It is better to avoid flashing light and noise, which can scare the dog

Our guide dogs entered the new year safely, but we want to think about all dogs, so we are now writing about loud noise and light to help owners to prevent them. It is completely normal for the dog to react to loud sounds, for example to hide in a safe place. This is not a problem. We talk about a problem when it becomes a phobia and the dog starts to run back and forth when we hang the Christmas lights on the tree, because he/she knows that there will be trouble, because the dog connects it to the previous bad experience he/she had during the New Year’s Eve fireworks.

Fireworks on New Year’s Eve are not like a storm, which has signs, so the dog may feel that his/her life is in danger.

Fear can arise at any time

“The situation is not so simple that the dog saw fireworks and he/she was not afraid, then he/she will never be afraid of them afterwards. Fear can arise at any time. The rescue dog of one of my friends got scared at an event where balloons were popped, and his fear of the noise remained, so he couldn’t work later on. I also have a personal example, when my old dog’s eyesight started to deteriorate, then he started to be afraid of certain noises” – said Piroska Komondi, professional manager of the Baráthegyi Guide Dog School.

Animal behavioral therapist – veterinarian, Ágnes Sátori confirmed this: “Many dog ​​owners do not know that fear can develop at any time, and this is also true for strong noise and light effects, among many others.”

Highly sensitive dogs

  • First of all, the most important thing in this matter is that even dogs with the best nerves can develop a fear of noise.
  • There are dogs with storm or sound phobia. It is almost impossible to list everything what the dogs with sound phobia can be sensitive to. Between these two types, there is approx. 75% overlap.
  • Sheepdogs are usually more sensitive to sound, which is related to the work they do and the selection and breeding for it.
  • A sick dog is also more sensitive, because his/her physical condition is weakened, he/she can react more sensitively to everything.
  • Old dogs will either be less sensitive or more sensitive due to the dulling of their senses, this cannot be predicted in advance. “My former guide dogs were never afraid of this kind of thing when they were young, but now old Vacak really hates it” – said Ágota Lukács.
  • Can dogs learn fear from other dogs? Yes, they can. It is a mistake to take another dog which is not afraid next to a fearful dog, because it happens that they will be terrified together.


  • Piroska Komondi said that it is difficult to “smooth out” a bad experience. It’s long, laborious and not sure to be successful, so it’s worth doing everything to avoid it.
  • We don’t have to watch fireworks with our dog, it’s better not to encounter this.
  • We have to close the windows and make the room dark, because in a closed, dark place we can’t hear the explosions and we can’t see the flashing lights either.
  • Loud music and television can also distract the dog. We can find music specially composed for dogs with firework or storm phobia on YouTube.
  • We can easily create a soundproof house for dogs living outside. 3-4 blankets for the box in which he/she sleeps are recommended for the same purpose for dogs living inside.
  • It tells a lot about the history of the rescued dog if he/she entered the shelter after New Year’s Eve, because then it is very likely that he/she got scared and ran away. The new owner must therefore especially protect him/her from this on the last day of the year.
  • “There are natural stress relievers that affect the nervous system and eliminate fear, but do not “sedate” the dog, however, there are also more serious cases when the veterinarian recommends a sedative that prevents the dog from going out into the world, i.e. they prevent bigger trouble. However, the goal is primarily to reduce anxiety and fear” – said Ágnes Sátori.
  • We must take care of dogs with firework phobia in the 3-4 days following New Year’s Eve too, because then they can be scared more easily, even by less loud, snapping sounds.
  • It is important that owners do not rush on New Year’s Eve, saying that they have no idea, or that they wait for the problem to go away by itself. It is worth asking for advice beforehand from a veterinarian with expertise in the subject.


We learned from Ágnes Sátori that dogs born in the spring have much less problems with fireworks, because they experience big storms when they are puppies. Caring breeders play sounds that
accompany storms to the puppies, thereby getting them used to the sounds. Accustoming to sounds can be practiced until the age of 6 months and the sound effects learned at that time have a protective function.

According to the specialist, it is important that the owners do not raise the puppies without stimulation, puppies should be exposed to stimulations, for example, the noise of the city, but the owners should pay attention so that the dog gradually gets used to the increasingly loud sounds. For example, don’t start by going to the place where the road is being broken, because the dog may react for it with fear.

Tire out a dog

“Tiring out is always good, especially if the dog is not experiencing such fear for the first time, and it hasn’t even started, but it deduces from certain signs what will happen and becomes tense.
Movement reduces the rise in arousal. Only few people know, so it’s important to tell them that even after the fireworks the dog has to be moved, because it was psychologically taxing for him/her” – said Ágnes Sátori.

It is difficult to take a walk in the city on New Year’s Eve,, as fireworks start during the day, so it is better to keep dogs that are especially sensitive to this indoors. The expert emphasized that tiring out is both physical and mental. Both can be done indoors. Searching exercises, physiotherapy exercises are good as physical, while teaching something, using a felt mat, etc. are good for the mental tiring out.

No total protection

“There is no 100 percent protection even for a dog with the best nervous system. As long as we can divert their attention, we do that, but if they are afraid or in a panic, then let’s sit next to them and help them by talking in a calm voice, even by petting them” – said Ágnes Sátori. She added that we should not lock the dog alone in such a case, and we should not listen to those who say that “if the dog is afraid, don’t pet him”, because when a dog is already in a panic, he/she will not accept treats, play, or petting reward value, but our presence can give them a sense of security.

Take care of them!

Dóra Pozsgay received her guide dog from our foundation, and she said that Noé spent a week with her parents during the holiday season, because in previous years she could not take him even for a walk during the day on New Year’s Eve.