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Let's Talk: What Noises Totally Freak Out Your Dog?

Loud voices and doorbells scare the heck out of my dogs. What sounds send yours over the moon?

 |  Oct 2nd 2013  |   28 Contributions


Have you ever wondered why some noises will frighten your dog and other noises seem to have no impact? I’m not talking about firecrackers or the backfiring of a truck. Those unexpected noises scare the heck out of me, so it stands to reason that they would scare my dogs, too. I’m referring to the Everyday noises like car doors closing at the neighbor’s house, the smacking of a fly swatter, the rattling of a newspaper, lawnmowers running, plastic bags being shook out, and car alarms. These are all things that scare the fool out of my dogs.

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What do you mean, I'm not singing in tune with you? Man, dog, and harmonica by Shutterstock

My boy Kramer seems to hate the sound of the neighbor’s dogs barking excessively or their children playing outside. My Dusty girl doesn’t care for those either, but after a few barks and acknowledgement from us that we realize that it’s just the neighbors and not intruders, she will settle down.

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Dusty wants reassurance from us before she'll come out of hiding.

Kramer, however, will pounce on the window seal and stay there barking at the kids until they quiet down. As for the neighbor’s dogs, he really hates it when they’re outside. They can even be sitting quietly and he will have a fit. He particularly doesn’t care for the Mastiff/Lab mix who likes to sneak up to the fence and hide under one of the trees. She’ll wait until you’re real close to her and then let it rip. This scares the heck out of me, which then scares the heck out of Kramer. I swear she has a smile on her face once she accomplishes her stealthy feat.

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Kramer retreats to his bed when things get too loud.

Dusty doesn’t like it when people are talking loudly or yelling. This is true even if my wife is upstairs and I am downstairs talking loudly so she can hear me. Dusty seems to be very sensitive to people’s energy and doesn’t like it when the vocal decibels are raised. She will sometimes crouch into a ball and tuck her little nubby tail under to let us know it bothers her. Fortunately, this doesn’t happen too often and we quickly catch ourselves. This is usually followed by a dedicated attention session with Dusty, assuring her that she did nothing wrong and no one was mad. Of course, we feel guilty afterwards.

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Don't even think about sharing your record collection with your dog. Dog with headphones by Shutterstock

Dusty also freaks out when she hears an emergency vehicle siren, but in a good way. She will stop everything she is doing and listen intently. She will look up at us and we’ll tell her that the sirens are “singing.” That’s her cue to join in with the “song.” She will tilt her head and begin to sing long notes in her high-pitched tone. Of course, Kramer doesn’t know what the heck is going on. However, he sees the smiles on our faces and our joyful laughter so he decides to join the chorus. It’s like the old song: Kramer sings bass, Dusty sings tenor. Kim and I will often join in there, too. It’s quite funny!

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"Would someone please answer this door?"

We’ve worked with our dogs on the dreaded vacuum noise, and they seem to be okay with it. We bring the vacuum out of the closet and let them know that we are about to vacuum the carpet. Once the vacuum is turned on, they will bark a few times and then they’re done. This took us a little time and some training. It also helped when we left the vacuum out for a while so they could investigate it on their own.

Like most dogs, the front doorbell is a challenge. Our dogs will bark until they’re able to get downstairs to see who’s at the door. Once they’ve figured this out, they’ll settle down. The challenge is that both my wife and I work from home. If the bell rings while we’re on a conference call, it sounds like sirens have gone off at the house and a thundering herd is running around the room. We then have to place the call on hold or mute until we can get to the door.

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If your dog wants to join the Fire Service, that might help, too. Bichon Frise with fire engine by Shutterstock

Our friends and family know to call our mobile phones when they arrive. Then we meet them in the backyard or in the garage for a proper greeting. However, the delivery drivers always come to the front door. They always insist on ringing the front doorbell even though I have a small sign that asks them to simply leave the packages on the porch and not ring the doorbell. The delivery drivers are the worst because they are long gone by the time we open the door. The dogs don’t understand why the doorbell rang and no one was there. This is usually followed by a long series of barks while they search the entire house for the mystery doorbell ringer ... UGH!

 

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"Seriously, we heard barking outside."

Fortunately, we keep things pretty low key at our house and try not to make loud or sudden noises. If only everyone else that our dogs interface with would take that approach. Maybe it’s time to build that cabin in the woods after all.

What noises totally freak your dogs out? Do they hate it when people talk loud? Share your stories and pictures in the comments!

About Tim Link: All-American guy, loves to rock out to Queen while consuming pizza and Pinot Noir, prefers to associate with open-minded people who love all critters, considered to be the literal voice for all animals –- author, writer, radio host, Reiki Master, animal communicator and consultant. www.wagging-tales.com.

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