Noise phobia is very common in dogs and may be triggered by a single experience or prolonged exposure to sounds that overwhelm the dog, causing anxiety, stress and fear. Sounds and experiences which may develop into phobias for dogs range from thunderstorm and fireworks to the sound of a baby crying.
Regardless of the type of noise causing the phobia, the treatment protocols are similar, as are the symptoms that your dog may be suffering from this common issue.
Signs and Symptoms of Canine Noise Phobia:
- Urinating or defecating
- Trying to escape
- Seeking comfort from family members
What is Sensory Education?
Bioacoustic music played along with specific behavior modification protocols is called 'Sensory Education' – learning through the senses. Using classical music and reconstructing the tempo and tone as well manipulating frequencies is essentially taking sound therapy techniques used for people, to benefit animals as well.
How Can You Change the Way a Dog Listens to a Scary Noise?
The change in how dogs listen to sounds reduces their fear considerably and in some cases completely cures them of their phobias and sound sensitivities.
- As you read this webpage, you might not notice the sounds around you, but stop reading for a moment and you will begin to hear sounds that you were passively hearing all the time but were not 'actively listening' to.
- Now go back to reading again and eventually you will go back to 'passively hearing' the sounds around you rather than actively listening to them. This is what happens after dogs go through the modification protocols with the music and sound effects.
- Even though dogs can still hear the offensive noise they are able to passively hear it rather than actively listen to it, effectively tuning the sound out.
- Active listening contributes to fear of certain sounds. When a dog actively listens to a sound that scares him, his nervous system becomes overwhelmed and his ability to think, problem solve and learn is severely compromised because of stress. His body’s fear mechanisms, essential for survival, take over, and physical manifestations of that fear occur such as rapid heart rate, pupil dilation, shallow breathing, increased blood pressure, sweating and restlessness.
- Passively hearing a sound means that the body is no longer overwhelmed and can function at a normal level even when the sound that previously elicited a fear reaction is present.
How Can I Help My Noise-Phobic Dog?
There are specific modification protocols for dogs that fear the noise of fireworks, thunderstorms, city sounds, household appliances and crying babies. The unique Canine Noise Phobia Series combines bioacoustic music with graduating sound effects of the offensive noise, which gradually helps change dogs from actively listening to a sound, to passively hearing it, therefore lessening the fear.
How the Canine Noise Phobia Series Helps Your Dog Overcome Noise Phobias
- Build a positive association for your dog by playing bioacoustic music from the Calming CD from the Canine Noise Phobia Series. Once your dog is in a relatively calm state, change to the Thunderstorms, Fireworks or City Sounds CD’s and play a track that softly introduces the offending sound (thunder, for example) underneath the music.
- During this time, provide a positive environment for your dog using favorite treats, play, praise, etc.
- When your dog is comfortable with the faint sounds of thunder, fireworks or city sounds, graduate to the later tracks, which feature progressively more intense sound effects alongside the calming music.
- The combination of bioacoustic calming music with positive reinforcement protocols that are introduced while the offending sounds are playing, results in a dog that can eventually experience much lower levels of anxiety when hearing the noise of thunderstorms, fireworks or city sounds.
Preventing Noise Phobias Before They Develop
In addition to treating already-existing cases of noise phobia in dogs, the Canine Noise Phobia Series also works to prevent noise phobias from ever developing. This works by gradually exposing puppies or adult dogs to the music with sound effects immediately accompanied by positive associations such as food, toys, massage, chew time, a game or simply spending quiet time with a family member. Exposing and preventing sound phobias from ever occurring is like giving puppies and dogs a sonic inoculation. When used properly and in conjunction with other positive behavior modification therapies, these techniques also work to prevent the development of sound sensitivities and phobias in adult dogs too.
Canine Noise Phobia Series Titles Currently Available:
Victoria is joined by dog behaviour expert and a driving force behind the UK Dog Behaviour & Training Charter Andrew Hale to...
The rescue of 180 Chihuahuas sparks a larger conversation on how to transition dogs from crisis situations into homes.
How do dogs perceive sound and can music help dogs suffering with separation anxiety and aggression? Joshua Leeds and Alynn...
Articles from Victoria Stilwell
- Social Bullying
- Does Your Dog Respect You?
- Differences Between Male and Female Dogs
- The Reactive Dog
- Today I Was Called a Snowflake