Our Training Director Robert Brandau, “A Real Life Dog Whisperer”, is on Fox 5 News and WOR Channel 9 News giving tips and advice.

John Hubby of WOR Channel 9 News and the FOX Network Interviews Robert Brandau. While Robert helps a local family with a dog that is afraid of the 4th of July fireworks, John gets to talk with Robert about why dogs are afraid and what we can do for them.

Robert Brandau on Fox and WOR News

Robert explained that acousticophobia (the fear of loud noises) and astrapophobia (the fear of thunder and lightning) are often caused because the sound comes from ‘out of nowhere’.

Dogs become afraid of loud noises because they cannot make an association to what makes the sound. –They can become helpless or panicked so they try to escape it..

Dogs can also create associations to things in the enviorment such as a door opening at the same time the noise was heard. The dog could think the door makes the noise and the opening of the door can also trigger the fear.

Dogs will try to deal with the fear and try to lessen it. — They may try to hide under the bed or run away. They can also become destructive by tearing, chewing or scratching things.

What You Should Not Do

1. Do not comfort them. This will reinforce the fear and your dog will think their behavior is good.

2. Do not punish them. It is not their fault. It is happening to them, not you.

3. Do not do nothing. — You need to keep them from getting hurt or seperated from you.

What You Can Do – Short Term

1. Put your dog on a leash and keep them with you. Don’t let them pace around or become destructive.

2. Distract your dog with a favorite toy or game. Do training games such as ‘go lay down’.

3. Create a safe place for your dog to ride it out. — Try a place that they find to be secure. Make sure it is safe for them.

What You Can Do – Long Term

— This is when we get your dog used to the sound over time.
— You can use a CD of thunderstorms or fireworks.
— Play it at low volume, low enough that it does not scare your dog.
— Slowly increase the volume over days, weeks or even months.
— You must pay attention to your dogs reaction.
— Remember less is more.

Counter Conditioning –
This is when we teach your dog a noncompatable behavior and get them to do it when they become afraid.
— Teach your dog to perform a trick or obedience routine.
— Then when they start to react to the sound start the rountine.

Common Mistakes

1. Too much too soon. — Start very at low volumes and don’t increase too much too soon. You must read your dog.

2. Pairing with something that does not interest the dog enough. Make the trick or obedience routine exciting for the dog.

3. Being inconsistant. — You must be consistant in order for your dog learn. — If your dog is reacting to the sound you must be working your dog. If your dog is having a severe reaction to fireworks or thunder or if you have been trying any of these techniques and you are unsure of the results, please contact us now.

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