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Sudden Fear Of Noise That Didn't Faze Him For 8 Months. Normal?


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Dasher has suddenly become terrified of fireworks, which he's heard and ignored every Friday and Saturday (and weeklong during holidays plus the entire month of December) since we fostered him in September.

 

We live next to a theme park that used to have fireworks 282 days a year. Now they're down to 80+, mostly weekends and holiday weeks, plus all of July/August.

 

I've been through CC&D many times with other dogs, and even sweet Kipper only needed 3-4 weeks of work before the then-nightly fireworks didn't faze him at all. (He never, ever conditioned to thunderstorms or rain, and eventually needed Xanax to get through those because it only got worse instead of better over time.)

 

My real question is, is this normal, to have a confident dog who has slept through fireworks every weekend for months to suddenly become terrified of them?

 

He also was jumpy the past two days about other sudden bangs like car doors in the alley, starting after the first fireworks freakout.

 

It seems very odd to me. Wondering if I should look for other behavior changes and/or start back at square one of travel-socializing training (farmer's markets, eating outside at restaurants, walking on busy streets instead of our neighborhood, etc.).

 

He's a confident, laid-back dog who has slept on his back through thunderstorms in strange places (we travel with him a lot), and never reacted to sudden loud noises beyond looking in the noise direction, ears up, and then immediately going to check out the source of the sound. He's traveled with us many times and been bombproof in hotels, storms, strange parks, houses, etc (except with cats...but that's another story).

 

After Saturday night's debacle, I dosed him with Kipper's Xanax an hour before last night's fireworks, and he STILL freaked out, though he calmed enough to actually eat the beef jerky within a few minutes of the fireworks ending. That's a pretty strong reaction, IMO -- Xanax was a miracle worker on Kip.

 

Tonight I guess I'll use the Xanax again, along with treats and happy talk, because at least he calmed down soon after. Saturday, he was a panting mess for hours afterward.

 

Thanks for any advice!

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Dash (Mega Batboy), & forever missing Kipper (RD's Kiper, 2006-2015) & Souldog Dune (Pazzo Otis, 1994-2008)
"..cherish him and give him place with yourself for the rest of his but too short life. It is his one drawback. He should live as long as his owner."
James Matheson, The Greyhound: Breeding, Coursing, Racing, etc., 1929

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Any chance that something happened while you weren't at home that startled him or scared him? Jack hammering in the street, banging from construction or other source, attempted break-in, or something else out of the ordinary?

 

The other possibility, I was wondering if the park has changed the type of fireworks or the path that they launch and they now hurt the ears because there is a different frequency or volume that your dog is hearing. I know those aren't solutions, but figuring out why might help with a potential solution.

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Camp Broodie. The current home of Mark Kay Mark Jack and LaVida I've Got Life.  Always missing my boy Rocket Hi Noon Rocket,  Allie  Phoenix Dynamite, Kate Miss Kate, Starz Under Da Starz, Petunia MW Neptunia and Diva Astar Dashindiva 

 

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This is so frustrating and not knowing why makes it more so. For the first three years after I adopted Annie, nothing fazed her. Not thunder storms or fireworks or loud trucks, etc. Then things changed, and I don't know why. She gets anxious about T-storms but fireworks are the worst. Last year's fireworks almost drive her crazy, so much that I was on the verge of taking her to the emergency vet. Good luck!

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Any chance that something happened while you weren't at home that startled him or scared him? Jack hammering in the street, banging from construction or other source, attempted break-in, or something else out of the ordinary?

 

The other possibility, I was wondering if the park has changed the type of fireworks or the path that they launch and they now hurt the ears because there is a different frequency or volume that your dog is hearing. I know those aren't solutions, but figuring out why might help with a potential solution.

 

Great questions.

 

Nothing has changed in the display itself or its location/duration, and he's actually been outside and in the park directly under those fireworks before without doing anything more than look at them curiously. That was five months ago, however. They haven't been active since Easter weekend, when he did raise his head and get the worried-forehead look before I jumped up and gave him a treat and he forgot about them again.

 

Maybe it's just that there's been a long break? They were every weekend for his first 3 months here, then all of the Xmas/NY season. Then Easter weekend, then nothing until this weekend.

 

I was walking the two dogs we are dog sitting when the fireworks went off, so didn't see the initial freakout, only the hours-long aftermath. DH thinks he may have handled it badly, not understanding what was going on and telling Dash to calm down in a stern voice before realizing that he was flipping out (he thought someone might have been at the door at first). That may have compounded the problem.

 

But Dasher is not a "soft" dog who's going to be cowed by a stern voice -- he is one of those super confident, easy, laid-back dogs that everyone loves because they're just so chill. He's handled loud music at outdoor dining venues, poorly socialized/obnoxious dogs (he ignores them), screaming kids and toddlers, noisy streets, noisy hotel rooms -- you name it -- with aplomb.

 

Maybe he's been so easy that I overlooked something in my travel-socializing training. I worked much harder to turn Kipper into an easy traveling hound; I might have missed some combo that could set Dasher off. I just cannot figure out what it was.

 

Maybe the fact that he's had the two girl dogs here for a couple of days and then they were gone when the fireworks started? He's not a fan of the bulldog, but he seems to like them both well enough (for being non-greyhounds).

gallery_17468_3098_7486.jpg
Dash (Mega Batboy), & forever missing Kipper (RD's Kiper, 2006-2015) & Souldog Dune (Pazzo Otis, 1994-2008)
"..cherish him and give him place with yourself for the rest of his but too short life. It is his one drawback. He should live as long as his owner."
James Matheson, The Greyhound: Breeding, Coursing, Racing, etc., 1929

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I can tell you that after Kasey passed away in August, Ryder has become more sensitive to nearly everything. Some days he is nearly impossible to walk as a loud clang has sent his tail between his legs dragging me home. If a pup or two has left your house, I personally steer that way. His support system is gone and he doesn't know how to "dog" without them.

Proudly owned by:
10 year old "Ryder" CR Redman Gotcha May 2010
12.5 year old Angel "Kasey" Goodbye Kasey Gotcha July 2005-Aug 1, 2015

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