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!

Its like Jurassic Park at my House

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.

Can Wall of Doom!

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!

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  1. Gary says:

    I have a rescued terrier/pitbull mix. The dog does not bark due to bark collar before we adopted her. She is afraid of snapping sound from our air filter, electronic snap for dust removal. Must be same sound the bark collar made. How can I make her not afraid of this sound?


    Minette Reply:

    Slowly associate the noise at a distance with treats and fun. Everytime it happens give her a treat and within a short amount of time I bet she will get over it!


  2. Barbara says:

    My dog is afraid of gunfire. We live in an area that is overpopulated with white tail deer so our county hunting season is 6 months long. My dog is 2 years old and this just started. When he hears a gun shot he tries to hide, he starts shaking, his tail goes way up under his belly. He will not take food and he will not move. I try to get him to walk and I don’t give affection. It takes him about 15 minutes to calm down. Not a problem at home but this has happened before at the dog park. Thankfully only 2 other dogs were there and they tried to help him come out of it. One kept trying to lift his head and the other nipped at his back legs to get him to move. I know this complete shut down at a dog park could lead to an attack on him due to his extreme fear. How can I get him not to react so much? Other loud noises do not bother him.


    Minette Reply:

    Read this


  3. tyler says:

    I have a 4 month old peek a poo. She was nipped by my 12 year lab a month ago and now when ever she hears loud noises of any kid, kids inside being loud, dropping of anything that makes a loud noise ppl being loud she will squell and run. How do I fix this. I live with 5 kids and in a very popular kid neighborhood and summer is coming and my neighborhood will be in full kid force mode.


  4. Cynthia Stevenson says:

    Our dog was comfortable during thunderstorms until 1 night our weather alarm went off 4 times–severe thunderstorms in our area and then a tornado made us get up, dressed and go to our shelter (okay before anyone gets the wrong idea..Sobie was in her seat belt harness and went in the car with us) that is about 2 minutes away. We left about 10 minutes before the storm with the tornado arrived. Since then when the storm alarm goes off Sobie starts to pant and tremble. She only wants to be right next to one of us. I’ve tried ignoring her but having a trembling, panting 40 lb dog land in your lap or on the bed is very hard to ignore. I’m considering getting her some medication but I don’t like that idea as I can’t always tell 20 min before the storm alarm goes off that it will and medicating her willy-nilly isn’t going to help. I have a cd that helped before ‘the night’ to relax her as she has never liked thunder (or fireworks at all)–I don’t play it in the car as I get too mellow to drive safely. The problem is getting worse. She isn’t a chewer so distracting her with a toy isn’t realistic.

    Any suggestions?


  5. Lizzie Grant says:

    My brother just recently got a red bone coonhound and he is terrified of everything! Every little noise sends him running! I am kinda suprised because he was a hunting dog before we got him. He is scared of clapping, brooms dropping on the floor, lawnmowers, my other brother ( barks everytime he sees him ), everything!! Any ideas?


  6. Chunnel Del Rosario says:

    Hi, I have a corgi beagle, and she is afraid of anything she sees in Black color I mean anything, from plastic, mail box, or even the shadow. She will bark at it or just walk around it. How can I help her feel safe around these stuff?


    Minette Reply:

    I would get her eyes checked to see if she can see well.

    Apart from that I would get lots of black stuff and put food on them one at a time so she can over come her fears.


  7. Marilyn says:

    Love your post! I think you should record your husband’s noises, put them on CDs and sell them. I would CERTAINLY buy one because my husband and I are both VERY quiet, and so our dog barks at every little noise inside or outside the house. I did desensitize her to our doorbell by recording it and playing it over and over on my computer while I worked, so other noises would be so great! Thanks for your great posts.


  8. Peggy says:

    I agree with Marilyn above. I bet it would be a best seller with trainers and pet owners alike. Of course, it might also encourage your husband to become even more vocal which could provoke his mother-in-law into smothering him anyway! Kind regards from Dream Acres Miniatures in Fisherville, Ky.


    Minette Reply:

    I might smother him, if he thinks it is okay to become even more vocal hahaha! 😉


  9. elda says:

    I have a shih tzu. He comes after about 5 minutes of calling or not at all.Is it possible to train a shih tzu?


  10. Cheryl says:

    I am on my second Shin Tzu. As loving and funny as they are, every Shih Tzu I’ve ever met has been stubborn. They come begrudgingly when I finally say firmly “Get over here”


    Minette Reply:

    My guess is because you are approaching it wrong, read this


  11. Shannon says:

    My dog is afraid of everything and easily distracted by smells or what have you. I can never just take her on a nice walk because I’m afraid we might run into another dog. She is afraid of other dogs even though after her second series of shots the vet said it was safe to introduce her to other dogs and I did for the longest time now she runs crying. She is a wreck and I know it’s from me babying her to much. What should I do


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