Hi there. There is a lot of advice on the Internet about dealing with noise fear in dogs, but none that seem to address my Harry's particular problem. Maybe someone here can offer some advice.
Harry is a Golden Retriever pup, just coming up to his first birthday. When he arrived home for the first time he was 8weeks old and courageous, bold, adventurous and confident. He has been well socialised with humans and dogs and is very playful. He's never yet met an aggressive dog.
At some point during his first six months, some pans fell out of a cupboard and understandably, he fled from the noise. Since that time, he runs from noises, particularly when he can't see the source: A car door slamming, or a van door sliding back, people talking behind a hedge, the rattle of a utensil. On the other hand, he goes gun dog training and the shots from starting pistols don't bother him at all! Thunder and lightening doesn't bother him either.
He also runs from sudden movements: a glove being dropped, a pencil rolling off a table etc etc.
He now also throws himself on the ground when he sees another dog (even a small one), although he's more than happy to play when he works out the other dog's attitude.
These behavioural changes all started from the time those pans fell out of the cupboard.
What have we done about it so far? With other dogs, we pull him into a sit and try to give him confidence with a gentle stroke. He will lean into us at that point and seems fine.
With the noises, it's harder. There's no particular desensitising we can do because there's no particular noise to treat. I've read that you shouldn't give him a stroke of a cuddle because that reinforces his fear that there IS something to worry about.
We encourage him to look in the pan cupboard when we open it, to see there's nothing to fear, and similarly, we let him sniff and examine anything that may have startled him. Unfortunately he seems to be getting more sensitive to noises and movements and I really would like to give him some peace of mind.
Any suggestions please?
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