The dog may be afraid of firecrackers , storms, traffic noise, thunder, the sound of the vacuum cleaner, etc. Dog phobias of loud noises are not strange, but they are very dangerous, since they can cause anxiety that you try to reduce by destroying furniture and even starring in risky escapes. But why do dogs fear noise? And, more importantly, how can you help them? Here’s how to find out if your dog has a noise phobia, why three out of ten dogs are able to anticipate loud sounds, and how to make a safe haven from noise at home .
Dog phobias of noise, why?
Fear of firecrackers, traffic noise, thunder, the sound of the vacuum cleaner … Dog phobias of loud noise are not strange, and they are very dangerous. “Many of these fears of the dog to noise can appear even when the animal has not suffered a traumatic situation associated with that loud sound”, explain the veterinarians of the Humana Society association, focused on the defence of animals.
In other cases, however, the dog’s phobia of noise is the result of a traumatic experience .If a puppy is startled by an unexpected sound or noise, it can develop a fear or phobia of loud sounds, such as thunder, fireworks and firecrackers.
Dog phobias of noise: a very dangerous fear
The dog’s fears of noise can be solved, if it is acted on time. However, if left unattended, these phobias can cause a permanent problem in dogs, even worsening over time.
The most frequent dangers associated with fear of noise in these animals are destructive behaviours and escapism , these experts add. In other words, dogs with noise phobias can react by breaking home furniture out of fear. And in the worst case, dogs can escape and get lost, as a natural reaction to their fear of a loud sound.
The dog tries to face the fear it experiences by destroying objects while it tries to escape and hide in order to reduce its anxiety. Differential diagnoses and implicated factors in a problem of destructiveness in the dog.
Fearful dogs that anticipate noise
Three out of ten dogs with fear of noise even learn to anticipate the arrival of the roar that frightens them. 30% of dogs are able to anticipate that in their environment there will be noises to those who suffer from phobia, such as firecrackers or party noises, and express their anguish even before hearing them with tremors and a tendency to flee from the place where they are.
There is nothing “paranormal” about this behaviour, however. It is a learning process that also occurs between people and is related to the conditioned reflex mechanism already discovered by Ivan Pavlov at the end of the 19th century.
In a similar way, dogs with fear of noise are able to relate other events that will anticipate the noise to come: a television with a certain sound, a group of people screaming in the street, etc.
Help a dog with a fear of noise in six steps
Step 1 . Create a security zone. The place will serve the dog to hide while the noise lasts. “The shelter should be small and dark,” says the vet. It may be worth the canine carrier or a simple cardboard box.
Step 2 . The entrance to the carrier must be free and the door must even be removed, so as not to obstruct it. The shelter can be covered with a blanket, which reduces the acoustic impact. Inside, you have to place the pet’s usual blanket or bed.
Step 3 . Where to place the shelter? In the quietest area of the house: better if the room is indoors and the windows can be covered with blankets, to reduce noise.
Step 4 . Stay calm. You have to be calm, never scold the dog or caress it excessively if it shows signs of fear, such as tremors or growls.
Step 5 . Company for the dog. You can accompany them when it is in the security zone or shelter created, to reassure them.
Step 6 . Do not force the exit. The dog should not be made to leave its shelter, even when the noise has stopped. It is better to remain calm and ask him out with food or games.