Dog Obedience Training – Noise Phobias

By | May 13, 2016

Thunder and other load bangs can cause some dog’s severe distress. Using some simple dog obedience training methods and perhaps some drugs or herbs we can desensitise dogs.

Using Drugs

Relaxing an anxious dog by using certain drugs is straight forward and is fairly common.

Your standard vet’s drug of choice is one that comes from the benzodiazepine family, an anxiolytic drug. This drug is usually only available with a prescription. The drug is distributed under several names and the following are the more common brands:

Alprazolam (Xanax)(Xanax XR)( Nirvam), Diazepam (Valium)(Diastat), Clonazepam (Klonopin), Lorazepam (Ativan), Flurazepam (Dalmane).

The side effects of using these drugs will be discussed by your vet, and the dangers of exceeding recommended dosage and duration of treatments needs to be carefully noted.

They are all addictive and will lead to with drawl issues if given for periods longer than advised by your vet. Your dog may experience extreme mood swings and you need to be wary of being bitten by a dog suffering from these symptoms.
There is another drug, a member of the tricyclics antidepressant (TCA) chemical class, usage of which is becoming more common. It is Clomipramine (Anafranil). The veterinary name for this drug is Clomicalm, and is used for both antidepressant and anxiolytic treatments, including panic attacks.

If you are on good terms with your vet, ask him to prescribe the human variety of this drug as it costs a lot less than the vet product.

Natural and Homeopathic treatments

There is an over the counter hormone used by people for insomnia treatment which has shown promising results for treatment of noise phobia in animals. This is Melatonin.

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Most health shops and pharmacies stock melatonin.

As production of melatonin is not controlled, quality can vary. Holistic stores or holistic vets often stock a higher quality product.

Phosphorous PHUS 30C, available in health stores has been found to relieve stress in some dogs and is available from most good health and homeopathic shops.

The fact that you should not touch this compound with your fingers worries me. You should talk to the dispensing health store or homeopathic store owner to ensure you feel happy about the use of this chemical.

I have however been assured by homeopathy practitioners that it is safe for your dog and has no side effects.

Aconitum Napellus 30C is another homeopathic treatment and it is administered in the same way as the Phosphorous treatment.

Flower Remedies

There are a few flower remedies with the common remedies being: Rescue Remedy, Calming Essence or Five Flower Formula.

All are made from a selection of flowers. Try one remedy at a time and see which works better.

If none work then you might try single flower remedies such as Limulus, or Rock Rose.

Music Therapy

The research done on this therapy indicates that playing live harp music worked to calm affected dogs in over 95{0ad59209ba3ce7f48e71d4a0dc628eee9b107ea7079661ded2b3bda89b047a8b} of cases.

Playing recorded harp music was effective in over 87{0ad59209ba3ce7f48e71d4a0dc628eee9b107ea7079661ded2b3bda89b047a8b} of cases.

I could not find any reference to a particular recording so I guess you may need to buy a few CDs and see if any work for your dog.

Body Wraps

Body wraps are made from elasticised material and Velcro and are designed to fit tightly around the dog’s shoulders and torso and, supposedly, produces a feeling of security and calmness in the dog.

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Anxiety Wrap and Thunder Shirt are 2 designs that I am aware of, but there are probably more designs out there.

Behaviour Modification

The use of crate training, positive rewards, desensitization, and calming reassurance are all techniques that, with or without drug or natural medicines, can go a long way to helping you cure most noise phobias.

Whilst you are working on behaviour modification, you need to practice consistency and patience, and you may need to combine this with some natural or holistic remedies, or maybe even one of the above noted drugs.

To help modify the dog’s behaviour you can use crate training and the click and treat or positive reward system along with dog obedience training methods.

Desensitization therapy involves the introduction of taped storm noises under controlled conditions and gradually increasing the noise level until the dog can happily ignore the reason for his anxiety.

Using calming reassurance methods such as brushing the dog with long, slow, light brush strokes from head to tail during the storm will settle and calm the dog.

The above ways ways of alleviating your dog’s noise phobias are just some of the methods that are currently being used.

By using the least intrusive options first, such as dog obedience training methods, along with flower remedies, and then working up to the drugs therapy, you will be able to work out the level where your dog begins to respond and he begins to relax during major thunder storms, and noise phobias will become a thing of the past.

Nev Allen is a dog trainer with 30 years of experience and he is now sharing this experience to help you make your puppy a good, happy and well trained obedient dog. Visit my blog for more detailed dog obedience training and clicker training articles.

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