Message Us

4th of July Blues "“ Helping Dogs With Firework Phobias

By ToniShelbourne. | Dog Health

Many people struggle to comfort their dog when he is in the throes of a firework induced panic.

4th July Blues You may feel helpless and torn. Helpless because you feel there is nothing you can do to support him, and torn because there is a rumour going around that you can't touch, talk to or even comfort your dog in any way as it will make him worse. We'll put both those thoughts aside and check out one simple thing you can do to calm him down.

Dogs generally like their ears stoked, this is partly because we can influence how they feel physically and emotionally.

By stroking the ear we can have a positive effect on his heart rate and breathing, helping both to return to normal levels which promote calmness.

How To:

1. Position yourself so that both you and your dog are facing in the same direction. Gently place one hand on his chest or a light finger on the collar, but let him move away if he wishes. Begin by using the back of your free hand to stroke softly along the outside edge of one ear. 2. If your dog is happy about this, cup your hand around the ear and stroke from the base to the tip. Try to mould as much of your hand as possible around your dog's ear for maximum contact. If your dog has upright ears work in an upwards direction: if they flop downwards, work in a horizontal outwards and downwards direction. 3. Next, take the ear between the thumb and curved forefingers of one hand so that you only have one layer of ear flap between fingers and thumb. Slide them along the length of the ear, working from the base near the head, right out to the end. Move your hand slightly each time you begin a new stroke so that you cover every part of the ear. Be gentle and work slowly to help calm and relax. 4th July Blues 4. If your dog is holding his ears in a furled, pinned or high ear carriage, very gently unfurl them as you slide along each ear, and bringing it into a more natural, relaxed position. Posture can directly affect behaviour, so if the ears are relaxed the rest of the body will tend to follow suit. 5. If your dog appears to dislike ear work and has floppy ears, try moulding your hand over one and gently holding it against his head. Very slowly and gently move your whole hand in a circular movement, so that his head supports his ear. Make the circle small so that it is a subtle movement. If this is still challenging try wearing a sheepskin mitten or glove to diffuse the sensation even further. You may find that this will help to reduce any concerns he has and to become more tolerant about ear work. If he continues to show concern, do ask your vet to check his ears as there may be an underlying physical reason for his unease. 6. Once you have worked one ear for a while, swap to the other and back again as you feel you want to. You can do ear work in preparation, leading up to the 4th of July but, if safe to do so, you can also do it while the fireworks are going off to help support your canine companion.

This simple technique is part of a brilliant method called Tellington TTouch Training, (TTouch for short).

TTouch has a proven track record of helping all animals overcome fear of noises. Incorporating a few minutes of the specialised bodywork into your day in the lead up to the 4th of July, and using an elasticated bandage in a simple design or purchasing a Thundershirt, can really change how he feels about those scary bangs. For more info about Tellington TTouch, visit or for a book packed full of info on how to help your petrified pet look up "Help! My Dog's Scared of Fireworks." Fireworks and Dog Seat Covers: Cargo, Dog Bed Liner, Bed Cover: 30% Off Premium Seat Covers

toni shelbourneToni Shelbourne

Animal Behaviourist, Tellington TTouch Practitioner, Real Dog Yoga Instructor & Author

Toni has worked with domesticated and wild canids since 1989. After a long and successful career with the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, she started her own business as a Tellington TTouch Companion Animal Practitioner. She is now one of the highest qualified Practitioners in the UK. In 2001 her skills in TTouch took Toni to the UK Wolf Conservation Trust were she meet a pack of socialised wolves. She went on to work with them for over a decade as a Senior Wolf Handler and Education Officer for the organisation. In more recent years, Toni has gone on to become a Real Dog Yoga Instructor, (Visit to find out more) and updated her qualifications in behaviour with the International School of Psychology and Behaviour, for which she is also an affiliate. She is now a full member of The Association of INTO Dogs as a certified canine behaviourist. She teaches all over the UK and abroad, works with clients' one to one, and writes. Toni lives in Oxfordshire, England with her husband and their dog MrP. 

Over the last two decades, Toni has been developing her writing. She spent two years editing and writing features for Wolf Print, the UK Wolf Conservation Trust's international magazine. She went on to write for national dog magazines, rescue society newsletters and blogs. Her first and second book, The Truth about Wolves & Dogs, (Hubble and Hattie 2012) and Among the Wolves (Hubble and Hattie 2015) have been a great success. Her latest writing collaboration with co-author Karen Bush sees a series of books entitled HELP! My Dog is…. Titles include, HELP! My Dog's Scared of Fireworks, HELP! My Dog doesn't Travel Well in the Car, HELP! My Dog is Destroying the Garden and HELP! My Dog has a Canine Compulsive Disorder. All are available in paperback and eBook format on Amazon. Toni and Karen have many more titles planned under the banner of Skinny Dog Books – named as they both own sighthounds and the books are small and concise. Visit for more details about Toni, her work and books. Facebook: Twitter: @tonishelbourne

New Book: HELP! My Dog Doesn't Travel Well in the Car | Paperback | Kindle


Signup/Login to post a reply


Reviews From 4Knines Customers VIEW MORE »

The best evaluations of our products come from the people who’ve bought them.

Great Protection

I think this seat cover is going to work out just fine. It fits well, was extremely easy to install. Just waiting for my new puppy to be old enough to bring home.

Charlie Hendrix

Seat cover just received

It would be nice to be able to actually get some use out of it before I can honestly review the product. I will say that so far my experience with 4Knines has been wonderful. Their customer service is great.

Gary Beaton

Great Cover

I been getting these covers for many years and have never been disappointed with them great quality and well made something you don't see very much anymore !

Jere Miller

If you have dogs, and love your car, this is a must buy!

I recently purchased the Cargo Cover to protect my new Subaru Outback. My dogs love car rides, but they're also shedding dogs and make a mess. The Cargo Cover took a brief 30 seconds to install and provides protection against dirt, scratches, hair, dander. It's super easy to clean-up too!

Ryan Bracken

Great Product!

XL cargo liner fit my GMC Yukon Denali perfectly. While our 20 lb dog doesn't put much stress on the liner, it works great keeping the back clean from carrying our often muddy recumbent bicycles around. Top notch product, fast delivery. Thanks!

Leon Campbell

Great products. We are return customers.

Bought the bench cover and side panels for our Nissan Pathfinder. Looks great. We have the same set up in our Titan truck and couldn't be happier with the protection it gives to our leather interior. Highly recommend. Shipping was super fast!!!

Marchelle Jones

Super nice

I purchased seat covers for my Ford F-350 and my Ford Edge - really nice fit and I have piece of mind knowing my seats are protected!

Deby Hackney

Well Done!

Bought the seat cover for a rental SUV we were using on a road trip. It worked great. Kept off all the dog hair and our fur baby rolled around on it like crazy. Am going to move it to our everyday SUV. Nicely done!

Neal Cohen

For all general inquiries, please call or email us
Phone: 888.602.2509

Sign Up to Our Newsletter

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Nothing but the best for your best friend!
© 4Knines. 2017. All rights reserved | Terms | Privacy

Message Us