The mystery of why one single firecracker going off four blocks away should send a normally calm and settled dog into spasms of hysterical terror, mindless running in circles, rushing out into traffic, pulling madly on the leash in intersections – this mystery has been with us for centuries.
We don’t know exactly why it happens, but we do know it is a regular seasonal problem. Their superior hearing may be the reason, or it may be some atavistic response buried deep in their doggy genes from far-off eras before the human race even arrived on this planet.
There may be a few people out there with dogs who are trained successfully to ignore the blast of fireworks. Certainly, watching “working” dogs or horses enduring the most amazing kinds of noise demonstrates the ability of trainers to patiently bring these animals past such natural obstacles.
However, for most of us pet lovers, the problem of July 1st or 4th, New Year’s Eve, Hallowe’en, and other celebration events is an ongoing annual problem. Families often let off a few fireworks in their own yards and it takes only one firecracker to send many a dog racing madly into the street, endangering itself and those driving by as well.
As in so many situations, the public tend to want to ignore this problem which seems to have no answer. Yet we have more and more dogs in our homes and no plan whatever for their protection in the event of fireworks.
By sheer good luck I found an answer.
I own a small air cleaning unit. This model has several levels of noise, ranging from Quiet to Turbo. The loudest one, Turbo, is terrifically loud white noise. I also have a small “white noise” unit which I bought years ago to help me get peace and sleep when I lived in an apartment building.
If I suspect fireworks will be happening on a certain day, I set up the two machines. The air cleaner, the bigger of the two, with the Turbo setting, I place on the floor near the dog’s bed in my bedroom. The small white noise machine I place at the other side of the room, so the dog’s bed is situated between the two units.
I shut the dog in the bedroom with the white noise set at the highest setting, having shut the windows in the room first. Then I shut the front and back doors to the house and all the windows, to reduce the general sound of the explosives going off.
I also put the TV on in the bedroom, perhaps a music channel, something soothing, and the volume is set pretty high.
It may all make a huge amount of noise, but the white noise itself overwhelms everything, so the overall effect does not seem too loud. That’s because of the white noise, which has this effect on the human ear, and, it appears, the canine ear as well. The result is: ONE CALM DOG!!