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Old 07-07-2012, 10:04 AM
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Laurelin Laurelin is offline
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Default Noise phobia

What is y'all's experience with this? Is it mostly a genetic/bloodline kind of thing?

I've been reading a thread on the border collie forum about all the thunder phobic dogs and how extreme some of the reactions seem. It seems particularly common in herders and especially BCs to me (maybe I'm wrong?). We've had three dogs with varying stress reactions to loud noises. Our GSDx would panic every time and damage himself and his surroundings trying to escape. Storms were very stressful events for everyone with him. Trey also would pant and hide on the fourth with the fireworks. Bernard is the third but he is not destructive, just pants and shakes all night if there's a big storm.

Summer and Mia both don't care at all but I never conditioned them for it, it must just be luck.

Is there a good way to try to condition or prevent noise phobias before they start?

I live in Oklahoma. We get really nasty storms very frequently many times a year and almost constantly during spring/tornado season.
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Old 07-07-2012, 10:12 AM
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It might be a genetic thing. I remember reading about that some where too and if I think back on it my experience does support the herder idea.

Yoshi... I don't think there is any herder in her and if there is it is buried so deep I don't think it will ever show herself. She's fine with storms and fireworks. But nothing really bugs Yoshi. I always joke that I broke the part of her brain that controls her reaction to loud noises and crazy situations.

Shiner who was a cocker spaniel/poodle wasn't afraid of storms that I remember. I was really young when we had her but I don't recall her ever freaking out over storms. Fireworks made her kind of nervous but other than that she was fine.

Lady who was an ACD/BC mix was TERRIFIED of storms and loud noises. Storms scared her so much she would destroy doors and hurt herself if we weren't careful while she tried to get away.
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Old 07-07-2012, 10:24 AM
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I definitely think it's often genetic, the fact that it's uncommon in some breeds and almost expected in others would point towards that. And herding breeds are overall, breeds bred to be extra sensitive to what is going on around them, so it makes sense that they would be more prone to it. I also think that once you have one storm phobic or two with the problem, they can be a bad influence on the rest of them too. And for whatever reason, certain people seem to bring it out in every dog they have.

I think in general, starting a puppy with linking making noise to being fun can help. Something like what's suggested here: http://reactivechampion.blogspot.com...icago-eva.html Also if possible, take them out and play with them when there's thunder or fireworks (providing it is safe of course).
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Old 07-07-2012, 10:50 AM
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It can be learned. Lilly was fine with storms until she started hanging out with Aeron who taught her to panic herself to death.
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Old 07-07-2012, 10:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by puppydog View Post
It can be learned. Lilly was fine with storms until she started hanging out with Aeron who taught her to panic herself to death.
The tricky thing about it from a learned vs. inherited standpoint is that the average age of onset for it is I think between 3-6 years old.
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Old 07-07-2012, 11:01 AM
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I thought that was Aleron at first. lol

None of mine care. My rat terrier was terrified though. Tucker and Arnold grow up with her panicking and they never seem phased by her panic.

I think by my experience it is more genetic than learned but I can image it can be learned.
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Old 07-07-2012, 11:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AdrianneIsabel View Post
I thought that was Aleron at first. lol
LOL I swear I did not make Lilly panic during storms!
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Old 07-07-2012, 11:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aleron View Post
The tricky thing about it from a learned vs. inherited standpoint is that the average age of onset for it is I think between 3-6 years old.
Lilly was around 8 or 9 when she picked it up from Aeron.
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Old 07-07-2012, 11:18 AM
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I think it's in large part genetic (though not exclusively). And yes, very heavily skewed toward herding breeds, especially BCs.

When Steve was a pup, we had parties every time it stormed. We had treats. We played ball. It was all a-okay.

He ended up terribly storm-phobic anyway.

(Although not so storm-phobic that he can't play flyball. Outside of that environment, he is too stressed to take treats, tug, or play ball- the three most rewarding things in his life.)

I have to admit, I still wonder if it was influenced by my neutering him, but that's something I'll never know.

And somebody already mentioned, but you often don't see it until later in life. Steve is unusually young. (Steve is unusual.)
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Old 07-07-2012, 11:19 AM
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I think noise phobia can be both learned and genetic. All my papillons are not noise phobic and I don't do much desensitizing to noise other than a couple trips to the gun range as pups. I've never had one go OMG!! we're going to die! Most of them just roll with it. This year everyone slept through the fireworks like nothing was happening.

That said I do think noise phobia can also be caused by people doing too much too fast or other sudden fright. You see this often with gun shy labs where some nit wit took a puppy and shot a load over him to see if he was gun shy.
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