Dog calming story

Last week I wrote about tips for surviving bonfire night. While researching that topic, I also found a pretty cool, albeit strange initiative sponsored by More Than Pet Insurance: a calming audiobook for dogs. It’s a story of big dog Stanley who finds a new friend. The key point however, is the way the story is read. Actor Simon Callow reads the book using specific tones and pronouncation, elongating some vowels, shortening some sentences, adding vibration to certain letters. The choice of these techniques is very specific, and has been developed in cooperation with dog behaviourist Karen Wild, in order to soothe your dog during a firework show. You are supposed to play the recording over the few days before bonfire night and then during it. Here’s a little sample:

I was immediately captivated by the idea, seeing how it is related to using music to calm a stressed canine. The dogs in the video seemed pretty chilled! Also, the comments on youtube are very positive about the effects. But I wonder if having the owner do this would be more effective? Surely, if it was a stranger’s voice my dog would just brush it off as background noise from radio or TV? What do you think? Has anyone tried audiobooks for dogs?

Remember, remember the major offender

Bonfire night or Guy Fawkes night is a massive stress generator for our furry friends. This is when we often helplessly watch our scared, axious dogs and cats run around the house, tremble and whimper while the noises get louder and louder. So how to calm your dog, cat or other pet during bonfire night while keeping them safe? Top tips:

  • make sure there is some way to ID your pet in case it runs away; if you have an ID badge, check your phone no is on it
  • create a “safe area” for your pet – preferably in a room with no windows, so they can’t see the lightning flash and somewhere where the thunder sound is muffled
  • give them something to do, e.g. a kong filled with treats works well for dogs
  • walk your dog before the major firework time, so there is no need to leave the house
  • do not leave your pet alone! It is terrified and needs your comfort badly
  • do not give your pet cold treatment or get angry at it for acting “inappropriate”; as one fellow blogger quoted:
    “You wouldn’t wait for someone who was drowning to stop screaming before you pulled them out of the water.” (Debbie Jacobs, seen on paws4udogs.wordpress.com)
  • try calming methods: the music on this blog for example

DogsTrust – a UK dog welfare charity – has put together a nice video with some more interesting advice:

Hope you are able to minimise your pet’s anxiety and have a great Guy Fawkes night! Amongst us humans, who doesn’t love the fireworks after all?