There’s one word that all dogs know and love: W-A-L-K! Walks are full of exciting smells, a chance to use some of their energy, and a great way for owners and pooches to bond! Both of you likely look forward to your long strolls together come rain or shine.
However, there’s often a lot happening in the great outdoors and some pooches may be spooked by noises that they hear while walking. So how can you support your doggo and help them understand that most sounds are not dangerous, and can be ignored, while they enjoy their walk.
Why Do Noises Spook Your Doggo?
Dogs have an amazing sense of hearing. They can detect sounds from much further away than humans can. Did you know that they can hear sounds up to 4 times the distance? The flexible movement of their ears also allows them to pinpoint the direction where the noise has originated. This sensitivity to noise means they’ll often hear your visitors arriving before you do!
However, their incredible hearing also means that sounds will be louder for your dog and this can be scary for them. They may not be sure why the noise is happening and sounds, such as a car horn, can occur suddenly and startle your pet (and you)!
8 Tips To Help Your Dog Stay Calm
1. Show Your Dog There’s Nothing To Be Afraid Of
Your response can have a big impact on your pooch. Although a loud noise may startle you, it’s best to remain calm to show your dog that there’s nothing to worry about. An exaggerated reaction or even anger directed towards the sound can confuse your dog more as they will sense your emotions.
2. Understand What Triggers Your Dog's Fear
Try to understand what is frightening your dog so that you can reassure them. Look out for signs of fear such as shaking, trembling, panting, barking or whining in response to noise. For example, if you walk past a noisy road every day and this makes your dog shaky then be aware of their fear and reassure them - or try taking them along quieter routes to build their confidence.
3. Be A Friend To your Pooch
Remember that you should never tell your doggo off for showing signs of fear in response to noise. This will only confuse and frighten them more and can damage your special bond. Instead, reassure them in a soft calm voice, and try to remove them from the situation as quickly as possible. Don’t force your pooch to “face up to their fear” as this will only cause more stress. They need to be slowly desensitised to noises through gradual exposure.
4. Introduce Your Dog To New Sounds Outside
You can help your pooch to understand that different sounds are a normal part of life by slowly introducing them to different sounds. This could be done by having windows open so that your pooch can hear noises going past or taking your dog for a short walk where they can hear the noises in the distance, gradually getting closer to the noise over time.
5. Train Your Dog While At Home
You can also play noise recordings to your dog quietly such as Sounds Scary and slowly turn the volume up over time as they respond calmly to the noise. Sounds such as children playing, cars and planes are all things that your pooch needs to get used to so that they are not concerned when they hear these things outside. This takes time and patience and you should always stop if you can see your pooch is starting to get agitated.
6. Always Reward Calm Behaviour
Reward your doggo for acting calmly when they encounter loud noise on a walk or are going through desensitisation training. Giving them a tasty treat and petting them will let them know that they’re doing a great job and that there’s nothing to be afraid of!
7. Train Your Dog From A Young Age
If possible, you should expose your pup to as many sounds as possible when they’re developing, as this can help them cope with new noises. Having fun together whilst you are out is a great way to help your pup realise that noises are a normal part of life and that they don’t need to be concerned. Take your pup to different places to get them used to a variety of sounds. Remember to reward them for reacting calmly to loud or high-pitched sounds such as a squeaky swing in the park or the roar of traffic nearby. ADAPTIL Junior supports your pup as they explore the world around them and get used to new experiences such as noises.
8. Use An ADAPTIL Calm On-the-go Collar
To provide your pooch with extra support in challenging situations, provide your pooch with an ADAPTIL Calm On-the-go collar - this releases comforting messages to reassure your pooch whilst out and about.
Be Patient With Your Doggo
When helping your pooch adjust to noises on walks, it’s important to be patient with them. Some people are scared of loud noises too, and, like us, dogs need some time to adjust and learn that noises are a normal part of everyday life - once they realise there’s nothing to be afraid of, they’ll be able to enjoy their walks fully and feel relaxed outside.