Hear no Evil

As a musician with a discerning ear, I’m ultra sound sensitive. When I enter a restaurant, I make my decision to stay for a meal based as much on the sound environment as the menu and atmosphere. I’ve also been known to go into sensory overload in large crowds with loud music playing.

I’m always amazed by the number of sound-sensitive dogs I meet whose caring, loving people are not aware of their dog’s fear of noises. So, it didn’t surprise me when I read in Applied Animal Behaviour Science about the results of a study by Dr. Rachel Casey at the School of Veterinary Sciences, University of Bristol.

Casey’s objective was to gain insight into how domestic dogs react to noises. Only a quarter of the people reported their dog as ‘fearful’ of noises, yet nearly half of the owners reported at least one behavioral sign typical of fear when exposed to disturbing noises such as fireworks, thunder and gunshots.

Science Daily reported, “This suggests that whilst they are aware of their pet’s behavioural response when exposed to a loud noise, owners do not necessarily recognise this as being indicative of fear or anxiety. This has relevance both for awareness of compromised welfare, and the methodology for surveying such behaviour.”

Hide and seek

The most common behavioral signs reported:

  • Vocalizing
  • Trembling/ Shaking
  • Hiding
  • Seeking people

Other fear signs not often reported because they aren’t typically seen as fear:

  • Decreased activity
  • Salivation
  • Urination
  • Destruction

Dr Rachel Casey said:

“Our results suggest that the characteristics of dogs, their early environment, and exposure to specific loud noises are involved in the development of fear responses to noises. Interestingly, less than a third of owners sought professional advice about treatment for their pet’s response to noises.”

vacuum cleaner

Causes for Noise Phobias:
It’s difficult to pinpoint the causes of noise phobias. In some cases it’s related to breed (herding breeds being notorious for sound phobias), in other situations it’s simply lack of exposure to those sounds as a puppy. And, it’s not unusual for noise anxiety to increase with age.

Sound Associations:
Dogs are very quick to build associations. Your pup may cower when you take out your camera with a flash. But, it only appears that he’s afraid of the camera. He actually may be afraid of the sound of the flash, as it could remind him of lightning during a thunderstorm.

Helping Sound Sensitive Dogs:
Become aware of your home sound environment and any sound environment your dog enters. Take a Sonic Inventory (click here for guidelines) and lower the volume on all home appliances. Sound is like air. We rarely notice these two common elements unless the air suddenly becomes polluted or the sound becomes chaotic. The sonic inventory is one way of becoming aware of the noise in your pet’s environment and take measures to improve it.

Dog is listening music

Provide a healthy sound environment that is pleasant for the 4 and 2-leggeds in your household. Listen to sound samples of species-specific music for both dogs and cats. Invite your 4-legged friends in for a listen. Notice their behavior. Do they move closer to the sound source or away from it?

Do you have a sound-sensitive dog or cat? What has helped them? Thanks for sharing your experiences in a comment below.

 

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Support Animals and Air Travel - What's Changing in 2021

Together All the Time: At Home with Pets During Covid-19

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Hearing Loss in Dogs 2020 [Causes + Solutions]

Separation Anxiety And Your Dog: The Complete Guide

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The Music

Why Music for Pets?

Why Music for People?

How Our Music Works

Psychoacoustics

Research

Take a Sonic Inventory of Your Sound Environment

Company

Joshua Leeds, Sound Researcher

Bioacoustic Research

The Musicians

Shelter Program

Wholesale

iCalmPet Blog

Support Animals and Air Travel - What's Changing in 2021

Together All the Time: At Home with Pets During Covid-19

Keeping Your Dog Occupied at Home During Quarantine

Hearing Loss in Dogs 2020 [Causes + Solutions]

Separation Anxiety And Your Dog: The Complete Guide

View iCalmPet Blog

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Technical Support

Product Instructions

Download Assistance

Lithium-Ion Battery Tips

Customer Service

Payment & Shipping

Warranty

Returns

Your Privacy

Common FAQs

Why music for noise phobias?

What if I have a dog AND a cat?

Does the iCalmPet speaker come with a guarantee?

Can I use iCalm for myself, or is it only for pets?

View all FAQs

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Contact Info

Mail:
iCalmPet
1467 Siskiyou Blvd, #30
Ashland, OR 97520 USA

Phone:
9:00am – 12:00pm PST, M-F
(800) 788-0949 (USA only)
(541) 482-2134
Fax: (541) 488-7796

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