Why Is My Dog Scared of Loud Noises and How to Help
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Is your dog scared of loud noises such as fireworks or thunder? Noise anxiety and noise phobia is common in dogs. Thankfully, there are ways to help our dog calm down and get over their fear of loud noises.
In this AnimalWised article we're going to explain why your dog is scared of loud noises and how to help them. Continue reading for more!
Noise anxiety in dogs
Noise anxiety in dogs is when a dog suffers from a phobia or fear of loud noises such as fireworks, thunder or even a loud vehicle. Their fear will make them exhibit different symptoms in different levels of severity.
Some of the symptoms include:
- Shaking or trembling
- Destructive behaviour
- Pushing their ears back
- Unusual whining or barking
- Tucking their tail between their legs
- Clinging next to their companion
Although noise anxiety in dogs is fairly common, there are ways to help your dog calm down in these situations and get over their fear of loud noises.
Why is my dog scared of loud noises?
It's a common fact that dogs have more sensitive ears than humans. In fact, dogs can hear nearly twice the amount of frequencies that humans can hear. This is why dogs are usually more alert by loud noises than we are. However, this doesn't mean that they should feel anxious or scared.
Common noise anxiety triggers include:
- Loud vehicles
- Loud gatherings
- Fire alarms
- Helicopters or planes
- Other dogs barking
- Beeping noises from electronic devices
- Ambulances, police cars or firetrucks
If your dog is exhibiting symptoms of noise anxiety or noise phobia, it could be helpful to know why. By knowing the cause of their fear we can find the best way to help them overcome their fear.
Here are the most common causes of noise anxiety in dogs:
- Genetic predisposition: such as in Border Collies, German Shepherds or Golden Retrievers.
- Previous trauma: they've suffered a past trauma that made them associate loud noises with that trauma.
- Their companion is also scared: dogs perceive their companion's feelings and may also feel anxious or scared if that's how their companion feel.
How to help your dog
Create a safe space for them
The first thing you can do for your dog who is suffering from noise anxiety is to create a safe space for them, a haven where they can go and relax when they are feeing scared. This can be their crate, the bathroom, the closet, etc. In this space you should put some blankets, toys and maybe even some treats. You can also add some soothing music to help them relax.
When they begin to feel scared or anxious they will go to this haven to feel safe. We recommend you go with them. Dogs are tribe animals that feel safer with their companion. When with them, you should pet them, smile and speak softly to them. You can also try to play with them to further distract them from the noises.
Reward calm behaviour
Another effective method to help your dog overcome their fear of loud noises is to reward them with a treat when they are calm. By using positive reinforcement, we will help our dog reassociate loud noises and calm behaviour positively. This will be especially effective if your dog has suffered from a past trauma. This method will help them reassociate the situation and learn to behave differently so they don't suffer in similar situations, knowing that they are safe and can choose to be calm.
Distract your dog
Once you recognize the noise that triggers anxiety or fear in your dog, you can try to distract them by playing with them. This way you can help them focus on a game instead of the loud noise. Intelligence games, basic command training through positive reinforcement or other indoor games are great option.
Use props to help them relax
There are certain props you can use to help your dog relax. These include:
- Pressure wrap
- Ear muffs
- Soothing music
Lastly, if you have tried all of these methods but your dog is still suffering from noise anxiety, we recommend you take them to the veterinarian to be examined and treated. Your veterinarian may recommend you get help from a canine behaviour specialist or they may prescribe medication to help your dog relax.
You may also be interested in our article about why your dog is suddenly scared of you.
Lastly, we leave you with our video about how to calm your dog down. These tips help reduce anxiety in dogs so we think it can help your dog reduce their noise anxiety.
If you want to read similar articles to Why Is My Dog Scared of Loud Noises and How to Help, we recommend you visit our Behavioral problems category.
- Don't baby them as it may reinforce their fear, try to calm them down or distract them.
- Don't scold or punish them, you'll scare them even more.
- Don't leave them alone, this will make it worse and could make them develop destructive behaviour.