A lot of dogs hate loud noises. The noises are unexpected and frightening. Common sources of light noises that frighten dogs are thunderstorms and firecrackers.
The good news is you can calm your dog’s fear of loud noises in a few ways:
If your dog is afraid of loud noises, you can turn on music during a thunderstorm or fireworks show to drown out the sounds. The loud music is more consistent and rhythmic than a thunderstorm and is therefore much less frightening to a dog.
You can create a safe retreat for your dog during a storm with a toy and a cushioned sleeping area. This should provide a sense of comfort for the dog during the times the storm is very loud and scary.
You can also offer a treat to the dog during the storm. The treat should distract the dog from the noises outside. If your dog is extremely afraid, consider saving a special treat in your home just for these occasions.
You can play with your dog throughout the duration of the storm. If the game is fun, it will distract the dog from the storm outside and it will provide exercise for the dog too which he or she will need if they’re unable to go outside in the rain.
If these distractions do not work and your dog is still afraid, you can simply rest near the dog and reassure him or her that everything is OK.
If the dog’s fear of loud noises doesn’t seem too extreme, you might consider behavioral training to cure them of the fear.
You can purchase an audio tape or recording of storm noises and play it at random times in your home at a low volume.
Periodically turn up the volume once the dog no longer notices the sounds of the tape. Soon the dog might drown out the sounds of the storm entirely and the fear of loud noises could be gone.
Remember … we never recommend leaving your dog in their crate or cage during a storm if the dog is afraid of loud noises. This will be a very traumatic experience for the dog and it will be much harder to comfort them the next time a storm occurs.