Why is my dog scared of loud noises?
We all know dogs hate loud noises, but how do we calm them when they panic over these things? I don’t know about you, but I always wished I could explain to them that it’s just a firework or thunder coming down that won’t hurt them because we’re inside. Luckily there are a few ways to keep your dog more calm during these difficult situations.
The first and most important thing is to create a safe space where your dog can go during the noises where they feel protected. For many dogs that are crate trained this will be their crate. During a storm or every dog's dreaded holiday, the 4th of July, you can place a blanket over the crate to muffle the sounds.
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This has been a long time tool used to soothe anxiety in dogs and help put their minds at ease. This gentle pressure releases oxytocin, which is actually the reason humans love giving and receiving hugs.
Another thing you can do whether you are home or not is provide distractions. Giving them tiny bits of their favorite treats or turning on music to distract from the sound can do wonders, though some dogs won’t take food when scared. If you live somewhere where there will be storms often I would highly recommend working on desensitizing them to the loud noises. The best way to do this is by slowly working up to the louder noises. For example you can play your pup thunder sounds on your phone super quietly, then SLOWLY work your way up to having it pretty loud on the television. When your dog is not panicking you can reinforce the calm behavior by providing pets or treats. If they are reacting negatively to the noise, turn it all the way back down to low volume and work your way up again.
We also want to keep in mind that a dog’s hearing is way more sensitive than our own, they hear everything magnified. Dogs may also be able to sense static electricity and changes in air pressure which are things we will not necessarily notice. Since dogs have heightened senses it’s important to realize that even though to us it’s not a big deal it is super duper scary for them, so patience is key when working with a dog with a fear of loud noises.