Noise Sensitivity

How to help a dog who reacts badly to loud sounds.

Yorkshire TerrierBrought to you by The Original Dog Bible

A dogs sense of hearing is far more sensitive than ours, and many dogs become overwhelmed by sudden loud sounds. Fireworks or thunder will make some dogs so anxious that they whine, tremble, and may try to escape. If you can predict which sounds scare your dog, you may be able to reduce his startle reaction by playing music or television fairly loudly in the background. Some dogs do best when made comfortable in the basement during fireworks or thunderstorms. If you are with your dog during those scary times, stay upbeat and act as if you actually like the noise. Don't hover and say, Its okay, its okay, because to a dog that sounds like you're worried, too, and he won't believe things are fine at all.

Some dogs can gradually be desensitized to scary sounds by playing recordings of thunder or fireworks in the background while the dog plays or eats or receives a relaxing massage. Start the soundtrack very quietly at first, gradually turning up the volume as the dog tolerates the sounds without showing any anxiety. If this type of desensitization program is rushed, however, it can worsen fears by overwhelming the dog. In extreme cases of sound sensitivity, veterinarians will sometimes prescribe calming medication to be administered during stressful times or in conjunction with a gradual desensitization program. 

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Reprinted from The Original Dog Bible © 2005. Permission granted by BowTie Press.


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Steph   Williams, Arizona

12/6/2014 10:34:40 AM

Certain breeds can be prone as in genetic.we have backyard breeder & mill dog rescue pooches.Everything is scary & progress isn't always totally resolving an issue.Drugs are out of the question for us.We have found acupuncture & some homeopathic help through qualified vets.Consider researching Tellington
our issue may be genetic or inbreeding.These happen to be yorkie breed but most common to cattle dogs,herding & shepherds.

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Jan   Trabuco Canyon, CA

3/25/2011 2:41:44 PM

Our puppy is now 16 wks old and is overly frightened of so many noises. We got her at 7.5 wks and she came from a breeder who had 6 adult dogs (kept in cages) and 10 littermates, so how she became afraid of noise is a mystery to us! She has been extremely hard to housetrain because of hearing other dogs in the neighborhood bark when she is taken into the back yard to potty. Our vet told us not to walk her due to parvo, until she had her 4th puppy shot, which we pushed up to 15th wk because we were afraid of missing the socialization window! Now she is almost impossible to walk because she stops and/or wants to run home with every car she hears. We try to distract her by getting her to run and that is the only way we've been able to get her to the local park. Once there she is fine, and gets along great with every dog she has met, but the walk down hasn't become any easier. Any other suggestions??

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cat   laval, QC

9/26/2008 6:37:29 PM

Hi I am doing a project on hearing ranges of laboratory animals. The studies I have collected on lab animals and other mammals from the journal of american association for lab animal science all seem to agree that loud sound does not bother most animals. What bothers me is that many of our pets, such as dogs seem to be bothered by certain sounds such as thunder. My dog for instance whimpers and yelps everytime the phone rings...Is this a behavioral problem or could it be that for dogs certain sounds do make them anxious..?

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Patty   Youngstown, OH

8/3/2007 8:30:09 PM

My dog is afraid of the thunder and fireworks and somehow I don't think actually PLAYING those sounds in the background will make him LESS afraid.

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