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?

November 5th approaches

Fireworks and Glen of Imaal Terriers are usually reported as going rather well together. Years ago the EFG newsletter featured an indignant letter from an owner who had taken her Glen to a firework party. The Glen had sat there watching the fireworks and eating sausage rolls and hot dogs without a care in the world; the indignation was due to a lot of other people informing her it was cruel to bring him because the vets said so.

On a personal note large firework parties were always held and the dogs stayed out in their runs to share in it all, and also share the baked potato skins etc that were always left at the end but maybe times have changed. So thanks again for thinking of the blog and sending the following. Simon Callow (the Shakespere guy not Mr Permatan) has recorded a bedtime story to be downloaded and played to dogs. It is full of certain sounds that are supposed to calm dogs in case of stress. It’s certainly a different idea so why not try it if you have a Glen bothered by fireworks!