Golden Retriever Dog Forums banner
1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Goldens Rule in SW PA!
Joined
·
2,127 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Folks:

We've had Scout almost a year now. She is a rescue (~3 or 4 years old) from AHGRRS. Despite our best intentions, we were unable to find much out about her past--we suspect that she was used for breeding in a puppy mill--had some problems and was dumped in a kill shelter by her 'owner'. At the shelter, she was put in a 'run' with an older dog which was able to eat all of the food when fed--and ate all of Scouts too. Scout became very emaciated.

Scout was and is very noise-phobic. Whenever we shout (like cheering OSU on in the Rose Bowl) or scold one of the other dogs, Scout will go running for her cage. When talking to her, if we use any tone that she perceives is in the least bit threatening (even if we didn't mean it to sound threatening)--again--she'll run to her cage and hide. She follows us around the house all of the time--if my partner is at home all day, she'll stick to him like glue and not leave his sight--at all...

She is NOT, however, what I'd call a 'nervous' dog. She seems reasonably calm most of the time--and quite playful. Until there is a loud noise. Then, it's off to the cage until we coax her out....

Other than that--she is a perfectly normal, loving (to the max!) Golden. She loves to cuddle and actually has gotten to the point that she'll head-butt us a lot for non-stop petting. She sleeps with us at night, every night. She has never been aggressive that I can recall...

Is there anything anyone can suggest to help with her noise-phobia (or do you have another suggestion as to what I might call this problem?). We were thinking about something more on the holistic/herbal side of things? We were leaning in the direction of giving her a supplement to calm(?) her down..but certainly no prescription drugs or anything of that sort...

Any suggestions would be appreciated! You're welcome to IM us if you like, also!

Thanks!

SJ
 

·
Momma to angel Cody
Joined
·
5,044 Posts
SJ, my rescue boy was (and sometimes still is) terribly frightened of loud noises, thunder, fireworks, the doorbell, football cheering, etc. He would flee to his crate (airline kennel type) and shiver and shake. I got him over his fear in the outside world by treating a lot when we encountered the scary thing, like a garbage truck. However, that wasn't working in the house, so I finally closed the crate door. If he needed comfort or a safe place, it had to be me or somewhere else. Amazingly, he has relaxed a ton by having to face the fear without his hidey hole. He either comes to me to let me know he's a bit frightened, or, in the case of thunder, heads for the walk-in shower. Overall, he's gained lots of confidence, whereas when he could retreat to the crate, he did that at every fearful occasion. Some might find that cruel, but "face your fears" has benefitted Finn. Good luck with your girl, and I hope you find something to bring out her confidence.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,628 Posts
My Jasper, who is also a rescue who came into the program at 4.5 months old, has severe sound phobias (or did, they aren't nearly as bad as they were). For one thing, he has hypothyroidism, which I think contributed to his overall sensitivity. Between the meds for the hypothyroidism and counter conditioning, he has improved vastly.

He is also what I call "my sensitive boy". I can't raise my voice at him (not that I do, but if I scold one of the other dogs, he just melts) and clapping really freaks him out. Yet, I can clap when I call him outside and he comes running just fine.

I just started carrying really good treats. If he heard something and froze, I'd give him a treat at the same time I said YES! and did that every time. After a month or so, if a sound spooked him, he would look at me instead of just freezing. So I kept it up and eventually I was able to wean him off from treats every time, though I still give them occasionally to reinforce the behavior.

If you know you are going to have a lot of yelling going on, you could give her a melatonin. It really seems to help Jasper with thunderstorms.
 

·
Knife Swallower
Joined
·
6,783 Posts
My rescue guy is the same with loud noises. He's very attuned to sounds...like if I want him to come see me, I can tap my foot against the ground and he'll come running over to see what's making that noise. Any loud noises, though, and he startles and overreacts.

Since getting him in May, I've been working on exposing him to more and more noises - outside the house and in. It's hard inside since it's just me and him and I hate loud noises too! I got him used to me playing music loudly in my truck or in the house, hanging out across from construction sites and playgrounds with yelling kids. He especially hates the noises from cars when they go past him in slush or rain. So we go for one walk a day along a busy street...no reprimands when he startles, no over-excitable praise when he's good (don't want him to get excited) just a "good boy" and run my hand down his back.

Now I can drop his steel food dishes with hardly a glance from him (I HATE that noise!) and when there were a bunch of drunk, loud people over for Christmas, he curled up and went to sleep in the busiest area.
 

·
Goldens Rule in SW PA!
Joined
·
2,127 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
fostermom, Ranger:

Thanks for your help. A friend of ours also suggested treats, too. She's a treat-o-holic so that may be a good direction to turn to. We're also trying to get her acclimatized to loud noises on walks, etc. That is taking a lot longer than we thought--perhaps because our other two did not have any noise phobias to begin with.

Again, thanks!

Scott J.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
798 Posts
I appreciate all the suggestions too! We adopted Dusty in October from AHGRR and nothing is known about his past either. He's probably around two and is also pretty skittish, although he is getting better. At first he wouldn't even go to men, he would cower down but he now goes to all my dh's friends readily. We think he's been abused in the past because the first time I went to get the broom to sweep the kitchen floor he cowered and backed right up. He also doesn't like loud noises and unfortunately my dh can get pretty loud when he's just talking, he doesn't have to be mad or upset, he's just loud. So a lot of times Dusty won't go to him and he has to really tone his voice down for a day or two before Dusty will go to him again. I will have to try using the treats, I think he would do well with them cause he loves to eat!
 

·
They get it
Joined
·
4,446 Posts
If there is a particular sound you can recreate, you can get a recording of that sound and play it back, at first very quietly almost to where you can't hear it, then gradually play it louder (over a long period of time) and treat Scout after the sound plays. As it gets louder, and louder, she should start looking forward to it. This is how to help gun shy dogs, in the field arena. This is just one sound, but you can work as many loud noises into your "recording" as you can so that she can work it out. I hope this helps, good luck. It sure is nice to hear how much you love her, she was lucky to find you both.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,753 Posts
I, too, am dealing with the same issues everyone here is - a rescue dog with fear of noises/people. We've come a long way in a month and a half but there is still much work to do. I'm looking forward to the warmer weather so that we can stay out longer than we can right now.
Just this evening Cocasse bolted when a cab came up too close to him while out walking. I was so hoping we were over this but I guess not yet.
I'm prepared to keep working on this but I'll also accept that he may not improve much more than he has now.
 

·
chew chew chew
Joined
·
3,571 Posts
Clicker training with a target. I did this with Ticket as a pup, and when he was just over a year he freaked out over a fire hydrant, but because he knew the 'game' he soon figured out to target to the very scary thing and was putting his nose on it for rewards.

You could do the same sort of thing, teach her the game to a target, then play noises, first quietly or away from the target, and then move them closer together. Or even just pulling out the target to work on that while the noise is going on would help (you can adjust how close she is to the noise too). It gives her something to do besides go and hide (which may be what she's just learned to do with herself, go shake in the crate.... I would also try closing the crate to see how she deals with things then.

The biggest thing though is to ignore the fearful behavior - if you are talking to her and treating her while she's hiding in her crate, then she's getting something positive for that. Try to get some simple behavior out of her as much as you can, even if it's eating off of the target.

Lana
 

·
Knife Swallower
Joined
·
6,783 Posts
Ranger just went from being scared when a car pulls up to close to now wanting to stop and examine it. The cause? We were out walking and my ex-boyfriend pulled up behind us and got out. Ranger was thrilled to see him so now everytime a car stops, Ranger stops walking and waits for the ex...I think I liked it better when he was scared. Now he's disappointed all the time.
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top