Hello, hello! How have you been? We've been celebrating the Fourth of July since Friday and so we're all a little tired. How did your doggies do over the weekend? Any issues with fireworks? This year was Gilly's first Fourth of July and Pierogi's second. Last year, Pierogi only had a mild reaction to fireworks and so we assumed that he'd feel the same way this year...
Unfortunately, the fireworks really got to the little guy this year. Throughout the weekend, as the fanfare went off, Pierogi alternated between alert and nervous demeanors. We were so surprised by Pierogi's increased reaction, but immediately referred to this advice and improvised our resources to best comfort him. And as the weekend progressed, with each fireworks show, he did seem to improve. Last year, we were so pleased to be able to share that advice with you, but fortunately, weren't able to offer personal notes on the points. This year, as we mentioned, we did pull out a few of the tricks. So, here's a look back at both the aforementioned advice and how it related to Pierogi. Also, in case you're wondering, Gilly barely noticed the fireworks! He sometimes barked at the especially loud ones, but otherwise, went to sleep, worked on chewies and tried to cheer up Pierogi.
The first piece of advice from the list is to encourage fearful dogs to seek out a hiding spot. Pierogi has never declared an official safe spot, but throughout the holiday weekend, when fear struck, he sought out several positions. Sometimes, he stayed in place; other times, he migrated towards Mike and I; and a few times, he headed towards his dog bed. We embraced all of his choices, but when he was up for it, we tried to hang out in our bedroom - a dim and familiar area to Pierogi.
The next two points of advice came naturally for us as we constantly do both -- play music and talk to your dog. When Pierogi became nervous, we kept the conversation light (I remembered not to chant "It's okay") and I immediately reached for jams. These days, Spotify is our go-to music source (search "Relax My Dog" for a variety of calming albums). We also love YouTube and our cable's classical music channel for soothing soundtracks.
Introducing calming scents is the next bit of advice, and although we didn't have any of the official scents on hand, I did light a lavender candle. I'm not sure how effective the candle was, but we do have friends who swear by essential oils to help their anxiety-prone dog.
Strategic touching, via a Thundershirt or massage, are the next few points of advice. While we still have never tried a Thundershirt, when Pierogi did scoot near us, I tried to mimic the effect of a Thundershirt with a blanket. I sort of wrapped and draped the blanket around his body and held him snugly. He seemed to thoroughly enjoy the burrito wraps, but I never broke out any massage moves.
Finally, the last bit of advice mentions that medication may be helpful in extreme cases. Luckily, we didn't feel that Pierogi's case was severe enough to warrant medication. Plus, the tips above truly did seem to help minimize Pierogi's stress.
Do you have any other tried-and-true tricks to help calm your dog? I love the simplicity of the tips above. I think they're practical, yet effective. It's just about finding the right combination!
P.S. Although the fireworks stressed us out a bit, we still had fun with other activities over the weekend -- like the Pet Parade! The majority of the pets in attendance were dogs, but there was also a hamster, a lizard and a few six day old baby goats...dressed as Dairy Queen treats! Here's the mama and one of the babies below!
Woof! (Hey, there!) Pierogi, Gilly and Sarah here. Thanks for stopping by our dog blog. We're a little dog-obsessed around here and Pierogi & Co. is all about inspiring you to enjoy the dog days. Because life's more fun with your best (furry) friend by your side. So grab a bone and follow along as we stop to sniff the flowers...