Do loud, unexpected sounds such as thunder or fireworks cause your dog to become afraid and anxious? Some of the behaviors associated with fear of loud noises are hiding, panting, pacing, digging or jumping in an attempt to escape. Although it is natural to want to comfort your dog by giving them extra attention and petting them, it is actually counterproductive and can reinforce anxious behaviors. Instead, here are some ways you can help your dog if they experience this type of fear and anxiety:
- When your dog first starts to exhibit signs of anxiety, try to create a distraction by engaging them in one of their favorite activities such as fetch and reward them for paying attention to the activity with treats and praise.
- Create a safe retreat for your dog. If there’s a place in the house that your dog tends to go to when they are scared, give them access to that area.
- Muffle some of the loud sounds by playing music or white noise.
- If your dog’s anxiety becomes severe, talk to your veterinarian to see if they have any recommendations for prescription medications that may be beneficial for your dog.