Noise phobia

Discussion in 'Dogs - General Dog Chat' started by Laurelin, Jul 7, 2012.

  1. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

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    What is y'all's experience with this? Is it mostly a genetic/bloodline kind of thing?

    I've been reading a thread on the border collie forum about all the thunder phobic dogs and how extreme some of the reactions seem. It seems particularly common in herders and especially BCs to me (maybe I'm wrong?). We've had three dogs with varying stress reactions to loud noises. Our GSDx would panic every time and damage himself and his surroundings trying to escape. Storms were very stressful events for everyone with him. Trey also would pant and hide on the fourth with the fireworks. Bernard is the third but he is not destructive, just pants and shakes all night if there's a big storm.

    Summer and Mia both don't care at all but I never conditioned them for it, it must just be luck.

    Is there a good way to try to condition or prevent noise phobias before they start?

    I live in Oklahoma. We get really nasty storms very frequently many times a year and almost constantly during spring/tornado season.
     
  2. yoko

    yoko New Member

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    It might be a genetic thing. I remember reading about that some where too and if I think back on it my experience does support the herder idea.

    Yoshi... I don't think there is any herder in her and if there is it is buried so deep I don't think it will ever show herself. She's fine with storms and fireworks. But nothing really bugs Yoshi. I always joke that I broke the part of her brain that controls her reaction to loud noises and crazy situations.

    Shiner who was a cocker spaniel/poodle wasn't afraid of storms that I remember. I was really young when we had her but I don't recall her ever freaking out over storms. Fireworks made her kind of nervous but other than that she was fine.

    Lady who was an ACD/BC mix was TERRIFIED of storms and loud noises. Storms scared her so much she would destroy doors and hurt herself if we weren't careful while she tried to get away.
     
  3. Aleron

    Aleron New Member

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    I definitely think it's often genetic, the fact that it's uncommon in some breeds and almost expected in others would point towards that. And herding breeds are overall, breeds bred to be extra sensitive to what is going on around them, so it makes sense that they would be more prone to it. I also think that once you have one storm phobic or two with the problem, they can be a bad influence on the rest of them too. And for whatever reason, certain people seem to bring it out in every dog they have.

    I think in general, starting a puppy with linking making noise to being fun can help. Something like what's suggested here: http://reactivechampion.blogspot.com/2011/05/clicker-expo-2011-chicago-eva.html Also if possible, take them out and play with them when there's thunder or fireworks (providing it is safe of course).
     
  4. puppydog

    puppydog Tru evil has no pantyline

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    It can be learned. Lilly was fine with storms until she started hanging out with Aeron who taught her to panic herself to death.
     
  5. Aleron

    Aleron New Member

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    The tricky thing about it from a learned vs. inherited standpoint is that the average age of onset for it is I think between 3-6 years old.
     
  6. AdrianneIsabel

    AdrianneIsabel Glutton for Crazy

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    I thought that was Aleron at first. lol

    None of mine care. My rat terrier was terrified though. Tucker and Arnold grow up with her panicking and they never seem phased by her panic.

    I think by my experience it is more genetic than learned but I can image it can be learned.
     
  7. Aleron

    Aleron New Member

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    LOL I swear I did not make Lilly panic during storms!
     
  8. puppydog

    puppydog Tru evil has no pantyline

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    Lilly was around 8 or 9 when she picked it up from Aeron.
     
  9. elegy

    elegy overdogged

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    I think it's in large part genetic (though not exclusively). And yes, very heavily skewed toward herding breeds, especially BCs.

    When Steve was a pup, we had parties every time it stormed. We had treats. We played ball. It was all a-okay.

    He ended up terribly storm-phobic anyway.

    (Although not so storm-phobic that he can't play flyball. Outside of that environment, he is too stressed to take treats, tug, or play ball- the three most rewarding things in his life.)

    I have to admit, I still wonder if it was influenced by my neutering him, but that's something I'll never know.

    And somebody already mentioned, but you often don't see it until later in life. Steve is unusually young. (Steve is unusual.)
     
  10. Kat09Tails

    Kat09Tails *Now with Snark*

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    I think noise phobia can be both learned and genetic. All my papillons are not noise phobic and I don't do much desensitizing to noise other than a couple trips to the gun range as pups. I've never had one go OMG!! we're going to die! Most of them just roll with it. This year everyone slept through the fireworks like nothing was happening.

    That said I do think noise phobia can also be caused by people doing too much too fast or other sudden fright. You see this often with gun shy labs where some nit wit took a puppy and shot a load over him to see if he was gun shy.
     
  11. Snark

    Snark Mutts to you

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    Mick and Murph are both afraid of thunderstorms and gunfire, they've been like that since I got them. Luckily, they're not destructive or self-destructive, they just want to hide in the basement during storms. The gunfire fear was learned, former owners let them roam and former neighbors didn't care for having their chickens killed or cattle chased. I'm kinda surprised they survived the first 2 years of their lives.

    Riley, on the other hand, doesn't care about thunderstorms or gunfire but panics over someone (not us) hammering, car doors slamming or any loud bang, and semi-trucks going by the car when we're on the highway.
     
  12. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

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    I swore I just posted something but basically the gist of it was asking what in particular you do for Steve? Also how does he react?

    I think there was more than that but now I can't remember what I apparently didn't post.
     
  13. joce

    joce Active Member

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    The only bad dog I knew was my cousins lab. She would throw herself into the bathtub and wine and try to chew on the tub. She would chew on her paws and tail to. It was bad.

    None of my dogs have ever had issues with noise but we have such a loud household how could they? We have four wheelers and shoot all the time.

    We have a corgi and a cattle dog and neither have issues. Nor do the dobe and husky.
     
  14. crazedACD

    crazedACD Active Member

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    Casey is the only one here that would get really freaked out. She wasn't totally destructive but she wanted to be near someone, would pant and pace. Sometimes she got acute diarrhea from the stress. Now she's pretty deaf and doesn't hear it..lol.
     
  15. Kaydee

    Kaydee Guest

    I've read there's even service dogs that spook from thunder, of course in training they have to even ignore gunfire. They work with them by positive re enforcement while trying to desensitize from the noise. They mention alot of German Shepards and Catahoulas so I don't know how breed specific the fear is. Obviously if the dog still shies after a few months, it's not going on the field.
     
  16. Tahla9999

    Tahla9999 Active Member

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    Kai doesn't go crazy during thunderstorms. He starts to shake and goes in the bath tub or in the closet. We always say that if we have a serious natural disater we will follow the dog.
     
  17. thehoundgirl

    thehoundgirl Active Member

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    I don't know about it being genetic.. never thought of it that way and I am pretty sure Jenny and Ginger both RIP didn't learn that behavior. Even the most stable dog can have fear of fireworks and storms.

    It's pretty common, my 3 dogs right now don't care about fireworks and thunderstorms. Buster barks at the fireworks but he's not terrified of them. I know Miagi my cat is afraid of them, he went missing last summer and got outside somehow and he is an indoor only cat. It wasn't from the 4th of July, it was the Evel Knieval days that my town is a huge part of and they lit fireworks and Miagi got scared and got outside. He was gone for a day and a half, but made his way back home when I went looking for him one night.

    Tiger and Angel don't seem to mind them.
     
  18. Romy

    Romy Taxiderpy

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    I think that some dogs are born noise sensitive. That sensitivity can then develop into a phobia depending on environment and life experiences.
     
  19. elegy

    elegy overdogged

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    He mostly crams himself in a corner and shakes. Now he takes Xanax and we have figured out that he feels the most comfortable in my car in the attached garage, so I try to give him access to there during storms. Second choice is the bathtub. The Xanax isn't perfect, especially if I can't get it into him before he starts feeling the storm (and he'll start reacting before I can hear it), but it does help. And even if I'm late getting it into him, it dramatically decreases the recovery time afterward.
     
  20. OwnedByBCs

    OwnedByBCs Will Creep For Sheep

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    Yes, in Border Collies they are doing a lot of research with BAER to try to pinpoint the noise phobia gene. I have definitely seen a correlation in certain lines.
     

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