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How Do You Know If Your Dog Is Sound Sensitive?

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 not sure if it’s because I’m a pet calming maestro or a sound sensitive human, but 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, for no apparent reason.

Sound Associations:
Dogs are very quick to build associations. Fido 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 lightening 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?
Note: If you are playing the music on a computer, it’s always best to play through external speakers with good sound quality. We have found that it does make a difference for Fido and Fluffy.

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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Fireworks for Fido? NOT

July 4th is around the corner, along with the fireworks that inevitably come with this holiday. Almost all humans with dogs in the United States declare this day the worst day of the year for them. Veterinarians say that July 3rd is usually the most-trafficked day in their offices, with clients coming in to get drugs for their dogs.  A few years ago, I found a lost dog on the 4th of July. He was obviously a well-fed, groomed, and trained dog that escaped his yard when he heard the fireworks. When I called our local Humane Society, I was informed that it is the busiest time of the year for them, as more dogs are found wandering loose on July 4th than any other day of the year in the U.S.

Tips for providing a safe July 4th for your Canine Household:

1. Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise earlier in the day.

2. Keep your dogs inside during fireworks, preferably with human companionship. If it’s hot, air conditioning will help. Bringing your dogs to a fireworks display is never a good idea.

3. Provide a safe place inside for your dogs to retreat. When scared of sounds they can’t orient, dogs often prefer small enclosed areas. (I once had a dog who climbed in the bathtub during windstorms.) If your dog is comfortable in a crate, that is a good option.

4. Keep the curtains closed, and if possible, also the windows.

5. Make sure all your dogs are wearing ID tags with a properly fitting collar. (Dogs have been known to become Houdini around the 4th of July.)

6. Leave your dog something fun to do – like a frozen Kong filled with his favorite treats.

7. Sound Therapy: Through a Dog’s Ear is specially designed classical music clinically demonstrated to calm canine anxiety issues. The Calm your Canine series (also available as downloads) has even replaced drugs for thousands of dogs on July 4th.

8. Desensitization combined with Sound Therapy: The Canine Noise Phobia series includes the above mentioned music along with progressive sounds of fireworks and positive reinforcement training protocol by Victoria Stilwell.

Wishing you and your canine and feline households a safe holiday. How have they reacted to fireworks in previous years? Thanks for sharing ways that you’ve made it easier for Fido and Fluffy.

Have you tried Sound Therapy for your dogs? Through a Dog’s Ear is the only music clinically demonstrated to calm the canine nervous system.

     Receive a FREE DOWNLOAD from the Through a Dog’s Ear

Calm your Canine Companion Music Series

Simply click here, enter your email address and a link to the free download will be delivered to your inbox for you and your canine household to enjoy!

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It Works So Good! Can I Have My Money Back?

At Through a Dog’s Ear we receive the most interesting calls and emails from customers. I am not making this up. The following is actual feedback from consumers. In one case, the purchaser almost asked for her money back, which we would have honored with our 30-Day Money Back Guarantee.

Customer 1: My dog used to get so excited when I came home from work. He’d bark, jump on me, and was so happy to see me. Now, he looks at me as if to say, “Welcome home, I’m going back to sleep now.” I miss his previous greeting.

My suggestion: If you want him to keep jumping up on you and barking when you get home, then stop playing the Calm your Canine 3-CD series when you are gone.

Customer 2: My dog ordinarily freaks out during thunderstorms. She drools, pants, whines, and shakes. But, when I play  “Thunderstorms” from the Canine Noise Phobia series with the clinically tested calming music underneath the sounds of thunder, she stays calm and peaceful, no matter how high I turn up the volume of the thunder sounds.

My suggestion: Keep playing the soundtracks from Thunderstorms. In addition, combine this with something that she associates as fun and enjoyable. For example, play fetch with her, teach her some tricks, or have chicken fall from the sky. Before no time, she will think that the sounds of thunder means great things are going to be brought into her environment.

Customer 3: I love your music. But, I never get to hear the entire CD. I put it on at bedtime, and all the two- and four-leggeds fall asleep. So, I’ve only heard a few tracks of it..

My suggestion: Our Calm your Canine Companion series is designed to start on any track. If you’ve only heard the beginning of one of these CD’s, try starting in the middle. Or start on track #3 one night, then track #6 the next, etc. By the end of the week, you will have enjoyed all the tracks of Calm your Canine Vol. 1. The next week, start with Vol. 2 and then Vol. 3 the following week.

Are you barking about Through a Dog’s Ear? We’d love to hear how your dogs are reacting to our clinically tested music. Thanks for posting your feedback in a comment.

Have you tried Sound Therapy for your dogs? Through a Dog’s Ear is the first music clinically demonstrated to calm the canine nervous system.

Receive a FREE DOWNLOAD from the Through a Dog’s Ear

Calm your Canine Companion Music Series

Simply click here, enter your email address and a link to the free download will be delivered to your inbox for you and your canine household to enjoy!

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I’ll Choose Door Number …???

A year ago my life changed. Because of my deep desire to improve the lives of dogs using sound therapy, I made the decision to sell my music school that I owned for 14 years and devote my full working time to the growth and expansion of Through a Dog’s Ear. Although it appeared as a decision I made, it felt as if life just made it for me. I just followed the signs that were showing up.

It is often said that when one door closes, another opens. When I said good-bye to my music school, I wasn’t sure what doors would open, I just trusted there were magnificent gifts behind all the doors.

Door #1: In January 2011, I attended Clicker Expo and met Victoria Stilwell, star dog trainer on Animal Planet’s “It’s Me or the Dog”. She had played Music to Calm your Canine Companion for stressed out dogs on several of her shows, with great results, so she was very familiar with Through a Dog’s Ear. Through the course of several months, Joshua Leeds and I enjoyed phone conferences with her, brainstorming ideas for a collaborative project. When discussing the needs of dogs, we wanted to create an auditory tool for the prevention and treatment of canine anxiety disorders, hence the creation of our joint project, the Canine Noise Phobia series.

CNP is an innovative desensitization training tool that combines three distinctive elements:

  • progressive sound effects (distant/close)
  • specially-designed psychoacoustic music (Through a Dog’s Ear)
  • reward-based reinforcement protocols (Victoria Stilwell)

We launched CNP at the Association of Pet Dog Trainer’s Conference in San Diego in October 2011, where Joshua and I were co-presenting. We were thrilled with the enthusiastic response from all the trainers and have enjoyed all the wonderful testimonials coming in since the October launch, including this from N. Weller in St. Louis, MO.

“I am preparing for the New Years Eve firworks. We are relaxing to the Canine Noise Phobia Fireworks CD. My skittish Greyhound fights hard to stay awake. The subtle fireworks make him stare at the speaker. Then he drifts off. 75+ lb brindle boy, sleeping like a baby. Mom might have to curl up too.”                

Door #2: When we launched our first CD in 2008, we knew that it would help calm dogs in shelters (as phase one of clinical research was tested in shelters), and we were hopeful that it would help increase adoption rates. So we started providing CD’s at cost to shelters and rescue organizations. The shelters played the two CD’s we sent them, Music to Calm your Canine Companion Vol. 1 and 2, and foster homes of the rescue organizations played them for their transitioning dogs. Our publisher, Sounds True, donated 2,500 CD’s to be sent home with the new adopters to play in their homes for their newly adopted dogs. By 2011, we had sent CD’s to about 400 shelters and many had reported an increase in adoption rates. The music was creating a quieter shelter environment, encouraging visitors to stay longer, and adoption rates were increasing.

In early 2011, Adopt-A-Pet.com had become familiar with Through a Dog’s Ear and our shelter program. We both share the mission of helping shelter and rescue dogs find their forever homes. They were able to match us with a corporate sponsor that donated 1,000 copies of Calm your Canine Companion Vol. 2 to 1,000 shelters throughout the United States at the end of 2011. We are thrilled that Through a Dog’s Ear music is helping even more dogs find their forever homes.

Door #3: On January 25, 2012, Through a Dog’s Ear was featured on Good Morning America on a segment called “Stress Busters for Anxious Pets”. We were honored to be one of four sensory integration products that was recommended by “America’s Vet”, Dr. Marty Becker.

Door #4: Two weeks after the Good Morning America feature, Music to Calm your Canine Companion Vol. 1 reached Billboard’s Classical Top 20 chart! When I was a student at Juilliard, I never could have guessed that I’d be going through the doggie door to make Billboard. Well, all I can say is, “My tail’s waggin!”

What’s behind Door #5? We create therapeutic sound tracks cross species. Stay tuned for some pretty exciting news about music we are releasing this year for an additional two species. What species are you interested in introducing to psychoacoustics?

Have you tried Sound Therapy for your dogs? Through a Dog’s Ear is the first music clinically demonstrated to calm the canine nervous system.

Receive a FREE DOWNLOAD from the Through a Dog’s Ear

Calm your Canine Companion Music Series

Simply click here, enter your email address and a link to the free download will be delivered to your inbox for you and your canine household to enjoy!

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Reflections of a Very Dog Year

New Year’s Eve was really special this year. I performed an intimate concert in my living room to a lovely group of local music lovers. Sanchez and Gina soaked up all of the attention and, once they greeted all of the guests, slept comfortably in their dog beds near the piano. I couldn’t think of anyway that I’d rather bring in 2012.

The guests left by 10:30 and I had some quiet time to reflect on 2011. Through a Dog’s Ear experienced many memorable events and new partnerships. I attended Clicker Expo in January and met famed dog trainer Victoria Stilwell from Animal Planet’s It’s Me or the Dog. Only a few months later, Joshua Leeds and I started having phone conversations with her about collaborating on a project. We discussed the needs of dogs and their people and decided to focus on dogs who suffer from sound phobias – everything from sensitivity, to construction noise, to thunder-phobia, and, of course, the dreaded 4th of July fireworks.

Our discussions ultimately lead to the release of our Canine Noise Phobia series. CNP is an innovative desensitization training tool that combines three distinctive elements for the treatment and prevention of sound-sensitivities and noise-phobias:

  • progressive sound effects (distant/close)
  • specially-designed psychoacoustic music (Through a Dog’s Ear)
  • reward-based reinforcement protocols (Victoria Stilwell)

We also partnered with Adopt-A-Pet.com. They helped us find a corporate sponsor that funded the donation of 1,000 Through a Dog’s Ear CD’s to shelters across the country. This was a huge expansion of our already existing “Music in Shelters” program.

Earlier in the year, I sold my music school of 14 years, in the hopes of devoting all my energy to the growth of Through a Dog’sEar. This proved to be very good timing. Looking back, I don’t know how I would have managed to keep the school running with all of our new TaDE projects in 2011. And, I also am grateful to you, as all of this has been made possible because of your wonderful support. Thank you!

Have you tried Sound Therapy for your dogs? Through a Dog’s Ear is the first music clinically demonstrated to calm the canine nervous system.

Receive a FREE DOWNLOAD from the Through a Dog’s Ear

Calm your Canine Companion Music Series

Simply click here, enter your email address and a link to the free download will be delivered to your inbox for you and your canine household to enjoy.

 

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10 Tips for Keeping your Dog Safe and Calm on July 4th

Lisa and Sanchez July 4

July 4th is around the corner, along with the fireworks that inevitably come with this holiday. Almost all humans with canines in the United States declare this day the worst day of the year for their dogs. Veterinarians say that July 3rd is usually the most trafficked day in their offices, with clients coming in to get drugs for their dogs.  A few years ago, I found a lost dog on the 4th of July. He was obviously a well fed, groomed, and trained dog that escaped his yard when he heard the fireworks. When I called our local Humane Society, I was informed that it is the busiest time of the year for them, as more dogs are found wandering loose on July 4th than any other day of the year in the U.S.

10 Tips for providing a safe July 4th for your Canine Household: (Please note that tips 9, and 10 require purchasing items ahead of time.)

1. Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise earlier in the day.

2. Keep your dogs inside during fireworks, preferably with human companionship. If it’s hot, air conditioning will help. Bringing your dogs to a fireworks display is never a good idea.

3. Provide a safe place inside for your dogs to retreat. When scared of sounds they can’t orient, dogs often prefer small enclosed areas. (I once had a dog who climbed in the bathtub during windstorms.) If your dog is comfortable in a crate, that is a good option.

4. If possible, keep the windows and curtains closed.

5. Make sure all your dogs are wearing ID tags with a properly fitting collar. (Dogs have been known to become Houdini around the 4th of July.)

6. Leave your dog something fun to do – like a frozen Kong filled with his favorite treats.

Using sensory enrichment to calm dogs:

7. Sound Therapy: Play Music to Calm your Canine Companion Vol. 1, 2, and 3 by Through a Dog’s Ear. It is most effective when you first play the music well before the fireworks start, at a time the dog is already feeling peaceful and relaxed. He will begin to associate the music with being calm and content. Then play the music a couple of hours before the fireworks start and continue to play through bedtime. The music doesn’t need to be loud to be effective as it has been clinically demonstrated to calm the canine nervous system. Listen to free sound samples. Two years ago, I received a heart warming email from a woman who told me that it was the first 4th of July that she didn’t need to drug her dog, thanks to the music of Through a Dog’s Ear. On previous years, he had jumped out of windows. She said, “It was like Dog Ambien! Dambien!” Read the full story

8. Sound Therapy combined with Desensitization: The Canine Noise Phobia series (CNP) consists of four CD’s that can be used individually or as a set: Fireworks, Thunderstorms, City Sounds, and Calming. CNP is an innovative desensitization training tool that combines three distinctive elements for the treatment and prevention of sound-sensitivities and noise-phobias:

    • progressive sound effects (distant/close)
    • specially-designed psychoacoustic music (Through a Dog’s Ear)
    • reward-based reinforcement protocols (Victoria Stilwell)

Here’s what Nancy Weller said after using CNP Fireworks:

“I am preparing for New Years Eve. The most skittish of the greyhounds already went to bed. My boy is just game for everything. Tonight, we are relaxing to the Phobia Series Fireworks. He fights hard to stay awake. The subtle fireworks make him stare at the speaker. Then not. 75+ lb brindle boy, sleeping like a baby. Mom might have to curl up too.”

9. Tactile: There are two canine wraps on the market that reportedly help sound phobic dogs. The original Anxiety Wrap was invented by professional dog trainer Susan Sharpe, CPDT-KA. The patented design uses acupressure and maintained pressure to reduce stress. The thundershirt is also a wrap for your dog that provides gentle, constant pressure. Their website reports that over 85% of Thundershirt users see significant improvement in noise anxiety symptoms. Most dogs respond with the very first usage; some need 2-3 usages before showing significant improvement.

10. Scent: Canine Calm, an all-natural mist from Earth Heart™ Inc., can help dogs relax and cope more effectively with loud noises and other stressful situations. Directions on their website say to spray Canine Calm onto your hands and massage the dog’s outer ears or abdomen. Or lightly mist the air behind your dog’s head, inside the travel crate or car, or directly onto bedding or clothing.

Do you have any additional tips for helping keep dogs calm and safe on this noisy holiday? Thanks for clicking comment below and sharing your suggestions. Also, feel free to share how your dogs have acted during previous July 4th holidays.

Receive a FREE DOWNLOAD from the Through a Dog’s Ear

Calm your Canine Companion Music Series

Simply click here, enter your email address and a link to the free download will be delivered to your inbox for you and your canine household to enjoy!