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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Happy Indepawndence Day: 4 Secrets to Help Your Dog with Fourth of July Stress

The holiday weekend is coming up!  Great for most people.  Not so great for Chewy.  One year, my brother-in-law was watching Chewy while we were gone for the weekend.  Chewy was in the backyard with their dog, and managed to jump a 6 foot cinder block wall and run away!  Luckily someone found him hours later, and called me, and they were able to go pick him up.  But needless to say, that was a stressful 4th of July!

So when Liz Bagot (of One Mind Dogs) asked if she could write a Guest Post on my blog about tips to help your dog with the stress of 4th of July, I agreed!  (and I added a few pics of Chewy/ Jasmine to go along with it.)

Here ya go!

While you're getting ready for barbecues, parties, and fireworks this 4th of July weekend, your dog might be getting a little stressed!
Consider this:  Every year, countless American dogs panic, hide, or even run away on July 4, terrified by the loud fireworks and boisterous barbecues that their humans enjoy so much.  For many dogs and dog owners, Independence Day can be an unhappy event that's more stressful than it is fun.
So how can you relax on Independence Day and enjoy the peace of mind that Fido is also calm and safe?
The dog behavioral experts at OneMind Dogs [https://www.oneminddogs.com/]—a revolutionary dog teaching method out of Finland used by some of the world's top agility trainers and their canine competitors—are sharing some secrets that will help both you and your dog breathe easy on Independence Day. 
Dogs automatically associate the emotion surrounding an experience with the event itself, so if you're alarmed by the fireworks or worried about keeping Fido calm, he will be, too.  If you maintain an upbeat, serene attitude and don't make a big deal out of your dog's nervousness, he will take a cue from you and mirror that behavior.
While soothing words can help calm your own nerves, body language is what your dog naturally understands and responds to first.  When it comes to our canine pals, non-verbal communication speaks much louder than any words you could possibly say.  Communicate to your pooch that it's okay to hide in a safe place by showing him—not telling him—where to go. 
Reward your dog throughout the day using smaller bits of treats.  After all, he is a real champ for making it through such a loud, exciting holiday!  To keep your dog interested in remaining calm and following your lead, spend time finding which treat works best as an incentive.
> Secret #4: GO PREPARED
If you are heading out to a party with your dog, take food and toys—and find out where your dog can go to rest and take a break from all the action.  If you are leaving your dog at home, be sure to give him all the toys and food he needs to make it through the day.  Another pro tip:  Leave one of your unwashed shirts out for him to cuddle up to if he gets nervous.  The familiar smell will help calm him down. 

OneMind Dogs was developed in 2003, when a top-performing agility dog named Tekla suddenly lost her hearing. From then on, her trainer had to see the world from Tekla's perspective and rely only on physical cues to communicate.  What could have been a crushing road block for Tekla's agility career turned into a groundbreaking way for all dogs and their humans to become better connected.  To find out more regarding training and agility, even for non-sporting dogs, check out their website

Happy Indepawndence Day!

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