Fear of loud noises is quite common in dogs. It’s estimated that 39% of dogs exhibit some symptoms of noise fearfulness.
But, what sounds do dogs hate? Some sounds that may frighten your dog are thunder noise, fireworks, gunshots, vacuum cleaners, car alarms, construction noise, emergency service sirens, and jet airplanes. Exposure to frightening noises can cause reactions ranging from mild fear to severe phobic reactions.
Keep on reading to learn why so many dogs are afraid of loud noises, what are the most common noises dogs hate, and how to help your dog deal with noise fearfulness.
Signs That Your Dog Hates Certain Sounds
Noise aversions or noise phobias are abnormal reactions to one or more sounds. The most common sounds dogs hate are fireworks, thunder, and vacuum cleaner noise.
Though noise fearfulness is very common in dogs, scientists still haven’t figured out why some dogs develop noise phobias while others don’t react to loud sounds. It’s believed that genetics and lack of proper socialization play a role.
Certain herding breeds, including German Shepherds, Border Collies, and Australian Shepherds are genetically more prone to developing noise phobias than other breeds.
Puppies that haven’t been exposed to certain sounds, sights, smells, people, and animals during the critical socialization period are more likely to develop abnormal fear responses later in life. This critical period ends when the puppy is around 12 to 14 weeks old.
Besides genetics and lack of socialization, traumatic events can also cause dogs to be afraid of certain noises. For example, a dog that is left at home alone during a storm can associate thunder sounds with fear and loneliness.
Events like these can traumatize a dog, leading to extreme phobic reactions to those sounds and similar noises in the future.
If you suspect that your dog hates certain sounds, look for the following signs of noise phobia:
- Panic behavior
- Attempts to hide
- Attempts to escape
- Extreme agitation
- Destructive behavior
- Urinating or defecating indoors
Other subtle body language signs to look for are ears pinned back, dilated pupils, and a stiffened body.
Extreme phobic responses to certain sound effects may lead to physical harm. It’s not uncommon for dogs with noise phobias to injure their teeth, nails, or other parts of their bodies while trying to escape the noise.
Different Sounds Dogs Hate
Dogs have much better hearing than people and this may be the reason some sounds drive dogs crazy. Sounds that are loud to us, like thunder noise, are experienced at a much higher volume by dogs.
Dogs are also able to hear sound on much higher frequencies than people. While dogs can hear frequencies of up to 45,000Hz, people can only hear frequencies up to 23,000Hz (source).
Keeping this in mind, it’s no surprise that dogs hate many different sounds. Knowing the noises dogs react to the most can help you deal with your dog’s fear.
Here are some sounds dogs are afraid of:
Fireworks are one of the most common sounds dogs hate. They generate a huge release of sound, heat, and bright light which can be extremely frightening to dogs.
The massive booms heard at the ground level are deafening for canines and are the reason many dogs cower in fear during the Fourth of July celebrations.
Thunder noise is another common sound dogs are terrified of. But the loud thunderous booms aren’t the only thing that can make your dog cower in fear.
The appearance of stormy clouds, the smell of rain, and the changes in barometric pressure create a multisensory experience for dogs and all of it can trigger fear.
3. Vacuum Cleaners
The loud suctioning sounds vacuum cleaners make can be especially jarring for some dogs. In some cases, a mere sight of the vacuum cleaner can send a dog into a trembling fit. Besides being very loud, vacuum cleaners also move around your dog’s territory, creating even more fear.
4. Gun Shots
Firing a weapon creates a very loud sound that wearing hearing protection is recommended at every shooting range. For dogs, with their higher frequency hearing, the report can sound terrifying.
5. Construction Noises
If construction noise sounds deafening to people, you can only imagine how bothersome it is for canines. Jackhammers pounding, drills grinding, and hammers ringing can be particularly scary for dogs with noise phobias.
6. Emergency Service Sirens
The high-pitched and vailing sounds caused by ambulance, police, or fire truck sirens are jarring to many dogs. Luckily, your dog won’t have to listen to the blaring sound of the sirens for too long because emergency services quickly continue on their way to those that need help.
7. Car Alarms
Most car alarms produce loud, blaring noises and vibrations that can cause your windows to shake. The suddenness of the alarm, combined with noise and vibrations can push your dog into a frenzy.
8. Jet Airplanes
If you live close to the airport you may notice that the sound of the airplanes taking off or touching down makes your dog jumpy. This type of reaction is common for dogs that were raised in a rural area where there aren’t as many airplanes flying overhead.
A lack of proper socialization can also be the reason why your dog is startled every time an airplane flies over your home.
9. Trash Trucks
Trash trucks create an array of loud, high-pitched sounds dogs hate. From loud beeping and screeching to banging and engine revving, garbage trucks can be extremely scary for some dogs.
Not only are skateboards loud, but they also make strange and erratic noises as they pass over bumps on asphalt. Furthermore, the jumps and tricks performed by skateboarders create a bunch of different loud sounds that are scary for dogs.
But that’s not all! A skateboarder passing by a dog can trigger the dog’s chase instinct, causing a dog to run and bark after the skateboarder.
How to Help Your Dog Overcome Sounds They Hate?
There are many ways you can help your dog overcome noise phobias. The most important thing you can do is recognize noise aversions and address them early on.
The fear your dog is experiencing will only intensify the more times the dog hears that scary sound. If left unaddressed the fear will eventually turn into a real phobia which is much more difficult to deal with.
Here are some great ways to calm your dog when it’s exposed to scary noises:
1. Play Calming Noises
Studies have shown that certain noises, such as classical music, have the opposite effect on dogs and may help calm and soothe them (source).
A sound machine playing the sounds of white noise can help cancel the noise of fireworks or thunder.
You can also find calming music for dogs online. These playlists were specially created to have calming effects on dogs.
2. Create a Sense of Safety
Train your dog to relax in specific places in your home, like a bathroom or a closet, whenever it’s experiencing noise fearfulness. Set up a cozy dog bed and a soft blanket in a quiet area of your home, to create an added sense of safety for your pooch.
3. Avoid Exposing Your Dog to The Sounds It Hates
Avoid exposing your dog to the sounds it hates as much as possible. If you are planning a construction project, board your dog in the kennel or take it to doggy daycare.
Also, you can opt to stay at home during the holidays or take your pooch to the area where fireworks are banned.
4. Desensitize Your Dog
Desensitization is a training technique of exposing a dog to a stimulus that would cause an undesirable reaction, but at a much lower level so there is no response.
Try desensitizing your dog to the sounds it’s scared of by playing a recording of the sound at a very low volume. Gradually increase the volume as tolerated by your dog and use treats or toys to reward your pooch when it isn’t responding to the sound.
5. Ignore Undesired Behavior
Though it may seem impossible, ignoring your dog while it’s shaking in fear can help it overcome sounds it’s afraid of. Reward your dog with treats as soon as it calms down or give it a toy to play with.
Noise phobias are pretty common in dogs because dogs can hear much higher frequencies than people. So, it’s not surprising that loud noises like thunder and fireworks are particularly scary to dogs.
Loud sounds can cause mild to extreme fear responses in dogs, including panting, pacing, attempts to hide, destructive behavior, panic, and attempts to escape. To prevent your dog’s noise aversion from turning into a phobia, address the issue early on.