My Dog is Afraid of Loud Sounds

Jun 23 2008

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.

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