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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all! We recently adopted a 4-month-old Corgi/Keeshond mix from a rescue. We live in an urban environment with her now, and she seems a little nervous around street noise - cars driving, sirens going, horns honking, etc. She's not hiding, whining, shutting down, or anything too severe - but she does seem distracted by it and tends to stick close to me or try to get me to pick her up when something particularly loud comes by. She doesn't seem terrified, just - nervous.

What's the best way to go about exposing her to these things so that she becomes less fearful instead of more? Is it just a matter of getting her around these things and remaining calm and positive about them myself, or should I also do things like give her treats when I hear a horn go off? Street noises are going to be a part of her life, so if she'll just get used to them then that's fine - I just want to check to make sure I'm not too at risk for making her more stressed/fearful if I don't intervene more directly, you know?
 

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The name of the game is baby steps. You are on the right track of treating whenever a loud noise happens, but you are also correct that "too much(loud in this case) too soon" can traumatize your pup.

If you can figure out a way to start making a reliable sound that may perk her attention but doesn't cause her to actively pursue you or being picked up that would be a perfect starting point.

Treating when the noise gets her attention a few times and gradually increasing the volume while treating will eventually(patience is your best friend here) help her to associate loud noises with good things.

My idea off the top of my head is playing youtube videos of the sounds that she normally hears but at a controlled volume? That may do the trick.
 

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She's usually about 3 inches away from my feet at any given moment right now, so if a loud noise distracts her I usually say something to her in my happy voice, give her a treat if I have one, or play with her or otherwise reward her if I don't have a treat. I'll try to carry them with me more often, though, especially as I'm figuring out which specific things tend to startle her right now. I'm hoping my other dog will help too - Archie is pretty unflappable, so hopefully seeing that he doesn't react to any of these noises will show her that there's nothing to worry about.

Playing sounds at a controlled volume sounds like a great idea!

I've fostered and owned quite a few dogs, but I haven't had a puppy this young since I was a child myself. I'm really trying to be proactive about catching potential issues early and heading them off. It's glad to hear that I'm mostly on the right track with this one so far.
 

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I've recently just seen CDs for sale that are made for sound desensitization, for fireworks, agility trials, thunderstorms. I can't say much about them though, since I've never used them. Maybe they make one for street sounds. Although, I can't imagine it being any better than just playing a youtube video and it's free. That sounds like a good idea, you can control the frequency and volume of the sounds.
Going outside will still be a whole different world, but I think it will still help!

Apart from that, just keep staying cool when scary sounds do happen. I think it's best to reward her for treats BEFORE she starts getting nervous, if thats possible. Like if a police car is racing down the street towards you and she seems okay with it from large distance, take advantage of that, then keep trying to retain her attention with treats until the car passes and races away in the other direction.
 
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