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Lisa
Lisa, Certified Veterinary Technician
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 16186
Experience:  CVT with a special interest in behavior modification through structure, boundaries and limitations with positive reinforcement.
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What can I do for my dog who is 2 and very afraid of loud

Customer Question

What can I do for my dog who is 2 and very afraid of loud noises
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Lisa replied 1 year ago.

Hi there. My name is ***** ***** I'm happy to help you with your question today. Just like an in person consult, I have some questions of my own to help ensure I give you the best advice possible....

Has Kia always been afraid of loud noises?

How do you act when she's fearful?

Does she have any other unusual behaviors?

Is it all loud noises (airplanes, thunder, big trucks)?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
We got Kia when she was 11 months old and she came like this I wonder if she was around guns any loud popping noise. She is a sweet dog always when she is afraid she goes on our bed or in her kennel
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Everyone tries to reassure her that everything is ok
Expert:  Lisa replied 1 year ago.

Thanks for the additional information. I really appreciate it.

It sounds to me like Kia absolutely is having a bit of noise phobia. This is actually pretty common in dogs and I'm actually working with a new rehabilitation dog on the same issue right now.

The thing to remember about any phobia is that it will continue or even intensify if the dog is repeatedly exposed to it. Dogs have many different phobias, but the two most common are a fear of strange places (like going down the basement stairs) and noise phobias (thunderstorms or even the sound of skateboard wheels on the pavement). Without corrective measures, some dogs will even physically harm themselves in an attempt to avoid the thing they're afraid of.

The first thing to do is to have your regular vet take a quick peek at Opine to rule out any medical reason for this behavior. Underlying illnesses such as thyroid issues can often cause a change in behavior, so just to be on the safe side, it's good to have the vet to a little bit of blood work first. You could also talk to them about possibly sending out some anxiety managing medications to help take the edge off of her fear of loud noises, and although medication is a good plan, it's even better to retrain your dog to learn to not be afraid of the noise.Make sure to have lots of your dogs favorite treats on hand for rewarding her during this retraining period.

During this counter conditions, we're going to work at desensitizing her to the noise. This means we're going to use baby steps to increase your dog's confidence. Getting her enrolled in a basic obedience class will also help as this will further the bond between you and she because you'll be asking her to do things and expecting her to respond. Dogs with phobias do really well with a strong pack leader, so getting into a class where you're going to be the leader will help a great deal. Until she's over it completely, every time you hear the noise she's afraid of, make sure to reward her with both verbal cues and treats.

These techniques require patience and may take quite a bit of time, so don't expect an instant cure. Never punish a fearful pet because such actions can actually worsen his phobias and anxiety. Instead, touch her gently and speak calmly to reassure her but avoid excessive displays of concern or petting. Speak in an upbeat tone, act happy, and divert your pets attention to a treat or fun activity. Your goal is to deliver the message that the noise is no big deal.

There are a couple over-the-counter products that you could try that reduce anxiety in dogs:

Melantonin is an over-the-counter drug that can be used to treat some anxiety issues in dogs. The dose you would give would be up to 3 mg given orally whenever necessary up to every 8 hours. More information can be found here: http://www.petplace.com/drug-library/melatonin-melatonex/page1.aspx , which includes risks, warning signs to watch out for and other bits of useful information.

Try a DAP collar. These are collars that are impregnated with a man-made version of the dog appeasing pheromone, which is a pheromone that nursing bitches give off to their pups to help them feel calm and secure. It's something that humans can't smell, but it has an amazing effect on dogs with anxiety and other issues. Although you can find them at your vet's office..you can also find them online at places like Amazon.com and Ebay for much cheaper. Just make sure they're DAP brand, as they seem to work better than some other versions.

Hopefully with some time and patience, she'll learn that the noise outside is nothing to be afraid of.

I hope this helps.

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