9 Ways to Ease Noise Anxiety in Dogs

With July 4th right around the corner, many of us are gearing up for a weekend of outdoor fun topped off with a good show of fireworks.

Unfortunately, others are anxiously preparing for their least favorite day of the year: when the sounds of fireworks send dogs of all shapes and sizes cowering into corners and bathrooms across the U.S. I count ourselves lucky that Topher seems to have no negative reaction to fireworks or thunder, having seen first hand the kind of deep anxiety these noises elicit in other dogs.

Here are a few things you can do to help ease noise anxiety in dogs, especially around the holidays that involve fireworks.

6 Reasons to Stick to Positive Reinforcement Dog Training

Before starting to work with a training company, I didn’t have any particular philosophy on training styles or a preference towards techniques for figuring out how to get Topher to behave. However, one thing I knew: we would not be using any kind of force collar like choke, prong, or shock collars. Later, we updated that “not under any circumstances” list to include things like dominance rolling and hitting. Instead, we’re sticking to positive reinforcement dog training.

Though you might not expect it given his size (and his bark), Topher is a dog who shuts down at the drop of a hat. Our big oaf is eager to please, but he’s also easily scared and came to us brimming with anxieties. To work with Topher is to constantly take baby steps, making progress by overcoming these fears a bit at a time. However, even without our large dog’s equally large anxieties, the decision to stick with positive reinforcement dog training is a no brainer.

What Is Positive Reinforcement Dog Training?

Positive reinforcement training, in a nutshell, is all about rewarding your dog for behaviors that you like, so there’s a better chance of that behavior being repeated. By praising good behavior and redirecting any unwanted behaviors, you change your dog’s habits without the use of force.

The more I seek out information on dog training, the more convinced I become: we’ll stick to positive reinforcement for the long haul. Here are a few reasons why.

10 More Indoor Activities for Dogs

If you live anywhere along the east coast, you might be continuing to deal with some of the fallout from winter storm Jonas. While we were nowhere near snowed in, the sudden drop in temperatures sent our little family into hibernation mode. Topher included! Considering how quickly a few days without walks can turn even our couch-potato of a dog into a whirling dervish, we’re quite lucky not to be trapped in our house or digging our yard out of a mountain of snow. For those of you who are stuck, or waiting for your dog to end their next poop strike, today we’re bringing you a bunch more indoor activities for dogs to ease your boredom.

Dealing With Unwanted Barking

While there are many areas where we are working hard with our training and reinforcement with Topher, there are some areas where we’ve gotten…a little lazy. One of those areas? Barking.

Topher is a pretty quiet dog until people (or dogs) start walking by or entering our house. If either of those things happen, Topher turns into a lean, not-that-mean, barking machine. It’s a frustrating habit to break, especially when you’re also trying to juggle something like answering the door for a contractor. So many times, we’ve done the lazy thing: we calmly put Topher away in our bedroom and wait for his barking to subside before he can come back out.

However, this method of dealing with Topher’s barking habit is no way to actually stop unwanted barking. So, as we enter the fall season, a time when more people tend to end up at our house (friends, contractors, or otherwise), I’ve embarked on a mission to do more to curb Topher’s unwanted barking.

Teaching Your Adult Dog To Be Gentle

Topher is a very energetic dog. He can also play a bit rough sometimes—let’s just say being delicate is not really in his repertoire, much to our cats’ dismay. We continue to work on his rough housing, but one aspect where I think we’ve done very well his in training Topher to have what’s called “bite inhibition” or a gentle mouth.

When dogs don’t learn bite inhibition as puppies, they can end up hurting people (or other dogs) even if they are only trying to play. It’s important to teach a puppy to play gently, and they tend to catch on to it quickly—but how to you start teaching your adult dog to be gentle?