How to guide your dog through their fears.
Anxiety in dogs is a widespread problem, especially when it comes to fear of loud noises such as fireworks or thunderstorms. Especially during the summer when outside celebrations and activities are popular. While it is natural for a dog to be afraid of loud sounds, there are ways to help them cope with their fear and lessen their stress during these situations. I will provide 5 tips to calm your dog’s fear of loud noises. Learn how to help your canine companion stay calm and at ease when faced with stressful noises.
When your pooch is near a source of loud noise, the distress they are feeling can be overwhelming. Anxiety can manifest in a variety of ways, ranging from panting and shaking to drooling and whining. Reading your dog’s body language is important so that you can keep safe and prevent any potential injuries or emergency situations from happening. It’s important to remember that some level of fear is normal, but too much anxiety can pose serious health risks to your dog.
Understanding Your Dog’s Fear of Loud Noises
When a loud noise such as thunder or fireworks startles your dog, their first instinct is often to flee or cower away. Many dogs feel fear when they hear loud noises because they are naturally sensitive to sound and vibrations. They can also pick up on the energy of the people and pets around them. This is why the 4th of July time is one of the most popular time that people will lose their animals because of the loud noises and the animals instinct to run. Fear of loud noises can also be a learned behavior with exposure to traumatic experiences. It’s important to remember that your dog’s fear of loud noises is not their fault, nor are they trying to be troublesome. They are simply responding to a stimuli that their body perceives as a threat. It’s important to understand that not all dogs will have the same reaction to loud noises. Some may have mild reactions, while others may have a more fearful or even panic response.
Creating a Safe and Comforting Environment
Creating a safe and comforting environment for your pup is the first step in helping your dog’s fear of loud noises. You can do this by providing them with a quiet and secure space away from the noise, such as a bedroom or bathroom. My dog Abby, would choose the closet. Make sure to block off windows. Sometimes playing soft music may help and sometimes not. This is where it depends on your dog. I will turn on a YouTube video that plays relaxing music for my dog Mojo. Other things that I do and have found very helpful for my dogs who are fearful of
- I keep at least 2 to 3 kongs in my freezer ready to be taken out for Mojo. They will be filled with a combination of hard treats (any kind) and topped off with peanut butter. I even will mix some peanut butter in there. I also keep 2 to 3 lick mats in the freezer for my dog Jackson. Jackson does better with lick mats than kongs. He doesn’t get as stressed during loud noises but should get something. As soon as I hear that first boom, I go to the freezer, take one out and Mojo runs to the crate and is ready to go. This routine and positive association has vastly decreased how long and the extreme stress level Mojo has with loud noises.
- CBD treats / CBD oil. I used this for a bit with my mom’s dog Deven. With CBD of any kind you will want to start on a more long term plan. If you just want to do a one time treat, you may not see the success you anticipate. So just keep this in mind if you plan to go this route.
- Essential oil scents such as lavender or chamomile can be sprayed in the area to help calm and relax them.
- Thundershirt or a shirt that smells like you that is against their body. In the past I have used a dog shirt that can work just as well as a thundershirt.
- Animal Reiki. I will share Reiki with my dogs and have found this helpful with my dogs and my clients dogs.
Exercising and Training Techniques to Reduce Fear of Loud Noises
Exercising and training can be powerful tools in helping your pup reduce their fear of loud noises. Regular walks and playtime can help tire out your pup and reduce their stress level. Additionally, teaching basic obedience commands can help to keep their focus on something other than their fear. Another option would use desensitization and counterconditioning techniques to help your pup reduce their fear of loud noises. When putting together a program combining these techniques, I strongly recommend speaking to certified trainer.
Seeking Professional Help if Necessary
If your pup’s fear of loud noises persists and worsens despite your best efforts, it may be time to seek the help of a professional. A certified behaviorist or veterinary behaviorist can provide you with valuable advice and resources to help reduce your pup’s fear and anxiety. They may also recommend medications or supplements that can help. It’s important to remember that managing your pup’s fear of loud noises is a process that requires patience and dedication. With the right techniques and tools, you can help your pup feel more comfortable and relaxed during loud noise situations.
I have discussed 5 tips to help calm your dog’s fear of loud noises. From creating a safe and comforting environment to seeking professional help if necessary, these tips can help you keep your pup safe and relaxed during stressful situations. Remember that understanding your pup’s fear and providing them with the right resources is key to reducing their anxiety. If you have more questions, please feel free to contact me or set up a consultation.