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Help and advice please.

Discussion in 'General Discussions and Lounge' started by Jjohnd, Apr 25, 2021.

  1. Jjohnd

    Jjohnd Member Registered

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    Our Lab (10 years old and rescued) has in the last few months become nervous of bangs locally and distant. She is normally a happy and obedient soul and loves her home life. We do our best to reassure her but it makes us unhappy to see her distressed.
    She has recently had medication for an ear infection and quite a lot of wax has been removed which obviously has improved her hearing. I expect that calming measures are available but need advice before taking action.
    All comments / advice welcome please.
     
    Richard Fallon likes this.
  2. Inka

    Inka Active Member Registered

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    Sounds like she is hearing things louder than she has been used to, so your reaction to her is important when she reacts to a noise she is likely to look at you to see if you are also reacting and if she is anxious then be careful not to 'praise her fear' and love/snuggle/treat her as difficult as that is you don't want to to think you want her to feel like that.
    Also as dogs get older many do get 'noise reactive' several things you can do is try not the react, make sure she is secure so she doesn't run ( flight) so if she is a dog who you have let off lead you can leave her on the lead or use a long line when out, let the lead/line trail so she still has freedom but you can quickly put your foot on it and be in control, if she uses a crate, clip the door open cover it with a blanket so it is a safe, dark den where she can go and put a bowl of water in there. If the weather is not too warm then a t-shirt offers some dogs some security ( like a portable hug) so they can manage their own fear, Bach rescue remedy 5 drops in her water each time you top it up/change it is a great calmer ( good for humans too)
    The other thing is make a 'noise CD' so any noise from motorbikes, air brakes, heavy machinary, bands, children playing/screaming in a play round, heavy metal music, fireworks and play it on repeat on the lowest volumn so you can't hear it at all as you don't hear it you don't react and she will get used to and as nothing bad happens to her she will start to realise she is safe only raise the volumn after a week just a little so you still don't hear it if there is no reaction from her.
     
  3. Jjohnd

    Jjohnd Member Registered

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    Thanks ever so much for your advice. I must admit that we have tried to comfort her without thinking that it is the wrong thing to do.
    I have toyed with the idea of deliberately Introducing noises and will do. I thought about making her watch East E doers but I am not cruel to her!
     
  4. Inka

    Inka Active Member Registered

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    It is a natural thing we humans do without realising we could be giving our dogs the wrong message, it is easy to comfort and explain to a child but dogs don't understand in the same way and as dogs like to please us humans, if they get given the idea we want/like them to feel fear , they do.

    Just make sure you can't hear it ( dogs, even older ones have better hearing than us humans ) that way you forget it is on and behave normally, she sees you are not bothered/worried so she thinks if you ( her protector) is not frightened, she won't be, take it slowly don't rush to increase the volumn. I do it in my puppy classes, by week 4-5 it is 'just' loud enough for the handlers to hear and they often react...so I have to remind them their pups have been hearing it from week one, they just 'forgot' as they couldn't hear it...so when firework nights come around all those pups are great and don't get stressed...and mum/dad can watch Eastenders in peace:mad:

    :)
     
  5. JudyN

    JudyN Moderator Moderator Registered

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    It's fine to reassure a stressed dog, just as you would a baby who can't understand the words but is helped by the tone. As long as you don't do it in a way where the dog thinks you're being a bit weird, so more a 'It's OK, nothing's happening' and an ear rub, than big cuddles and 'Oh, poor baby'. You can't reinforce fear by doing something the dog sees as postive - if you gave me a tenner every time I went 'Eeeek, a spider!' I wouldn't become more afraid of spiders - quite the opposite (even if I still say 'Eeeek', it wouldn't be out of fear). More detail here: You Can't Reinforce Fear; Dogs and Thunderstorms - The Other End of the Leash

    How is she doing now, Jjohnd?
     
    JoanneF likes this.
  6. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    I'm sorry, I disagree.

    As Judy says, you can't reinforce fear. But you can comfort someone or a dog - if I were afraid of spiders, to continue with Judy's example, a hug or someone holding my hand will make me feel better.

    We wouldn't ignore a frightened child, we would do anything we could to help them feel less afraid and feel safe, our dogs who are as dependent on us as a child need and deserve that same caring, compassion and empathy from us.

    Not comforting our animals is an old fashioned theory - like leaving babies (and puppies) to ”cry it out”. Fortunately we no longer do a lot of things that used to be believed to be right. When we know better, we do better.

    The Myth of Reinforcing Fear | The Academy of Pet Careers


    Truth and Myth about Reinforcing Fear and Anxiety
     
  7. Finsky

    Finsky Well-Known Member Registered

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    Youtube has lot of 'noise' videos available...;)
     

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