Just a quick reminder for the upcoming fourth of July holiday in the U.S. with the attendant loud booming noises.
- Behaviors can be reinforced.
- Emotions can’t.
- Fear is an emotion.
- If you comfort your fearful dog, it doesn’t somehow “reinforce” the fear and make them more scared next time.
But don’t take my word for it.
Take Dr. Patricia McConnell’s: You Can’t Reinforce Fear; Dogs and Thunderstorms
Or Suzanne Clothier’s: Calming the Fearful Dog
And this post by Tena Parker has both information on fear and also some other great safety and preparation tips: Fearful Fourth of July
Everybody’s dog is different. Maybe your dog profits from just hanging out with you. Or maybe you make her more nervous and she’d rather get in a crate. If she isn’t too scared to eat, maybe she would like a food toy. You can judge what helps the most.
At my house, whenever possible during fireworks or thunder, we all troop to the bedroom. Summer gets on the bed with me and cuddles. I give everybody spray cheese every time it booms. Clara and Zani consequently LOVE thunderstorms. And Summer feels better being near me and profits from the routine.
Thanks for reading! You can go cuddle your dog! (And keep your gates locked and your dogs’ identification items on.)