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Noise sensitivity makes no sense


Tommy Coyote
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My dogs were on the bed. There is a windo right there for them to look out.

 

Air planes go over - I'm right on the flight path for Downtown airport.

Dogs don't react.

 

Two neighbors have really noisy Harley Davidsons. When they come in those Harleys make all kinds of noises- booms, pops, really loud.

Dogs don't react.

 

Garbage trucks come by. All kinds of sounds.

Dogs don't react.

 

Trains are running constantly in the background. All kinds of noises from the trainyard.

Dogs don't react.

 

Car across the street needs a new muffler. It's very loud.

Dogs don't react.

 

One small firecracker way off in the distance.

Dogs jump off the bed and run for cover.

 

Thunder. Even way off.

Dogs run for cover.

 

I just don't get it.

 

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I think that "not making sense" is pretty common. Our Bute had no issues with many noises - but when Ed sneezed (not when I sneezed) and a few other totally unexpected (in terms of sensitivity) noises occurred, he was diving for cover. And it wasn't even Ed's sneeze itself, it was the prelude to Ed's sneeze, or maybe that Bute knew the sneeze would be coming when he heard the prelude and reacted to that.

 

When Ed began to sneeze, Bute would be off the bed and under it in his "safe place" or off the couch and behind it in his other "safe place" (that was the "safe place" where he'd accumulate his "treasures", bones and toys, in a little semi-circle in front of where he laid, so he could enjoy them like a miser with his gold).

 

As for the planes, trains, cycles, etc., versus the thunder and gunshots, it's a different kind of noise. Dogs have senses that are just so much more *sensitive* than ours that I'm sure they not only smell but hear things that we just can't.

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Dogs can easily tell the difference between various sounds and may have different associations with each sound.

 

One of our dogs was afraid of the smoke detector; he soon started to "head for the hills" whenever he heard bacon sizzling because it was common for the smoke detector to go off when we cooked bacon.

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I used to train with someone and we would use radios when holding sheep for one another. The radios would make a specific beep before the person on the other end spoke. The person at the other end would radio up when they had the sheep set. The dogs started to key on the beep as the signal to start their outrun, because the command usually followed right after.

 

One day, I was at a trial setting sheep. After setting a packet, I was walking back up the field when the course director called on the radio. As we were talking he said to me "what's your dog doing?". I turned around and my dog was half way down the trial field doing a beautiful outrun to pick up the sheep we had just set which were nicely turning the post. The handler on course probably didn't appreciate me blowing a hard stop and recall.

 

We had to spend the next few weeks untraining the association.

 

Border collies learn, whether we want them to or not.

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I got it in my head a long time ago that I was going to desensitize Dean to the sound of PVC falling on the floor at the training building so he could be in there when dogs were jumping.

 

He was jumping 20 inches at the time. Gorgeously, I might add!

 

I thought I knew what I was doing but it turned out I didn't (sound sensitivity/noise phobia IS very tricky to deal with effectively) and ended up sensitizing him way beyond where he actually started.

 

He knocked one bar in that building after that and he associated the sound with the 20 inch jumps. His jumping was completely and utterly demolished after that. He would tense up and could not propel himself over those jumps (you could feel the tension in his muscles in his back legs). He would jump 16, but after that he was very reluctant to jump 20. It took a very, very long time to come close to undoing that and we never did get back what we had before it.

 

He's a veteran now and he jumps 16. Problem solved. But it was astonishing to me that he made that association and never forgot it.

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I agree that the sounds of thunder, firecrackers and gunshots are somehow different to a dog's hearing in some way that we're just not sensitive enough to recognize. We just have to believe that it's different fro them and that we'll never perceive it in the same way they will.

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I didn't know you had a blog. I love it. Those photos are wonderful.

 

I don't know why dogs associate certain things. Zeke loves to be outside but when a storm is near he won't go out even if I can't hear anything yet. He hears it out there I think.

 

I wish the dogs didn't react so violently to fireworks but they do. And I have to get them zanax every 4th.

 

Sometimes Tommy will bark at loud noises but then she settles down. She tends to start digging if she gets stressed. So into the crate she goes and she is fine there.

 

Both the older dogs like the airline crate best in bad weather. They like to lay down way in the back of it. Unfortunately I only have 1 airline crate and 2 dogs that like it. Zeke has to stay in the wire crate that is covered up in a blanket. He does OK there but he would rather be in the airline crate.

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