How Do I Help My Dog with Loud Noises?

Nobody likes to see their dogs scared.  Often though, many dogs have an aversion to loud noises their entire lives.  Watching our beloved fur babies shake during a Fourth of July firework show gives us pet parents a helpless feeling.  Thunderstorms can cause an all-out crisis for some dogs.  There is hope, however.  2 Paws Up Inc. is here to help you desensitize your pup to loud noises.  So, how does it work?


What You Will Need

You will need control over the noises you play.  Find a way to stream the noises that your dog normally reacts to.  It is important that, however you play it, you can quickly adjust the volume and stop it when necessary.  Next, try and make your pup a comfortable spot.  If they already have a bed in the house, get them to lie down.  They will also need a clear exit path in case things become too tense.  It is important that he or she is calm to begin the training.   


Start Slow

Now, choose the sound that your dog seems least reactive to.  Play the sound only loud enough that they can hear it.  Look for signs of stress while it is playing.  This can include perked-up ears, growling, or stirring in place.  If your dog seems stressed, turn the sound off.  Play it for five to ten minutes a day.  As they become used to the sound, you can gradually increase the volume and add additional sounds.  Remember, it is important to back off at any sign of stress.  It can take days and even weeks for them to become desensitized, so patience is important.


Developing a Positive Association

You can change your dog’s attitude toward sounds.  Food and toys are helpful with this goal.  Find a high-value treat or toy for your dog.  Put the reward somewhere you can reach it but he or she can’t see it.  Again, it’s important your dog starts the training calmly.  To begin, play the sound at a low volume like before.  Then give them the food or toy.  After your dog finishes the treat or grows tired of the toy, turn the sound off.  This will help your dog begin to associate the noise with something they like.  Repeat this process several times.  The goal is to get your pup excited about the noise because it means a toy or treats.  Once you begin noticing a positive reaction to the noise, you can gradually increase the volume.


Please be aware that not all dogs will have the same level of success.  With this in mind, there are other measures you can take to help your dog with loud noises.  Turning music or the television on during firework shows helps to cancel out the noise.  You will want to keep them inside during periods of loud noise.  Some dogs also benefit from anxiety medication.  That is a decision to be made with your veterinarian.  We hope that these tips help make life a little easier for you and your pup.  We are always here to help for your pet sitting and dog training needs.  



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