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    • halfone
    • By halfone 29th Aug 17, 4:18 PM
    • 104Posts
    • 115Thanks
    Houdini dog - fireworks, harnesses.
    • #1
    • 29th Aug 17, 4:18 PM
    Houdini dog - fireworks, harnesses. 29th Aug 17 at 4:18 PM
    My dog is a 17 month old beagle pug cross !!!8211; I've had him for just over 4 months now. He's a friendly little lad, loves his cuddles. He was naughty and wilful quite a lot of the time at the start but with routine and training is making slow but steady improvement; he's doing so well.

    (TLDR: recommendations for keeping a dog calm on fireworks night and escape proof harnesses, please).


    We were out walking on Sunday when someone had fireworks in their garden and he went into an absolute blind panic; I did manage to calm him down a bit and get him walking again but then more fireworks went off and he crouched down low and tugged/wiggled backwards out of his harness then ran off. (The harness was securely fitted but he's strong and persistent). It was horrible to see how scared he was, so I'd like advice on a couple of things, please:

    1) I know it's only two months till bonfire night but I'd like to do what I can to try to lessen his distress when he hears fireworks. Obviously we'll be in the house rather than outside (I think part of the problem the other day was that he could see the fireworks as well as hear them) so they'll be a bit quieter, but just in case they do frighten him I'd like to be prepared. There seems to be quite a lot of different sorts of advice on this and I'm not sure where to start, so any hints/links would be much appreciated.

    2) He learnt this backwards wiggle escape method with his first harness (dogs trust harness), so we got his current one (ezydog chest plate harness) which has been fantastic for the past three months until the night of the fireworks. Now he knows he can get out of it, he has tried to quite a few times since (not out of terror; more like situations where he sees a dog and wants to go and play with them). I've just about managed to keep him in it but was wondering if anyone had a recommendation for a harness which is harder to escape from. He is barrel shaped around his chest, with shortish legs. I was thinking of something that would loop round his hind legs, but I'm not sure if such a thing exists or if it's even safe. Again, if anyone has any recommendations I'd be grateful.

    I'd ultimately like to use the harness less, but he came to me with virtually no recall at all and if he sees another dog, or a person, or a bird etc he just wants to run over and chase/play; we have been working hard on this and now I am able to let him off for a run about to do his own thing in some situations (when he's with a doggy mate, for example, or in quiet fields) !!!8211; but on harness he can go from being a calm relaxed dog to twirling madness in half a second, so I really need to be able to control him properly when that happens.

    Many thanks in advance.
    Last edited by halfone; 29-08-2017 at 4:45 PM.
Page 2
    • halfone
    • By halfone 14th Sep 17, 5:53 PM
    • 104 Posts
    • 115 Thanks
    Fireworks update

    I've been playing the recordings and he's seemed interested/watchful rather than scared, which I was taking as a good sign. However, he got very fearful and anxious in the house when we had the high winds the other night, and panicky when he heard wheelie bins getting blown over. I think he can tell the difference between recorded noises and real ones, and it's any loud, sudden, outdoor noise that bothers him. He did calm down slightly when I sat on the floor by him and talked to him, but he was on red alert for more noises all the time. I have ordered a calming spray diffuser recommended by doglover86, hopefully that will help. I'll continue with the recordings too, just in case it's helping. Still thinking about the thundershirt.

    Thank you to everyone who took the time to reply and suggest things, it's very much appreciated
    • sheramber
    • By sheramber 14th Sep 17, 8:33 PM
    • 4,829 Posts
    • 3,617 Thanks
    You can take some measures to help him when you know there will be fireworks,

    Make sure you walk him early.

    A snug fitting tshirt can act as a thundershirt. If he is small the maybe a baby's one.

    Close the curtains and turn the tv up or play loud music to drown out any outside noise

    Provide a 'safe 'place for him to go if necessary- a covered crate or under a table/chair with a cover over it.

    But there is not much you can do about random fireworks going off.

    I did read of one lady who encouraged her dog to bark at the fireworks 'to tell them off' which worked with her dog.
    • halfone
    • By halfone 19th Sep 17, 10:07 AM
    • 104 Posts
    • 115 Thanks
    I meant to report back a bit sooner - these are really helpful tips sheramber, thank you so much. I did try the tshirt yesterday as we heard gunshots on our walk and he was desperate to get away !!!8211; I'm cautiously optimistic about this now, as he was pacing around in a frenzy when we got home so I put the tshirt on him and he did seem to settle a bit quicker.

    re. the 'safe place' !!!8211; although he did come to me with a crate he was clearly terrified of going into it so I stored it away. However, he's newly shown an interest in the void space under the stairs, so it should be relatively easy to create a small dark den for him in there with blankets etc. I can give him the 'covered chair' option too.

    Thanks again...I've had dogs before but never one that freaked out like this, so all these practical hints have been really useful.
    Last edited by halfone; 19-09-2017 at 10:10 AM.
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