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It Begins

Kaboom!

graphics-fireworks-769931Yes, folks, we are at the juncture of the two-week nerve-racking celebration of our Independence. All too many Weimaraners shake and hide during the hoopla. Most Weim parents do the exact opposite of what will help prevent this horrid situation. It is good to keep in mind that the most natural response is typically the wrong one. Here are some suggestions for survival and if your Weimaraner is not afraid of noise–to prevent ingraining a fear of loud sounds.

Thundershirt

Rupert Requires the Thundershirt

 

Fireworks are a Thing

  • Even if you hate them, stay calm and unfazed by the fireworks. Your Weimaraner takes their cue from you, and they are a reader of their human’s deepest thoughts.
  • Work on desensitizing them to the noise. You might even try some small explosions –staged with you doing something fun. Possibly, you sit on the sofa, and you have a neighbor light off a smaller explosion. Hopefully, your Weim will not take notice. As with preparing the Weimaraner to accept gunfire, a gradual increase is the best approach.
  • If they are staying in you might consider very thunderous music and putting them in a small inner location (crated). For example, move a crate to the laundry and set up a radio that blasts music (rather than calming music consider something like Rock with ups and downs to cover the outdoor blasts.)
  • Some of you might want to plan a trip to the mountains (or the beach) away from the city.
  • Others might opt for a daycare situation that has this covered. That would not be something we would suggest unless your pet uses the daycare on a regular basis.
  • The Thundershirt, worn by Rupert (Topper X Dusty) is always a good option. Many folks, report it helps a lot. You still have time to get one shipped if you act today. Chewy is amazingly fast–click here to order one!
  • Make sure your pet’s microchip is registered with AKC Reunite. Every 4th of July Holiday, the shelters see an influx of lost pets. Should the unthinkable happen, be sure you will receive the phone call that retrieves them quickly back to you.
  • Finally, you may want to consider anti-anxiety medication for this particular situation. Discuss this with your Veterinarian.

There are countless posts that address helping your pet cope with this holiday–for a good reason. It is a tough one. Even some gundogs do not like the fireworks, while they are unfazed by working in the field. No matter how you feel about any of this, one thing you can do is to remain calm. You may want to escape with your pet or pets. Try to find a place that fireworks are not allowed. Be safe and enjoy the festivities. Thank you, for thinking of your Weimaraner’s best interest.

Fireworks in the air, explosions from everywhere

The Weimaraner Safety First

firecrackers_walkThe fireworks, the fanfare, and the hoopla associated with early July meets with mixed reviews. Some folks cannot wait for it, while others dread another upsetting week-plus of the unwanted noise. The Weimaraner may be bullet-proof to the noise and explosions. Other Weims are opposed, and frighted by the attack from every side. This is a time when shelters see a huge influx of lost pets, who have gotten spooked and took off. The number on goal for a Weimaraner family is to keep their Weim safe during this period of time.

  1. Don’t leave them alone in the yard. No one can say what will happen while you are away–even a few minutes could bring the unexpected.
  2. Be careful where you take them. Having them get spooked, and bolting in unknown territory is a scary situation.
  3. Keep them away from castoff firework boxes–they are toxic
  4. Some Weims will try to retrieve or chase a burning explosive firework. They can become burned.
  5. Know your Weimaraner–prepare accordingly
  6. Be sure your pet has a registered microchip. In the event of a mishap, it will make getting them back to you more probable–not to mention proof of ownership easier.
  7. If this is your first time at this noisy holiday with your Weimaraner, make sure you do not ingrain fear. The most natural approach is usually the wrong way to handle things. There are a lot of articles that can help you avoid adding to the problem, but in a nutshell–don’t make a big deal out of it, and don’t baby them……… “you poor baby.  <== Wrong Approach! We are fine, straight ahead avoiding the worst of things……..staying calm. <== Better Approach!

The Weimaraner response varies..

american_bombThe Weimaraner may be intrigued, be frightened, or have some kind of neutral middle-ground response. We suggest doing a pretest on your young Weimar–one that is new to the holiday. Have someone make some noise (initially low-grade noise) a distance away from you while you are doing something really fun. If they love to retrieve, try having someone ding a kettle or make some noise that can be heard, but is not distracting to whatever you are doing. Gradually increase the loudness, by moving closer. The person with the Weim should totally ignore the noise, and keep the fun going. If they react to the noise the goal would be to go about business as normal, and to get them to continue to play. Regardless, if you find them cowering, you don’t want to ingrain the fear. You are also on alert that the 4th of July Holiday is coming soon.

For the Terrified Weimaraner

There are some things you can do to ease the fear, and to get your Weim through this with less anxiety.

  1. Download the Fireworks Noise (Click Here)–this is a type of desensitization.
  2. Purchase a Thunderwrap
  3. There are over the counter pheromones that are calming
  4. Talk to your vet about prescription medication if the lesser/more natural approaches do not work.
  5. If your Weim is crate-friendly this can be the ideal time to use it. An well padded, and insulated crate may comfort them.
  6. Add a fan, white-noise, and/or music to drown out the loud noise.

Be Safe

How about some ball?

How about some ball?

The shelters want to see fewer pets; the already frightened pet showing up at a scary-unknown location is not what you want either. The frantic situation is best avoided. Keep your Weimaraner inside during the height of firework activity. Accompany them to the backyard, even if you don’t normally do that. A spooked Weimaraner can charge through an otherwise secure boundary. When we talk about safety, it should include pet safety. Most of us count them as family.

There are only a few days until we celebrate our nation’s Independence. It is a great time filled with the BBQ, and fireworks. Chances are the neighbors kids (young and old) have begun to set off a few choice noise-makers already. Nevertheless, we know the crescendo will rise, and either the Weimaraner will come through with ease, or it will be upsetting to all concerned. We hope something here will help you be well prepared.fireworks-01-june fireworks-02-junefireworks-02-june fireworks-01-june

fireworks-02-june

Fireworks, Thunder, and Thundershirts

Teaching a Weim to cope with fireworks

Even a well-socialized Weimaraner can develop a fear. Usually, the Weimaraner is not fearful, but if they experience trauma (or unexpected loud situation) they can develop an intolerance. Like anything Weim-related, it is best to condition them well in advance. There are so many things to teach the young Weimaraner puppy to cope with sound. Nevertheless, it is easy to get caught short on loud sounds. If the Weimaraner get startled, they can develop a phobia. This is never truer than during certain developmental stages. To prevent these issues, loud sounds should be introduced in the same manner of gun fire. That way, they get acclimated to it in the correct manner. 

Fixing the fear of loud sounds

One idea is to start  from scratch to acclimate them to loud sounds. Begin with a light noise from a distance (one that is barely noticeable), and very carefully (over time) increase the volume’ This must happen while the Weimaraner is totally absorbed in some activity–playing fetch, focused on a hot dog, or engaged in an activity that captures their full attention. You don’t want them looking at the person making the noise, or acknowledging the noise. Yes, it is hard to fix this problem, but not impossible. There are DVDs that you can purchase. These have classical music, which includes fireworks (or gunfire) in the background. Through a series of increased steps, the background noise becomes louder, and they gradually get used to the noise. Fixing this problem takes patience.

A lot of people resort to the Thundershirt

Lucy in Thundershirt

Lucy in Thundershirt

Zeus in thundersuit

Zeus in thundersuit

We trust that you made it through this noisy holiday in good order………

The next Independence Day is a year from now, but there are other times when fireworks can present. There are other loud noises. Even if you do not cure the Weim of the phobia, easing the fear (and their reaction) is important. If you have a puppy, it is best to acclimate them to the noise. Some are less affected than others. 

When selecting a gun dog, it is important to look for many factors other than birdiness. Hunters need to avoid gun shyness, and some pups are less fazed by noise. Kevin’s writes of his recent experience…….

I remember hearing Goose did well with loud noises in your puppy placement tests.

He did fantastic with all the noise and commotion last night.

Some neighbors were setting off loud mortars that really boomed.

Goose didn’t give it much attention at all.

Of course, this is the ideal situation. We try to set each puppy up to cope with loud noises. Regardless, every pup will be different, and what happens along the way cannot always be foreseen. The concrete-thinking Weimaraner (like any dog) can get startled by new things–for example, the unexpected firework scenario, can set them up for future fear loud sounds. The worst thing we can do, is to feel sorry for them. This just ingrains that fear. We may not like the loud noise, and resent those that are inconsiderate, but for the most part, it is harmless. Approaching it with this attitude will help your Weimaraner see things in a different light too. We sincerely hope everyone made it through the fireworks with as little trauma as possible.