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How do I keep loud noise from scaring Diamond?

Diamondsmum
September 10th, 2008, 11:06 AM
Hi All!

We live on a busy street & also have a dirt road right beside our house.

and when either a LOUD by loud I dont mean music just an idiot going
wayyy 2 fast or hitting the potholes, so if a car/van/bus/truck/motorcycle go down it.
Diamond runs for cover ususally between my legs. (this also occurs in the house)

I know that there ears are super senitive but I am not sure how to handle this.

When we go for short walks she gets terrified if a vehicle is loud & tries to slip her collar to run away. I bend down & reassure her but is there another way or any way to help this?

I dont like the sad scared look she gives me.:lovestruck:

kigndano
September 10th, 2008, 11:10 AM
yea.

for 1, never reassure a scared dog, you only intesnify the behavior you are trying to get rid of.

if it were my dog, i would just stand in the noisest intersection i could find, let him go through his panic attack, and when he calmed down, i would reward him.

people call it "flooding" but if there is no real danger i dont think its cruel.

Diamondsmum
September 10th, 2008, 11:25 AM
very good point on not reassureing her. I am also hoping to break this before we end up with scared dog during thunderstorms.

as for busiest intersection my street during the school bus runs (theres at least 8 that go by morning & after school.

pitgrrl
September 10th, 2008, 01:42 PM
if it were my dog, i would just stand in the noisest intersection i could find, let him go through his panic attack, and when he calmed down, i would reward him.

people call it "flooding" but if there is no real danger i dont think its cruel.

Actually, flooding has been shown to be not only pretty ineffective, but is cruel in the sense that you're forcing your dog into a situation they don't understand and find terrifying and forcing them to endure it. It can very likely make the problem about 1000% worse and what may look like the dog "calming down" is usually just the dog getting to a point of such fear that they basically shut down mentally.

I really can't stress enough how much I think this is a potentially really harmful idea.

Diamondsmum, I would work on desensitizing Diamond to the noises. It'll be a bit harder than it would be with something you can control exposer to, but with time you should be able to make progress.

Maybe you could start in the house, where I presume the noise isn't as bad.
First, figure out the thing that's really valuable to Diamond, food? A game? A toy?
Lets say it's food. Every time there's a loud noise, immediately toss a tiny treat at the dog. No reassuring or coddling or even any response besides tossing the treat.

Once she's looking for the treat, or atleast not freaking out, maybe move outside, but not right in the thick of the traffic and do the same thing (or, if she prefers a game, go play tug or whatever within earshot, but not too close, to the noise). As she becomes more comfortable with the noise at a distance, slowly, very slowly, decrease your distance.

The key is always to stay in the dog's comfort zone (where she is not becoming anxious) and slowly getting closer to the trigger of the anxiety.

Another thing I've found helpful is to name the things that are scary and encourage investigation. For example, one of my dogs is terrified of thunder and, as a result, gets tense about loud planes flying over head. We started naming and pointing out the planes to him, eventually getting him to following the lights in the sky when they go by. We say something like "It's a plane, where is it?" and he now happily trots along "following" the lights he sees in the sky instead of freaking out and refusing to move.

Diamondsmum
September 10th, 2008, 03:18 PM
pitgrrl,

Thank you.. I was wondering about doing the flooding and felt it was cruel as well.. I remember when Duke also had developed same fear.. & he was leashed & I recall him running into the road in front of a dump truck, Dump truck honked his horn & scared him sooo much more I grabbed him & both of us almost got hit. I cant remember how we broke him of it tho. but We were living on a 4lane main road. therefor it may of just got used to it.

Today Diamond & I were in backyard when a loud truck & trailer went by. She ran into house from it. *sigh, I will try your way of it. :thumbs up

and slowly too

any other suggestions?

Laylapet
September 21st, 2008, 01:39 AM
First, figure out the thing that's really valuable to Diamond, food? A game? A toy?
Lets say it's food. Every time there's a loud noise, immediately toss a tiny treat at the dog. No reassuring or coddling or even any response besides tossing the treat.

Ehhhhh I'd be really careful about that. You don't want the dog to think you are rewarding the fear! Things other than food are really unlikely to work - in my experience dogs that are afraid of loud noises have no interest in playing while the episode is taking place no matter how much they like the toy/game/whatever. My old dog was terrified of thunderstorms and could not even be distracted by her favorite treats when she was scared.

I've been exposing my puppy to a variety of noises. If she shows fear I just stand there calmly until it passes, and if she tries to run away I just put her back where she was. I treat her only when she's calm. I don't know if this is the best method, but it has been working for us. She's now at the point where if someone starts a jackhammer 10 feet away she barely flinches. I started with milder noises first so that she had a low-stress way to learn the concept.

Diamondsmum
September 21st, 2008, 09:52 AM
last night was a horrid night somewhat she has been getting better & in about a week or 2 they will be tearing up my street to put in new water mains. but last night we were in back yard just before 9pm & in middle of her business some jerk lit off a firecracker & threw it over fence!! 10 feet from Diamond!! SCARED HER MAJORLY!! & after we came back inside she hid under couch for entire night wouldnt come out for anything even bed. *sigh
She was terrifed & almost refuses to go in backyard today. I took her in front & she was shaking & whining to come back in.

Anything I can do??

pitgrrl
September 21st, 2008, 11:30 AM
Ehhhhh I'd be really careful about that. You don't want the dog to think you are rewarding the fear! Things other than food are really unlikely to work - in my experience dogs that are afraid of loud noises have no interest in playing while the episode is taking place no matter how much they like the toy/game/whatever. My old dog was terrified of thunderstorms and could not even be distracted by her favorite treats when she was scared.


Yes, if they've already gotten so far into the anxiety that they're fully freaking out, they obviously won't take treats, etc. It's about getting the timing right.

The idea, however, is to catch the dog before they're too far into "the zone" to respond and re-directing their attention to some sort of engaging activity. Eventually, though it's obviously a really time consuming process, you can teach the dog to re-direct themselves.

TwoLostSouls
September 24th, 2008, 07:07 PM
I was wondering about doing the flooding and felt it was cruel as well.. I remember when Duke also had developed same fear.. & he was leashed & I recall him running into the road in front of a dump truck, Dump truck honked his horn & scared him sooo much more I grabbed him & both of us almost got hit. I cant remember how we broke him of it tho. but We were living on a 4lane main road. therefor it may of just got used to it.
The trouble with the "it's cruel" premise is that in order for the dog to not be afraid, you'd have to completely eliminate that noise. This is not possible. Dogs, similar to humans, overcome their fears by confronting them.

If you are truly the pack leader, your dog should be taking signs from you, re-enforcing the reality that the noise is nothing, you can ignore it. Many dogs pick up the loud noise fear because their owners react to the noise or because it often causes panic. Your dog will always react based on your reaction.

If your dog goes nuts because of a loud noise, your only solution is to correct any unwanted behaviour before it escalates. Pampering it will only encourage the bad behaviour. Our latest rescue was quite skittish and reacted to louder noises. We live on a 6 lane, main road. He started noticing us ignoring the noise and now doesn't even flinch.

Diamondsmum
September 24th, 2008, 07:28 PM
Yup has been getting better

(aside from the firecracker 10ft from her)

ignore it all & she is fine.. outside

inside .. well ice maker sets her off..& printer. ice maker is definately huge.

but were working throu it.