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Coping with fireworks, gunshots and other noises...

All dogs will find loud bangs and other noises disturbing unless they are used to hearing them in their day to day environment and, therefore, young dogs are especially sensitive until they become accustomed to them. However, says Roly Boughton of Dorwest Herbs, this may be easier said than done and it is always useful to be able to give the dog some help while going through this acclimatisation process. 

It is quite natural for a young animal or one who has not been subject to loud noises to be apprehensive about what these noises mean.  It is, therefore, essential to accustom dogs to strange and unusual noises while they are young as they will adapt to this being part of the natural noises they will come across and therefore not be so concerned or worried about them.

The most important type of help is for the owner or handler to give continual reassurance as dogs will quickly learn that if the owner is not concerned then there is nothing for them to worry about.  Sometimes, of course, this alone is not enough and even with the greatest amount of reassurance some dogs will still feel unsure and unsettled which if ignored can lead to a permanent nervousness. 

As ever prevention is better than cure
When introducing a dog to loud noises or gunshot it is advisable to give Scullcap & Valerian tablets, a licensed herbal medicine used to treat nervousness, excitability, hyperactivity and other behavioural problems. These really help to keep the dog feeling calmer and more relaxed and so better able to concentrate on the owner's reassurances and, therefore, not so frightened by this new experience. 

The tablets should be given at a rate of two tablets per 5kgs bodyweight. Two doses should be given, the first 12 hours previously and the second two hours before exposure to the noises, bangs or fireworks. 

Occasionally noises will occur without any warning and it is not possible to plan ahead and, in these cases, Valerian Compound, a liquid supplement with similar formulation should be given.  It is very quickly absorbed into the system and will calm and relax within about half an hour. By using these herbal products along with training and reassurance most dogs can be trained to accept noises much better and so avoid stress to itself and its owner.

Available from:
Dorwest Herbs Ltd
Shipton Gorge, Bridport, Dorset DT6 4LP

For more information, follow this link Also please call for a free brochure or contact either Roly or Tony, our senior advisor, so we can run through this in more detail with you.

From Chel Townsend...
I was recommended to try Scullcap and Valerian tablets for my young collie, who, when at shows got herself to a state where she would sometimes even get the runs! She was a mixture between hyper and nervous!  We have been giving a low daily dose of the S&V tablets (which go down easily), and we give her extra on show days, I have noticed quite a big difference whereas she is much more relaxed on the line, and has helped even with her focus on me instead of the dog that is working at that time. (08/10/04)


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