It can be extremely common that a dog comes down with a fear of loud noises such as fireworks or thunder. Many owners find themselves thinking what could I have done differently or what can I do to help my dog now? Maybe you had a dog in the past that was nervous or scared and now you want to help your new puppy avoid going down the same path. If any of this rings true I urge you to continue reading.
First let’s talk about how to prevent noise phobias. This is ONLY for dog’s that have no fear of the sounds already. This is geared towards young puppies but really the training to be applied to any dog to help maintain a dog that is not afraid of loud sounds. To put it simple we are going to teach that loud sound equals the good stuff comes. To start I recommend getting a couple CD’s, Positively’s Thunder Sounds and Positively’s Firework Sounds. These CD’s are designed to introduce the loud noises slowly to your dog while paired with calming music designed specifically for dogs. Each track has the sounds get louder allowing you to control the volume of the sound to your dog’s needs. To help prevent a phobia from beginning you will play the CD and do something fun with your dog at the same time. Some fun idea’s include playing fetch, enjoying a favorite chew, playing with a puzzle feeder, or simply giving your dog treats for remaining calm while the CD is on. When you turn off the CD, also stop the fun activity. When you turn the CD on again begin the fun activity again at the same time. This will help pair up the sounds with fun, teaching your dog that when they hear these sounds good stuff is likely to happen as well.
Now what if your dog has a sound phobia already? There are a few things to do including management, training, and conditioning. While I can write an entire write up on this as well I am going to direct you to this wonderful post by Illis Animal Behavior Consulting. Their blog post has over 30 techniques in it to help you and your dog over come noise phobias. And remember if this seems like too much to take on by yourself there are force free, reward based trainers available to help you on this journey as well.