Dog is traumatized of the sound of phones and bells from previous owners abuse. How to desensitize?
She freaks out at the slightest hint of them. So we’ve tried just making the noise gently and leaving her be or giving her a treat after. To show it isn’t a threat. But after a month she still freaks out. Should we just continuously play the sound until she stops reacting to it or is that cruel? I really don’t know what else to do for her. She constantly is anxious. Waiting for the sound and inevitably to be kicked or hit. (The previous owners wife told us he would do that cus she’d bark).
- Karen LLv 75 months agoFavorite Answer
Be patient. A month is hardly any time at all with fears like this. I think you're on the right track. If the sounds are never again followed by anything unpleasant and instead are followed by something pleasant or by nothing at all, she will eventually realize that. I'd make as sure as possible that no fuss of any kind follows a bell or phone in your house. Nobody running to answer, or yelling that someone's at the door. Bells and phones in your house should be things that cause no commotion. You could try, after a while, getting her to sit, showing her the treat but not giving it to her (this is to distract her from noticing the noise), and then have someone make one of those noises in another room. If she doesn't react to it, give excessive praise and the treat. If she reacts fearfully, ignore that reaction. Don't do the comforting 'oh you poor baby' stuff. Talk to her calmly in a normal tone of voice. She will learn that these noises aren't anything to worry about.
You may also want to consult with your vet. There are medications which can reduce anxiety and fear, and removing those helps a dog learn new behaviours.
I have a dog who reacts, or used to react, badly to various noises. She used to shake for 15 minutes if the car hit a puddle. I'd just talk to her in a normal conversational voice, saying things like' that was a puddle, no big deal, makes noise, not going to hurt you'. The words don't matter but the tone of voice does. It's been 3 years, but she no longer gets upset at many noises that used to bother her.
- 5 months ago
My chiweenie whose normally a little tough bruiser shakes uncontrollably like a terrified child at the sound of fireworks & the smoke alarm that was beeping every few minutes! No one could console or comfort him until the sounds stopped. Took battery out of smoke alarm & then he was fine!
- 5 months ago
Take it slow .Dog learn through habituation and eventually he will be able to unlearn previous habits with time good luck
- 5 months ago
You can kind of hug her and continuously speak to her in a normal, yet calming voice before, during and after the sound. That way she will learn that everything is ok and hearing the sound changes nothing. You are still there and loving her and you feel ok and that will rub off on her.
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- Anonymous5 months ago
So using a phone is "abuse"? What the **** ever.
- 5 months ago
I am also shaken up by those sounds.
- bluebonnetgrannyLv 75 months ago
I just googled your question to see if you could have found it on your own. The above is what google brought up. I could not find anything better. I did not know if you wanted it posted here or if you wanted to do it yourself.
All adopted dogs come with baggage from their past lives. All the abuse, leaves its tow & not knowing what it was about bells & things that ring you may not be able to desensitize. Hang some chimes so the sound can be heard from a distance. Like she can hear it from inside the house. Make washing pots & pan a little loud. Drop things now & then. Let her know that the sounds do not trigger a bad thing to her. When she realizes that nothing is happening after the noises, she will gradually ease her response to the sounds. This may take some time. Months but keep working at it.
- E. H. AmosLv 75 months ago
I have two dogs diagnosed (by an outstanding holistic vet who graduated at the top of her class @ Auburn vet school) as having TINNITUS. Only certain TONES bother them, and one dog is worse than the other. They have enlarged blood vessels on the eardrum.
There is not much treatment for it, other than muffling the sound or trying to avoid it, in OUR situation. I have read adding a BIOTIN supplement has helped some PEOPLE w/ it. I mention it, for you to consider that YOUR dog, MIGHT BE - in ACTUAL PAIN.
In your dog's case - even if the sounds are linked to prior abuse, that does not mean the dog IS NOT in physical pain. (Their hearing is MUCH MORE ACUTE than ours.) If you try desensitization, you need a recording and a VERY LOW VOLUME version, to start with. Just like w/ a peanut allergy (desensitization) you need an incredibly small amount of sound.
- rezaLv 65 months ago
Try slowly introducing the phone and getting her used to the phone without noises. Get her to smell it, be around it, whatever. Then, make it a fun thing - make it feeding time when you play something from the phone, or show her that you’re not reacting to the phone when it goes off (like have someone call you to help with the training). While it plays at a low volume, give her some extra-good treats like real meat, or even play with her with a tug toy to redirect the energy she’s giving off. Try to keep her attention off the phone itself and on you while it’s ringing/making noises. Make sure she gets plenty of exercise and some “down time” between the training sessions so she doesn’t get frustrated - about 15m of training, then 15m of play or resting, and do that maybe a few times a day. I’d also suggest calling up a local dog trainer and see if they have any tips, and do lots of research on what trainers do with reactive dogs to desensitize them to a certain sound.
- 5 months ago
change your Ring Tone to something like a song? who has bells?