The big bang: a personal opinion

The end of October had “big bang time approaches” with the thought that many Glen of Imaal Terriers love fireworks and maybe we’d look into it later why some don’t. Within minutes of the “big bang” being posted two reactions were emailed in and they were totally absolutely opposite. One was how could this (a Glen blog) say fireworks were loved when their Glen was terrified by them and the other said they know this blog is the only place to talk sense and it had just be shown today. Their Glen thought fireworks totally fascinating and had no bother with them what so ever-they were so fed up of hearing that so and so little pumpkin was terrified by the naughty waughty noise. It was also reported that the EFG facebook group also talked about Glens frightened of fireworks. As there are thoughts let’s make today later.

As I wrote the original posting I’ll start things off. I have never had a Glen bothered by fireworks and I would guess I’ve owned more than most people. It was never a case, that having a lot of dogs, we lived (as has been suggested) isolated so they never saw any. We were known for our large, extremely social bonfire parties and there were always many fireworks as everybody used to turn up with their own box. The dogs had the choice as to whether stay out in their runs or go sit in the kennel. They were regularly checked up on and they would be outside waiting for the food to start and their share of sausages. I’ll hold my hand up, it never occurred that they might be bothered by it and they never seemed to be.

Back in the days of yore the EFG newsletter ran a Complaints Column that folk could write to and let of steam about things that had made the swear. If memory serves it was the Spring 2001 issue that the Column had a piece from a Glen owner who had taken their boy to one of the giant Millennium bonfires and had been castigated right, left and centre by people there for “being cruel”. The Glen, as only they can, had shamelessly hammed it up to everybody about his stress levels that could only be calmed by a sausage roll, a hot dog or maybe a jacket potato skin. The piece finished with a swear about a certain television programme (Animal Hospital) that had been saying virtually every week that dogs were frightened by noise and by fireworks so they should be kept indoors etc. etc. over the New Year.

Did that irate owner from nearly 16 years ago now hit the nail on the head? As the word now is that dogs ARE afraid of fireworks are we, however unintentionally, making them so? Last weekend I was at an event and got talking to a cat breeder who obviously had no idea about this blog or anything really to do with me. Somehow or other fireworks came into the conversation and it was fascinating to hear her, a cat breeder remember, have a gentle spit about owners. About the way they instil fear into the cats by their own reactions and expectations and end up with totally neurotic creatures and it is their own doing!

Obviously some dogs are scared of fireworks but are more becoming so because of their owners behaviour? Just to use another example: last Thursday (Bonfire Night) the Cesky was, as usual, being walked. Cesky are not known for being a brave breed. One lady stopped to say “you’re walking the dog”, pretty obvious when he was there on the end of the lead, and she proceeded to tell me how upset hers were by it all. They had to have the curtains closed, radio loud, television on and their, and her, life was hell for a few days. As the bangs sounded and the rockets flew she looked down at the Cesky, who had his head inside an empty quaver bag somebody had thrown down, and finished with how lucky I was. You can’t do it when somebody is, after all, being nice but I so wanted to ask her how she treated her dogs? Did she know they didn’t like bangs or did she indicate to them they didn’t by her behaviour? Where they ever allowed out to see what fireworks were or was it always an automatic lock down?

So if your Glen is bothered by fireworks do tell us. It’s nothing to be ashamed of and might help somebody in the future. It could be interesting to see if the change in the breed from mainly kennel to mainly housedog is affecting things besides coat?

8 thoughts on “The big bang: a personal opinion

  1. None of mine have ever been the least bit bothered by fireworks, loud noises, shooting, etc. I ignore it, they look to me for a reaction when they hear things and they follow suit. I know that some dogs are upset by them and I have wondered if the way their owners react had anything to do with their attitudes toward them.

  2. I have been lucky enough to live with Griffon Bruxellois (both from puppy and a rehomed dog), retired greyhounds and latterly a Glen.

    My experience is that dogs, like people, are individuals. None of my Griffons (all males) were ever bothered by fireworks or loud noises.

    My male greyhound was literally terrified of fireworks and loud noises but the female was fine until she started to lose her sight. Now she too is a quivering wreck.

    Last year our 9 month old Glen was beside herself when the fireworks started, which surprised us because she is so laid back. This year we tried her with Adaptil tablets and she has been fine.

  3. one of our three Glen girls was unfortunaly very afraid of fireworks, due to some bad experiance. The other two are totally laid back. We use a DAP collar two weeks before the big bang and a week after. Five minutes before the big fireworks begin all three get a very special treat, they keep busy for a while. If necessary I support the frightened Glen. Now she can handle the fireworks much better.

  4. We conducted a little survey last summer – just for general interest – in the sidebar of The Topline, our monthly Glen of Imaal Terrier Club of America email. Our season for loud noises like fireworks and thunder is the summer, especially on the 4th of July, so we entitled it “The Sounds of Summer”. We had 18 respondents, so hardly a statistically accurate sampling, but the results are interesting none-the-less. Here is a summary of the results:
    Last month we asked if your Glen was bothered by the “Sounds of Summer”, and the results are in! Of those who responded:
    56 % were not disturbed by loud noise.
    44% had some reaction.
    Of those who reacted to noise: 29% found comfort in a calming place
    14% found assistance in natural or over-the-counter medication
    29% relied on veterinarian prescribed medication
    28% used an assortment of techniques including comfort through cuddling.
    Results were varied from household to household, and even within the same household. One respondent reported that none of their Glens ever had noise issues, while another replied that one of their two Glens became frightened while the other showed no fear.
    Additional suggestions included leaving lights on or, alternatively, finding a darkened room without windows. Most noted that proximity to their people was helpful. One respondent observed that city living was an excellent desensitizer to loud noise!

    • As you say Jane, interesting, and thanks for taking the time to type it out. The proximity to people is what Jo, the cat breeder mentioned in the blog and my experience all bear out. They react from you.

  5. I ignore the fireworks and so do my Glens. Not so the “long dog” Mick. Mick shivers and shakes. Mick is mostly an outside dog, but having had 3 different sighthounds, The Irish Wolfhound, the Borzoi and now Mick (deerhound x borzoi) he is the only one who reacts. The IW, like most “real men” simply looked at us with a totally bored expression. The Borzoi looked around and up and then went back to sleep. The Glens had no opinion whatsoever, but felt a biscuit or two might be in order. I think that if something scares the alpha, everyone else falls in line. The alpha usually being the owner/handler can certainly pass on a feeling as we’ve all seen with the “travels down the lead” in showing.

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