What was that loud noise? We’ve all seen dogs whimper, tremble, or dive under the bed or hide in the closet when the fireworks go off on the 4th of July, or when there is a thunderstorm. You might never know why he or she has become afraid of such loud noises. Dogs have very sensitive ears and they might hurt. It could be separation anxiety along with the noise. You can do something to lessen his fear. If you don’t step in and make things better, they might become even worse.
There are two – shall we say “normal” – behaviors for when a dog becomes frightened because of a loud noise: trying to escape and run away, or, doing something destructive. Both behaviors are you dog’s effort to reduce his fear.
A side effect of your dog’s escape or destroy reaction to loud noises is that he might begin to associate other things in his environment with the loud noise and makes a link in his mind that the loud noise and the “thing” are somehow related, so he then becomes afraid of that “thing.” For example, if your dog is afraid of firecrackers, and your husband is the one in the back yard who is creating this loud sound, your dog might begin to fear your husband or the yard itself.
Loud Noise — How You Can Help
Watch your dog when he’s in panic mode. Where does he go to get away from that noise? Make sure he can get there, and make sure it feels safe for him. If it’s under your bed, put a blanket and his toys under there. If it’s inside the house for when he’s outside, make sure there’s a doggie door for quick escape.
If you know there’s going to be a thunderstorm, close the doors and windows if you’re not going to be there to help muffle the sounds somewhat.
If you’re there during the disturbing event, try to distract the dog from his own reaction: get them interested in something else like a toy or game with you.
Make sure your dog is well socialized. Gradually increasing confidence during interaction with lots of children and adults helps the dog to feel safer if loud noises occur.
Some vets prescribe drugs for dogs that react in a frightened manner, but we prefer to use drugs only as a last resort. Reassurance from you works just fine, and we have learned that some extracts like lavender, chamomile, geranium and peppermint can be used during a massage. The dog makes a connection between the calming massage and the smell of the oil.
Begin early in your dog’s life to calm her fears using some of these techniques. We at Wisteria Goldens work to reduce our puppy's fears. You can introduce yours to these techniques and enjoy a happier pet.
How To Comfort During Loud Noise Summary Checklist