Fireworks this year may not prove quite as frightening and stressful for your dog, after all – thanks to an intriguing sleep-inducing video narrated by former Dr Who David Tennant.
Designed to calm down the hysteria and anxiety suffered by dogs at the loud bangs and explosions caused by fireworks, the video features a slow moving tale ‘Woofering Heights’ against the backdrop of slowly moving countryside, forestry shots and relaxed appearing dog of various breeds. The backdrop is believed to be especially appealing for dogs since it’s in his or her colour spectrum of blue and yellow.
Tenant’s dulcet Scottish brogue and soothing cadences can be heard saying comforting and familiar words dogs will recognise, such as “good boy” and “walkies.” The video loops several times in one playing, and by the end of several screenings your dog should be considerably calmed and even relaxed – despite the bangs from outdoors – insist the film makers.
Video based on scientific research
Commissioned by UK insurance company MORE THAN and based on scientific research the video has already received plenty of positive comments on the internet. One dog daycare owner said it had helped calm a “normally rambunctious” puppy she was giving a flea bath to that day.
“I put this on my tablet, perched it on the toilet across from the tub and let it play through the bath time,” she said. “You would have thought I’d drugged that dog two hours in advance. He calmed down immediately and within two minutes he was sitting, on his hip, in the tub as I scratched his face or any other area I could without disturbing the treatment. I didn’t even have to put the leash on him once.”
She added that her other three dogs had fallen asleep while listening to it.
The makers of the video – one of several pet friendly offerings from the same company – suggest playing the video on a tablet or computer while your dog is in the room, especially when fireworks can be heard going off.
More Than said they’d commissioned the video after learning that fireworks night was the most stressful time of the year for dogs (a cat version called Peer Window and featuring rustling leaves and trees is also available).
The experts consulted for the video were animal behaviourist Karen Wild and vet Robert White-Adams. They suggested the video should initially aim to get the dog’s attention and then start to lull him or her gently into sleep, all the while reducing anxiety levels.
Dogs react to different stimuli than humans
Ms Wild urged all dog owners to give the video a try to see if it helps relax your pet. She said: “Noise phobia in cats and dogs can lead to distress, injury and long-term behavioural problems, so it’s important for pet owners that they do as much as they can to help calm and relax their animals.
“These films may seem strange to humans, but it’s important to realise that cats and dogs do not perceive the world in the same way we do and will respond to completely different audio and visual stimuli.
“Hopefully these films can have a positive effect on cats and dogs that suffer from noise phobia.”
One thing is for sure, we’ll be trying out the video ourselves on our own four dogs this weekend when firework parties are sure to start. Meanwhile, we’d love to hear your own experience of how it worked – or didn’t – for you. If you’ve any other tips for calming dogs down during fireworks going off then please do share them with us too.