Spring is here! That means Summer is just around the corner, and so is the 4th of July. This may seem like an exaggeration, but it always comes faster than we anticipate. July 4th celebrations can be a lot of fun for humans, but for some dogs it can be one of the most traumatizing nights of the year. Random explosions are objectively frightening, and when you pair that with the fact that dogs have absolutely no concept of what a firework is or why they keep happening, their negative reactions are very understandable.
Luckily, there might be a solution with training and CBD! Your pets are beloved members of the family, and they deserve to have a fun holiday just as much as anyone else! By training your dog properly, you can transform July 4th from the worst night of their life to a memorable evening they can enjoy alongside your family. July may feel far away right now, but it is important to start training your dog early, to give the training process time to work.
The core concept for firework-training your dog comes from the behavioral theory of classical conditioning, popularized by the Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov in the early 1900’s. You may have heard some variation of the famous story in which he conditioned his dog to salivate at the sound of a bell by ringing it before each meal. By pairing the bell with the food at repeated intervals, he caused the dog to associate the sound with the idea of food. When the food was removed, the sound of the bell still caused the dog to salivate in anticipation of eating. This is called a conditioned response. In the same way that Pavlov conditioned his dog to respond to the sound of a bell, you can condition your dog to respond positively to the sound of fireworks. This process can take some time, and certainly is affected by variables like your dog’s temperament, age, and previous training. Keeping in mind that not every dog will respond to this type of training, for the best possible results, it’s a good idea to start early!
The key to classical conditioning is repetition and consistency. This method of training may not work as well if you do it sporadically, so try to commit to a steady training schedule. That schedule will vary from household to household depending on your daily routine, but as long as you stay consistent there is plenty of wiggle room in how you choose to do this.
- To start this process, choose a treat that your dog will enjoy. One great option is to use Active CBD dog treats. These delicious treats are often used by dog owners to reduce their canine’s stress levels, especially for events like the 4th of July. By using these treats in your training process, you can elicit the desired conditioned response, while simultaneously introducing your dog to CBD and honing in on the perfect dose for them.
- Next, design a training schedule and stick to it! You can decide on a schedule by factoring in how much time you have until July, and the other variables that might affect your dog’s ability to retain trained habits (age, temperament, and previous training are important to consider here). It could be multiple times per day, or spread out less frequently throughout the week.
- The next step is to find an audio recording of fireworks that you can play at different volumes. In the beginning, start very low. Each time a firework sounds, get excited and happy and give your dog a treat! Your attitude here is just as important as the treat itself. Dogs are very receptive to your energy, and when you are genuinely enthusiastic and excited they are more likely to mirror that. As you progress through your training schedule, slowly and steadily raise the volume of the audio recording in each session. If your dog is doing fine, keep raising the volume. If they start to get scared, simply reduce the volume back to a level they can handle, and try again. By doing this in a frequent and repetitive manner, you can condition your dog to respond positively to the sound of fireworks. Instead of immediately associating the sound with impending doom, they will associate it with their beloved owner getting excited and giving them a treat. When the actual holiday comes, be sure to maintain that positive attitude and have a handful of treats ready to go! You can also look into our other pet-friendly products for the big night, like our bacon-flavored dog tinctures!