If you are looking for the greatest gold-mine of easy to use "change your dog's behavior" advice ever crammed into a newsletter series then read on!

Also, make sure that you check out our 100% authentic testimonials from people who have bought Secrets to Dog Training and find out the massive difference it has made to their owner-dog relationship!

Secrets to Dog Training Testimonials

Testimonial"Dear Daniel. We got Henry through the Cocker Spaniel club of Great Britain through their rescue centre, that looks after our part of the country. He was a 2 and a half year old Golden Cocker Spaniel male that had been neutered by his previous owners, who were looking to have him rehoused as he allegedly had snapped at one of their young children. He is a smashing dog, but came with minor faults such as jumping up at everybody, pulling on the lead, barking at friends and strangers particularly if they happen to be wearing black clothing.

Having very little training in dog handling and understanding dog behaviour we purchased your book, with the sole aim of trying to understand why Henry behaved in the way that he did. Taking one issue at a time and with the tremendous help from the book, we have converted Henry from the loveable dog with his little faults to an extremely well behaved and social dog that everybody loves. As you can see from the photograph he just like to be in peoples company and will get involved in all sorts including the gardening. We have now loaned your book to friends who need a little help, so keep up the good work."

-- Neil and Marion Upritchard and Henry (U.K)

Secrets to Dog Training: Consultation

Hi Daniel,

I am writing in regards to our 10 year old female Border Collie mix Tango, who has an extreme fear of thunder, gun shots, back fires, fireworks.

We got Tango from a shelter when she was approximately 1 year old. There was no information on her background. At the time we were living in the Bay Area which doesn’t have much in the way of extreme weather. But we happened to get hit with a thunder storm one day when we had Tango off leash in a large undeveloped area. At the first clap of thunder, she panicked and took off. We thought we were going to lose her.

Since then, indoors or out, she becomes terrified when thunder storms hit. Indoors she will crawl into the deepest corner she can find and won\'t eat or drink. Outdoors, she will panic and run--usually toward our car which seems to be a safe haven for her.

When we moved to Nevada, we had access to large open areas where we could walk her off leash. Then one day, someone was target shooting, and off she went in a panic. Now we can barely get her out of the car, and if we do, any sounds like gun fire from the shooting range, thunder, backfires will send her running in a panic. It is so sad to see her so terrified.

Is there any way to get a dog over her fear? We have tried tranquilizers and doggie Prozac. They seem to have no effect.

I'm also a volunteer walker at the local shelter. We have a dog in the shelter now that is even worse than Tango. She\'s a pointer mix and during thunder storms, she panics so badly that she actually hurts herself, ripping off nails while clawing at the fence. Her owner surrendered her because of this problem. She apparently even crashed through a window one time. She has been given heavy doses of tranquilizers--ones that would knock out a much larger dog--and they seem to have no effect. I would very much like to be able to help my own dog and have some knowledge to help dogs at the shelter.

I look forward to your response.


Secrets to Dog Training Reply:

Hi there Tina

Thank you for you email regarding your Border Collie Mix, Tango. The problem you are describing is actually really common. Most people are surprised to find out that this reaction to fireworks, thunder or gun shots is mainly because the dogs have been inadvertently rewarded for carrying out this behavior.

The owner (or others) often rewards the dog by;

  • Petting it or holding it to calm it down.
  • Yelling at the dog
  • Giving him something else that it wants like freedom or treats

So the dogs ends up thinking that it is doing the right thing by acting this way. The best way to help stop this behavior building up to the fireworks is desensitization.


Many pets are successfully helped through desensitization. A CD is now available, which simulates the random and unpredictable noises of fireworks. You can also probably get similar things for thunder or gun shots. It should be played over several weeks, gradually building up the volume and length of time it is played. Your pet will then gradually become used to the noises and begin to ignore them.


Whilst playing the CD, you should also take the opportunity to distract your pet. Either play with him, or give him some training lessons, or give him his favorite toy or chew. Often it is a good idea to play the CD over feeding time so your dog associates good things such as dinner with this noise. This will increase the effect of the desensitization program by making your pet think on something else whilst the background noise is going on.


However, also allow your pet some time without this distraction to hear the noise. Hopefully the CD will manage to accustom your pet to the noise so that she'll completely ignore it. However it is really best to be completely prepared and allow her every chance to cope.

Create a safe, comfortable and quiet den area for her. Ideally, this should be in a place which is furthest from the noises, and where she is used to resting. The room should be able to be darkened to hide the firework flashes.

If you know there will be fireworks or a storm coming prepare the area in advance, with lots of comfy blankets to allow her to burrow into if she wants to, and take her there several times before the event, allowing her to settle there with a chew or toy for a while, and feed her there a few times too.

Make sure however, that she is free to come and go to this area, taking care not to lock her in the room alone.

Some pets find the most unusual place to seek comfort. It has been known for them to hide under desks, in kitchen cabinets and even in the bath! Don't be concerned about this, just work with your pet and think about how they may be finding their chosen place secure. It may even be helpful to provide a pet crate covered with a blanket or a large cardboard box, both filled with comfortable bedding, favorite toys and some water.

So, really take some time to think about this – from your pet's point of view - and set up the area where they are most happy. Perhaps they might like to lie under a table covered with a blanket.

  • Do NOT try to pat and stroke her in an attempt to sooth her if she is showing signs of stress. This simply rewards how she is behaving and teaches her that she's right to be scared. Don't let her know that you're concerned.
  • When she acts scared at any time completely ignore her. Do not look at her, talk to her, cuddle her or go any where near her. Just carry on like you are doing your own thing and nothing is different. This will teach her that she gets absolutely no attention for carrying out behavior like this. Dogs often will base their reactions on how humans act and look up to the alpha dog almost for guidance. If they can tell that you are not concerned in the slightest then this can help the situation a lot.
  • Check that the den area is accessible, and prepared.
  • Take your dog for a walk to make sure she has been to the toilet before the fireworks start.
  • Feed her an hour before the event, adding some potato or white pasta to fill her up and make her sleepy
  • If you can, set up some rhythmic music in the room. This can help to mask out the noise, so turn it up to a moderate level. Do, however, check that she likes it beforehand – and turn it off if she doesn't, or seems more stressed.
  • When the fireworks, storm or gun shots start, take your pet to her den area and encourage her to settle there.
  • If you are outside and she reacts to the sounds just ignore her. Keep her on her leash if you can so she does not run away but do NOT respond to her attention at all. Only ever reward her if she is showing calm and relaxed behavior in any situation. I know that it sounds harsh but if you give your dog any attention then she will carry on with this behavior. You must act like there is nothing to be concerned about.

I hope that these suggestions help you. Best of luck with your training and please let us know of any success.


Kind regards

Daniel Stevens and the Secrets to Dog Training Team

"Secrets to Dog Training - STOP Dog Behavior Problems!"

Hi, my name’s Daniel Stevens, I’m the creator of Secrets to Dog Training.

I've been a professional dog trainer for well over 20 years, and in that time I've helped thousands of dog owners just like you to get the friendly, well behaved, slipper fetching, best pal they always wanted.

But it didn't start out that way. I've always loved dogs, some things never change. But when I first started my professional dog training career I relied on the so-called 'best practices' when it came to dog behavior training. It was only when I heard people tell me over and over again that they just weren't seeing results that I started to question the old accepted wisdom. So I started a journey, a quest to search out the best, most effective, techniques, tips, and tricks that really work.

And that's how I came up with Secrets to Dog Training. Year after year I found new techniques that achieved the results I wanted. Eventually I had a whole book worth of great resources: Secrets to Dog training...

So, if you want to:

  • TRAIN your dog effectively
  • CARE for your dog the way they deserve
  • UNDERSTAND just why your dog behaves the way they do
  • NURTURE a life-long relationship with your dog that you'll cherish

Then Secrets to Dog Training is just what you've been looking for!

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