Dogs are prone to fear noise
Noise anxiety is a common phobia among dogs. Treatment should always be targeted as a dog's behavior may be caused by a variety of reasons.
1. All dogs have a genetic predisposition to fear noise, but some breeds react more fearfully while others do not. Shepherd dogs especially are often extra-sensitive to noise.
2. Being scared may be a result of various mechanisms in a dog's brain. For example, if a dog’s mother exhibits fearfulness to noise, then the puppy may have learned that there's a threat associated with a certain sound.
3. The reaction may range from slight shaking to total panic. Fear may also magnify into anticipation of noise. If a dog gets frightened of fireworks on New Year's Eve, the dog may start to be scared of evenings and darkness. Even a small sound such as the trickling of a radiator may frighten a dog.
4. A dog should get familiar with different sounds right from birth. If fear has already developed, you can still desensitize a dog to tolerate noise. In any case, the dog should never be forced. Occasional anxiety does not diminish the fear.
5. If anxiety is severe, contact your vet. If necessary, anxiety should be treated with medication, as every threatening situation reinforces fear and pending behavior. Consult your vet about the different treatment options.
Veterinarian Tuulia Appleby has been interviewed for this article.