Desensitisation – helping pets cope with their fears.

If your pet is scared of loud noises, particularly fireworks, then desensitisation is the best way to try and treat it.


Unfortunately this needs to be performed when your pet is not going to come into contact with the noises that scare them, so for firework phobia it is too late for this year. However, as soon as the firework season is over start desensitising your pet for next year.

  • Desensitisation involves playing the noises that your pet finds scary, at a very low volume to start with, so that they do not induce a fear response. Play them in the evening when your pet is calm. Never leave them playing in the day when you are not there, just in case your pet becomes scared.
  • When you are happy that your pet is not responding at a low volume then turn up the volume by 1 notch. Repeat this process, turning up the sound every few days.
  • Take it very slowly and eventually your pet should not respond when the noises are played very loudly.

 

Reinforce this every few months by playing all the sounds again starting soft and gradually getting louder, especially a few weeks before fireworks night. It is very important that your dog does not become scared during this process so always take it very slowly and try to prevent your pet coming into contact with loud noises that scare them while you are desensitising.

The best way to prevent your pet being scared in the first place is to get them used to loud noises from an early age.

Use the desensitisation process to play all sorts of noises from fireworks and guns to sirens and traffic noises.

You can download scary noises free from the Dogs Trust website.