Dogs and Fireworks: A Top Ten Survival Guide

K9-Games, LLC. Dog Training provides Pet Owners help for the Fourth of July

(Phoenix, AZ) July 01, 2014 – K9-Games knows that with the upcoming 4th of July weekend, dogs across the country will react with fear and anxiety to all the firework celebrations.”The noise of fireworks can be extremely stressful for dogs,” said Kristi Smith, a member of the International Association of Canine Professionals and HEAD TRAINER of K9 Games in Peoria, AZ. “We recommend these top ten strategies to Phoenix’s dog owners, to help them through the 4th of July Holiday weekend.

  1. DO expose your dog to loud, unexpected noises on a regular basis, especially leading up to an event that includes firework celebrations. Drop pot lids, toss a soda can with a few pennies in it, slam a door: anything to get your dog accustomed to being startled, so he can practice recovering quickly.
  2. DO NOT bring your dog with you to a fireworks celebration.
  3. DO provide your dog with a safe, comfortable place that will help her feel more secure amid the scary sights and sounds. Close the blinds to keep out the flashes of color in the sky, and turn up the television or some music to help muffle the sounds.
  4. DO NOT put your dog in a crate; a panicked, frightened dog can easily injure himself in a crate.
  5. DO ask your veterinarian if an herbal remedy or prescription sedative may be appropriate for your dog.
  6. DO consider giving your dog a highly valued chew toy before the fireworks celebration begins, which may help to keep her mind off the disturbance.
  7. DO attach a “house leash” to your dog, to act as an extra long handle, should your dog try to escape or run away.
  8. DO NOT comfort or “baby” your dog if he is afraid. Dogs take their cue of how to behave from their owners; if you are acting “strange” by offering soothing words and gestures, your dog may interpret your actions as praise for being frightened, or as confirmation that the fireworks are truly scary.
  9. DO act as normal and as “matter of fact” as possible, to help your dog understand that there is nothing to Dogs and Fireworks:
  10. Most importantly, DO ensure your dog is wearing proper identification in case he manages to escape.”More dogs escape during holiday celebrations than at any other time,”  “With a little preparation and an understanding of how to help dogs through their fears, dog owners can help prevent their pet from becoming a statistic this Holiday weekend.”

Kristi Smith, Head Trainer and K9-Games offer unique, effective communication methods that are unparalleled in achieving faster more reliable training results that every owner can master.  Kristi Smith is a member of the International Association of Canine Professionals, a certified Veterinary Technician as well as the Training officer for Arizona Search Track and Rescue, Inc. (a non-profit organization that trains dogs to locate missing people).

For more information contact:    K9-Games, LLC     623-594-2637

American Kennel Club Awards K9-Games trained dog – Awards for Canine Excellence!

The American Kennel club has awarded Keahi a Belgian Tervuren trained and handled by K9-Games head trainer Kristi Smith an Award for Canine Excellence as the 2012 Search Dog of the Year.  Local News station Arizona Family interviewed Kristi and Keahi on September 26th regarding this award.   Follow the link to see the coverage!


2012 Search and Rescue Dog of the Year!

K9 Games’s Keahi (a Belgian Tervuren) has recieved a very prestigious Award for Canine Excellence (ACE)  from the American Kennel Club.  She has been named as the American Kennel Clubs 2012 Search and Rescue Dog of the Year.  (see full article at   Keahi has been trained and handled by the head-trainer at K9-Games, Kristi Smith.  Together they have worked numerous searches, many of them successful.  Keahi and Kristi are also featured in a documentary soon to be released, see the trailer at    In her spare time Keahi also volunteers as a Therapy Dog.

Be a Good Dog Training Leader

Some people believe that the only way to transform a disobedient dog into a well-behaved one is to dominate him/her and show them who’s boss. However, the “alpha dog” concept in dog training is based more on myth than on animal science. More importantly, it leads misguided pet parents to use training techniques that aren’t safe, like the “alpha roll” and can increase aggression.  Dogs who are forcibly rolled onto their backs and held down can become frightened and confused, and they’re sometimes driven to bite in self defense.


Keep in mind that ditching the “alpha dog” concept doesn’t mean you have to let your dog do anything he/she likes. It’s fine to be the boss and make the rules—but you can do that without unnecessary conflict. Be a benevolent boss, not a bully. Good leadership isn’t about dominance and power struggles. It’s about controlling your dog’s behavior by controlling his/her access to things they want as well as marking clearing actions or cessation of actions.  Clear, concise training will help you achieve your leadership position.


YOU have the opposable thumbs that open cans of dog food, turn doorknobs and throw tennis balls! Use them to your best advantage. If your dog wants to go out, ask him/her to sit before you open the door. When he/she wants dinner, ask them to perform a task to earn it. Does your want to go for a walk? If he/she is jumping up on you with excitement, wait calmly until they sit. Then clip on the leash and take your walk. Your dog will happily work for everything he/she loves in life. They can learn to do what you want in order to earn what he/she wants.


For more information or assistance with clear, concise training through our canine  training courses

Contact K9-Games

at 623-594-2637

Benefits of Obedience Dog Training

Statistical information proves that a primary reason for our  high euthanasia rate is due to too many unwanted pets which are then relinquished by their owners. Research indicates that 87% of all relinquished dogs received little or no obedience training. Pet owner education, therefore, is very important.

Many dog owners can benefit from training their dogs under the guidance of a qualified dog trainer in Phoenix, AZ who will teach them to communicate on a level that their dog understands. It is not uncommon for an owner to believe that his dog is stupid because the dog does not respond to his teaching methods. It is, in fact, in the teaching methods where the problem lies.

When you train your dog, you strengthen your role as a leader. Your dog learns that he can look up to you for direction, that you have something to show him, that you expect something from him and that you expect him to be good. When you are a good teacher, you become a good leader. This is very reassuring to a dog.

Telling A Dog Not To Do Something
Is Not Enough!

Contrary to popular belief, it is not enough for you to tell your dog not to do something. It leaves him clueless as to what to do instead. Obedience commands are the tools you use. You tell him to WAIT rather than holding him back from running out the door. You tell him OFF and SIT instead of grabbing him so he can’t jump on someone. Your directions acknowledge his intelligence and establish your leadership.

“The Criticism Trap”

Other owners seem to constantly correct their dogs for one thing or another. These owners really need obedience training. It will give them opportunities to praise their dog.

There are dogs that are so accustomed to an owner’s negative attention they become insensitive to it and find it rewarding. Wesley C. Becker, in Parents are Teachers, refers to this as “The Criticism Trap”. He uses the grumpy old school teacher as an example. The grumpy old school teacher turns her back on the class to write on the chalkboard, and instantly the kids are standing up and acting out. The teacher turns around and yells, “Sit down!” The kids sit down and so the teacher is rewarded for yelling, “Sit down”. However, as soon as she turns her back again, everyone is standing up again. Why? It is to get her to yell, “Sit down”. That’s the trap. We yell “NO!” and the dog quits. We’re rewarded, and then he does it again to get us to yell “NO!” Negative attention can be very rewarding.   Dogs are constantly being rewarded by owners for Negative behaviors.  They jump up on people and get touched when they are pushed down.  For many dogs this invites them to jump more.

If You Only Notice A Dog
When It’s Being Naughty
You Will End Up With a Naughty Dog!

When you go through obedience training, you practice daily and on a daily basis you praise good behavior. Your dog gets treats, but, most of all, he gets positive attention for appropriate behavior.

An owner may say, “We don’t need obedience training, he does everything I ask. The dog is perfect except for this one problem.” Obedience training will make the difference even in this case, because the dog has learned to take your praise and affection for granted. You’re so pleased with him that he doesn’t have to try to please you anymore. Your reaction to his misbehaving is rewarding. Obedience training emphasizes the fact that the dog does have a job and responsibilities. He does have to be a good dog for your praise.

Obedience training is an opportunity for you to reward your dog for being good and to motivate him to want to be good. I’ve always said that a dog that knows he’s good usually doesn’t want to do bad things. Yes, dogs have self-esteem. A dog that values praise is not only more correctable, but is motivated to be good.

It is never too early or too late to begin training!