Sound sensitivity is a common problem for dogs. Generally, the best approach is gradual desensitization and counter-conditioning. What this means is that you very gradually introduce the particular sound in a controlled environment at a barely audible level using a looped recording. Every day you should try to increase the volume while observing your dog, but if your dog reacts, you must lower it back to a non-reactive level. Only reward your dog with calm petting when she is being calm and non-reactive. If you encounter a sound that frightens your dog, never coddle or try to reassure your dog when she is reacting to a sound. This can be misinterpreted by the dog as praise. The best solution is to remove your dog from the source of the noise as calmly yet quickly as possible. Maintain an upbeat nonchalant attitude as you leave the sound behind. If your dog is afraid of fireworks, the desensitization process should start at least a month before the 4th of July. Some dogs can not acclimate to certain sounds, and if professional training is unsuccessful you should consult your vet for medications that can help.
Dr. Ian Dunbar is one of the BEST dog trainers in the world. He is the founder of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) and is known as the pioneer of reward-based, positive reinforcement dog training! He is less known by the general public, but hopefully that will change! He is highly educated in animal behavior and his methods are based on years of research, unlike the more widely known Cesar Millan. People tell me everyday that they have been watching The Dog Whisperer and trying to implement the techniques they see on the show. Unfortunately, Cesar’s techniques are often physically and/or emotionally damaging to the dog, but because he often recites reward-based comments, people think that they are using positive methods when they are not. This is confusing to the general public. We need a voice for the general public that we can trust to give out sound advice with clear explanations. Please check out the iWoofs site and listen to the weekly broadcasts by Dr. Dunbar (Mondays at 3PM PST). He is a wealth of information and you can be confident that you are getting the latest and most effective positive training advice! Hopefully, if there is a large enough following, we can get Dr. Dunbar to be a TV star!