Have You Desensitised Your Dog to Loud Noises?

by | Oct 2, 2023

It can be quite concerning when you know your dog is upset when loud noises are present, so, have you desensitised your dog to loud noises?

I have three adult kelpies, two are not fazed most of the time by storms but can react when there is a sudden unexpected loud noise.  Mind you, I also react to sudden loud noises and I am guessing that you are too!

Would You Like to Know How to Build a Relationship with Your Dog?
For Your FREE Online Coaching Session Book Now!

One of my Australian Kelpies is most distressed by storms.  She can hear the storm coming long before we are ever aware of an approaching storm.  Even if there is no full cloud cover and I hear her loud commotion at the door to come inside, I am certain that thunder and lightning are not too far away.  I have even thought to myself, ‘Oh, she is being too hasty, there is no thunder on the way’ and I have been proven incorrect.

Now I simply bring her inside.

This kelpie is the first dog of mine that has been so agitated by storms, so it is not a learned behaviour, it is simply in her makeup.  So, when I am asked, ‘Have you desensitised your dog to loud noises’ I can quite happily say that from puppyhood she has been exposed to many adventures and episodes.  She had a CD played to her that had many different noises recorded with the plan that these noises would desensitise her for her future life.

My Kelpie’s breeder, a friend of mine, puts the puppies through a desensitising program before they go to their new homes.  In fact, these puppies are exposed to all kinds of experiences so that they can assimilate without too much stress when they leave their litter mates and their mum.  They have loud sounds played to them and hear the general noises in our households.

My dog bellows when there is a storm brewing and more so when the storm hits.  What do I do?  I remain completely calm, bring her inside if it is during the day, and I simply go about my duties.  If there is a storm during the night, I go and get her from her inside sleeping quarters and put her in a crate in the bedroom.  If she knows I am nearby she accepts that.

She is also super sensitive to quite a few noises, and again, I simply remain calm.  I do not pat her (otherwise this would reinforce that she should be feeling anxious), I chat with her in a calm voice and continue with what I am doing at the time.

What I do need to be mindful of, is that her anxieties are not ‘copied’ by my other two dogs.  If they do show signs of joining in her discomfort, I distract them with jobs to do, such as getting a toy and having a few games with them or doing some training exercises.  Again, my voice and actions are calming.

If the storm is during the day, it is also worthwhile for my dog showing this discomfort to engage her with games or training exercises.  If she is having fun, she will engage. 

When this particular Kelpie was a mum with new puppies, loud music was played to her during the night, so that she would not leave her puppies.  The loud music either drowned out the storm noise, or she decided on that occasion to be a caring mum and not think about her own discomfort.  Nature (God’s workmanship) has a wonderful ability to adapt when necessary.

Would You Like to Know How to Build a Relationship with Your Dog?
For Your FREE Online Coaching Session Book Now!

Until next time…

With Love, Success and Inspiration

Robin Oliver


Spread the love
Transform your pup’s behavior with positive reinforcement! Enroll now and see the difference!

With Love, Success and Inspiration,

Robin Oliver

Robin Oliver Pet Dog Training
Professional Dog Trainer

APDT Logo_RobinOliver