Loud noises - is your dog scared?
Noise anxiety in dogs is very common, with over 50% of dogs reacting to loud noises. Loud and unexpected noises such as fireworks, thunderstorms and loud traffic noise can cause reactions from your dog.
Did you know that your dog’s hearing is about two times better than your hearing? Dogs can also hear sounds about four times further away than humans. As you may have already noticed, a dog can move their ears around, this enhances their ability to hone in on noise and work out the direction it is coming from.
I often think noises such as fireworks are very loud, therefore it is not surprising our dogs react and can become anxious!
What do dogs do when they become scared?
Dogs can react in a number of different ways to loud and unexpected noises. Some common reactions are trembling, barking, urinating, whining, running from room to room and standing still.
How can you help your dog ?
- Find recordings of the noises your dog fears and play it at a low sound. You can then raise the volume over the following days as your dog becomes more comfortable with the sound. Reward your dog for calm behaviour.
- Using a crate to help your dog feel safe and secure can be useful, especially for events such as New Years Eve fireworks, when the loud noises can be anticipated.
- Distract your dog from the noise by playing a game or using a toy to keep their attention.
- Stay calm. Dogs are very in tune with our tone of voice, reactions and emotions. If you react or panic, so will your dog.
- Turn a radio to static to create white noise that muffles scary noises. Certain types of music can prove calming.
What not to do
- Don’t reward or fuss over your dog when they shows signs of noise anxiety, this reinforces the the behaviour. Act normally and don’t provide extra treats or attention.
- Don’t punish your dog. Fear is a behaviour and a reaction, it is not your dog being disobedient. If you punish your dog you are telling them they are doing something wrong.
- Don’t force your dog to endure the noise. Don’t take the approach of making your dog 'tough it out'. Whilst you can take the approach of getting them used to the noise with recordings, by making them endure the sound when they are having a reaction can have long term effects.
If you continue to have issues with noise anxiety and phobias, speak with your vet for other solutions which may be available.