How To Get My Dog Over Being Afraid of Loud Noises?

One big fear many dogs have are fear of noises (loud trucks, fireworks, thunder, etc). When we do puppy consultations at our training facility, Off-Leash K9 Training, in Woodbridge, Virginia, we always tell people, “Immediately start exposing him/her to as many noises as possible.” Turn on the vacuum, blender, hair dryer, and any other noisy devices you have around the house. I have seen far too many dogs that run and hide at the sound of a loud noise, especially vacuum cleaners and thunder. This can be completely prevented if you expose them to these noises at a young age. Expose your dog to as many noises as possible by the time he is five months old, and while exposing him, make it a positive experience through verbal/physical praise, treats, etc. Keep in mind, it’s NEVER too late to start doing these drills with your dog.

Many people asks, “What to do if you expose your dog to a noise (e.g., a vacuum) and he runs and hides from it?” Very simple—bring him back and make him deal with it. One of the many terms we use for this process is “flooding.” This means you find a noise your dog is afraid of and flood him with that noise repeatedly, every day. Again, flood him with this experience in a positive way, by giving praise, treats, etc. Fear of noises or things is a completely unrealistic fear that dogs have, just like humans. So, by making him sit next to the vacuum cleaner while it’s turned on, he realizes, “I’m not being hurt, I don’t feel any pain, and I am getting praised for this.” After a short while, that unrealistic fear will go away and the dog will soon realize that it is not a big deal and will soon pay no attention to it. They main key is, make them face it and do not let them run and hide, repeat until he/she no longer shows a reaction towards the noise. At our dog training in Norther Virginia, we work with a lot of dogs who fear noises.

If your puppy hears a lot of noise such as thunder, fireworks, or a car door slam outside and he runs to me for comfort? Never comfort your dog when he is afraid of something. This only reinforces the fear. Comfort is simply another kind of praise. Think about that for a second. When you comfort a dog, how is it different from praising him? You are petting them and talking cute to them in both instances. So when you break it down, you are praising your dog for being afraid of something. Now, any time it has a reason to be afraid, it will run to you in order to reap the praise that goes along with the action. So, never comfort your dog for being afraid. If he hears a loud noise and comes running to you, do not acknowledge him, do not look at him, touch him, pet him, or talk to him. Again, if he sees it does not get a response from you and you do not make a big deal out of it, he will not make a big deal out of it, either.

Start desensitizing your dogs to noises as soon as possible, and within a very short amount of time, you will notice a much more confident dog! Below, you can see a great video of our dog training in northern Virginia who have done some noise desensitization training, as you see, they completely ignore the noises we produce!

Below, is a good example of a dog we worked with on noise training at our facility in Northern Virginia:

For more tips like this, you can read our book, “Raising the Perfect Dog: The Secrets of Law Enforcement K9 Trainers.”

Nick White
Off-Leash K9 Training

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About Off Leash K9 Training

My name is Nick White, I am the owner of Off-Leash K9 Training. I am a former US Marine Iraq War Veteran, and former US Secret Service, also, I currently have 12 locations in the United States. We specialize in basic obedience, advanced obedience, personal protection, and drug detection. About us: As you will see, our client list includes: NBA Star John Wall, UFC World Champion Jon "Bones" Jones, World Champion Boxer Roy Jones Jr, UFC Announcer Bruce Buffer, film star Ron Jeremy, 3x UFC Champion Rich "Ace" Franklin, WWF World Champion Iron Sheik, Kane Hodder ("Jason" from the Friday the 13th movies), the staff from the hit show "Operation Repo," and Elliot's dog from Elliot in the Morning on DC 101! See them in our highlight video here: We also had yahoo do a special on us, as well! As you will see on our website, we are getting a lot of publicity and it's continually growing! We've had American Legion, US Military Veterans, NoVa Dog Magazine, Military Times Magazine, Smart CEO Magazine, and The Virginia and Maryland Dog Magazine do stories on us (just to name a few). You can see all of these articles if you go to our "About Us" page of website and scroll to the bottom. We are also the official trainers for ABC's "The Pet Show with Dr. Katy Nelson." Recently, we were named one of the top trainers in the world by the Dogington Post! There are over 400 videos of dogs we have trained on YouTube so you can see the amazing results we get verse us just tell you about it, so we would highly encourage you to check out our Youtube Channel and was some of the stuff we do! Thank you for your interest in our amazing training. -Nick

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