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How to Deal with Noise Phobia in Dogs

Dogs will at times have extreme reactions to loud noises – sometimes to the extend of having phobias of noise.

Dogs with noise phobia will become restless, may try to hide or escape from noises that scare them. This is a fairly common problem and may lead to injury of the dog as he tries to escape and may cause dogs to show fear responses such as biting if you try to prevent them from escaping.

When dealing with noise phobia, the first step is to identify what noises scare your dog. Is it a banging door, Thunderstorm or Insect buzz?

The problem most people have is in trying to rationalize the dog’s fears. You may for example not understand why a banging door scares your dog and in trying to get him to overcome it, bang the door while trying to assure him that it’s ok. Dogs do not reason that way.

In preventing a noise phobia there are several approaches you can:

• Take the dog away from the source of the sound, if loud music scares your dog then simply avoid situations where there is likely to be loud music. In the house, you can ask family members and friends not to bang doors when the dog is around.

• Expose your dog to small levels of the sound that scares them. You can play music very softly then as the dog gets used to the sound slowly increase the intensity of the sound. This setup should be done over a period of time leaving some time to see how the dog responds.


• Never pet a dog or try to minimise his fear by cuddling him or holding him. The dog will take this as a sign that the behaviour is acceptable and only justifies his phobia. Ignore his behaviour but pay attention so he doesn’t injure himself.

• Never punish the dog for showing his fear, if the dog is afraid of thunderstorms yelling at him to stop being a baby will only make matters worse. The dog associates the punishment to the sound and will become more fearful.

• Never show fear, dogs will tend to look to their owners when they are fearful to see how the owner reacts. If you hear a thunderstorm and dive under the covers, the dog will take this as a sign that thunderstorms are to be feared and in time may react the same way.

• Playing a dog a recording of a noise he fears at loud volumes will only make the dog more anxious and should be avoided.

Some dogs are genetically predisposed to phobias. Noise phobias in particular may be seen more in one breed than in other. To prevent noise phobias requires an understanding of the reason behind the fear. Some dogs may also develop noise phobias if they associate a certain noise with a bad experience.

Some medical conditions may cause exaggerated fear responses and the dog should be checked out by the vet to eliminate any medical causes. You can also have the vet prescribe medications to reduce anxiety in dogs prone to phobias.

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