Sound sensitive dogs

By admin Posted in Problems /

It has been estimated that up to 20% of dogs display sensitivity to loud noises. They usually develop noise phobia after 12 months of age and are particularly sensitive to loud claps of thunder, fireworks and gunfire. They tremble during thunderstorms, cower indoors and will not leave your side. They have been known to crash through plate glass windows, chew through the door and injure themselves in an effort to get indoors.
Dog breeds that appear to be predisposed to this condition are the Border Collie and Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Other breeds showing a marked tendency are the German shepherds, Ridgebacks, Maltese and Dalmatians.

A dog’s hearing is capable of detecting sound waves up to 50 000 MHz. Humans can only detect up to 20 000 MHz. That is why your dog is always waiting for you at the gate because he has heard your car engine many blocks away from home. They can hear thunder 80 km away and are used to detect people trapped under the rubble after the collapse of the WTC.

When the young dog shows the first signs of fear, the owner often, unintentionally rewards the dog for being neurotic by comforting, mothering or reassuring him. This is interpreted by the dog that it is “OK” to be scared. The owner must remain calm and indicate to the dog that there is no need for panic.

What you can do to help your dog:

1. Join a club and get your dog trained. Obedient dogs are less likely to panic.
2. Puppy socialising classes and the Canine Good Citizen Test help to desensitise them from fearful reactions by exposing them to such situations.
3. If you know that firecrackers are likely to be let off, bring the dog indoors earlier and get him to settle down.
4. Calm the dog by letting him get into his kennel or bedding where he will feel safer and more protected.
5. Don’t pull him out from under the bed or desk if it makes him calmer to be there.
6. Putting a blanket over a petrified pet may work as long as it is not covering his nose.
7. Close the doors and windows and put on some music or TV to dim the noise.
8. Play with your dog. That way he will learn that he has nothing to fear.
9. Be calm yourself. Your body language will give you away and you will not be able to have a calming influence on your dog.
10. If your dog has a serious noise anxiety problem it may be a good idea to take your dog away to a quiet area, such as a farm, until the noise blows over.
11. Discuss with your vet the possibility of prescribing medication to get your anxious pet to relax.

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