Noise-related phobias are very common in dogs and can be triggered by a number of things including anything from fireworks, thunderstorms to the front door bell going. When a noise is unexpected, it can cause the dog to have a severe stress reaction and the phobia is usually a mix of the noise itself and how unexpected it is.
Sometimes certain stimuli can trigger the stress reaction in your dog even without the stimulus of noise. For example, seeing the postman walking towards the front door can cause anxiety when anticipating the noise. As well as this, a dog can detect certain pressure changes in the environment which can cause your dog to show signs of anticipatory anxiety well before a thunderstorm rolls over.
Some of the symptoms of Noise Phobia in dogs include obvious signs such as urinating, defecating, chewing and pacing and less obvious signs such as dilated pupils, hiding or even trying to escape. Mild signs such as sucking a blanket can become exacerbated due to long exposure to the noise.
While these signs aren’t exactly detrimental to your dogs health, other possible reactions could have a much greater harm to your animal and even you. Their have been recorded cases of dogs injuring themselves and dying when trying to jump out of windows, run into traffic or even attack people out of sheer panic.
When it comes to treatment of such a condition, many people, vets and trainers alike would be quick to recommend pharmaceuticals much like the same a human would take with the same anxiety condition. Some of these drugs include Diazepam, Alprazolam, Amitriptyline. Many of the drugs prescribed by vets for anxiety usually aren’t found in any Vet formulation which is obviously not good for you pets health. These kind of drugs have been known to affect dogs kidneys as well as their mood and temperament.
A less invasive form of treatment for an anxious animal would be behavioural therapy. If dogs can receive the same drugs as a human can, why should they not then receive the same physiological therapy?
Behavioural therapy can work for both your and your animal as it is important for you to learn what behaviour to enforce and what not to enforce, to ensure you dog knows when it is safe and can feel comfortable. For example, punishing your dog for displaying the natural signs of anxiety will only further the condition.
While comforting your dog in these moments may seem like the best thing to do, studies actually suggest it makes no difference to the animal unless they physically seek you out for contact.
One of our methods of effective Noise behaviour therapy is Desensitization. Just like your skin is desensitized when it is introduced to the sun for sustained periods, your dog will grow less and less sensitive to noises it fears if it is introduced to the noise slowly while the trainer enforces the more positive behaviour and normalises the situation.
Another method used is counter-conditioning which is essentially providing your dog with the means to associate the terrifying noise with something much more constructive such as toys, food, play or favourite park which are presented before or after the noise over a sustained period of time.
We also provide gun dog training which is more of complicated process which usually involves beginning the training of the dog at the right age to ensure all fear can be easily allieved.
Sound therapy training for dogs is a lot of dedication as the training must be repeated time and time again to ensure that the enforced behaviours have successfully been recognised by your dog. Some dogs may even need continuous behavioural therapy to cope with the condition and live a fruitful life. Some, may not even respond to the training at all. All of these situations must be weighed up seriously by you the owner before partaking in this kind of training as ending the tr