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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 20218
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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Minature Yorkshire Terrior exposed to fireworks and constant

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Minature Yorkshire Terrior exposed to fireworks and constant winter storms,is reacting very badly to any noise and household habits have changed,finding dark spaces and seeking solitude.Not mixing with family group.Hyperventilating in car has also increased.General nervousness increased and with drawn.
Hi JaCustomer,

My name is Jane. I have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.

In order to supply you with the best information, I do need to ask for some additional information. Once I receive your answer, it will likely take me about 30-45 minutes to type up your response. I hope you can be patient.

How old is your yorkie?
what sex is the dog? I'll refer to your dog as she until I know different?
Is she fixed?
When she was experiencing fireworks and storms, how did the family interact with her?
Did they try and reassure her or distract her with treats?
have you tried anything to relieve her anxiety?
Has she had any obedience training?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Dog is male


8 years

Dog was left on his own during firework experience

To relieve the anxiety,time spent with the dog,reassurance given

No obedience training,never necessary

Even before fireworks,behaviour was becoming more eractic.Must mention,partner dog dies after a long illness,(December)however,considered,not very close ?


The first thing I would have done is a senior checkup. There are things that can affect behavior and if thyroid values are off a little, that can cause changes in behavior. Dogs can also experience something similar to Alzheimer called Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS). Often these dogs will have a break in house training, start barking at people they know, or start being scared of things that previously didn't bother them. Some will get lost behind doors or sofas. The good news is that there is a drug called L-Selegeline (Anipryl (R)) which has been recently approved for use in the clinical indication of cognitive dysfunction (CDS) in dogs.

Please see this site for more information and other causes that may exhibit the same symptoms.

Unfortunately, the site does not allow me to make clickable links, so to view the supporting websites, you will need to copy and paste the link into a new browser window or tab.

So if this is the cause, medication might help. Now if it is strictly behavioral, the worst thing anyone could have done is try and reassure her. Dogs are opportunistic and if they find that acting scared, whining, etc gets them attention, they continue the behavior in order to get the attention. Even when you try and stop, they step it up even further thinking all they have to do is do it more to get the response.

There is desensitization training that can be done to help with noise phobias. I suggest taping the noise and play it back at lower volumes while playing with the dog and providing positive reinforcement for the dog's lack of anxiety while the noise is played at low volumes. Positive reinforcement would include calm praise and hot dog slices or other tasty treat (not regular treats. You then gradually increase the volume slowly until your dog is desensitized to the noise. Your vet could prescribe a medication called Acepromazine, which is a tranquilizer. You can read about this here:

Another prescription drug would be Xanax but I have to caution you not to give any prescription drug to your dog without consulting your vet first.

Many people get Rescue Remedy to help with noise phobias. Be sure you get the kind that does NOT contain Xylitol. You can read about this here:

It may also be available in your local pet store as well. Another treatment is Melatonin which you can read about here. It has been shown to work well for noise phobias.

DAP collars might help a bit as well. They produce pheromones that mimic the ones produced by a nursing mom to calm her pups. It has proven to be helpful with this problem but was used in conjunction with desensitization so it is unknown if the collar or the training was the major factor in resolving the problem.

You might start obedience training. If you can command the dog to sit or otherwise obey a command it might help stop the other behavior.
The following site is helpful for teaching you how to train your dog. Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions.

Try these suggestions together as often it is a combination of things that end up working to correct these type of behavioral issues. Definitely get the checkup done.
I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have .
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