Unconventional ways to distract dogs from fireworks
The fireworks show is fun to hear and see — unless you own a dog
Even though I celebrate Juneteenth instead of the Fourth of July, there is one part of this federal holiday that I have always enjoyed, driving on Lake Shore Drive or poking my head out of the window to see the fireworks. (The fireworks show at the Taste of Chicago was my favorite thing to do every year since high school before former Mayor Rahm Emanuel canceled them in 2011.)
But in 2020, when the unemployment rate is more than 30 million since March and people have too much free time on their hands, the fireworks have become a bit much. After trying to justify that it was late-comers to Juneteenth, I ran out of excuses by the 21st. Do you know how many fireworks have to be let off for America to “run out” of them? Dog owners do.
The average adult human cannot hear sounds above 20,000 Hertz (Hz), according to American Kennel Club. (Young children have the ability to hear a bit higher though.) However, dogs can hear sounds as high as 47,000 to 65,000 Hz. So those nonstop fireworks outside of your window that almost made you jump out of your skin are two to three times louder than a dog. For obvious reasons, that’s quite the disturbance for a dog.
So what can you do to block it out? By now, you may already know the tips and tricks of turning on loud music, the air conditioner or fan, and closing windows. Those are a few things that may work, but here are a few unconventional ways to keep your dog distracted and to have a less stressful Fourth of July.
Tune in to the American Kennel Club Dog Channel: If you have the kind of socialite dog who loves to stop and sniff/snuggle up to every single dog he sees, here’s an opportunity to let him check out dogs 24/7 on the Dog Channel. Unfortunately, some parts of the AKC channel are free while others are not. You can try dog videos on YouTube as an alternative.
Find your dog’s favorite distraction: If you have a natural hunter as a dog who loves to jump at the site of a bunny, bird, squirrel, chipmunk or anything else that catches his interest, you can always choose a bunch of videos that distract him from outdoor noises. The only downside to this one is you may end up with neighbors complaining about your dog pacing around and barking at the TV.
Make this your cleanup day: There’s nothing stopping you from doing all the noisy cleaning and to-do list items you probably do around spring cleanup and summer-end days. Here’s your chance to vacuum the carpet that’s been needing it all week. If you’re someone who is too lazy to manually blow dry your hair (read: me) and choose to let it air dry, blow dry away. That probably won’t take very long to do, but it’ll be enough of a distraction to temporarily make your dog redirect his attention. Run the dishwasher. Go through your fridge to get rid of old food, and let the garbage disposal have at it. Find all of your noisiest cleaning tasks to do and make the best of it.
Dog sit/dog board another dog: Odd as it may sound — because who wants to figure out how to entertain two dogs during fireworks? — having company may give your pup a welcome distraction if you don’t already have multiple dogs. If you’re too busy to find ways to distract him, another pup may do what you simply don’t have the energy to do. Just make sure the two get along.
Treat the Fourth of July like Christmas: You know all those crazy, annoying, loud toys that your dog loves to throw around the room and bite into? This is your chance to buy a bunch of them and treat it like Christmas. Just give him a bag full, and let him go to town. Wait until the fireworks get really loud to introduce the new toys to him, so it’s “new.” Will this work if the fireworks are going off nonstop? Maybe not. But honestly, aren’t you a little distracted from whatever is bothering you around the holidays for the length of time you’re opening a new gift? OK then. You’ll do even better if you choose an interactive dog toy. If it’s something that requires you to participate, be prepared to play right along with him.