Thunderstorms, fireworks, truck noises, oh my! There are many sounds our dogs may develop Big Feelings about. One of the best ways to help them is to help them slowly get used to the sound, starting at super low volume and working your way up. Here’s how to do it!
Noise Practice Sessions!
- Find a YouTube video of the sound your dog needs help with.
- Start playing it at a very low volume on your laptop or phone.
- Now, the main attraction: Just exist with your dog!
- You can spend some time playing, training, feeding them dinner/breakfast, or just hanging out. There should be a mix of fun activity and resting.
- The goal is for your dog to have fun and relax while the noise plays in the background.
- If your dog is relaxed, you can bump the volume up and keep it at a louder volume.
- If your dog shows any signs of stress, immediately lower the volume or end the session for a bit.
- If your dog exits the room, we’ve pushed them over threshold. Turn off the noise, make a note of how loud the noise was and wait another day or two before trying again at a lower volume.
- Once your dog is doing well with the sound on a laptop or phone, graduate to a larger speaker, ideally with surround sound.
- Gradually increase the volume until it is nearly as loud as real life.
- Aim for multiple sessions per week. (Ideally, at least 2.)
- Once your dog is doing well, you can start to do this less often, but keep scheduling it at least a couple times a month! If they have Big Feelings about storms, they’ll likely need some more frequent refreshers before rainy season, and New Year’s, Fourth of July, and Diwali for fireworks.
- Start with short duration: one to three minutes to start, and then work your way up to 15 minutes or longer.
- Want to make it easy to remember?
- Set a phone reminder!
- When you start your session, set a silent timer for how long you want to work for (Now your dog gets what they need and you don’t have to worry about losing track of time.).
- Tie it to a regular thing you do. (You could do this while you make dinner, for example.)
- Avoid having sessions on days where your dog has already been stressed by real-life noises. Give them at least a day of a break before resuming 🙂
Not sure things are going as they should? Let your trainer know and we’ll help you out!