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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This isn't a new issue but it's one that has sort of come to a head recently, since the weather is getting nice again and we're spending more time outside. Bus has always sort of dragged his feet coming inside on nice days, he likes to play ball and run around, but he also likes to just hang out and sunbathe. In those cases, he usually just stops briefly like, "You sure we have to go in?", then follows willingly when I wave him along or call him.

The problem I'm currently having is a separate entity. Bus will outright refuse to come into my parents' house when we get to it- off leash, he'll stand back about 5 feet from the porch, and on leash, he'll stop on the porch and more or less have to be pulled in. He is afraid of their bird because of the noise the bird makes (high pitched chirps, loud clicking noises are his biggest fears), and when we are inside, if left off leash, hightails it for the door (and will bolt out if it's opened) when the bird starts to make noise, or smashes himself under the loveseat (which is not high enough, so more than once he's gotten his collar caught and required lifting the loveseat off him). If he bolts out the door, he just goes right off the porch and waits, or goes to one of the cars and waits by them- it's obvious that he'd be happy anywhere but inside.

When we're outside (not on leash) and go to come in, he'll dawdle around behind me, then put the brakes on as we get close. A couple times I've snagged him by the collar and walked him in, or picked him up if I was in a hurry, so now when I try to do that, he ducks under a car if he can and watches from just out of reach, or will walk slowly in the other direction if not. He's not running away, and it's usually slow and plain as day that he's not being bad just for the sake of it, but because he's freaked out. I can tell him to wait so I can grab him and he usually will (tail tucked, ears back, eyes huge), but I don't want to sour him on "wait", so I avoid it when possible. I've mostly just been either keeping him on leash, or putting him back on leash a while before we come in- this is a dog who's been trustworthy off leash in the yard for years, and I'm afraid all I'm going to do is cause him to avoid coming to be leashed in the yard. When I'm trying to get him to come in, he has zero interest in food rewards, and won't even chase a tennis ball (part of that may be that I usually have him leave toys at the door, which is a long time behavior that he started himself before he was terrified of the house). He wants to follow me in, but is too afraid- the other day I left him standing at the edge of the porch and came in, and watched him on the security camera. He stood there for a few minutes, then inched up onto the porch and laid down- he'd be content to wait like that for hours, probably.

His newest thing is refusing to get out of the car when we get home from work- he'll go all the way into the back, and sometimes crates himself, then won't come out when I call him. I have to walk around to the door closest to him and pick him up. I keep his leash on and sit on it when I remember, but that's not really helping the problem, just making it easier to deal with.

When we come in the house, if I'm going to be watching him, I let him off leash. I can keep him out from under the loveseat most of the time with a verbal correction, then call him out to me if I'm in another room, or redirect him onto it and cover him up (which makes him feel safer, though he prefers to be "squished" rather than just covered). If the bird is quiet, he'll wander around or lay in a bed like a normal dog, but as soon as bird starts to make noise, he's done. If I can't watch him, I usually hook his leash over the doorknob in the kitchen (farthest point in the house from bird) and let him hang out there. He's still freaked out if bird makes noise, but at least can't get into trouble. If I'm in the living room, it's 50/50 whether he'll jump up and sit with me or try to get under the loveseat- if I see he's thinking about it, I call him up instead and block the loveseat with my feet. We tried to put stuff under/around the loveseat to keep him out, but he's strong for such a little dog and just pushes it out of the way. Have offered him a bunch of other "safe places", but apparently none are cramped enough, as he still prefers the loveseat. I'm considering trying to "noiseproof" a small cardboard box with styrofoam panels from work, if I could teach him to use that instead it would be safer.

I have tried to densensitize him to bird, with minimal success. He usually shuts down anywhere in the house when bird begins to make noise, won't play, won't eat. That makes it pretty hard. I've had some success using his treat and train, he still startles and considers hiding, but refocuses more quickly, particularly if I let one of the other dogs in the area (he would like to guard the device from them, so when they get around it, it increases his interest significantly). I've also had a little success with hiding good food around the living room, and walking him around with me to search for it. Also with calling the other dogs like I have something for them (even Annie who can't hear :) )- depending on how loud/scary bird is being, that can be hit or miss. If I put my shoes on or walk toward the kitchen, he races around me tail wagging furiously because he thinks we might leave.

We've tried a couple different meds/supplements for his noise phobia, alprazolam, homeopet TFLN, melatonin, thundershirt, and none have made any significant difference. The melatonin is the most effective for him, but doesn't make a huge difference, and I don't really want to give it all the time. Outside of my parents's house, he's generally a happy, social, fairly confident (if a little soft) dog. He is noise phobic outside and at other places as well, but noises he fears don't happen as consistently outside of their house, so it's more manageable. I spend a lot of time there (their house is right behind mine), and while I could leave him at my house, it doesn't seem fair to leave him home alone for hours after he's already spent a large part of the day kenneled while I'm at work. Our yard isn't fenced, and he's a digger/jumper anyway, so he can't just stay outside, though he would probably prefer it at this point. When bird is quiet, Bus is actually like his normal self at their house, but that can change in the blink of an eye, which sends him into a panic. I've sort of given up on trying to change Bus' response to bird, and look instead to just try to minimize the "side effects" of it. He's non-reactive to bird when we're outside, even with the windows/doors open, so there's really no "under threshold" distance I can work with him at.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It's a mean bird :eek:

But really, getting Bird (that's his name, he's an African grey) to cooperate with that would be even less likely than getting Bus to suddenly enjoy his smoke detector and hammer impressions. I'd have to have a cage big enough for him (and space to put it) even if I could easily get him out to go for a trip, because he couldn't just hang out freely with my cats. It's unfortunately not feasible. I've tried covering him up to encourage "quiet time" in the evenings when we are there most, but he gets more obnoxious initially, and my mom uncovers him- he's a very effective trainer :) He is sometimes less loud if you let him out and then close his cage door (no more King Bird when he can't retreat into his castle), but he tries to bite the dogs and cats when they walk nearby, so have to keep eyes on him at all times!
 

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Honestly if he's that unhappy, I would seriously consider just leaving him at home with a stuffed kong or something when you go over to your parents. Sounds like he might prefer that.

Or have your parents come over to you, hang out outside together in nice weather, etc. instead.

:)
 

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Birds normally quiet down and rest if you cover their cage and turn the lights out, (but leave a little light for the bird, in case they get frightened). This would help stop the scary noises from happening while the dog is over.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well, I made the mistake of leaving him at my house Friday evening while I went to eat, and apparently the neighbors decided to have a fireworks show (with encores Sat & Sun!) because when I got home, my sister told me she heard my cats "making a lot of noise". The cats weren't the culprit, it looks like Bus probably spent a good amount of the time I was gone jumping at the door, and scratched a bunch of the paint off of it in the process. He was previously ok at home, but has recently taken to going under my bed when i left (after the smoke alarm went off one time one evening when my sister/BIL were making dinner- he still gets weird when they cook when we're home) guess the fireworks were the the last straw and tipped him from hiding to actively trying to get out. He's the most intuitive dog I know when it comes to connecting sounds to environmental conditions, which is a curse in his case. I suspect he'll get back to a "background" level of anxiety (just freaking out when there's a noise) about my house sooner rather than later, as scary noises only happen occasionally there.

For the time being, I really don't want him tearing my doors up, and I've seen previously that he does the same in a crate or kennel (he bent the door out on the expen a while back /breaking out because the CO detector was making the "low battery" beep), so that's out. He did stay in bed when I brought Annie down to my Mom this morning, but when I left him there last night while went to get Annie, he jumped at the door when I left and was pacing and drooling when I came back. I suppose it's possible that my house is only going to be an issue at night, but will take more time to know for sure.

Over the weekend we did lots of practicing at my parents, just coming and going repeatedly, but only going when he was calm, and no racing to the door, or jumping at it (he jumps because he can knock open the screen door if the big door is open). I kept him leashed, but managed to mostly keep him out from under the loveseat by verbal dissuasion- he went under it once I think and I pulled/coaxed him out before he got far enough to get stuck. He's getting tired of being tethered in the kitchen, and has started barking, which is new and unwanted behavior, but better than being shut down and terrified.

I did get him a nice insulated (styrofoam in cardboard) box, and put his car bed (which I figured has some positive association to it already) in it with most of the flaps closed, just a hole big enough for him to get in/out. Have started teaching him to get in it, currently using his kibble for "open bar" in the box, when he gets in, I mark and give lots of kibble, then stop/call him out. We only do this when bird is quiet, so hopefully the box will become his new haven. Once I've built duration on staying in the box a bit, I'll see if maybe he'll keep a bone in there to chew, since that's one of his favorite activities, and he prefers/needs to be separated from the other animals when he has bones, anyway.

I do have a couple questions on specifics: if my goal is to have him get in the box himself when he feels uncomfortable, and then come out on his own when he feels it's "safe", should I really be calling him out of it? I was doing it because when he'd eaten a given handful of kibble, I didn't have any more to reward him with for staying in, so I figured I better get him out. I suppose I could throw in the kibble, then leave and let him come out on his own. I also want to make sure that he doesn't want to only use it when I'm standing right there, which is why I thought about using a bone or chew as a reward.

I'm considering putting the box up/away when it's not "in use" for training to possibly build interest in it/value, but I don't want to remove the option of using it if he wants to so currently leaning toward "no" for that. He did get in the box this AM by himself when bird was getting loud, but got out when I praised him and dumped a handful of kibble in- going to just ignore him in the future, as the "safe" feeling of getting in should be reward enough I suspect. He actually just got in it again, and is still in it currently. Guess I'll see how it goes.

When he's just hanging out with me, if bird starts getting loud, I've been waiting for him to relax even slightly, then moving him away to the kitchen or outside as a reward. It seems like when I move him as soon as bird begins to make noise, he assumes that bird making noise=evacuate the area and since he already has a problem with trying to get out under those circumstances, I don't know that I want to possibly encourage that. Right? Wrong?
 

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A somewhat related story involving a bird. And a dog. It might amuse some.

I walk quite a lot with my dog and, earlier this week, we did about an hour mostly around woodlands next to a public park. Max, the dog, likes to run around in the woods and paddle in the streams. Soggy doggy.

We had just back to the main park when I felt something land on the back of my neck. Now, contrary to what I told my kids, I don't have eyes in the back of my head so I had no idea what it was. I thought id bumped into a low tree branch but Max was quite agitated.

There were some people packing up from a photoshoot. They told me it was a parrot. I gave them my camera asked them to take a pic. Sure enough, a parrot. They thought it was my bird.
"No, my bird is at the oesteopath getting her back sorted out."
Brit speak there.

Parrots are not native here (UK) so it was possibly an escaped pet.

But the b00dy thing wouldn't leave. Eventually, Max took exception and sent it on its way. No harm done.

 

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Sounds like you just can't win on this. :-(
and you probably already tried it, but, could you record the bird, and playback at home very quiet, and if all goes well, gradually turn the sound up...a recording is never the same as the real thing, but it would be a cheap easy try.
Fireworks, erg...well, sort of erg. We get a professional display on Labour Day (lakeside resort up the street), and I go watch--it's FABULOUS, but the entire time, I heard some little dog screaming in an agony of panic.
My guy (left at home on the couch with my husband) was less than pleased, but at least not screaming.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Just an update- we have conquered the going under the loveseat issue by deterring him from going under it, but the general anxious behavior in my parents' house when the bird is "active" (walking around in his cage, making noises, etc) hasn't really improved. Actually, that's not entirely true, it did seem to decrease a bit for a month or so, but the last month or two has been pretty bad. Now when bird moves or makes noise, Bus paces around the house at a brisk trot from "safe spot" to spot, or clambers from the loveseat (where I normally sit, so he's frequently hanging out there) over the end tables and couch (knocking off anything in his way) to sit with my Dad. Then after a couple seconds (literally), he reverses the pattern, back over the tables and couch, back to me. He might do this 10 times in a row, with various electronics and beverages becoming casualties in the process. My Dad gets annoyed because he regularly clears off the end table by him and won't settle when he does let him sit in his chair with him, and denies him access to the chair and table after a few times, which just makes Bus more skeeved out and determined to get over there. Or, he'll smash himself behind me on the loveseat so I can "crush" him. He's also a big fan of burying himself in the throw pillows on the couch, until Bird makes noise again and he knocks them all off exiting his pillow abode. His behavior is at its worst in the early/mid evening hours, less so before I go to work, and late at night- it's almost midnight now, and he's been sleeping in one of his beds in the dining room for probably an hour, but 2 hours ago he was all over the place.

I've tried several different "safe places" for him- A box with styrofoam "noise insulation" and one of his beds in it- that lasted a couple weeks, but he started using it less and the cats took it over. Also squeezed one of his covered/enclosed beds between the layers of the coffee table, thinking that the tight space might make him feel safer, but while he used it like a champ for a week or so, it didn't last (I think once he realizes that he can still hear the noise in there, he no longer wants it). He took a liking to curling up on my Mom's slippers on a file cabinet in the dining room- put a blanket there for him to curl up in, but that's just become another stop in his "round the world" pacing game, and he regularly winds up knocking the blanket off with his incessant moving around.

He's currently also freaking out at my house as well because our CO detector battery was low around xmas, and it beeped several times. Also, duck hunters are out most mornings, and while I can't hear their far off gunfire unless the TV is off, apparently he can. He paces, shakes, pants, and crawls under my bed, resists walking into the hallway, and occasionally digs at my door if alone- only when something freaks him out.

Sometimes I feel like he should live in the car, as it's really his favorite "inside" place, but I imagine if he spent enough time in it, some random thing would cause him to be afraid of it, too. I had "good" results last fall tying him out in our back yard on nice mornings/afternoons while I was hanging out at my parents' house- it's 300+ feet off the road and none of our immediate neighbors have dogs, so it's fairly safe, I can keep an eye on him through the patio doors from the entire house, and he loves laying out there sunbathing. I may finally have to pull the trigger this spring and get a kennel so he can safely hang out out there when I need to go somewhere without him (my mom is always home and can watch him/bring him in if weather gets bad), but there's always a risk that something could spook him out there as well- we have neighbors 3 houses down who like to light small but loud fireworks off day and night year round, plus who knows what else that I haven't considered. My parents' back deck is partially complete, and when it's finished, he can probably hang out out there on nice days, as he'd be more inclined to try to get back in than to run away, so I don't worry about him trying to get out if I'm home.

Newly discovered fears include the police scanner my Mom likes to listen to on her computer, my Dad's cell ringing (he has the volume up fairly high because he can't hear well), the emergency alert on the TV, the "new message" beep on my phone, our hallway (location of the dreaded CO2 detector), the click of the laser light button when I play with my cats (he's uninterested in the light), people chewing gum (heaven forbid they blow and pop a bubble), my BIL's diesel work truck, the velcro closures on his coat and neoprene vest, and a variety of sounds heard through our security camera which don't bother him in real life (wind blowing, people talking, car doors closing, etc).

I've even tried getting him to settle at my parents' house by giving him his beef knuckle or bully sticks (HIGH value), but instead he tries to carry them with him from place to place, which is a disaster. I gate him in the kitchen with them now, but he eventually breaks out (lifts the gate out of the latch), so if it's something I don't want all over the house, I use a tie down, and he intermittently takes breaks to pace around at the end of the lead, then settles down and chews again.

I've been trying to take him to the park regularly so he can dig on the beach, and also need to start biking him again (though he could take it or leave it), as his behavior seems to be less dramatic when he's been well exercised, but our yard is a swamp right now and I have to wash him pretty much every time we play ball- have been letting him push his vinyl ball around the lobby of my work after we close, but it's not enough. My current plan is to really increase his exercise,and see if I can't bring his behavior back down to "background levels" through that since it seems to help (he wasn't always this bad, so I don't know if it's a sign of my slacking off on his activity level, or just progression with age- I've been told the latter is common with noise phobic dogs). It sucks, because he's a perfectly normal dog outside of the places where we live :(

I'm planning to have bloodwork done soon (have to redo his health cert for our therapy dog visits so I'll do it then), because he's 11 now, but not expecting anything significant on it, as previous bloodwork has been fine. Pending normal results, I may see about trying a different behavioral med, but haven't had good luck thus far with any of the normal candidates for noise sensitivity. Most people don't see him at his worst, so it's hard to get them to understand that the obnoxious, happy go lucky dog they see when he's at work or out somewhere with me is a neurotic mess when home. I'm glad that he can be normal somewhere, I just wish I could get him to feel the same way at home.
 

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Honestly with all his fears I'd be talking to the vet about something for stress and anxiety, and ask the vet about using xanax in addition to it for when you go to your parents. Until you take the edge off the stress nothing you do is going to really work.

Once you have medicine on board then set up a safe place for him in your house, somewhere you can turn some soothing music on LOUD to drown out any outside noise and let him relax for a week or two so that his body has a chance to get rid of the overload of stress hormones. Once that period is up then you'll likely be able to work with him. Trust me on letting him simply chill in a stress free environment, I've had to do it with my thunder phobic dog when we had a months worth of storms. My boy was also collecting new sound phobias, in addition to rain we added any and every loud bang that he heard, and a general fear of the outdoors after dark.

When you begin to work with him start small, and outside your parents house. Going inside is way too much, way too fast sort of like throwing him into the deep end of the pool, Get him happy to be outside that house, using whatever he adores, could be play, yummy food, a person, but every time y'all go there he gets that, and only when he goes there. Once he's happy in the yard, then move onto the porch, and get him used to out there like you did the yard. You want him to be thinking oh boy the porch I get such great things here. If you notice he hears the bird that's a bonus, when the bird makes noise try and make even greater things happen, again you want him thinking I hear the bird where's my treat!!!!. Sort of like a really weird sounding clicker. When you have him completely comfortable on the porch try working with him either in the doorway, or right by the door. That's where you're going to want to have an even higher value treat for when he hears the bird. That bird makes a noise and you pop the treat into his mouth. If you have to you might want to pop the treat in his mouth then get him out in the yard to have some great fun and work up the duration you stay inside. Keep working like that and as he gets comfortable move him further into the house, but go at his pace. If at anytime he seems over stressed and can not take treats then move back a step.

I use alprazolam with Zody and his thunder phobia. The trick to it is to give it to the dog at least 20 minutes before the scary event. Zody will still hide during storms but he's calm enough to at least take treats, he also recovers a heck of a lot quicker and will come out 20 or 30 minutes after the storm whereas before it was 2 or 3 hours. He's also, even with out the medicine, able to stay out when it rains, before he had gotten so bad that he'd hide when it rained because he thought it might thunder.
 

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Out of curiosity- what kind of dog is he?

From your description, this dog is extraordinarily noise sensitive. I would really suggest finding a veterinary behaviorist who can prescribe medication, or a regular vet who will, and finding a professional trainer to assist in making a counter conditioning/desensitization plan. I don't think you're going to make much progress with this level of noise sensitivity without meds.

Talking specifically about the parrot- is there a specific reason why he wasn't allowed to hide under the loveseat? It sounds like that was his most effective safe place.

Could he stay out in the car or in the yard at your parent's house?

ETA: I have heard of some people who have success with Cannapet brand stuff. I have not seen actual documentation (studies) published on its effectiveness, and they make a lot of claims about the research that has been done that I don't see substantiated by peer review studies, but from what I've seen/heard of the brand they're a better bet than a lot of the other products on the market.

HOWEVER- in a case like this, I would absolutely not give the dog anything without consulting a vet with experience in treating animals with anxiety. A veterinary behaviorist is your best bet, in this case. This sounds like an extremely noise sensitive dog, and I would want to be absolutely sure about possible side effects and probably enter in with something that has more research behind it than the Cannapet brand.
 

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Have you ever tried just having him tethered to you? 6 foot lead attached to your belt loop ( not held in your hand like normal ) and he goes wherever you go all day long, he follows you, not the other way around. No verbal commands to come or down, all cues are your normal movements throughout the day which your dog is already wise to. Start in an environment where his frets won't challenge the exercise as he acclimates to following you whenever and wherever you go as well as settling whenever you sit down or relax. A dog should find safety and comfort next to their human.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Alprazolam causes him significantly increased activity and only minimally decreases his reaction to noise (slightly shorter recovery time)- apparently it's not super uncommon for dogs to respond to it that way. He also has an undiagnosed physical response (sometimes gets disoriented/weak/has exhibited tremors and muscle rigidity) to exercise in temperatures greater than 65 degrees which may be a form of seizure activity, so fluoxetine is out, as it can lower the seizure threshold. Those are the two Rx meds that my vet is most familiar with, so not sure what he will recommend next.

Bus is completely non-reactive to the bird when we are outside of the house. Bird's cage is beside the sliding doors, and he will stand right outside them without issue. Granted, Bus is normally flitting around the yard getting into stuff or playing ball when we are outside, so my guess would be that he's focused enough on that stuff to not be concerned. Or maybe the noise of Bird is amplified by the confines of the house? I have done some work with him with regard to proximity within the house, but it seems that's not an issue. He's fine everywhere in the house when Bird is quiet, and freaks out everywhere in the house when Bird is loud.

I crated him in the kitchen with his bone last night, and while he was initially pretty unhappy (ears back, tense), he eventually calmed down and chewed for over an hour, so that may actually be a better option it seems than tying for when he's enjoying a bone. I discovered tonight as well that he's willing to work a kong wobbler for some kibble, even when Bird is being moderately loud :). He loves his WTE toys, but previously was reluctant to play with them when scared- this is a helpful improvement. His "worst" times are when my Dad is home in the evening (or my young cousin/other family members are here), because Bird is very active- I'll be trying to deploy the wobbler when those instances occur, and see if that helps. Apparently it is higher value than treats given by hand, as sometimes he still won't take those.

My Dad constructed a pillow blockade at the end of the couch the other night to keep him from crossing over the end table, and that actually worked pretty well to interrupt his pacing across the furniture. That eliminates one issue, as his spot to spot movement is less of a problem when hes not breaking stuff in the process.

He's a Dachshund, and is 11 now. I got him at 4, and at that time, he was afraid of fireworks, but not obviously of anything else. He actually improved regarding his fear of those over the next couple of years with CC, but then began accumulating other fears. He's not otherwise environmentally sensitive- he's a "go anywhere, do anything" sort when it comes to different surfaces, people, environments, etc.

He doesn't fit under the loveseat because of his deep chest- to get under it, he lays sort of on his side and scoots in. Sometimes he gets stuck under the loveseat and requires it to be lifted off him. Because of the tight confines, he also had some little rubs/scratches from the staples which hold the bottom liner on- I considered removing them, but was afraid that he might get up in the seat instead.

Our yard isn't fenced, so he's only out when I am out with him, with the exception of the times that I tied him out. I do sometimes leave him in the car if I'm only going to be there a short while, but I don't like to leave him in there a long time when the temps are extreme (right now it's pretty cold for a scrawny little dog). He currently doesn't mind being in the house unless Bird is loud, and with it being cold out, is going in willingly (as opposed to fall when it was nice outside). I suppose I could try putting him in the car when Bird first gets loud? Or put him in, then get him out if Bird is quiet?

I have leashed him to me fairly often in my parents' house, though I'm not doing it as much now that he's not going under the loveseat. He doesn't really need to be leashed to encourage him to come to me when he's anxious, as that is sort of a default for him, but if the noise persists when he comes to me, he gets down to explore other options. I actually think part of the issue is that he's coming to us for comfort, he just can't decide which person to seek if there's more than one there at a time, hence why he goes from spot to spot. I've been leashing him if he gets too "active" in that sense, but he still sometimes tries to get down and go to someone else. I admit I don't really know what to do when he gets like that- ignoring him doesn't affect it one way or another, sometimes reassuring him seems to make him more anxious (?), and times like this are when he's reluctant to take food/play. That's usually the point at which I "squeeze" him until he settles down, which I would say 75% of the time makes him calmer within a few minutes. I guess it's probably the point at which I should be removing him to outside for a bit.

I took some videos tonight to show his vet, and will do that and his bloodwork within the next month and see what he suggests. Maybe then we'll see about trying a "shut down" and see if he has a "reset" button, as the weather will be nicer and he can hang out outside more.
 

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@busannie Zody has a similar reaction to the Alprazolam. While it does help with his thunder phobia, it in no way shape or form relaxes him. It's almost like it wires him, lowers his inhibition, and gives him the munchies. At his next wellness check I'll be mentioning it to the vet.

Here's a webpage that has a lot of info on behavioral medication for dogs... Medications for fear & anxiety | Fearful Dogs

This website Care for Reactive Dogs has a lot of info on working with reactivity and may have some tips that you could use with Bus.

There's also an FB page that has a lot of trainers that do a lot of work with fearful dogs and if you post how Bus is reacting to sound some on their may be able to help. The group is Reactive Dogs and they've really helped me with working with Zody on his fear aggression towards people.

I'm wondering if you could modify Bunker Protocol to help with the noise of the bird. It's originally for dealing with thunderstorms, but might be of help to you and Bus, here's the link to the PDF article on it if you want to take a look..http://risingstardogtraining.com/reppep213/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Bunker.pdf I haven't tried it with Zody yet, but that's mainly because we're not in t-storm season, speaking of which I really need to get a move on starting the training!
 

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Well, good and bad changes have taken place since my last update- the good news is that Bus has finally found an appropriate "safe spot" in a dog bed in the bottom of the cat tree in my parents' dining room. He spends a good bit of time in it when we are there, but seems to be quite content when in it, so I'm happy. The bad news is that for the last couple weeks (this is the newest iteration of his weird behavior) he doesn't really like to hang out with me on the loveseat anymore, but prefers sitting with my Dad in his chair, or being out in his "bomb shelter" in the dining room. He'll get up with me here and there, but rarely stays for any length of time. I've always had cuddly dogs, and have been referring to him (jokingly) as "the traitor" for the last month, but I'm glad he is able to relax more now. I don't think he's avoiding me, because when I get up, he follows me, and his behavior outside of the house is totally normal. I've been on the ball with getting him out for exercise, and feel like that might be helping a little. He still occasionally freaks out pacing to and fro when Bird is very loud, or will move to a different spot when Bird is less loud, but less so than when at his "peak" of neurotic behavior. Haven't done his bloodwork yet or really inquired about meds, as the vet who normally sees him isn't there anymore, so figured I would wait until I do his HW test this spring and kill two birds with one stone.

I also have some videos of his behavior- these are a couple months old, the pacing from place to place has definitely improved, and he spends less time in a "scared stiff" state because he now has a "safe spot", plus we've been using WTE toys when Bird gets loud. These behaviors occurred over about an hour in the evening, which is usually the worst time for Bus regarding Bird. Pardon my bare feet and the blurriness of some of them :eek:

Too afraid to play- the frisbee is a lower value toy than a tennis ball, but he initially wanted to get it, then thought better of it :( He spends a minimal amount of time seeking comfort from me now, and when he's sitting with my Dad, he just lays down, =/- casual petting by my Dad.
https://youtu.be/zEyxLzD4vpc

When he plays while scared, I have to keep him moving and engaged, otherwise he'll get nervous and leave the toy. Under my Mom's computer chair is another spot he was using in his rotation when he would pace, but he mainly only goes there to beg food now :)
https://youtu.be/R3qgJavtKrE

Playing with the tennis ball, then the quick decline back to totally petrified when we take a break. Bird was moving around in his cage, which alone (not even making real noise) is sufficient to freak Bus out, as he anticipates Bird moving with Bird making noise.
https://youtu.be/VA5c0d9o82g

He likes the wobbler!
https://youtu.be/N6JnBrcJfek

Much more "up" here, he's even offering "scratch" (paw target), though I never showed him to do it on the cat toy
https://youtu.be/aLbOzEX5-uE

Fetch/tug with another "lower" value toy (but tug lets me bring him back up when his interest is waning due to fear, so it evens out a bit)
https://youtu.be/-3dJqIp5y_Q

Pacing, scared stiff
https://youtu.be/RcgRt8OFKjY

More of the same- I was trying at the time to get him to shelter in that little round bed, but he was not a fan for whatever reason
https://youtu.be/sN7BxZRSI4c
 

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Something else you could look into is calming treats like Composure, Adaptil collars or adiaptil diffusers, or some combination there of. Ive also heard good things about Virbac Anxitane. Maybe even try some lavender oil, and or other calming scents.
He might be fine outside because he doesn't feel "trapped" so to speak, everything is very open unlike in a house.
If you haven't already I think working with a trainer or behaviorist would be helpful. If he's ok outside then you could try playing bird noises (not loudly) on your phone and heavily praise and treat him to help create a positive association with noises from a bird. It don't know if its possible but have you tried taking Bird outside and seeing if Bus is ok with Bird in that situation?
Another thing to consider is that dogs have much better hearing then we do. And parrots can be loud even just to human ears, so I image it must be even louder for a dog. Perhaps on top of having anxiety from loud noises, he is sensitive to them as well.
 

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There is a product called 'Rescue Remedy' that my friend with a noise reactive GSD swears by! It's a homeopathic product made from flowers I believe........... maybe give it a try if you haven't already!
 

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A somewhat related story involving a bird. And a dog. It might amuse some.

I walk quite a lot with my dog and, earlier this week, we did about an hour mostly around woodlands next to a public park. Max, the dog, likes to run around in the woods and paddle in the streams. Soggy doggy.

We had just back to the main park when I felt something land on the back of my neck. Now, contrary to what I told my kids, I don't have eyes in the back of my head so I had no idea what it was. I thought id bumped into a low tree branch but Max was quite agitated.

There were some people packing up from a photoshoot. They told me it was a parrot. I gave them my camera asked them to take a pic. Sure enough, a parrot. They thought it was my bird.
"No, my bird is at the oesteopath getting her back sorted out."
Brit speak there.

Parrots are not native here (UK) so it was possibly an escaped pet.

But the b00dy thing wouldn't leave. Eventually, Max took exception and sent it on its way. No harm done.

I know this thread is super old! But just wanted to say that covering the bird is completely unfair to him, he is just being a parrot which is a wild animal and covering a bird for being loud is the same as shoving a loud toddler into a dark closet to shut them up. they don't understand and will be scared.

Also! to you Besoeker, that poor bird on your shoulder needed help and was definitely lost and it would have been amazing of you to help the bird and hold onto it until someone who didnt have a dog in the car could come and help grab him! He landed on you because it's scared and knows people as friends so i wish he could have been helped instead of chased off :/ I would hope if a scared dog needing help came up to you all here you would try and help and locate the owner instead of scaring it off.

And I am so sorry to hear your dog is scared by the birds, Busannie. Poor thing. Have you tried mutt muffs when the bird is loud? African greys can be so annoying with their beeping and what not. At my old riding stable they used to put nerf balls in the horses ears when it was windy and they didn't mind so maybe something like that?
 
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