4th of July Pet Safety & Training Tips
Updated: Aug 19, 2022
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While the 4th of July can be fun day for humans, for many pets it is one of the most stressful times of the year. In fact, most animal shelters see a 30-40% increase in strays around the 4th of July! Don't let your pet become another statistic. Follow these 4th of July Pet Safety & Training Tips to teach your pet to calmly ride out storms and fireworks and to keep them as safe as possible during the Independence Day celebrations.
4th of July Training Tips for Pets
Ideally, training to prepare your pet for the 4th of July will begin several months before to set your pet up for success. Don't worry! Even if it's the week of the 4th when you are reading this, any training is better than none!
Structured Exercise: Regular, structured exercise will help your pet to remain calmer in general. Aim for 30-60 minutes of structured exercise each day. If you have the time, increase that exercise the week or two leading up to the 4th! The less energy your pet has to dedicate to nervous or anxious behaviors, the better. Structured exercise works out both your pet's brain AND their body, and puts the handler in a leadership role. Options include loose leash walking, fetch, flirt pole, tug, agility, and more! Adding in structure through obedience and manners will exercise your pet's mind more than just letting them run around freely in your fenced in yard. Can you do both? Even better!
Place: Teaching your pet to relax calmly in their crate is one of the most useful life skills you can give them. A dog that can remain calm in their crate can easily be contained when their family needs to evacuate after a natural disaster, a cat that can chill quietly in their crate will be much happier on their yearly trip to the vet, and place is especially useful around the 4th of July! Making the crate a happy place can help your pet to have a safe place to retreat to during the fireworks. Feed your pet in their crate to build up a positive association with the crate, and practice a "place" command that teaches your pet to go into their crate, lay down, calm down, and stay there until released. Remember to practice place both with the crate door open and closed for optimum success! [Need help teaching your pet to master place? Check out the Place video tutorial in The Ultimate Guide to Actually Enjoying Your Next Adventure with Your Pet!]
The Calm Down: The Calm Down is a relaxation drill that teaches your pet to calmly disengage from all of the distractions around them. This is one of those drills that is definitely best begun well before the 4th, but even a week or so of practice will make a difference! To begin, you'll start out in the calmest room of the house with your pet and a leash. For dogs, you'll clip the leash to their flat collar. For cats, you'll clip it to their harness. You'll stand in the middle of the room (away from any distractions or furniture) and then... you wait. Without giving your pet any direction whatsoever, you will wait for your pet to be completely calm. They should lay down, with their tail and head down. Their nose and ears should be still. They shouldn't be whining or panting. Their eyes should be soft and blinky. You'll keep waiting until they break from that total calm. AND THEN... you keep waiting! Wait until your pet is fully calm a second time! As your pet gets faster and faster at completing this drill, you'll be able to add in one distraction at a time until your pet is able to quickly relax around distractions without you having to tell them what to do. [Need help teaching your pet to master The Calm Down? Check out The Calm Down tutorial in The Ultimate Guide to Actually Enjoying Your Next Adventure with Your Pet!]