Does your dog pant, pace, shake and sometimes hide during thunderstorms? And do you often wonder "why is my dog scared of loud noises?"
If this sounds familiar, you may have what is known as a noise-sensitive dog. Fireworks, loud construction sounds from next door, gunshots or anything loud can rattle your dog. Especially if it can’t understand where those scary sounds are coming from.
Dogs are sensitive to the shifts in atmospheric pressure. They can display anxious behavior quite sometime before the storm arrives. Which is much like some humans who will feel pain in their joints or experience headaches due to changes in the air pressure.
But what spooks your dog so much is that it can’t understand why those noises won’t hurt it. All they know is that whatever is happening is going to bring on anxiety. That is when you need to calm their fears.
Safety First Before things Go Bang, Crash, Boom
As it turns out, most dogs don’t mind loud noises. However, if yours is not one of them, your job is to help him or her to find their safe, happy place.
Here is a list of ways you can help your dog feel safe. So that the next time you think "my dog is afraid of loud noises", this is what you cna do.
At the first sign of anxiety, play a game of fetch or tug. You could also practice obedience skills or take the opportunity to teach your furry friend some new tricks.
Be sure to reward positive, focused behavior and if your dog loses focus, move on to something else. Ideally, what you are doing here is distracting your dog away from the noises by providing a different type of stimulus.
2. Reward Calm Behaviour
By giving your dog attention before it gets a chance to show anxiety, you can draw the focus away from the noises. If you have to muffle the sounds outside, play calming music (affiliate link) or turn on the TV.
When your dog responds correctly to these things, provide a reward.
3. Establish Coping Methods
By being consistent with ways for your dog to cope, you bring some comfort into the situation. This could be a special blanket nearby, a crate that your dog enjoys relaxing inside or a favorite toy with treats stuffed inside (affiliate link).
Whatever you provide, your dog will enjoy and may not even notice the noises.
4. Provide Crate Access
When certain events occur that could jolt your dog, remember to keep his or her crate (like this popular folding metal one from Amazon) open and easy to access.
This is normally the ‘safe’ place your dog will seek when anxious.
By making it easy to enter, you reduce the stress your dog may experience trying to get to it.
5. Training Your Dog
Noise training for your dog may be a great way to deal with the rumbling, bangs and cracks out there. However, this type of training will take time and effort.
You can start this by having someone drop an item on the floor as you are playing. The noise will get your dog’s attention but eventually, with proper positive reinforcement (and treats!) your dog will stop noticing those startling noises.
One effective way to more or less counter condition your dog is to play a recording of scary sounds at a low volume during feeding time.
Reward calm behavior with an extra special treat.
Over a few days increase the volume a little and keep rewarding. Should your dog start to show anxious behavior, stop the session for that day and pick it up the following day.
7. Earmuffs, Music and Anxiety Jacket
When the weather conditions are fine, take your dog outside and let him or her wear earmuffs (affiliate link), listen to calming music or wear a calming dog shirt.
This ThunderShirt Anxiety Jacket (affiliate link) for dogs is a very popular and successful product.
All these items aim to remove any negative connection to loud noises and make your dog unafraid to wear them in bad weather conditions.
Why Is My Dog Scared Of Loud Noises, Answered
You should now have the answer to the question, “Why is my dog scared of loud noises?” You have to use the training methods described here to help your dog ignore the sounds that may bring on anxiety.
By working with your dog to not react to the noises that scare and frighten him or her, your dog will quit being afraid of them.