Abhorrent Noise (page 2)
Thunderstorms are one of the most predictable noises. When those ominous storm clouds appear on the horizon or when the weather forecasters on radio, television or the internet say ‘thunderstorms are likely’ you should make moves to protect your fearful Fido from its frightful phobias.
While thunderstorms are seasonal, they are intense, long and loud. They occur over a wide area and have the added components of the atmospheric changes, the visible nature of associated lightning and their sulphur-like smell and the feel of the wind and rain. The combination is intense and overwhelming for many dogs. This is especially so because of their acute sense of hearing and smell.
The predictability of storms means that medication can often be used to aid the cure and, because the storms are so intense, medication is usually essential for the bad cases.
Fireworks are not as predictable as storms because, usually, you won’t know when they are going to occur. It helps that fireworks mostly occur on Friday nights and the weekend. They are reasonably localised compared with storms which are more global. Fireworks present a therapeutic challenge because they are intense but of short duration. Medication may not work quickly enough to be of use with fireworks, unless you use it routinely on weekend evenings just in case.
Providing a soundproof Den is important for firework dogs to give them a refuge from the noise.
Cap Guns, Nailing Guns and Other Explosions
Cap guns are a particular nuisance – you don’t know when the neighbour’s Dennis the Menace will fire the dreaded implement but when he does, it will usually occur only for a short time before he runs out of caps or his parents, thankfully, confiscate the device. One of my clients struck a deal with his neighbour’s Dennis the ‘M’. He swapped the cap gun for a water pistol and a twenty-dollar bribe!!! This was money well spent according to his dog as it was terrified of the noise.
Medication is of little use for cap gun phobias but at least the noise can be reproduced easily and desensitising your dog to the noise is therefore easier.
Nailing gun noises are a problem when they occur. They are predictable because when they occur in a local building, you can bet they will occur regularly over a few weeks until the building is completed. Medication often helps with nailing gun phobias. The medication should be used on a daily basis while the building is occurring and then stopped.
If you live near a firing range or an armed forces reserve, gun and explosive noises can be a dilemma. Firing ranges usually operated at certain, predictable times during the week, such as on weekends, so coping with the problem is easier as you can use either medication or careful housing to ensure your dog is safe.
|Helping hounds to deal with their noise phobias involves more than just medication
Noise Fear Solutions
Helping hounds to deal with their noise phobias involves more than just medication. There are four steps.
The first is to ensure that your dog is safe when you are not home. This involves careful attention to the fence to ensure escape is not possible and the provision of a soundproof Den for the dog to retreat to when it is confronted by an unexpected noise.
The second is to ensure that you handle the dog correctly when you are home and it suddenly becomes scared. Don’t try to comfort your dog when it is scared as you will be teaching it that the fearful behaviour is what you want. Dogs don’t understand comfort in the same way that a fearful child will.
When your dog is scared, it is much better to give it ‘brain’ tasks to complete and to reward it for doing just that. Usually this involves some short, and quick, but fun, obedience commands to which the dog is encouraged to respond.
Sometimes, calming massage is appropriate to help your dog to calm down.
Thirdly, it is often possible to train a dog not to be scared of the noises that currently upset it. This is generally done by reproducing the same or similar noises but at a quieter level and training your dog to enjoy its exposure to these noises.Sometimes recordings are helpful if the sound reproduction is accurate, and sometimes a muffled version of the nuisance noise is used. The latter can be achieved with cap guns, for example, by having the gun exploded several rooms away from where the dog is being trained and then, as the dog becomes accustomed to the reduced noise, moving the noise source closer and closer to the dog.
Lastly, medication or the Dog Appeasing Pheromone Adaptil often play a part. It is often used to calm the dog while the other processes are being implemented.
New anti-anxiety medications used in a precise manner will make the progress to a cure much quicker.
Handling noise fears in dogs is very complex but noise fears are a dangerous behaviour.