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Discussion Starter #1
We accidentally conditioned our little guy to rain and thunder. We have a sound machine in our bedroom and sleep to rain storms and waves crashing every night, so he's heard it since we brought him home. We had nasty storms last week and he slept through most of them, though he did pick up his head once when the windows rattled :) Another storm he sat on the couch and watched.

As for fireworks - we took him to Disney world for a week and were really close to the lagoon. Fireworks go on for about 15 minutes every night. For the first 3 nights we stuffed treats in his mouth and played with him. On the 4th and 5th nights we walked over with him to the lagoon and watched with him in our arms. We didn't need to give him treats, though we did give a few. Last night someone shot some off while we were walking him and he didn't even pick up his head.

So after all the advice I've gotten from this forum, I'm now giving some.

Get a sound machine, try to go to as many fireworks with a pocketful of treats.

I hear of so many dogs who are terrified of both. I accidentally got lucky.
 

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That's a great idea. I'm glad it worked out, even by accident!
Our breeder had the puppies playing and napping in an enclosed porch, so Cleo got used to hearing thunder during storms, etc. I was wondering whether that would carry over at our house. Then, last weekend, my son was practicing drums for a performance, and it's very loud. She napped right through it. Last night, there were fireworks close enough that we could watch them from the street, and sometimes the house would shake with the "booms." She was just getting to sleep when it started. At one point, she picked her head up and glanced at the ceiling, as if she thought someone was stomping around upstairs. Then she went back to sleep. I guess it really does help to expose them to stuff early! (If only she were that calm in the car!)
 

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Mine were absolutely fine with fireworks and thunder and other bangs until Sophy was about 7, and then she suddenly decided she didn't like the sound of gunfire in the distance - so far away I was hardly aware of it. There had been no bad experiences to trigger the change, but from then on she disliked all bangs, and Poppy reckoned that if Sophy - brave, capable Sophy - was scared of something it must be really, really dangerous and started dithering too.

I have done a good job conditioning them to enjoy the sound of prosecco corks (a reliable precursor to crisps and breadsticks) but other pops and bangs are still an issue. I believe it is common for dogs to develop sound sensitivity in middle age - my own ears have certainly become more sensitive to certain wave lengths as I age, and I wonder if it is the same with dogs - certain sounds can be physically uncomfortable.
 
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Mary, that’s a wonderful suggestion.

Like family my tpoo developed a deep panicky fear for thunderstorms in middle age. It appeared shortly after she had been boarded while we were on vacation. I figured she must have learned to be fearful by watching other dogs because prior to that time she had absolutely no problem. It’s horrible when they are in such deep fear that you are helpless to do anything. Back then they didn’t have prescription drugs or other good ways to help alleviate at least some of the anxiety.
 
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Never thought of using a sound machine with those noises, interesting! Also, any exposure to fireworks with treats and play is another great idea :)

I think it's funny how dogs are okay with some sounds and not others. When inside, Jasper and Miracle both must think fireworks sound like a car door slamming because they bark and run to the door. When they hear them outside it doesn't seem to be an issue this year unless it's a bottle rocket close by (which of course, are illegal!). Miracle on the other hand will completely freak out if she hears the sound of a training clicker! I don't know if it's the sound or if she has had bad experiences with someone using a clicker in the past, but even when I had her favorite treats she wouldn't come near me if I tried to use it.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Just a follow up to how the 3rd and 4th went.

Someone shot off a firecracker on the 3rd while he was outside for a walk. He didn't even pick up his head.

Last night he mostly played while people were shooting them off and did start barking - but he was not afraid. We kept shoving treats in his mouth and playing with him. I guess he remembered our trip to Disney and the fireworks, but did not get the same reinforcement as with the nightly sound machine. When the fireworks slowed down, he put his head down and went to sleep.

I'm satisfied with how it went. My neighbors actually took their puppy out for a walk during the noise and it was fine.
 
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