Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Many dogs suffer from noise phobia wherein they become anxious and act in an unusual manner not characteristic of their normal behavior when exposed to loud noises. It’s important to understand that your dog won’t just get over his noise phobia without help from you. The sounds can be terrifying to him and if not treated, the problem could escalate until your pet becomes fearful of other things.
A dog suffering from noise phobia will experience one or more of the following signs of anxiety:
• Digging and scratching
• Excessive barking
• Uncontrolled urinating or defecating
If you notice these symptoms immediately after hearing loud noises, then you’ll need to take steps to help your dog overcome noise phobia. Here are some things you can do.
Provide a Safe Haven
First, your dog needs to feel safe. When your pet begins to exhibit any of the signs above, talk to her gently and pet her. Let her know everything is okay and that you are there with her but don’t baby her. If you overreact, she may get the wrong message and think that you are worried, too. When your dog feels safe and secure, she will begin to calm down and relax. Stay with her until the noise subsides, and once she’s calm you can offer her a CANIDAE treat.
If for some reason you must leave your dog alone or for times when you are not around, have a special place in the home where he knows he can go and feel safe. Dogs like to be in small spaces when they are scared because it makes them feel more protected.
If you crate trained your dog, this will make the perfect place for her to go when she is scared. If not, make her a home in a corner, under a desk or even in a closet where she can go to calm down. Place a couple of her favorite toys in the area and depending on the dog’s age, you can put a blanket in the spot to help calm her.
Stay Calm Yourself
It’s very important that you stay calm when helping your dog overcome noise phobia. Dogs can sense your emotions and if you’re showing signs of fear, nervousness or even irritation, they will react in the same way. For example, many people get nervous during a violent thunderstorm and feel anxiety.
Another way to help your dog become less fearful of loud noises is through desensitization. This is the process of exposing your pet to recordings of sounds in a controlled environment. Start out by playing the sounds very low and then slowly increase them one decimal at a time, every couple of weeks. This will help your pet slowly get used to the sounds and eventually, it will help him overcome his phobia.
As a last resort, when nothing else has helped, you can consider medication. Your veterinarian can prescribe something to help your pet relax during thunderstorms or when exposed to other loud noises such as fireworks, airplanes and construction sounds.
Dogs have very sensitive ears so when you think a sound is loud, just imagine how loud it sounds to your pet. It’s understandable that it could be scary for your dog. They don’t really understand what is happening, so anxiety sets in. If your dog suffers from noise phobia, she needs your help, understanding and patience in overcoming her fears.
Top photo by sunsets_for_you
Bottom photo by Jljohnstone