Overcoming Loud Noises

Is your dog afraid of loud noises? Does a thunderstorm or the sound of firecrackers cause pandemonium and fear around your house? If so, then you need to do a bit of training to help the dog overcome his fears. This training can also be used to overcome other noise fears as well - like vaccumn cleaners, sirens or motorcyles.

You must start by identifing what noise scares him the most:

First, record the sound. Then, gradually expose him to the sound by playing the recording at a volume low enough so as not the frighten him. Meanwhile, create a pleasant environment by using something the dog loves, ie chewing a tasty bone, playing with a toy, playing fetch with you or just caressing and petting the dog in a gentle manner while the recording is playing. Each time the dog is calm and not paying attention to the noise anymore, increase the volume slightly. This might take a day or more at the time or only a few minutes.....it all depends on you and your dog.

Begin with short sessions, but increase the volume of the recording at each new session. If the dog does calm down with the new volume, turn it back to the previous level until the dog is calm. Over a period of time, begin to lengthen the training sessions until your dog is up to the level of the noise recording that is similar to the real thing.

Once you have reached the natural volume level using the recording, you can try a real noise.If your dog is afraid of a sound that you might have control over, such as a lawnmower or firecrackers, you should try exposing the dog to the real thing. The noise should be at least 100 yds. away. Do your thing with him, playing,etc. until the dog is accustomed to the sound. Gradually decrease the distance of the sounds until the dog doesn't respond to the sound occurring within about 25 yds. Be sure to keep the dog in the house or on a leash while doing these practice sessions, so the dog won't be frightened and get away from you.

Eventually, your dog can overcome his fears if you slowly expose the dog to the stimulus that scares him. Time and patience are the key to overcoming his fears.

Authored and contributed by Sandra Fikes-Kalahari Ridgebacks. Edited for beagles by Ruth Darlene Stewart.


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