If your dog is scared of loud noises the most important thing that they must know is that no-one else is concerned about the same noise. Daisy (pictured) was dog I fostered for a while who had a fear of noises. Her previous owners had shouted at her to be quiet if she barked after being startled by a noise. All Daisy learnt from this was that her owner was upset by the noise too, and it gave her even more reason to be scared. When she came to me, Daisy was very jumpy stressed dog. Something as small as me accidentally dropping my keys would make her leap back with fear. It would have been very easy for me to add to the problem and make her even more scared of loud noises. Fortunately for Daisy, I knew what I was doing so I followed these simple rules:
– If your dog jumps because of a noise, don’t react in any way, including making eye contact… If you are looking at your dog concerned that they are scared, they will think you are looking at them concerned about the noise and wondering what they are going to do to protect you from it!
– If your dog barks at a noise, in a positive voice thank him/her… By thanking them you are confirming that they have let you know, and you are happy that it’s not a problem, so they can stop worrying about it now.
– If your dog runs and hides, let them. Don’t follow them to entice them out, they may think that you want to get into the same small space with them. If they realise that no one else ran and hid, and no one else is worried, they’ll know it’s not a problem.
In Daisy’s case I created a safe haven in her crate, and if she was a bit uncertain she would retreat to there. Once she realised through my signals that everything was okay, she was happy to venture out for cuddles and play!
Want more information about dogs that are scared of fireworks, understanding signs of a stressed dog, or to find out how you can make your dog happy and relaxed then get in touch for a consultation in your home. I am a Dog Listener providing dog training and dog behaviour consultations in Essex. Call me on 07908 192656