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Fireworks

Discussion in 'Puppy Forum' started by pongo111, Oct 28, 2018.

  1. Biker John

    Biker John Well-Known Member Registered

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    Fortunately Folly is not worried about them, if a very loud one goes off she lifts her head up, looks round then settles down again but thats all. Still think that only organised displays should be allowed.
     
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  2. Jack-Russell-Lover

    Jack-Russell-Lover Well-Known Member Registered

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    As I've said, Roxy doesn't mind them, but my sister's Chihuahua hates them!
    I saw some info in your dog magazine and sent her pictures, she tried the bandage wrap and it worked!! Kinda like a thundershirt but much cheaper!
    Obviously too late for fireworks night but handy for the new year fireworks! :)
    Screenshot_20181103-101351.png Screenshot_20181103-101355.png Screenshot_20181103-101400.png
     
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  3. leashedForLife

    leashedForLife Well-Known Member Registered

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    .

    The myth that comforting a dog will lead to neurotically needy or demanding behaviors, or that comforting fright will “build more fear”, is poppycock.
    U can reinforce behaviors - U cannot reinforce an emotion. :)

    Tricia McConnell is a certified clinical behaviorist, & she has written 3 excellent articles on why it’s impossible to “reinforce fear”. There’s a 2-part post on thunder-phobia specifically, & a 3rd on the general topic of “reinforcing fear”.
    I highly recommend reading them - I pass them out to clients, & have also distributed them to shelter employees, so that when a terrified dog comes in, they don’t leave them huddled in a corner shaking, but help them to cope with the loud, chaotic environment they’ve just been dropped into.


    You Can’t Reinforce Fear; Dogs and Thunderstorms

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    Reinforcing Fear II, Thunder Phobia III


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    thunder phobia in dogs


    Dogs are not that different from humans, behaviorally - after all, we’re both mammals, & we share 65% of our species’ genomes. :shrug: Think about this: if U are terrified of flying in a plane, while I am an experienced plane passenger, even tho i’m a total stranger, U would be glad to have me recognize Ur irrational terror & try to soothe it.
    I might get U to talk about Ur destination, or I might reminisce about trips I had taken to places that might interest U, I might offer to hold Ur hand during take-off, or suggest that U close Ur eyes, imagine that U are in a favorite place, &
    ask U to describe it to me, in detail... anything that gets U to focus on something other than Ur irrational conviction that the plane will fall apart while accelerating down the runway, or fall out of the air, or that all 4 engines will fail.

    Statistically, Ur own car is far more dangerous than any one plane trip, & over 75% of car accidents happen within 5 miles of home, on very familiar streets, with well-known hazards.
    Every 15 minutes, someone is killed or severely injured while driving somewhere in the USA, but we illogically feel “safer” in our own familiar car, driving in a familiar neighborhood, than we do in an airplane with professional pilots & air-traffic controllers, & logic be damned - emotions are not LOGIC, they are feelings, & feelings simply are. U must accept their existence - feelings are a fact. End of sentence.

    Telling someone in a state of near-panic that planes are much, much safer than cars will NOT make them feel any better about being in a plane; but concrete actions to comfort or distract them, such as holding their hand or an engaging conversation, might make a huge difference to their ability to deal with the plane ride.

    Will holding their hand or chatting about the local sports team “make them more fearful” about planes, in the future?... Why would it? The premise makes no sense.

    Comforting someone, human, dog, whatever species, in the here & now, can have one of 2 results: it is effective & it helps to relax them, or it’s ineffective, & they remain just as scared as they were, prior to the comforting attempt. :shrug: It works - or it doesn’t.


    Don’t feel guilty about trying to comfort anyone in emotional or physical distress - compassion & empathy are good things. We should encourage compassionate responses, not vilify them. :)

    - terry

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  4. Yveren1

    Yveren1 New Member Registered

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    Just went out for a walk and poor Kenza heard fireworks in the distance and would not walk another step. She was so excited for her walk as well
     
  5. JudyN

    JudyN Well-Known Member Registered

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    Would it not be more correct to say that you can't reinforce a negative emotion by associating it with a positive? Say my dog was afraid of fireworks and every time a firework went off I kicked him, would I not reinforce his emotion of fear? Or if every time a firework went off I leapt under the table, held him close, and said, 'OMIGOD, we're both going to die!!' in an appropriate tone, would that not reinforce his fear?

    In a more realistic example, if every time a firework went off I stared hard at him with a really concerned look on my face, or comforted him in a way that made it clear that I was very anxious about his welfare, could that not convince him that there really was something to be worried about?

    Don't get me wrong, I agree entirely that comforting and reassuring are fine - just that you do have to be calm yourself.
     
  6. leashedForLife

    leashedForLife Well-Known Member Registered

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    Emotions are associative - that is, they are tagged by contexts, prior experiences, specific stimuli.
    If I am blindfolded & guided into an old-fashioned hardware store, with its scents of dry old wood, shellac, metals, light wisps of various solvents, the feel of random-width boards under my feet, I will be happy & confident. These are places I both know & love.

    OTOH if I am similarly blindfolded & guided into an old-fashioned doctor’s exam room, with an enameled steel exam table, the sharp traces of bleach & medical alcohol, cold linoleum underfoot, I will be tense & anxious, expecting bad news or uncomfortable invasive manipulation.

    Odors are especially evocative of emotional memories, hence Proust’s ode to madeleines.
    Scents bypass the forebrain & go direct to our reptile brain, the buried instinctual brain well -below cognitive thoughts. Odors are powerful tags for memory.

    Cinnamon & other autumnal holiday spices can bring us close to tears, in certain circs, as we suddenly are immersed in memories of our mothers, aunts, grandmothers, or other parental figures - pulling pies from the oven, rolling cookies in cinnamon-sugar, or pouring hot cider as we come in from the cold. Now, as grown-ups, those beloved ppl are gone, but the emotions provoked by those spices can ambush us.

    Returning to dogs & here-&-now, if I kicked my dog every time a firework exploded, my smart dog would learn to run from me if there’s a sudden loud noise - or if s/he was leashed, to move quickly to the farthest possible stretch of the leash.
    If my leashed dog is a bold, confident type, s/he might face me, wt forward, tense stance, whisker bed puckered, & ready to bite if my foot swings forward.
    If my leashed dog is soft-natured & easily intimidated, s/he might drop to the ground & roll belly-up in an effort to appease me, & stop the anticipated kick.

    But if I am the only person who has kicked my dog when fireworks explode, & I am not there when one goes off, my bold dog might be delighted by the bang, as I am not there to cause pain. “Whoo-hoo, a bang with no kick! Yay!”
    S/he might race around in joyous zoomies of relief, barking happily, quite unfazed by the noise, which w/o me, is just a noise, not a predictor of pain.

    OTOH if I am the only person who has kicked my dog when fireworks explode, & i am not there when one goes off, my timid dog with a past Hx of fear-biting might decide to bite whoever is holding the leash, even before the person moves or poses any threat.
    If off leash when a firework exploded, my timid dog might move well-away from any persons, & evade capture even by friendly known persons, on the premise that fireworks cause ppl to kick dogs - shy or anxious dogs are more likely to generalize possible threats than “normal” dogs.

    But it isn’t the exploding firework that causes the tension or fear or even paranoia - it’s the presence of ONE person who has kicked them in the past, when a firework exploded.
    If I am not there, the firework going off may mean nothing to a bold dog, & may only prompt a soft dog to be on guard, & not get within kicking distance of any human... just in case. ;)


    Using b-mod, we can CHANGE already-associated emotions by pairing new experiences with those previously experienced settings, contexts, or events.

    If I have a noise-phobic dog, & I give her / him a spoonful of ice cream every time there is a loud noise, & I do my best to avoid having the noises be very close to the dog or truly painfully loud, there’s a good chance my noise-phobic dog will begin to drool when there is a loud noise. :)
    S/he will be less disturbed by loud noises, & anticipate the imminent delivery of ice cream.
    The loud noises now predict ice cream, which the dog likes, & this makes them less upsetting.

    If I have a noise-tolerant dog who is not bothered by loud noise, & I want this dog to react to a specific loud sound by becoming excited, aroused, & aggressive, I can pair gunfire with low-level shocks & the appearance of an agitator, who teases & torments the tethered dog with a snapping wand - light blows with a flexible rod that will hurt when they land, but which cannot break skin, or even leave a bruise.
    I can thus create a dog who responds to crowd noise & gunfire by rushing to the end of the leash & pulling TOWARD the shouting & bullets, wagging their tail happily. Such a dog will wag cheerfully at one end, & bite eagerly at the other.

    Kicking my dog in specific contexts is more likely to create bad feelings about me than bad feelings about the context; if I am not there, kicks don’t happen.
    conversely, pairing painful shocks that the dog cannot avoid or predict, with a specific context, is likely to make that context frightening or threatening. The collar that delivers the shocks can be there all the time; the dog expects it to “go live” in certain contexts, not constantly.


    Punishing my puppy for peeing indoors is more likely to create a shy eliminator than a reliably housetrained dog, & good luck ever getting a urine or stool specimen from such a dog, in the future; humans & voiding together, for punished dogs, equals Big Trouble.

    OTOH, Rewarding my puppy for peeing & pooping outdoors creates a housetrained dog who is relaxed with humans nearby when s/he voids, as only happy things occurred in that context, & getting a stool or urine specimen from such a dog, on leash, is a very straightforward, relatively simple task. :)

    We can shape behavior by rewarding it, punishing it, making it completely ineffective (eliminating any possible payoff), or by manipulating emotions. B-mod is the quintessential practice of shaping future behavior, via emotions we associate here & now. :)

    - terry

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  7. Mad Murphy

    Mad Murphy Well-Known Member Registered

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    Tonight while we were at dog class some idiot let off some big bangers near to the dogs home where we train. Murphy stopped the lesson and stared in the direction of the bangs. He hears guns quite often so hes not overly bothered but as a big one exploded nearby he came over and stood against my legs. Another dog ran in circles quite panic striken.
    Our trainer said thats fine , dont go into full blown OMG mode but let the dog calm down and if a stroke or a pat helps so be it. Then after a short break just carry on.

    This works for Murphy whereas with Remy his blind panic could only be helped by holding him tightly to me wrapped ina blanket his panic was so bad if let loose he ran into doors walls and was in serious danger of hurting himself.
    I just feel this idea of ignoring an animal in distress is cruel like leaving babies to cry until they fall asleep through sheer exhaustion.
     
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  8. Caro Perry

    Caro Perry Well-Known Member Registered

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    I would agree. Harri is certainly not scared by them, he didn't react when out walking and several rockets went up nearby. If he was though I'd certainly have him on my lap or beside me and be talking to him in a happy voice and ignoring the bangs going on outside to show him that I wasn't the least bit bothered. I wouldn't be able to let him go uncomforted and un-reassured.
     
  9. pongo111

    pongo111 Member Registered

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    Thank you for all the replies.

    On the first night, which I think was Saturday, our puppy was quite distressed and her ears kept going back and she would come to us for comfort, but she seems to have become more used to them as the period went on and she now doesn't seem particularly bothered. On the first night I made a fuss, but having ready recommendations, I stopped doing this.

    I don't know why there has to be the really loud fireworks. The tv can drown out the others when inside, but you can't escape the really loud ones.

    They're still going off now, not sure why.
     
  10. arealhuman

    arealhuman Well-Known Member Registered

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    We've had fireworks going off around us all week. All week! I thought it was Bonfire Night :mad::mad::mad::mad::mad:
     
  11. Caro Perry

    Caro Perry Well-Known Member Registered

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    They've been going off all weekend here too. Next year I'm going to take myself off to the cottage to escape. We're surrounded by farmland there and the farmers won't be upsetting their livestock with fireworks.

    We were meant to be going to a party Saturday night but had to cry off in case there were more -and yes there were. Harri still barks at each and every one.

    I'm hoping now we're safe until NYE.
     
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  12. arealhuman

    arealhuman Well-Known Member Registered

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    Yep - Christmas and New Year will be the next lot of fireworks around here. Sigh. I'm not big on government regulation, but I'm starting to think the petition to ban the sale of fireworks to all but licensed display organisations might have some mileage in it. Might have to book your cottage @Caro Perry!
     
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  13. Flobo

    Flobo Well-Known Member Registered Partner

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    I've been lucky with Jake, our neighbours boy was born on november 5th so Jake has always come to the fire work parties with us with no bother, he used to be petrified of balloons though, ( strangely I also don't like them very much:rolleyes:) I say 'used to' because now he seems to have forgotten he was scared of them, upside of being old and dotty!!!!!
     
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  14. JudyN

    JudyN Well-Known Member Registered

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    Depending on the way the wind's blowing, we can sometimes hear the fireworks down on Poole Quay which go off regularly during the summer. I dare say this has worked to our advantage - Jasper has grown up hearing fireworks that are far enough away not to worry him, so it might have helped him cope with much closer ones.
     
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  15. Josie

    Josie Administrator Administrator Registered

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    Someone let off fireworks one evening last week in a garden right behind us :mad:

    Dennis usually isn’t bothered but they were so loud and close and out of the blue.

    I guess people who don’t own dogs with this fear can never truly understand how awful it is for them and the owners.
     
  16. Caro Perry

    Caro Perry Well-Known Member Registered

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    Sadly I can never say we're 100% sure of being firework free. A couple of the other cottages nearby are long term rentals and not all the tenants are country folk. There's always going to be a risk that one set will have fireworks without even thinking of the effect it could have on the livestock.

    I am not in favour of banning them altogether for private sale but I do think that there should be restrictions on the dates that they can be used. This year was ridiculous. We had them going off 3 weeks before the 5th.
     
  17. JudyN

    JudyN Well-Known Member Registered

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    I think restrictions on the times of day would be very helpful too - possibly even more helpful than restricted dates. Then you would know, e.g., that you don't need to get back in from walking the dog until 6pm, and could let them out for a bedtime wee after 10pm. I've seen several reports of dogs going missing after being scared by fireworks, and this would be so much more easily avoided if you knew to keep your dog in at all times between certain hours.

    Harder for people who work and have to walk their dog in the evenings though... and realistically, I can't see the police taking action against a person who sets off a firework at 10.30pm, given that they haven't even got the resources to deal with shoplifters and so on.
     
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  18. Mad Murphy

    Mad Murphy Well-Known Member Registered

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    @JudyN we have those time restrictions and it makes no difference.
    Last year a dog like Murphy was scared by a firework mid afternoon and ran out in front of a bus.. The person responsible was never caught of course.

    My soloution is to go to the industrial estate, its patrolled by private security and the monsters dont go there because there is no one there to impress or scare with their nasty little bombs.
     

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