Noise anxiety in dogs is very common, with over 50% of dogs reacting to loud noises. Loud and unexpected noises such as fireworks, thunderstorms and loud traffic noise can cause reactions from your dog.
Did you know that your dog’s hearing is about two times better than your hearing? Dogs can also hear sounds about four times further away than humans. As you may have already noticed, a dog can move their ears around, this enhances their ability to hone in on noise and work out the direction it is coming from.
I often think noises such as fireworks are very loud, therefore it is not surprising our dogs react and can become anxious!
What do dogs do when they become scared?
Dogs can react in a number of different ways to loud and unexpected noises. Some common reactions are trembling, barking, urinating, whining, running from room to room and standing still.
How can you help your dog ?
- Find recordings of the noises your dog fears and play it at a low sound. You can then raise the volume over the following days as your dog becomes more comfortable with the sound. Reward your dog for calm behaviour.
- Using a crate to help your dog feel safe and secure can be useful, especially for events such as New Years Eve fireworks, when the loud noises can be anticipated.
- Distract your dog from the noise by playing a game or using a toy to keep their attention.
- Stay calm. Dogs are very in tune with our tone of voice, reactions and emotions. If you react or panic, so will your dog.
- Turn a radio to static to create white noise that muffles scary noises. Certain types of music can prove calming.
What not to do
- Don’t reward or fuss over your dog when they shows signs of noise anxiety, this reinforces the the behaviour. Act normally and don’t provide extra treats or attention.
- Don’t punish your dog. Fear is a behaviour and a reaction, it is not your dog being disobedient. If you punish your dog you are telling them they are doing something wrong.
- Don’t force your dog to endure the noise. Don’t take the approach of making your dog 'tough it out'. Whilst you can take the approach of getting them used to the noise with recordings, by making them endure the sound when they are having a reaction can have long term effects.
If you continue to have issues with noise anxiety and phobias, speak with your vet for other solutions which may be available.
Sometimes, it is simply a fact of life that we will be required to leave our dogs at home alone for certain periods of time, but are you left feeling guilty when you do so?
How could we not feel guilty when we see those big puppy eyes looking back at us as we close the front door? It’s Heartbreaking!
As our work days appear to get longer, dog owners are looking for options to alleviate owner guilt and find solutions to ensure our dogs are entertained whilst alone. We all use different tips and tricks when we leave our dogs at home to try and prevent boredom and anxiety.
Here are some of the things existing dog owners have tried, but feel free to share your success stories with us!
- Leaving a radio or TV on
- Setting up a webcam or interactive pet camera
- Using a crate or swaddle jacket to create safety and security
- Leaving chew bones or toys
- Using doggie day-care and dogwalkers
A Happy dog makes for a happy owner. Dogs are like humans, keen for interaction, entertainment and something different. Just by changing up your routine a little can result in a happier dog. Here are our top 5 tips
TIP #1 - Switch Up Your Walking Routine
Taking the same walking route can be dull and boring for you and your dog. Trying to take your dog on a different route in your neighbourhood, or even try a different park, hike or the beach (where permitted).
TIP #2 - Rotate your Dog’s Toys
Just like children, dogs get bored of their toys. You do not need to give your dog access to all of their toys at the same time. Try only giving them one or two toys at a time and rotate the toys, daily, weekly or every month. Watch how excited they are when their favourite squeaky toy reappears in the mix after a break!
TIP #3 - Make a play date for your dog
We all love hanging out with our mates, and your dog is no different. Make some time to hang out with other dog owners. Whether it is at the dog park or having a catch up with your mate and their dog, your dog will feel energised and revitalised.
TIP #4 - Take your dog out for a treat
Cafés catering to dogs are popping up all over the place. Whilst you are treating yourself to that morning coffee on the weekend, choose a cafe that also offers a treat for your dog, such as a puppacino, carob paws or bones. It can also be a good chance for your dog to socialise with other dogs.
TIP #5 - Take your dog to visit family/friends
Dogs are social, just like humans. If possible, when you are going out or visiting family and friends, take your dog with you. It is also a great way to let them interact with different people. There are several dog friendly bars around now, so get your dog loving friends together with you and your four-legged favourites and enjoy a sneaky wine or beer.
You are excited to be bring your gorgeous new puppy home, but how do you know if your puppy is experiencing real separation anxiety or whether it’s part of the overall developmental process, and how can you help?
There are a range of symptoms your puppy make exhibit, including:
- Urinating or defecating all over your floors
- Chomping your furniture to bits
- Tipping over your garbage cans to rummage through them
- Shredding your carpet or rugs
- In fact, chewing and shredding anything is common
- Digging and scratching at door frames and walls
- Whining, barking, howling, and crying
Unlike boredom, where you pup is wanting some attention or wants to get up to a little mischief, separation anxiety commences from when your dog is left and continues until you return. If it is true separation anxiety your dog will begin to bark, yelp or whine as soon as they are left alone, together with any of the above possible symptoms.
Here are some of our top tips for reducing separation anxiety in your new puppy!
To help your pup get used to being alone, practice leaving your puppy for brief periods from the time you bring it home. This can be as simple as going into another room initially and closing the door, so that you can hear what is happening. You can then begin to extend this out, until you eventually start leaving the premises all together.
Before leaving your pup alone, play with them to expend their energy. However, make sure you leave some space in between playing and your departure, as departing immediately after play can result in your pup becoming excitable and feeling lonelier when you leave.
Provide them with a “security blanket” when you put them in their crate, pen or bed. This could be a comfort toy, a treat or some piece of clothing with your scent on it.
Commence obedience and discipline training early. This will allow your puppy to feel calm and confident in any situation. However, don’t worry if this doesn’t happen immediately. It takes practice, practice and more practice!