Lesson 1419 – Loud noises and a frightened little pup

This post has nothing to do with chickens, Lyme disease, my upcoming border-to-border New Hampshire walk, or even my kids.

It’s all about a small, frightened little dog.

And it’s also about asking for help.

This is Dalai (formally Dolly – she’s a Tibetan Spaniel so we renamed her Dalai-puppy – (get it?) – bonus points we still get to say “Well, Hello Dalai!”) We inherited her when my mother passed.

Sure she sneezes a lot, but she's as cute as a button.

Sure she sneezes a lot, but she’s as cute as a button.

Dalai is a charming, intelligent little pup, smart as a whip that one. The only trouble my mother ever had with her (puppy teething aside) was once in Virginia when a plow truck came by their house and the noise so frightened Dalai that she got spooked and ran. It took some time but she was finally found and returned to my parents. Dolly has spent the last few years living in a (very) quiet apartment and has had no issues.

I knew that loud noises bothered her and I thought I was prepared, but clearly I had no idea.

Dalai barely made it through the Fourth of July – which is in our neck of the woods is celebrated with fireworks starting on the 1st and continuing to the 10th – I kid you not – Live Free or Die. Although she had a Thunder Shirt, her hair had grown out and it seemed incredibly lightweight, I didn’t use it. Thinking though that weight was a good idea, I placed her near my lap and covered her with a folded blanket. But she was still spooked and very uncomfortable.

I double checked that all doors were closed.

And then I held a trembling little dog for hours.

We made it through the 4th, but then came the thunder storms. We’ve recently had some whoppers and I think this small dog may end up having a nervous breakdown.

So I’m asking you, my readers. Do any of you have dogs that are COMPLETELY spooked by loud noises?

Any tips on helping dogs get through events like fireworks and thunder storms?

And if Dalai is truly afraid of plows, we, who live in the great snow state of New Hampshire, might be having a very loooong winter.



Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

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Filed under Inspiration, Personal, Points to ponder, The Family

10 responses to “Lesson 1419 – Loud noises and a frightened little pup

  1. Kari Carlisle

    I’m having the same issue with a dog new to our family. I bought iCalm Dog which uses music and background noise to desensitize your dog from what spooks her. Depending on the dog it can take weeks or months to go through the training, so I can’t say my personal experience has worked yet, though there are a lot of testimonials. You can also try “Fear” drops, a homeopathic remedy you can buy at http://www.greyhoundgang.org. The drops have to be given before the stress sets in. I haven’t quite gotten the timing right myself.

  2. Your vet can give her something. I know they have calm medication for horses. Good luck.

  3. Amy

    I would ask your vet for something to calm her anxiety. I did this w/ one of my pets once and it worked.

    • Wendy Thomas

      I think that’s what I’m going to do. It’s not all the time, just during prolonged sessions (fireworks, storm.) Hopefully as she gets more comfortable with us (it was a BIG change from my mother’s place) she will settle down.

  4. Hi there, I have a Chihuahua X Mini Foxy who was badly abused before I got her and was a very timid and frightened pup. She couldn’t stand men and had heartbreaking separation anxiety, once she literally tried to dig through the front door when I left and I came home to a pup with badly bleeding paws. I went through serious desensitizing training to deal with the male problem (she now LOVES them!) and the anxiety was slowly dealt with over years of desensitization techniques. What ultimately cured the anxiety and most of the bad reactions to big noise though was when we got our second dog (who is male and a full sized Pomeranian). Within 24 hours they were inseparable (he was only supposed to stay with us a few days originally) and we have had very little in the way of anxiety issues ever since. Even the barking has been curbed astronomically. I think it is something to do with dogs having a pack mentality and there being comfort in the belief that other members of the pack have your back.
    Chihuahuas are known for anxiety problems. They can also be extremely obsessive about their owners and can seriously fret to the point of making themselves ill if separated from them. How long have you had her?
    I spent many years researching ways of solving Chihuahua anxiety so am happy to help in any way I can 🙂

    • Wendy Thomas

      Thank you for your good advice. We do have another dog – Pippin, but he’s also not keen of loud noise (but not to the degree Dalai is.) I think my first stop will be at the vet’s to see what we can do. We’ve only had Dalai for a few months, it’s been a big change, but with time, she might settle down.

    • Wendy Thomas

      I knew there was a “how long have you had her?” question somewhere. Dalai is 8 years old and we’ve only had her since March so there is a lot of new stuff for her to get used to.

      • Definitely a lot to get used to. Chis aren’t as good with massive change to their schedules or what is expected of them. They can get very set in their ways and let you know when they are not happy. We have recently moved house and our girl is showing that she is unpleased by waiting until she comes inside and then pooping somewhere as soon as we leave the room. SIGH! She gets regret afterwards and goes to hide, but it is seriously doing our heads in when we know she knows where that is meant to be done.

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