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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 17300
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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Our 3 year old yorkshire terrier is fine in the car except

Customer Question

our 3 year old yorkshire terrier is fine in the car except when we put on the indicaters
then he screems like its hurting his ears. We have been to the vet who said there is
nothing wrong with his ears, been to the garage to akse if the noise of the indicators
can be reduced, but find we are not allowed to do this due to EE regulations has
anyone any bright ideas???
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 2 years ago.
Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I am sorry to hear that your fellow reacts to turn signal indicator noise in your car. For some reason he is associating that noise with something fearful or painful and thus is over-reacting.In these cases first we need to make sure that he doesn't have any physical problems, specifically an ear infection that will make loud noises painful for him. So I am glad to hear that he has had a veterinary visit for a thorough exam to make sure all is well.At this point then I think what you need to work on with him is building trust that nothing painful or fearful will occur in association with the noise no matter where he is.You might try making a recording of the turn signal indicator and then playing it set on very low volume several times during the day. By doing this we hope to extinguish his fear by repeated exposures at a safe level for him and working up. The idea is to play it at a level he doesn't react to and slowly working the volume up without causing him to react at all.If he starts getting anxious, move back to a quieter level and work at that level for awhile.If he's uncomfortable at any level of noise we may need to use either a homeopathic, such as Bach's rescue remedy, or a traditional medication such as alprazolam, fluoxetine or clomipramine to get him calm enough to learn. I also like the DAP (dog appeasing pheromone) diffusers or collars very much. This is a synthetic analog of a calming pheromone a nursing bitch produces when nursing.I also want to mention try not to address his fear. Try and remain calm and ignore it if you can. The more you attempt to calm an anxious dog the more afraid they tend to get. By getting attention it's almost a positive reinforcement for fearful behaviorYou can give him things to do to distract him. If she's well trained ask her to get a toy or perform a task or trick. It's OK to have him literally "work" through his anxiety, and by doing so forget about his fear.I would try and use extinguishing therapy (increasing noise via the recording), work therapy, and calming pheromones. Maybe some medication just to soothe him enough that he is able to learn, none of us learn well when we are terrified. I think those are really good places to start.Once he is calm at home with a normal level of the indicator start working with him in a stationary car. Once he is fine when the car isn't moving then it is time to try him with a short trip.Make sure that you end all training sessions before he is fearful if possible. Keep them very short and positive.In the meantime while you are working on him learning not to be afraid you might ask your veterinarian for a tranquilizer to use when you know he must go in the car. The more times he gets herself worked up the more difficulty you will have "unlearning" his fearful response. I find acepromazine quite helpful in these cases.Please feel free to reply with questions.