Thursday, September 27, 2012

Do Loud Noises Scare Your Dog?

Is your dog afraid of loud noises?

Many dogs are. You can not really blame them…they do not know that the noises will not hurt them. All they know is that the sounds seem to come from nowhere, and that they are very scary. Some dogs are so frightened by these sounds that they even have seizures. Loud noises are one of the top phobias that dogs experience. Some dogs will exhibit signs of fear that can include pacing, panting, trembling, salivating, trying to escape and/or barking. Many dogs will actually injure themselves when trying to escape.

What can you do to help keep your dog calm when there are loud noises around?

Here are some suggestions:

1. Consider not putting your dog in noisy situations. Make sure that your dog will be calm at home, or take them to a friend’s house where it will be quiet. Keep your dog confined in a comfortable location if possible.

2. Do not try too hard to reassure your dog during a fearful event with petting, soothing words, or extra attention. This can sometimes exacerbate the problem by reinforcing your dog's fearful response.

3. Some dogs are very sensitive to people's moods and may be influenced by the way that you react to the noise. It is best to act happy and upbeat or to redirect your dog's attention to some absorbing activity.

4. If you must leave your dog at home when there will be loud noises, consider what would make your dog most comfortable. Bring your dog indoors. Would he feel safest in a crate? Try turning on a fan or air conditioner as "white noise". Make sure you provide a comfortable hiding place or "safe place" for your dog in case he is scared.

5. Pet anxiety studies have shown that music can have a calming effect on a stressed out pet. Classical music can be relaxing or look for CD's that are specifically designed for calming pets such as Music My Pet.

So, the best way to deal with this issue is to be prepared. Before the noises begin, anticipate your dog's reaction to them. Whenever possible try to avoid exposing your dog to noisy situations. If this is not possible (such as with thunderstorms), do everything that you can to make your dog feel more comfortable and secure. Talk to your dog in a light, cheerful tone that sends a comforting message that the noise is no big deal. Encourage your dog to find a quiet restful place to wait out the noise.

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