Travels with Charlie: How Charlie learned to love fireworks

Friday, July 5, 2024

Charlie at Horizon View before the fireworks started

Story and photos by Gordon Snyder

During the afternoon before the firework explosions started, we headed for a Spectacular Independence Day Walk around Horizon View Park. Afternoon sun highlighted our lazy break on the grass. A few fireworks were popping in the distance, but not enough to bother Charlie. Yet...

Charlie has freaked out about fireworks since he moved in with us. For the 4th and New Years, we are always surrounded by blasting fireworks later in the evening. It sounds like a war zone. Charlie would hide in the basement bathroom. He felt terrible.

This year we tried a new approach to help reduce his Firewok's Fear.

Food not Fear for Charlie
After we finished BBQing some chicken. I chopped some BBQ thigh meat and put it into a bag for Fireworks Time in an hour or so.
My thought is: Charlie is a Chow Hound. Anything for Food. Food makes him focus on Food.

So maybe he won't fear the fireworks if there’s a tiny morsel of BBQ.

Slowly, as the fireworks began, we started a game BOOOM and a FOOD distraction…

After a big blast, I’d give him a tiny morsel. DIdn’t take long before Charlie began to forget the fireworks and was more interested in the treat. Soon he became more comfortable with the blasts because they were becoming a signal for some BBQ taste.

This next step blew me away. After a nearby loud one would blow up, we started playing by barking and chasing sorta like he does with a squirrel. He got excited when something blasted. He’d bark and scurry around a bit. Catch a piece of chicken and wait for the next explosion.

The evening was a beautiful success where we watched fireworks together (sorta) and he nibbled.

He never spent any time scared and hiding in the bathroom…

We all enjoyed this Independence Day. Hope yours was wonderful also.

Gordon Snyder


Anonymous,  July 5, 2024 at 8:51 AM  

Wow Gordon! This was such a helpful story/idea! Thanks for sharing it.

Anonymous,  July 5, 2024 at 12:13 PM  

That's a smart idea. Thanks Gordon.

Anonymous,  July 7, 2024 at 10:41 PM  

Won’t work with all dogs. What will work is adults following the laws.

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