Noise Proofing Your Dog, and Helping a Skittish Dog Cope with Sound
I have the loudest husband on earth. It’s funny, they say opposites attract and it certainly must be true because I am almost painfully quiet. I could sit in a chair for hours and read a book or just enjoy a day outside with no other sounds or stimulation. I like quiet. But, my husband can’t sit still or quiet for more than a minute or two.
His mother tells me stories of how as a child he would mimic the sound of police sirens and was constantly making noise. I guess he is lucky he survived his childhood, because I know my mother would have smothered him ha ha!
I suffer from migraines so it is amazing that I can even put up with it, but when I brought home my first new puppy into our relationship I was seriously worried.
But, as it turns out he is the best thing to happen to a puppy, even a nervous puppy!
It doesn’t matter where we are or what we are doing he seemingly has to make some kind of noise. I think he has “noise Touretts ". He whistles, he meows, he barks, he claps, he mimics the velociraptor, he screams and even makes bird noises.
I guess it entertains him to watch the dogs wake up or come running, but in all reality he has totally desensitized my dogs to noises and human annoyance.
I mean really, who could they ever find out in public that would be half as irritating as their dad?
Even the sound of babies crying or having a fit brings no notice from my dogs.
Now I realize that most people live a fairly normal life, but I am here to tell you that noises provided by you or your significant other, will help your dog adjust to a world of noise and sound!
I have a nervous puppy. He is still a bit afraid of everything including his shadow, and my hair dryer in the morning; but I can guarantee you that he is not afraid of anyone who makes noises at him.
You could bark at my dogs until you are blue in the face and they would barely recognize your existence.
I use to train and work with Service Dogs all of the time and people would bark, meow, and make a number of other irksome noises to distract my dogs and I wish I had lived with my husband back at that time!
My dogs would have been noise proofed before we ever left the house!
With my slightly phobic dog, it got me to thinking. I would rather noise proof him at home in a safe environment than risk traumatizing him while we are out and about in public.
I don’t believe in using noise to stop behavior. Many trainer recommend throwing a chain, or shaking a can at your dog when he is in trouble, but I don’t want my dogs to be noise phobic. I want my dogs to be able to stroll past a jackhammer, the scream of a saw, or any other “life noise”.
I rattle shake cans (empty pop cans with pennies) click and I reward him.
I pound pots and pans and drop them in the kitchen and reward him for a happy response.
I have even built a “can wall” where I have strung together empty soda cans and I can walk around and shake them at will throughout the day and my dogs race in and out of the string.
For some dogs, this would send them running, but for my dogs they live for the opportunity to work with weird noises and distractions. If they are calm, it equals an easy opportunity for success and a treat!
I often riddle my training field with empty soda cans and water bottles in an attempt to teach my dogs that anything and weird footing is also possible.
I recently traveled to Washington, D.C. with my dogs in tow of course and I was reminded how important it is to have a “noise proof” dog. There were all kinds of stimulations and noise coming from everywhere and I believe that due to our noise proofing and the temperament and loudness of my husband, my dogs were set up for immediate success.
There are going to be things in this world that startle and down right scare our dogs…wouldn’t it be nice for them to learn to ignore these things and adjust to them in the privacy and loving environment or our own homes!
So start training and pairing your obnoxious noises with treats and praise! And, never use noise to intimidate your dog into compliance or you will end up with an easily spooked and scared dog!
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.