Create a safe haven, turn on soft music or TV to mask the sound, and give exercise beforehand. Play calming sounds or music. Reward calm behavior.
Dogs have much more sensitive hearing than humans and can perceive sounds at higher frequencies and volumes. This means that some noises that are harmless or even pleasant to us can be very annoying or even frightening to our canine companions.
In this article, we will explore some of the most common sounds that annoy dogs and how to help your furry friend cope with them.
What Causes Noise Phobias in Dogs?
Noise phobias are abnormal, intense reactions to one or more sounds that scare dogs. Some of the most common examples include fireworks, thunder, sirens, and vacuum cleaners.
Noise phobias can affect dogs of any age, breed, or personality, but some factors may increase the risk of developing them.
Some of these factors are:
- Poor socialization: Puppies that are not exposed to different sounds, sights, animals, or places in a positive manner by 12 to 14 weeks of age may develop an abnormal fear response to them later in life.
- Traumatic events: Dogs that experience a negative or stressful event associated with a certain noise may develop a phobia of that noise or similar noises in the future.
- Genetic predisposition: Some breeds of dogs, such as German Shepherds, Australian Shepherds, and Border Collies, are more prone to noise phobias than others.
How to Recognize Noise Phobias in Dogs?
Dogs that suffer from noise phobias may show different signs of distress when they hear sounds that annoy them. Some of these signs are:
- Whining, whimpering, barking, or howling
- Hiding, trembling, crouching, or running away
- Panting, drooling, yawning, or licking
- Pacing, restlessness, or hyperactivity
- Destructive behavior or self-injury
- Loss of appetite or elimination problems
If you notice any of these signs in your dog when exposed to loud or high-pitched noises, you should consult your veterinarian or a certified behaviorist for diagnosis and treatment.
How to Help Your Dog Cope with Noises That Annoy Them?
There are several ways to help your dog cope with noises that annoy them and reduce their anxiety and stress levels. Some of these ways are:
Provide a safe and comfortable place
Make sure your dog has access to a quiet and cozy place where they can retreat and feel secure when they hear noises that scare them. This can be a crate, a bed, a closet, or any other place where they feel comfortable.
You can also provide them with toys, treats, blankets, or anything else that makes them happy.
Avoid exposing your dog to noises that annoy them
If possible, try to avoid exposing your dog to noises that annoy them or reduce their intensity and duration.
For example, you can close the windows and curtains during fireworks or thunderstorms, play soothing music or white noise to mask the sound or use earplugs or headphones designed for dogs.
Desensitize and counter-condition your dog
This is a process that involves gradually exposing your dog to noises that annoy them at low levels and rewarding them for staying calm and relaxed. The goal is to change their emotional response from fear to indifference or even positive association.
This process should be done under the guidance of a professional behaviorist as it requires patience and consistency.
Use medication or supplements
In some cases, your veterinarian may prescribe medication or supplements to help your dog cope with noises that annoy them. These may include anti-anxiety drugs, sedatives, natural remedies, or pheromones.
Always follow your veterinarian’s instructions and never give your dog any medication without their approval.
Sounds that annoy dogs are not uncommon and can cause significant distress and discomfort to our furry friends.
However, with proper diagnosis and treatment, we can help our dogs overcome their noise phobias and live happier and healthier lives.
Remember to always consult your veterinarian or a certified behaviorist if you suspect your dog has a noise phobia and follow their recommendations.