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Fear of noises getting worse - help!

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Phoenix24, Sep 21, 2013.

  1. Phoenix24

    Phoenix24 PetForums Senior

    Apr 6, 2013
    Likes Received:
    We have a 5 year old yorkie named Teddy, and bless him he is just like his name. He loves people, he is pretty good with other dogs (so long as they don't get too rough with him) and as far as general temperament goes most of the time he is a relaxed and happy little thing.

    That is, until something goes bang.

    It started about 3 years ago, when the locals got a bit over-zealous with the bonfire season, and out on a walk a particularly loud firework went off nearby and scared the living day-lights out of him. Ever since then that time of year has become a bit of a nightmare, and it gets worse every year (especially as people don't keep fireworks to just one night, but practically from October through to new year there's always someone setting them off). Before the 'big bang' fireworks NEVER bothered him.

    So fireworks issues are pretty common, but Teddy is getting scared by all sorts of noises now, and we have noticed its getting worse and worse and worse. The latest issue has been gunshots on the tv (never used to be a problem until recently). And one of our most annoying neighbours from hell has been working on what must be a whole fleet of motorcycles, and whenever one of them is revving (which is frequent and persistent ARGH) the dog goes nuts. The motorbike thing is getting pretty serious now - dog's been screeching and whining and barking and running around the house panting and generally driving us mad with his stress because there's nowhere he feels he can go to settle (cuddles, hideyholes, indoors, outdoors).

    Now normally I can find a way of turning something that scares him into a positive thing. For a while he wouldn't sleep in his dog bed (long story) and I can't remember how exactly but I basically got him over it using treats and fuss, and now he sleeps in it all the time. Same thing with going through doors left ajar - used treats to show him it was ok to walk through. It was also me who did most of his basic training (he is my mum's dog) other than sit, and he is pretty responsive to me really.

    We tried the adaptil plug-in for the fireworks last year, but it didn't seem to help. For this motorbike thing I have been trying to get him to associate the noise with something good-exciting rather than negative-stressful, and have tried distracting him with treats and training exercises, pretending the sound means 'daddy' is coming home (my mum's fella whom the dog walks all over, lol) and playing games with him, and even giving him back rubs and massages - which normally have him practically comatosed. Today though absolutely nothing I tried could distract or calm him, and Teddy's stress levels were sending our stress-levels through the roof - which doesn't help!!!

    So if anyone has anything they can offer advice wise I can try I would be very grateful, and i'm sure Teddy would be too.
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