Fireworks, loud noises, puppies and desensitisation

Fireworks, loud noises and things that go bump in the night!

I want to talk about Firework and loud noise desensitisation …yes, we need to start early, especially for our puppies who were born after last November, but also for our oldies that are noise sensitive. My Willow hates loud bangs and noises, fireworks week and New Year’s Eve is a stressful time for this house, so I invite you to join me on our journey to help him and your dog together. 

It is true that for noise sensitive animals the world would be better for them if fireworks night didnt exist, but the reality is this won’t happen. The good news is that we have tools at our disposal to help our animals overcome and cope with the distress they currently experience around fireworks night, or with situations with other loud noises that otherwise send them into a state of fear and panic.

I will break this down into two parts – 

1-  Puppies – Introduction of these noises to puppies who are currently happy energetic care-free souls. 

2 – Helping dogs that already have a fear of fireworks/noises


We need to be good teachers and caregivers for our new puppies, so along with feeding them, walking them appropriately and playing with them, they need to be introduced to all manner of noises and experiences that they may encounter over their lives.  If we can do this in a safe environment at a pace that they can cope with and with positive consequences, (eg without overloading them or causing distress) then we can help our puppies grow into very adaptable and well rounded adult dogs. 

Try and think of puppies as sponges for knowledge and forever practicing for their adult life, but who need careful handling and positive experiences. 

Just as we need to introduce puppies to children, adults, other dogs, the hoover at home, children running past them in the street, travelling in the car, going to the vets, having their first groom, we need to devote some time to introduction to things they may not experience for a few months.  If we do not introduce these things early or in a controlled manner, by the time fireworks night comes around, we have sometimes lost that vital opportunity.  Preparation is definitely our friend.

One of the best resources I have found for the introduction to fireworks (and indeed many strange noises that dogs may encounter but not always in your own home), is on the Dogs Trust website.  Their Sound Therapy for Pets page includes downloadable guides and ‘scary sounds’ tracks with full instructions on how to introduce noises.

I can’t stress strongly enough that you start this process today.  It only takes a little time each week, but will be a massive investment for your dog. He will thank you for it, and you will be so glad you did, as trying to comfort or distract a dog that is digging a hole in your carpet to hide from a week of fireworks can be very distressing for everyone. 


Adult or already noise sensitive dogs

If you have a rescue dog (like my Willow), or older dog that has been scared at some time and is now fearful of fireworks, the Sounds Therapy for Pets at the Dogs Trust can also help your adult dog on a path to recovery.

How I am using sound therapy with Willow

As I am typing this blog, I am playing one of the tracks on my computer at a low level whilst Willow is sleeping and although I know he can hear them, because it is at a low level, it is below his threshold for jumping up and barking furiously.  This is exactly what I need to do for him.  Over time, I will play the noises a little louder every week, so that hopefully, by fireworks night I should be able to play quite loud fireworks sounds on speakers which he will be accustomed to, and more importantly will not react to. Which means we will all have a calmer evening.

Please do seek professional help if you are finding any problems with desensitising your dog to fireworks noises, it can be a very stressful and traumatic time for animals, but there is help out there.  As a TTouch practitioner, I have worked with many noise sensitive dogs and had great results, but each dog is different and may need different training techniques. 

Book onto a TTouch Workshop – Fireworks special

Helping your dog cope with Firework season. Workshop details:

Sunday 26th October 2014
12.00 – 17.00

Cowshed Studio, Steyning Hosted by Caroline Still P1 Practitioner

Changing behaviour through posture – Learning skills to help calm, relax, and give confidence to your dog or cat”

Suitable for calming excitable dogs, teaching puppies manners, dogs that pull on the lead, dogs with fearful tendencies, calming dogs reactive to noise (eg fireworks) and much much more…

I will be teaching you about this holistic, respectful way of learning, training, behaviour and communication with your animal, the day will consist of individual and group sessions and slow outside groundwork exercises for your dog, nothing strenuous or difficult!. Available for all ages and abilities, puppies or older dogs. (no dog-to-dog aggressive animals please. Contact me for details on individual sessions.)

£40 per person with maximum of one dog per paying person. Spectators £30 welcome.

Price includes tea, coffee, biscuits, please bring your own lunch.

Places very limited due to small class size, please book now, a deposit will be required to hold your place.

All enquires and bookings through Caroline please on
or call 07940 080980

Fireworks season

TTouch, changing behaviour through posture

Introduction to Tellington-Touch

Welcome to my fourth blog about this unique, holistic and positive method of working and bonding with your animal friends.

My name is Caroline Still and I am a local dog groomer and T-Touch Practitioner for companion animals.

Developed by Linda Tellington-Jones over 30 yeas ago, TTouch uses simple body movements (Ttouches) to improve circulation, behaviour and co-ordination.  These touches help to reduce tension, promoting an overall sense of wellbeing and calm.

TTouch influences the nervous system with highly effective techniques that not just owners, but care-givers such as vet nurses, groomers and dog walkers can learn and use on a daily basis.  TTouch is non-invasive, and can be used alongside other care.

This month:  Firework season

The noise of fireworks can be incredibly upsetting for some animals, and many owners fear firework season. Finding an area on your dog to calm and reassure can be beneficial, this is often around the chest area.  Using slow circular strokes, with a very light touch might be enough to focus the animal, even just for a brief moment, so it can relax even if just for two seconds.  Ear work – stroking the dog’s ear from base to top, slowly and lightly can be very beneficial.  Using Thundershirts© and touch methods combined can produce positive results.

To show your animals there is a different, more positive way to be, will be the first stage in a miraculous journey for you both.