Thanks for all the wonderful advice and support for my fireworks-fearing dog Renzo. I tried several of your suggestions. As Anne advised, I began adding a little Rescue Remedy to his drinking water a few days before the Fourth. When I adopted Renzo from Fairbanks, the rescuer and I used this same homeopathic remedy to ease the stress of that transition.
I also took a page from Karole’s and Kathy’s playbooks. I kept small treats in my pockets at all times on Thursday and Friday, and used the sporadic explosions set off by early birds to foster some positive associations. When I was fast enough on the draw, I’d say “firecracker” in my happiest voice and offer a treat. I’m not sure it made a difference, but I know both dogs appreciated the effort.
On the big day, we spent extra time playing in Lake Washington, keeping cool and getting exercise (Renzo swam for the first time!). As fireworks heated up, we headed inside to watch the King and I, a little louder than usual. Offering treats when extra noisy whistles and blasts interrupted Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr, and generally just staying as mellow as possible. There was some heavy panting and close cuddling by both dogs. Renzo managed a few furious barking outbursts, which we let run their course. But, for the most part, no major misery.
Some of the credit, may go to our other dog, Lulu. This morning I read that having two dogs in this situation can be a boon. In studies of canine thunder anxiety, dogs in households with more than one pup have lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and recover faster than their solitary peers.