German Shepherd Dog > Dogs vs Fireworks/Storms (44 replies)
by EuroShepherd on 05 July 2012 - 03:03
|Kalibeck, thats a good point (about the dog going thru a car wreck and possibly not just shrugging it off.)|
When I had my bad car wreck in 2006 I didn't recall hearing any sound during the wreck, yet for many, many months afterwards if I heard any kind of loud bang/boom noise (slamming door, thunder, firework, etc.) I would have a mini panic attack, they would startle me badly, rather like having a micro-PSTD condition. It took a rather long time for my subconcious to stop reacting to loud noises. I truly love thunderstorms and fireworks, but it was like a part of my brain in some deep recess would be terrified for a few moments.
Thankfully whatever part of my mind had a problem with loud noises after my wreck, it is now over it and I don't feel any jitters at loud noises anymore.
So perhaps it's a similar condition that two of my dogs are going through and what the OP's dog is going through?
by Kalibeck on 05 July 2012 - 03:23
|EuroShepherd, glad you are OK! I've had the unfortunate experience of being in a bad wreck, & when I remember it, it's like a silent movie, I don't recall any noise at all. But for a long time after I would wake up in a sweat, feeling panicked, with my ears ringing like from a loud bang. My nightmares apparently had sound, although I didn't remember them.|
Then for a while I lived across a river from a twisting river road that was home to many bars, & hence got to actually listen to a whole lot of car crashes. They are loud, miserable things to hear in the middle of the night. Very scary for a person that comprehends whats happening. And it sounds a lot like thunder.
So, that's my guess. I wish both EuroShepherd & Dawolf the best in overcoming this problem.
by EuroShepherd on 05 July 2012 - 10:29
Spot on, Kalibeck, recalling my accident is like watching a silent movie too.
As best as I see it, when a human or animal suddenly start reacting to sound with fear then it's some kind of PSTD (which can be experienced by those with even the toughest of nerves, my brother-in-law who is a VERY calm and steady person has PSTD after serving two tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.)
I remember watching one episode of Cesar that featured a military bomb detection dog that developed PSTD and had to go through a lot of desensitizing therapy.
I think my two dogs have a very minor form, they both are very close to recovery I think. Hopefully Dawulf's will get better as well. I think it's a matter of time and desensitizing for minor to moderate cases. (note, these are just my thoughts from my personal experiences without any formal knowledge)
by fawndallas on 05 July 2012 - 15:08
|Hundhunter, that is what I thought to. I would think that sound reaction (whether new or old) can be trained out of a dog with the same methods as any desensitize training. |
If this is a new reaction after 4 plus years, something happened. Bad genetics for sound shows from the minute the ears open up; not after years of everything being ok, then a sudden reaction.
Remember that dogs live by association. We may not see the association though. Here is an example:
Dog gets caught up in a string or rope and has to struggle a bit to get out of it; nothing major. Everyday life for an outdoor, curious dog. By chance, just at that dog "panic" moment when he is "caught," a car back fires.
The dog does not understand to separate the "getting caught" from the loud noise. From that point on, the dog will associate that exact sound to "getting caught" and the same panic feeling will return every time. This is an animal reaction. Everything with animals is instinctive. If the condition is just right, the best dog in the world will react the same way.
Sound is the primary sense to a dog, (yes, even before sight). Therefore the sound reaction will always win. Dogs are very sensitive to the slightest pitch change in a sound too; far more sensitive than humans are.
If this is a new reaction, you will need to work to desensitize the dog. This will be a very long process, but you can get there.
1. You have to find the exact sound for the reaction. No easy way around this other than trial and error.
2. Once you find it; very gently desensitize the dog to the sound. This could take a very long time, but you will get there.
3. Start just as if the dog was an 8 week old puppy; lots of baby steps.
4. No negative correction. Only positive reenforcement and ignoring the incorrect behavior.
Do not ignore the issue. For your dog, help them through this time.
This is a GSD that has been good with sounds up until now. This is not a small dog breed that are known for easily getting off center. Give the GSD the benefit of the doubt and help them work through this. Re-center the dog. Remind the dog that you are leader and you know best in all situations.
by Dawulf on 06 July 2012 - 00:44
|Thank you Jen, that is exactly correct. The fact that this has just started at over 4 years old, and that she is fine with every other loud sound out there (trash trucks, jake-braking semi's, gunshots, etc.)leads me to believes that it ain't genetics. I still need to look into some of those remedies... a lot of the herbs I've been finding I've never even heard of. I had forgotten about the vaccine thing though... do you think that may have something to do with it?|
But we made it through the 4th alive, so that is a plus!!
Gaf - I will check out that article.
Kalibeck - the car accident was May 14th (early, early morning), and there were storms in April that she was scared of, so I don't think that was it. I do remember the noise from it... it was very loud, but as I said.... this all started before that. Thank you for your post though, that is a very good point.
Hundmutter - I do have a thunderstorm CD... I wonder if that will work? Definitely something I will try. Firework season is basically over *thank God... I don't know how many thousands of dollars our neighbors blew up*, so I think I will focus more on t-storms at the moment.
Thanks to everyone for contributing to the thread. I don't doubt that genetics COULD have something to do with a dog having noise sensitivity, however, I don't think that is the issue with my dog, for reasons I have stated above.