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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 20168
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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An 8 year old greyhound, previously homed and returned

Customer Question

An 8 year old greyhound, previously homed and returned to greyhound rescue displaying bouts of anxiety after some encounters with builders in his first home, we do'nt know what happend with them. he has been with us 7 months and shows symtoms of anxiety at loud noise and raised voices when the noises occur he comes to us for reasurance. this can be at any time of the day or night. do you have any suggestions? Mr J J XXXXXX

Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 4 years ago.
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.

You are correct that showing him too much reassurance is not good. In fact, if you acknowledge his anxiety and try to comfort him, a dog will leard to continue to display that behavior in order to get the reassurances. So we normally recommend ignoring the behavior when it happens. When you first start ignoring the behavior, it is likely he will exhibit it even more than he already does thinking that you just are not noticing, but they do get the message pretty quickly.

You can also ignore it for a minute or so and then ask the dog to perform some command such as sit or lie down. When they obey, you can then give a tasty treat like raw liver sliver or vienna sausage slice. When this method is used, frequently the dog will switch from the anxious behavior to coming to you and sitting down instead which most owners find acceptable.

Normally I would recommend desensitizing the dog to the noises that make him uncomfortable. You do this by taping the noises that trigger the behavior. Then play those noises back at a very reduced volume rewarding the dog's normal behavior with the same special treats mentioned above. You gradually increase the volume until those noises no longer cause the dog anxiety. It takes a lot of work but can work to stop the anxiety.

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.

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.

I've found a combination of techniques has the best chance of success. With severe cases many owners start with tranquilizers, dap collar and desensitization techniques. Once the dog seems much better, they cut out the tranquilizers and redo the training until the do no longer needs any sort of medication or pheromone in order to cope with the noise without anxiety.

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 .