Our staffie hated them but could cope if we were all in the room with her. Once one of us left she got very agitated. I think she wanted to protect us and if we went to the loo she couldn't do that!

The other staffie didn't mind them at all, but then he only lived for food and hugs. No hunting or guarding instinct at all in him! In fact, when bullocks charged my dad as he walked both dogs he had the female by his side barking and trying to ward off the herd, turned and found the male dog had legged it and was almost back to the stile!

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