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Noise desensitization

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Juno is nearly two and recently she has become very scared of all kinds of noises. This started a couple of months ago and has gradually become worse. At one point I thought it was just loud bangs like garbage trucks banging, or people dropping things but recently she seems to be set off by so many things I can't keep up with them. Now in the mornings she is reluctant to go out for her morning walks. VitaminB, and Rescue Remedy, and desensitization have been suggested. What experience have people had with Vitamin B and Rescue Remedy and what suggestions do you have for desensitization?

Thanks in advance

Bill

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No experience with B vitamins, but I have seen Rescue Remedy help some dogs.

 

I usually go the route of gradually building good associations with single noises. Put a bit of something yummy under a tin can. Dog pushes - noise ensues. Lift can. Dog eats treat. Repeat. Keep it up until the dog knocks the can over, More noise. More treats.

 

Do it with the vacuum cleaner. On/off. Treat. Increase duration of on. Place treat on top of vacuum turned off. Dog eats. New treat placed on top of vacuum. On/off. etc.

 

I also play CDs of sounds like thunderstorms. There are all sorts of them. Traffic noise, trains, fireworks. Very softly at first. Gradually increasing volume over a couple of weeks. I always do this with new pups. Never had one grow up afraid of thunderstorms or fireworks. (Of course it's possible they wouldn't have been even without the CDs.)

 

Most important. Be happy about noise. (I know...) Noise is our special friend that signals treats, favorite games, etc. Slam drawers and doors. Knock brooms over. Ring bells.

 

Consider Xanax in diminishing doses with the noise desensitization. For that you need a vet.

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I've never had great success with Rescue Remedy but some people have, so certainly worth a try.

 

Desensitization could also be useful as a form of behavior modification, as Geonni describes above. You can also search archives here and/or search the internet for more instructions.

 

Best wishes. Widespread fears like this can be hard.

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You might want to look into a supplement called "Composure". It has been very helpful for Dean, who is the most noise phobic dog I have ever known.

 

Noise is tough. The biggest problem with noise is that you can't always predict it, and you can rarely control it. In order for desensitization and counter-conditioning to be effective, you really do need to start outside a threshold distance (in the case of noise, volume or proximity) and gradually build as you see the dog is ready for more. Thunderstorms happen, garbage trucks bang - you can never get complete control of noise.

 

That said, I have managed to help Dean a lot, but it wasn't easy. I learned two things with him that actually defy conventional wisdom on the subject, and I offer them here for your consideration.

 

First, I learned NOT to "have a party" when noises happened. Worst thing I ever did with Dean. All it did was teach him to pay more attention to those noises, and then brain chemistry kicked in and the problem actually escalated. IF you can offer a treat or toy when a noise happens and the dog really can disengage from worrying about the sound to play or eat treats, you can "have a party" and it can be effective. BUT, if the dog remains stressed and worried, stop!! Best thing I ever did with Dean was to simply ignore those noises. I offer him the support of a safe place, or a towel to drool on, or I will even sit and quietly pet him, but I never try to use things he normally enjoys to try to jolly him out of a noise phobic panic. Doing so actually taught him to avoid those things, not to like noise.

 

Second, I actually learned to minimize his exposure to noises that triggered his phobia, to the best of my ability. Can't do it 100%, of course, but repetition of sounds increased the problem. Limiting his exposure to sounds that I can control actually helped him learn to deal with them better when he did hear them.

 

If you try the conventional approaches and they don't work, do consider talking to a vet about medication. Dean was on Clomipramine for years and it helped him a lot, even if nothing can ever eliminate this. Now I do give him Composure and it is helpful. Of course, medication is a decision that can only be made with your vet, but do be open to the possibility if training alone doesn't help.

 

I wish you the best.

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Thanks Root Beer. I am going to try the rescue remedy first with a few other suggestions. If that doesn't work I'll look into the composure and the two other suggestions. So far there seems to be a lot of conflicting advice so I'll have to work through things one at a time.

Bill

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There is a lot of conflicting advice. And a lot of it is dog dependent.

 

Around here when there is thunder, for instance, Dean is planted on the futon drooling. I can feed treats to Tessa, but I could put a raw filet mignon next to Dean and he would look away, anxiety escalated.

 

Rescue Remedy did nothing for Dean. Nor did DAP. Nor did melatonin. Nor did the thundershirt. But . . . those are all worthwhile things to try that do help some dogs.

 

You might want to look at the Bunker Protocol, too. This is sort of what I do with Dean - similar principle. Might be of help to you.

 

http://risingstardogtraining.com/reppep213/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Bunker.pdf

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Hi,

 

There is a product called the Happy Hoodie. It is popular with dog groomers to minimise and dull sounds such as the blow drier or even the buzz of clippers for extra sensitive dogs.

I like to use them in my salon. It is basically a thick wrap/ elastic head band that goes over the ears. Similar to the thunder shirts, it helps the dogs feel safe & takes away the bulk of the noise.

Besides the fact it also makes them look like they are recovering from a head injury, I do feel it helps many dogs especially BC's & BC crosses with their extra sensitive hearing. It's great for puppies too.

Maybe Juno would benefit with one while you start her desensitization.

 

There is also another product similar to Rescue remedy called Emergency Essence. I find it works better than Rescue. It is made by Australian Bush Flower Essences (ABFE). Even though it's Australian, I'm pretty sure it is available overseas too. Again I use it with nervy dogs when they come in for haircuts. It stops their shakes & drooling down my arms!!

 

Hope this is a bit helpful!

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I got Dean a product at one point called "mutt muffs". They were designed for dogs who ride in small airplanes to protect their ears.

 

It was like a miracle at first. They really dulled the sounds enough that Dean could deal with things much better.

 

Then my husband put them on him when fireworks were being shot off right by our house, and he would never allow us to put them on him again. :( The fireworks were to loud for the muffs to dull and he always associated them with that sound after that.

 

So, if you use something like Juju suggests, take it slow and be observant. Be sure to create a good association with whatever you are putting on the dog's head, and then be sure the dog won't be overwhelmed.

 

I was sorry to lose what the mutt muffs had given Dean up until that point.

 

Noise phobia is incredibly challenging.

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Jade currently takes Composure prescribed by the vet, along with the Prozak. For her, the Composure seems to help for awhile.

 

We are also working through the noise phobia thing and have a ways to go but without the Composure I believe she would spend all of her time hiding in a corner or the back of her crate. Am also using Essential Oils to see if that is effective for her.

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Thankyou for all the advice. I got some Rescue Remedy but I am not sure how to administer it. The bottle says 4 drops in water or on the tongue but she doesn't always drink her water when I want her too and I doubt I could get drops on her tongue. Maybe one!

Thanks again

Bill

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Just bring a few drops up into the dropper and squirt them all on her tongue at the same time.

 

Being able to calmly accept administration of meds, both oral and pill, is a really valuable skill for all dogs to learn. ;)

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