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The Day After
Renzo survives the Fourth—with the help of Bark readers.
Renzo chillin

Thanks for all the wonderful advice and support for my fireworks-fearing dog Renzo. I tried several of your suggestions. As Anne advised, I began adding a little Rescue Remedy to his drinking water a few days before the Fourth. When I adopted Renzo from Fairbanks, the rescuer and I used this same homeopathic remedy to ease the stress of that transition.

I also took a page from Karole’s and Kathy’s playbooks. I kept small treats in my pockets at all times on Thursday and Friday, and used the sporadic explosions set off by early birds to foster some positive associations. When I was fast enough on the draw, I’d say “firecracker” in my happiest voice and offer a treat. I’m not sure it made a difference, but I know both dogs appreciated the effort.

On the big day, we spent extra time playing in Lake Washington, keeping cool and getting exercise (Renzo swam for the first time!). As fireworks heated up, we headed inside to watch the King and I, a little louder than usual. Offering treats when extra noisy whistles and blasts interrupted Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr, and generally just staying as mellow as possible. There was some heavy panting and close cuddling by both dogs. Renzo managed a few furious barking outbursts, which we let run their course. But, for the most part, no major misery.

Some of the credit, may go to our other dog, Lulu. This morning I read that having two dogs in this situation can be a boon. In studies of canine thunder anxiety, dogs in households with more than one pup have lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and recover faster than their solitary peers.

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Lisa Wogan lives in Seattle and is the author of, most recently, Dog Park Wisdom. lisawogan.com
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Submitted by Kathy Konetzka-Close | July 6 2009 |

Congrats, Lisa and Renzo!! And thanks to Lulu, too. :D That's great news, and with Lulu's calm demeanor, Renzo may be even better when next July gets here. :D

Our Wyatt had a couple of barking episodes, but for the most part, it wasn't too big a deal. We went to bed before everyone was finished celebrating, and once he was safe in his kennel beside me, he was fine even though the noise outside continued.

I hope everyone who has a dog with this type of phobia did well this year--it can be such a stressful time for some.

Best wishes~

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