Dogmom has to post today, 'cuz we're kinda freaked out by the loud noises the last few nights...
Hi all! Thanks for clicking and commenting and posting the DogsAyeView 10K and spreading the word! This is the most fun I've had spending money in a long time! I know it's only July 3rd, but I wanted to post July 4th greetings before I "forget."
A few years ago, I was out of town during the July 4th week. I had a terrific dogwalker who came and took care of the boyz (Hi Jennifer at the Pet Crew!), and she even came early July 4th so they got their walk in before the fireworks started. Now, before this particular July 4th, Gomer and Opie would sit on the balcony of our apartment in Minnesota, or in the yard at my house in AZ, and watch the fireworks with me. We ooh'd and ah'd at the lights and the whistles and even the pops and booms didn't bother them.
But then, this one day, while Jennifer was walking them... some teenagers decided it would be funny to throw some firecrackers at Opie when he walked by. They detonated right underneath him; needless to say, they completely startled and freaked him out. Jennifer consoled him and took him back home, giving extra hugs and kisses and attention. But the damage was done.
Each year since, Opie is completely freaked by the sound of fireworks, or clashes of thunder, or the sounds of the highway pylons being pounded into the ground behind our house. If you've ever seen the movie "Because of Winn Dixie" ... and you can picture the dog's pathological fear of thunderstorms scene running back and forth in the trailer ... you have a good idea of Opie's reaction.
I've tried various desensitization techniques, to no avail. Opie's a smart one and he seems to interpret the extra attention as reason to be even more afraid. He has gotten better about repetative noises... like bumbly-rumbly thunder... but not for loud, sudden noises ... which, of course, are harder to predict! Cars backfiring... firecrackers... loud crashes of thunder... dropping a pan on the kitchen floor... all set him off in a tizzy.
So, I've now turned to medicating him around the 4th of July. He takes 1/2 milligram of alprazolam (brand name in the US is Xanax). It seems to be helping, if only from the standpoint that he's more apt to watch me and "hear" my attempts at soothing him.
Of course, he still prefers to run upstairs and sit in the bathtub with the curtain closed ... until all sounds have stopped.