Cesar Noise Exercises
Cesar Milan
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Cesar 911

Cesar Millan Desensitizes A Terrified Dog To Scary Noises

Watch as Dog Training Expert Cesar Millan desensitizes a dog to the noises she’s been scared of for years!

You may remember Ivy as the canine escape artist who needed Cesar Millan’s help to learn to stay in her own yard. Ivy is extremely afraid of loud noises, and goes into flight mode every time she becomes frightened. This causes her to jump the fence, and take off running. Since one of her pet parents is a contractor who uses loud construction tools for work, this is unfortunately a common occurrence in Ivy’s home. Luckily, Cesar Millan is able to step in to desensitize Ivy to the scary sounds that have been plaguing her for the last 6 years. Watch how he does it on this episode of “Cesar 911.” 

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Since Ivy has lived in fear of loud sounds for the past 6 years, she won’t become desensitized to the noise overnight. That said, Cesar sees signs of progress shortly after bringing Ivy to his Dog Psychology Center. Cesar starts his training by putting Ivy on a treadmill while playing the sound that scares her. When Ivy relaxes, the sound and treadmill are turned off. Cesar explains that the key is “to take Ivy to the panic state, but not leave her there.” The purpose of the treadmill is to give Ivy something to think about besides the noise, and Cesar is there to provide reassurance as a strong, leadership figure. 

Are you working on desensitizing your dog to noise? Here are some tips you can try at home!

Introduce your dog to noise gradually. 

Whenever possible, introduce your dog to noise gradually and take note of any triggers they may seem to have. If you have a new puppy, try taking them on short, controlled visits to locations with lots of activity or noise. Alternatively, expose your dog to noise by playing their trigger sounds on your phone or playing dog desensitization soundtracks that can be found online. Slowly increase the volume and duration of the sounds as your dog becomes comfortable. If your dog shows signs of distress or anxiety, such as panting, pacing, or general agitation, reduce their sound exposure until they become more comfortable. 

Exercise your dog.

It’s often said that a tired dog is a happy dog. Just like in people, exercise can help dogs feel good and reduce feelings of stress or anxiety. If you know your dog is going to be exposed to a triggering noise, taking them out for a walk or game of fetch beforehand may help prevent some anxiety. Plus, exercising your dog frequently is a great way to bond with your pup, and help him learn to trust and rely on you. 

Create positive associations.

Teach your dog that noises aren’t scary by associating the sounds with positive associations. While playing desensitization tracks or when you encounter one your pup’s triggers, distract your dog with his favorite toys and treats. Start playing your pup’s favorite game, or engage your pup in an impromptu training session. Before long, your dog will be excited when he hears the noise because he will know one of his favorite things is coming!

Behave normally while the noise is present.

When your dog is scared, he will look to you for guidance so it’s important you are the pack leader and act normally. If you aren’t affected by the noise, your dog may realize it’s not cause for panic. Similarly, don’t go over the top with pets and cuddles. While you may feel you are reassuring your dog, you may actually be reinforcing the negative behavior by giving him extra attention. It’s best to stay calm and act normal. 

Take additional measures for severe noise phobia cases. 

For dogs with severe noise phobia cases, consider reaching out to your vet or a professional dog trainer for guidance on how to make your home a safe space for your pup and if other calming aids or anxiety medications may be right for your pet. Many people will take measures to sound proof their home, or will put their dogs on anxiety medications to help them relax. Those medications don’t have to be a permanent solution, but can take the edge off for your dog during training and on particularly loud days, such as during 4th of July fireworks shows. Whenever you are starting or adjusting medications for your pet, always consult with a licensed veterinarian. 

Keep in mind that noise desensitization is an ongoing process that can take weeks or months to be successful. Stay calm and remember to be patient. Losing your temper or punishing your dog for their phobia will only make matters worse. With patience, kindness, and persistence, your furry friend is sure to overcome his fear! 

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