Summertime has finally arrived at Adventure Dog Ranch.
Although the weather may not yet be showing it, there are BBQ’s and fireworks right around the corner.
Here are a couple of tips designed to help keep your best friend safe during this enjoyable time of year.
1. Control Your Environment:
If you can’t control your dog, you must control the environment that your dog inhabits.
This sounds a lot simpler than it is, but it is your responsibility. Look at it from Fido’s point of view: How would you feel if the sky started exploding for no good reason?
Even If your dog is reliable and comes when called, do not let him outside off-leash on the 4th of July. Even the best of dogs can become fearful and agitated around fireworks, so don’t take unnecessary chances. Don’t depend on pre-teen children to keep your dogs safe this time of year. A frightened dogs’ pulling capacity is likely to be far superior to that of your child. Please keep this in mind when walking Fido on the 4th. Professional Dog Trainers like Steve exercise extreme caution this time of year and we do not let our dogs roam unattended at any time on Independence day.
2. The Jolly Routine:
Good desensitization programs begin long before the fireworks start. Here at the ranch we use every opportunity and stray firecracker noise as an opportunity to practice the “Jolly Routine.”
Every time we hear fireworks, we simply act happy, joyful and a bit silly. Dogs take important behavioral cues from both other dogs and their human counterparts. Therefore, If we don’t act startled or afraid, neither will our dogs. The Jolly Routine will help reinforce that fireworks aren’t supposed to be scary!
3. Retrievers, Retrieve Things:
NEVER Light and Throw Firecrackers around your dog. I can tell you awful stories about innocent dogs retrieving M-80’s and getting their snouts blown to smithereens. Even if you have enough common sense not to light off fireworks around your dog, this does not mean that your neighbor does. (Some of the bad neighbors even use this holiday to intentionally injure neighbor dogs that they find annoying. It is awful and unfortunately true.
It is your responsibility as a dog owner, to protect your dog this time of year & always. Something as innocuous as a “ground bloom flower” can cause serious injuries & excruciating burns to canines and human’s alike. A good rule of thumb to follow this time of year is: If things are going boom, keep Fido inside.
4. Provide a Safe, Quiet Place:
Provide a nice, quiet, dark, sound-resistant and relaxing environment where your dog will feel safe. A crate tucked away in a quiet bedroom with a blanket thrown over it may be a good place for Fido to ride out the Fourth of July festivities.
5. Music Soothes the Savage Beast:
Consider adding a stereo to your dogs’ safe place. Play some music at a high enough volume to drown out most of the booms and bangs. This is a method we employ here at the ranch. The dogs that come to stay with us know that we love music and play it frequently. This time of year we bring out several boom boxes, tune them all to the same station and leave them playing all night. Familiar noises help to camouflage the unfamiliar sounds.
6. Beware the BBQ:
To a dog, a Barbecue grill is a mystical and magical thing. Yummy things like burgers, chicken and the obscenely named, but oh so yummy, “Hot Dogs,” go on and off of barbecue grills with astonishing frequency. To a food obsessed dog it will seem as if a huge feast is beckoning him. Even the most well behaved dog will have difficulty resisting that level of temptation. After all, that bounty seems to be just sitting there waiting!
While your dog won’t be the first to snag a juicy rib-eye, the least of your concerns is losing your dinner your dog. Fido could be seriously burned if he topples the barbecue or knocks it over during play. It’s also a very real possibility that he or she could accidentally start a fire. Dogs love food, (especially people food,) and canines of all kinds are opportunistic eaters. A dog can get pretty sick if they eat 20 burgers and hot dogs in one sitting, and well meaning guests often sneak Fido a treat. This is not a big issue if it’s just one or two guests, but with a crowd it can be more than your dogs’ digestive system can handle.
Many years ago, we had a get-together where we barbecued 60 pounds of beef ribs. MaxShadow a rebellious lab/mutt, had only been in our household for less than a week. He really thought that he had died and gone to heaven! Guests kept leaving their plates on easy to access, folding chairs, yummies right at nose level. Max had taken to stealing these smokey, juicy, morsels off of unattended plates. This was something that our Starbuck would never have thought of doing, having been with us since early puppy-hood, she knew that wonderful rewards would be hand delivered for good behavior. By the time we witnessed MaxShadow’s stealth, rib-stealing technique in action, he had gobbled several of these delicious treats. Luckily we caught him in the act and removed him from temptation, with no harm done. In retrospect, he could have easily eaten his way into the nearest veterinary hospital, which is something that happens far too frequently with certain breeds of dogs.
Always request that your guests not feed your dogs without your permission. That way you can better control what and how much your dogs get to eat.
Thousands of dogs are separated from their families every July 4th. Most simply bolt due to fear. Keep your best friend safe, secure and indoors this 4th of July. Your pet will thank you for it with many more years of the unconditional love that only a canine can provide.
Until next time:
The Alpha Dogs’ Wife
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